Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

The Wedding Trip: Part 4, Colorado and Utah

Monday, June 6th, 2011

1213hrs, Cedaredge, CO

Having only half a day gives me the luxury of a late departure from the hotel. I’m not a morning person, so this is a welcome luxury. I prepare for a comfortable and relaxing ride to Moab.

This reminded me of a friend, so I needed to photo it.

Do ya think they irrigate?

1303hrs, Whitewater, CO

I head south on CO-141, and thus the scenic part of this adventure truly begins. Starting with a few horses.


Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon

I pressed on, following CO-141 to the Dolores River and south towards Naturita

Someone has probably driven this at night, in the snow, with now plows to assist. ~200ft drop off with no guardrail.

Not entirely true color...

Near the hanging flume

Dolores River

-no caption-

When It Pours waterproof sleeve by the Dolores River in Colorado

Another by the Dolores River

The Hanging Flume... Or at least what's left of it.

1557hrs, Naturita, CO

I fuel up for the relatively short ride to Moab, Utah. Neither of the two gas stations in Naturita will accept credit cards at the pump. Town law? I dunno, but this is particularly frustrating for motorcyclists. Or at least, I find it much more frustrating when I’m on my bike than when I’m driving my car. I think it has to do with the fact that I fill my bike up while I’m still on it, and the bike is level. By making me go inside to pay, I have to put the kick stand down, pay, get the reciept (and if it’s pay-first I have to do this twice!) and all that crap. Annoying.

1849hrs, Moab, UT
1900mi (dead even)

I have safely made it to my destination and linked up with my contacts – a bunch of relaxed college-aged (slightly older?) friendly people living in a trailer just off the main drag of Moab. There’s a garden, and girls living in tents in the back yard. Pretty much run-of-the-mill for these marginally anonymous contacts. I fill up, and head out to dead horse point for the sunset.

View From Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

My photoset from Dead Horse Point will be the feature of the following post. Honestly there are too many pictures to tag it onto the end of this post. So I’ll leave it with just this one for now.

The Wedding Trip: Part 3, Colorado

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

1200hrs, Colorado Springs, CO
Checkout from hotel. Open bars don’t lead to early starts. I say my farewell to the friends I can find wandering around the lobby, tighten and lube the chain (which is starting to make it clear that it’s pretty much time to be replaced. I cross my fingers it gets me back to California safely). The Bellhop warns me of heavy police activity on my planned route.

1313hrs, Woodland Park, CO
I’m running late, and I’m supposed to be in Moab, Utah by tonight. I’ve made it 24 miles from the hotel. Progress for today is looking slow, and that’s an understatement. I’m quite hungry, so I stop in at McDonald’s for some much needed fast food. As it turns out, this is the most poorly managed McDonald’s I may ever have been to. There is a line to order, and then a very evident queue to pick up food. After waiting about 10 minutes in the queue, and noticing a few people who ordered AFTER my get their food, I mention that I still have not been served. I am given my meal immediately (and wonder why, if they can make it so quick on the spot, why there is a ~10 minute queue waiting for food). It takes this establishment approximately 10x as long as a normal McDonald’s to serve me. Things are not looking good in terms of making it to Moab.

1400hrs, Just outside of Florissant, CO
I decide to pass some slow moving traffic on an open, clear section of road, despite the fact that it is not a legal passing zone. As I’m passing the final car, I notice there are two motorcycle cops sitting talking to each other in a rest area. I hope they don’t see me.

1402hrs, Florissant, CO
They saw me. Things are REALLY not looking good for making it to Moab on time. Given a ticket for an illegal pass. This is my first ticket ever while touring. Only my second ticket ever on a Motorcycle.

1456hrs, Hartsel, CO

1553hrs, Independence Pass, CO
After making an accidental detour to Leadville, CO thus making me run even MORE late, I finally make it up Independence Pass. There isn’t too much tourism right now, but I find the road to be mediocre, the traffic still relatively heavy (especially on the West slope) and the views to be marginal. This truly is a destination just to say “I’ve been on the highest paved mountain pass in the US.” I am now back in the Pacific watershed, more specifically, the Colorado River watershed.

Independence Pass - Highest paved mountain pass in the United States

Shameless product plug - When It Pours at Independence Pass for more info on my line of waterproof sleeves for portable electronics.

1738hrs, Basalt, CO
Fuel Stop

I get some much needed food at the local Subway and call my contact in Moab to tell him that I’m not going to make it tonight. Too bad. At this point I’ve accepted that I’m not on schedule, and that I’ll only get one night in Moab rather than two. It’s OK, because I would rather enjoy the ride and be late than constantly feel rushed. Now I just need to find a nice place to sleep…

I make some wrong turns, and end up on I-70 before I go on the Great Mesa Scenic Byway. Damn. Luckily I know exactly where the turn-off is for this road on I-70. I only spend ~30 miles on the highway, and luckily some of it is actually nice driving.  Seriously, I-70 through Colorado isn’t that bad as far as interstates go, but I’ve done this section of road twice before, no need to do it again.

1949hrs, Powderhorn, CO
After some much needed empty, twisty road, I stop in at Powderhorn Ski Resort to see if there’s any off-season lodging. The place is dead and reminds me slightly of The Shining. This will not be my safe haven for the night, however, it does provide a nice sunset.

Sunset as viewed from Powderhorn Ski Resort

2032hrs, Grand Mesa, CO
It’s cold on top of Grand Mesa. I also didn’t realize I would be at nearly 11,000 ft elevation here. It’s dark, and I want a warm hotel. I wouldn’t say I’m miserable, but being low on fuel (my reserve light came on just after leaving Powderhorn), seeing ample numbers of wildlife, and riding at night through snow-covered fields isn’t what I’d like to be doing right now.

2058hrs, Cedaredge, CO
As I’m dropping off of Grand Mesa, I see what looks like a nice safe haven. It’s a motel style establishment, which I’m always just a little wary of, but the ambiance is warm and inviting. The wonders of technology allow me to check a Yelp Rating before actually walking in and booking a room. 4.8 stars (or more?) out of 5, and the cheapest room for $69/night. Ok, a bit more expensive than I would like, but comes complete with glowing reviews.

Cedaredge Lodge, in Cedaredge, CO should be a destination for anyone in this part of the world – Especially couples. No, it’s not the cheapest room, but when a Motel 6 is going for $50/night in Grand Junction, and this place is only $20/more per night, I guarantee that the $20/night will be worth it.  Complete with hot tub, babbling brook, game room, massage room, home-cooked meals, and – if you’re really lucky and get there the day after a wedding – free beer!

With a beer, in a hot tub, loving life!

Onward to Moab, Utah tomorrow…


The Wedding Trip: Part 2, Pikes Peak, Colorado

Saturday, June 4th, 2011.

0200hrs (approximately) We finally go to bed.

0830hrs – My alarm goes off. I prepped my bike the previous night by tightening and lubing the chain. My tank bag is packed with my $2,700 rental camera lens, as well as my Rebel xti body (~$300) and my personal lens (~$250) for a total of about $3,250 – more than the value of my motorcycle – in my magnetic tank bag. I never use the safety strap. I have the crappy cup of complimentary coffee in my room and leave my netbook behind.

0913hrs – I buy an all-too-expensive breakfast from the hotel bar. Did I seriously just pay $4.24 for a stale, mass-produced pastry? Seriously Marriott, did you just do that?!

0942hrs, Manitou Springs, CO
1251 miles

I fill up the motorcycle at the 7-eleven with my large pack of college friends. Also, it’s pronounced “Man-eh-too” not “man-eh-tao” or however you fools say it.

0959hrs – I pay my $12 “summer adult” toll to drive up a big mountain (Pikes Peak Toll Booth in Cascade, CO). No Refunds.

Skiers being silly
Some of the road as viewed from the top
King of the hill! :D (Photo courtesy of my friend Ted)
The Proof.
The Better Proof.
The Product Plug. Waterproof Sleeves by When It Pours (my upstart!)

I figure you can use or take the waterproof sleeves my company makes pretty much anywhere. Part of this trip is to prove it. Since I didn’t take my laptop up Pikes Peak, this particular waterproof sleeve is holding some papers and my steno pad.

"look sexy!"

The Decent. (Photo courtesy of my friend Ted)

1230hrs (approximately)

Due to some peer pressure, I perform some *exceptionally* hard braking into hairpin corners on the ride down. What can I say, I’m a bit of a showoff. My tank bag with previously mentioned $3,250, and about 20-lbs worth of shock sensitive equipment decides it can’t quite hold on in such a circumstance. The safety strap is safely packed away. The tank bag containing more value than the motorcycle itself takes a nice tumble over the handlebars, bouncing off the front fender and rolling a couple times along the pavement.

Yes, I just effectively hucked a $2,700 camera lens at pavement. Truthfully, it has at least two layers of padding around it, and I’m surprisingly confident it’s fine.

My friends, in the Mazdaspeed Miata convertible gesture for me to toss said bag at them. “No” is my only response. I don’t want to pay for a new windshield AND a new lens.

1245hrs (approximately)

Upon inspecting the equipment inside the bag, it is discovered that the protector UV Lens filter did it’s job. It’s cracked, but both lenses, my camera, and the portable hard drive I keep with me are all fine. Relief is washed over me.

1423hrs – We dine at local Trinity Brewing company and prepare for the wedding of one of my very best friends. Photos from said event will not be featured as part of this series, since I consider it to be a catalyst for this ride, but not part of the ride itself.

Next I roll out towards Moab, Utah…

The Wedding Trip: Part 1, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado

Cross-posted on ADVRider:

My very good friend got married just last weekend in Colorado Springs, CO. The only real issue here is that I live in Orange County, California, and oddly enough he and his then-fiance (now-wife) live only about 15 minutes away from me, but regardless, they were getting married 1,200 miles away.

So I was faced with a decision; Fly or drive. I ran the numbers, and price-wise, it would pretty much be a wash, if anything MORE expensive to ride my motorcycle out to Colorado Springs.

But on the other hand, if I ride I can do an awesome ride report, visit parks, and more importantly – do some very important PR shots for my upstart, When It Pours, which is a business specifically aimed at the touring motorcyclist.

Decision made! I would ride out there and take lots of photos to promote my business.

June 1st, 2011


Fuel stops for day 1


0846hrs, Westminster, California. Departure.

Here I am, On the road again

1036hrs, Indio, CA
121 miles

1215hrs, Ehrenberg, AZ
223 miles

I am now in the mountain time zone, but silly Arizona doesn’t do daylight savings time, so my clock is still correct.

During fueling, I  placed my magnetic tank bag on the speedometer, resulting in rotating the needle 359 degrees and ending up on the wrong side of the “rest pin”. Damn. I correctly determined that by going the speed indicated 180degrees from 0mph, the speedometer will fix itself. Actual speed necessary is about 3mph faster than that indication. No I will not tell you how fast that is. Operation performed in the flat, dry, empty desert highway.

Woah, is that a road runner? They exist?!

1344hrs, Buckeye, AZ
338 miles

1608hrs, Lake Montezuma, AZ
459 miles

1929hrs, Holbrook, AZ
600 miles

Complete with beautiful sunset…

Sunset in Arizona

Yet another picture of the Arizona Sunset

2102hrs, Gallup, NM
704 miles

Ok, NOW I can change my clock…

2359hrs, Farmington, NM
822 miles

I’ve only been on the road for nearly 14 hours, arriving fart oo late, but still being greeted with a hot (ish) shower and warm bed. Good enough. Colorado tomorrow…

June 2nd, 2011

Fuel stops for day 2

1201hrs, Durango, CO
866 miles

Stop in “Homeslice Pizza” which is an old favorite. And by that I mean I’ve been here once before, a year ago. It’s tasty and the waitress is cute.Begin to wonder why I ever left Colorado.

I don't think I'm in Phoenix anymore...

Lovely Colorado... Why did I ever leave this place?

Hello, Million Dollar Highway!

CO550, The "Million Dollar Highway"

It's like a big truck...

This section of road has made me more nervous than any other paved road I've ever been on. Including Pikes Peak Highway.

Ouray, Colorado, with a bit of color adjustment, just for fun.

1452hrs, Montrose, CO
984 Miles

Skipping Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park because I got up late (Look at Durango timestamp)

1728hrs, Salida, CO
1115 miles

~1900hrs, Colorado Springs, CO
~1225 miles

Destination arrived. Prepare for wedding… oh, and the Pikes Peak Highway with some of my best friends, and the real meat of this ride report – the ride home through Utah…

California – Joshua Tree National Park

Hello once again, wandering wayfarer! Today brings us to Joshua Tree National Park… Let’s cut the crap and get right to it…

View Larger Map

I need to get a polarizing filter.

It's very windy here. This is also not Joshua Tree National Park... but close!

Walkin’ in the Mojave.

I rocked this trip with my friend from pre-school, Nick, and his buddy from college, Jesse. These are Jesse's dirty shorts.

It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood! ;-)

It's LOG!

Someone want to edit out the sticks in the background for me?  I started to, and then decided I was feeling quite uninspired.


They just photograph so well.

Logs are a recurring theme

B&W for kicks.

Almost every photo in this series has a crap-ton of color saturation... Almost.

Things die in the desert, and then dry out.  It’s not my fault that logs are interesting photo subjects.

Yup, another one.

Cacti, too.

This kinda reminds me of a post card from the 60's. Is it too much?

Sometimes, your perspective can make you feel really, really, really small...


Namesake on blue.

This is an exceptionally fine example of a young Joshua Tree.

Now that I’m putting these pictures up, after days of sorting and editing, I’m realizing that I must find logs exceptionally fascinating.

yet another log.

This doesn't look real. Keen observer.

8,000ft from 5,000ft and a few miles

POW! This is not jumbo rock

It was kinda bland, so I fixed it. Not bad at 50...





So I was a little heavy-handed with the digital editing on this album.  Do you hate it?  Love it?  Drop me a line…

California: The Salton Sea!

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I get antsy.   Frequently.  This last weekend I got so damn antsy that on a whim I threw the saddlebags on the bike and headed in the general direction of The Salton Sea.  Proof that this was a spontaneous call, the sun was already setting:

I love oil rigs. They're so beautiful. Huntington Beach, CA

There’s a spirit to doing long, particularly solo trips that just puts me in a different state of mind.  I think it’s about as close to meditating as I ever get.  I really wanted this to be a trip to set my spirit free, so I decided to avoid highways and just grab a hotel wherever I felt like it, and if I happen across a road that is calling my name, to go down it.  After all, gotta suck that marrow out of life (Thoreau, go look it up.)

I believe the words you're looking for are "you're an idiot" Santa Rosa Truck Trail/Forest Rt 7S02, near Pinyon Pines, CA

It was all going well until I rounded the bend and ended up on the north-facing slope.  Then my dry, warm, albeit dirt road turned into a snowy icy mess.  I’ve never seen a road change conditions so quick!  It took me about 20 minutes to get the bike 10 feet.  Of course I tried, I don’t give up easily.  And on that note:  race inspired street tires are awful in the snow.

Coachella Valley Vista. Baller road.

After finally making it to The Salton Sea, I held up the night in this quaint little Motel – The Sea & Sun:

with COLOR TV!!! Desert Shores, CA

I give it 4/5 stars.  It loses a point for no wireless internet, but gains 5 since I didn’t get murdered in the middle of the night because honestly, what do you expect from a motel in a ghost town?  Was it gorgeous?  Fuck no.  Did I sleep well? Yes.  And albeit a bit divey, the bed was pretty nice, actually.   At $50/night they really could use that wireless internet.

I picked up two pretty strong wireless signals there, but when asking the clerk he was pretty adamant about there not being any wirelss [for hotel guests].  Better take your internet porn with you!  As a marginally comical side note:  There’s a Starbucks up the road about 7 miles at the local trucker stop with free WiFi.  There is also a Motel in Salton City, which is just slightly more “vibrant” than Desert Shores.  Maybe they have wireless?  It’s a little harder to find though, since Salton City is a labyrinth of unused roads.  At least Desert Shores is compact, and has a very obvious main drag.

Salton City is laid out the way you might expect a 5 year old to plan a city.  You know how they like to make curvy roads in suburbs, as if to try and pull the wool over your eyes because “look curves make it less monotonous!”  Well that’s how Salton City is laid out.  Now imagine there are about 0.2 houses per road.  That’s right, for every 5 roads, there’s one house.

Good luck finding your way.  Lucky for you, they all have street signs!  Also it’s completely flat and appears to be common practice to just drive in the direction you want to go, whether or not there is actually a road there.

Merry Christmas!

Salton City Boat Launch

It’s the “fastest body of water in the US” for boating due to it’s high salinity (No boating on the Great Salt Lake?) That’s why this boat ramp is so well maintained.

Salton City, CA

Did you notice the dead fish in the last photo?  This is one of the most foul smelling places I’ve ever been to.  At first, the highway on the ride in smelled of Parsley (which I like) and then cat urine (which I dislike).  The Salton Sea smells, predictably, like salty water and rotting fish.

Das Boot!

Salton City, CA

Once past the chain link fence, you could have a nice cookout!

After finding not much interesting at the Salton Sea (I didn’t find the famous landmarks of the trailer or car rotting into the ground, as in classic form I didn’t give myself enough time to actually explore the area) I headed out and found myself riding right into Ocotillo Wells. The SV really isn’t much of an off-road bike, but luckily a lot of the trails are pretty tame, if you’ve got any off-road experience. Certainly easier to ride than the snowy road the night before…

SV conquers Ocotillo Wells! My bike hates me.

I love the SV, but I really need something tuned more for off-road use.

Ocotillo Wells, CA

Salton Sea / Ocotillo Wells from Montezuma-Borrego Highway

After dicking around in Ocotillo Wells for a while on a bike built for something completely different, I headed out [the long way] towards Julian, CA to get me some World Famous Apple Pie!

This is the first time I've been to Julian when Mom's was open. Still no pie.

I spent about 30 seconds deciding not to get in line, about 3 minutes taking pictures of the line, and about 30 seconds getting back on the road towards Palomar Mountain.  Fucking ridiculous.  No apple pie is that good.

It's the Golden Hour! Lake Henshaw, CA

Palomar Mountain, CA

HDR (High Dynamic Range) Image of the sunset from Palomar Mountain.  You can just barely make out the Pacific Ocean, San Clemente Island, and the edge of Catalina Island (on the right).

Sunsets (a haiku)

Sunsets blow my mind
In person roxors my socks
Pics of ’em suck ass


So… I’m a bit of a big deal, being a swanky photographer and all.  Interested in high resolution images?  Drop me a line and tons of cash, and they can be yours!

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