“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…” I believe is how that book starts. To begin my story I think it is important you know how my story started. Friday I got a text message from William stating “Want to go for a little ride on Sunday?”. He told me of his plans, he was going even if he had to go solo. I had plans to ride to Las Vegas that night and return on Saturday, and go for a hike on Sunday. My plans for Las Vegas fell through due to weather; which plays out funny later; I talked to my chick and she said you should go on Sunday then. So I committed and here is where it starts.
Saturday came I had a mental checklist of what I had to get done on my bike before we left. Nothing crazy, but, I wanted to put a new rear wheel on along with a fresh tire and change the oil. So I threw the bike on the lift and got her prepped in between doing Saturday Mother’s Day shenanigans. I later canceled the plans for the night and we all ended up at my house BBQing Carne Asada while I finished up my bike. During this time I was thinking about what was ahead of us and had also posted to the trusty social networking establishments that we were headed on this trek. Lots of feedback of how we would fail and how difficult it was definitely filled my head with some doubt I won’t lie.
Previous to this journey I was not a stranger to miles in the seat, but, not this many. My longest journey coincidentally was Flagstaff, AZ to Costa Mesa, CA in one shot about 7 hours. When I got home my shoulders and back were killing me. Granted I did this journey after a 3 day binder in Vegas. I’ll leave those details to your imagination. All in all I was excited, my bike was prepped I packed a change of clothes and shoes in case we hit weather along with some water bottles, a portable device charger and my GoPro on a rope (ROKU remote string) and hit the sack early to rest up. I dosed myself with vitamins and ibuprofen before heading to bed and actually found it hard to sleep. Like those moments you knew you were doing something great the next day as a child and you couldn’t wait.
My alarm was set for 3 a.m. around 2 a.m. I was awoke by my neighbors coming home from the bar playing pool in their garage. I managed to fall back asleep and wake up again at 3 a.m. ready to go. I threw my ninja suit on under my clothes grabbed my boots, leather jacket and vest. My bike was packed and I fired it up and hit the road headed to the Chevron station to meet up with William. I arrived at the station early gassed up dosed up on vitamins, ibuprofen and a protein bar to get the day started. William showed up shortly after; we greeted each other and hit the road.
The first hundred miles was a blink as I ride that route all the time to go to the Hi Desert we hit Barstow really quick and we were on a roll. Now, this is not the first time William and I have rode together and anyone ready to do this I would suggest riding with someone similar to your style of riding. William and I ride fast and hard, we see each other’s moves and know where the other will go. This plays a big role in any long ride. As we cruised the stretch of desert road from Barstow, CA to Ludlow, CA the sun came up with no cars ahead of us or behind us. It was truly just like those books and movies talk about, us, our machines, and the road. The sun rose and I was able to grab some great shots of William against the sunrise like a 2 wheeled phoenix rising from his ashes ready to conquer the road.
I can say the ride did not really get challenging until Flagstaff, AZ. We were moving a steady 90-95 MPH at all times and crossed the border quickly. As we approached Flagstaff William chimed in on our SENA headset that weather is coming ahead. As we were on hot pursuit to try to beat it we moved quickly at our fill ups only taking 10 minutes or so to gas and grab a protein bar and water. We headed further up the mountain and the storm seemed to get thicker and thicker a little sprinkle here and there. I remember chiming in asking William “If we go straight to Phoenix, AZ at the next turn can we detour out?” William had stated “We won’t hit our miles.” So at that point I knew it was hit the weather or go home.
The closer we got to the storm you could see the rain pouring about 100 yards away. The road just looked different it was blurry, kind of fuzzy. I recall William chiming in “Here we GO!” and it hit us, like a wall of bricks we were in the proverbial shit. My full face helmet shield quickly became very difficult to see out of and I was wiping it with my hand every ten seconds. At that point we agreed to slow down. We laid off the throttle a bit and kept moving, the further in we got the worse it seemed to get. Wiping sleet from my shield I looked down and we were still jamming 85 MPH. Thinking “FUCK we need to get through this and down this mountain.” We kept on. Grabbed the 17, I believe it was, and started heading down towards Phoenix. At that point everything looked up; in my mind I said well that has to be the worst of it, no problem…
Part way down the mountain we pulled over to grab gas and stretch we both felt surprisingly good for having logged 522 miles and the weather we had just experienced. Our hands finally unfroze and the sun peeked out a bit. We hit the road shortly after some helmetless locals talked to William about Flagstaff’s weather conditions. We moved down the mountain cutting lanes on the windy mountain road moving our machines through cars and big rigs. Our method was to go as fast as we could and to get to the next point quickly. We decided to grab lunch in Phoenix and take a decent break. We had been on the road now for around 9 hours and made our way to the local T.G.I. Fridays… Sat down for a beer and some happy hour appetizers and talked about the day’s events thus far.
Now you would think being on the road for this long would have bothered us by now, it hadn’tm we were ready to go. Maybe it was because we knew we couldn’t fail or because we psyched ourselves out so hard. I am not sure, but we were on it and hit the road again. This time the sun was shining, the clouds were fluffy and white, and after we took that hour long break we were refreshed. It is amazing what changing out of some wet socks will do to you.
Jamming down the highway headed to Yuma, AZ on a full tank was amazing. It was such a wonderful change from what we had just been through and I can recall thinking “What the shit! Am I actually sweating?” At 761 miles we stopped for fuel outside of Yuma and we both started shedding our layers. Now as this might not seem that important this was a game changer in this trip. Riding down the highway in our vests and short sleeve shirts made such a change in how we both felt it was insane or maybe it was the 5 hour energy drink… I know William chimed in “Is it me or does this ride feels like a whole new ride?” I felt the same way.
We kept heading to the California border in route to San Diego, the sun was out and it was glorious we must have clocked around 850 miles in at this point. Looking around and seeing sand dunes ,and what appeared to be an aqueduct flowing, I wanted to stop and jump in. At this point I was relaxed feeling good and enjoying the ride. Easy street. or so I thought. As we moved on I recall seeing a sign that said “Sea Level” I figured all the mountain ranges were over and it was warmth and adventure from here on out. Then we started to ascend and before I knew it we were riding through some large sweeping mountain turns and it went from glorious sunshine to cloudy, freezing 4000 foot elevation bullshit. My arms had goose bumps and I was frozen. The cross winds were pushing me all over the road on these big turns. I recall looking at William leaning at a 35 degree angle going straight. The wind spurts were so bad. Just when we thought the shit was over…. After many miles of this we finally made it to the gas station and I layered once on the road the ride was great again.
After all the weather we had gone through I knew the worse was behind us. I am familiar with the next stretch of road as I travel to San Diego all the time, however, at this point I had forgotten about the amazingly thick Sunday evening San Diego traffic and it approached quickly and demanded my attention. I love splitting lanes, LOVE IT, but after 950 miles and the shit we had been through I felt sluggish and not on my game. That thought left my head quickly as I once again followed William into the SHIT. We hit the white lane fast and hard. and gave it everything we had. We were almost hit about 4 times from people not paying attention, but we made it through and got back to an area where we could cruise at our pace.
We had finally made our way to Tustin, CA, our ending point, the place we would take that final picture. Pulling into the gas station thinking of the day’s events the memories and the journey you shared. It’s a lot to do in such a short period of time. We parked, I stopped the first guy I saw and asked him to snap our picture. We told him a short tale of our story and we proceeded to hug it out and move on. We both still had another long 20 miles to get to our respective homes. Pulling into my driveway never felt so good.
My journey through this was incredible. I watched the sun rise in the north and set in the south over the San Diego bay. Miles upon miles with rain, sleet, wind and the hot sun on our two wheeled steeds. At the end of the day William and I are planning to do it again. This was no ride… this was a journey, an adventure, and as it was done in the blink of an eye I await the next one to push the limits. For now I will let my soar ass heal.