Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Yucca Valley Trip - Part I

Update on Boots - For anyone who read my "New Boots and a delimma" post, just wanted to say that Revzilla did an awesome job of sending me out a brand new pair, with three day shipping! At no charge!  They shipped them out before I even RMA'd back the old boots.  I can't compliment them enough!  I will certainly be ordering from them again.  So I had my new boots by Thursday, just in time for my trip on Saturday!  Which brings me to this post...Yucca Valley!  Just got back last night!

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The catalyst for this expedition was a friend of mine, Jacob, who currently lives in Oceanside, just bought a new Kawasaki Concours and was jonesing for a road trip.  I won't go into the details of how I'm always telling him my next bike should be a Concours, and he felt the need to go out and buy my bike.  Get your own dreams buddy!  Just kidding.  Anyway we picked our dates and decided to use Yucca Valley as our base of operations.  Jacob grew up in Yucca and knew all the cool places to explore.  February weather can always be unpredictable.  Luckily we dodged a bullet and missed a bad cold front that moved through the area.  It actually snowed in Tucson on Wednesday of last week.  If that had come through on Saturday not sure if this trip would have happened.

Saturday morning!  The well known departure picture from my front sidewalk.  Thanks honey!
Gila Bend was my first stop.  After filling up, I did a quick inspection of the bike to make sure all the straps looked good and that there were no issues with the tires. This was when I noticed some oil on the right side of the engine.
The oil had been blowing off of the cooling fins and flinging onto my pants legs, and the right side cover panel.
Uh oh, panic mode.  Do I have a serious issue here.  Am I going to have to cancel the trip?  Ok relax.  I checked the oil level in the sight window and it looked ok.  I didn't have oil dripping onto the ground, just a small amount coming off of the cylinder head.  Since I wasn't losing a large amount of oil I figured I should be ok until the next stop.  I wiped off the excess and continued on to Yuma.  The good news is I couldn't find any additional leakage in Yuma so I continued on. (We later surmised that I have a loose Cam cover screw and oil was coming out of that.  I still need to take Bonnie in and have it checked out.  But I never saw any additional oil for the rest of the trip.)

Jacob and I had picked Brawley, California as our meetup point.  I found him wandering a grocery store parking lot like an extra from the set of The Walking Dead.  If I hadn't come along when I did who knows what kind of trouble he would have gotten himself into.
My future bi....I mean Jacob's current ride.  This bike is so sexy we had to shoo away the bevy of young Brawley women who started to cluster around hoping for a glimpse.  "Sorry Ladies! no time for joy rides today. We have to make it to Yucca by night fall!"  And off we went.
We headed up highway 111 which took us up the east side of the Salton Sea.  I'd always wanted to visit this place after seeing a segment on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show.  After hearing rumors that it smelled like rotting fish I was surprised that it smelled normal.  To be honest I would have liked to explore the area a bit more, but we were short on time and had to move on. 
We had decided to drive through Joshua Tree National Park on our way to Yucca.  There was a quicker route if we headed through Palm Springs, but that would have involved interstate and I'd already had enough of that.  As we entered the park we stopped at the first visitor center but it was closed for the night.
When you're done taking in the awesomeness that is Jacob, I'd like you to look at the sky in this photo.  No wind, clear conditions.  Just a good day all around. 
Would you believe we drove two miles down the road, came over a ridge, and headed straight into a sandstorm.
The wind was manageable, but there was so much dust in the air it made the throat sore.  As the Sun started to set temperatures took a dive.  We pulled over to add layers.  A couple of open top Jeeps drove by, young kids hooting and hollering, giving the thumbs up sign.  Apparently they like motorcycles??
We pulled into the hotel after dark.  After unloading the bikes we walked over to a nearby Mexican restaurant (La Casita Nueva) and enjoyed a great dinner.  I had the fajitas of course!:)
The next morning we started off with a good breakfast at the Ma Rouge Coffee House.
We both had the Quiche Loraine - eggs with bacon and swiss cheese and wheat toast.  We also split a organic wheat waffle.  Life on the road is pretty rough.
After waddling out of the coffee shop we headed northwest to a local landmark just outside of Yucca. If you're a local you'd say it's up on the mesa.  Anyway we visited Pioneertown.  This place started as a live-in Old West motion picture set built in the 1940's.  And yes it was quite chilly that morning so I was rocking the red ski cap:)
We arrived pretty early on a Sunday morning.  So there wasn't much foot traffic to speak of.  I felt like a lone cowboy getting ready for a shoot out in the street.
They even had a working post office.
All this photo needs is the sound of prairie wind and a tumble weed blowing by.
Possible future home, if I can talk the wife into it.  It might be a tough sell.
Hey go sit over there I'll take a photo.
Hey go stand over there I'll take a photo.
We left Pioneer Town how we found it and started making our way back through town.  Jacob showed me his old stomping grounds.  These people never knew what they were releasing out into the wild.
Well it's getting late.  Part II coming soon! Where you'll see us exploring more of Joshua Tree National Park and we'll get to meet Jacob's dad! The cooler, better looking, side of Jacob's DNA tree.


  1. Looks like a great trip so far - minus the sandstorm of course. Glad we don't have those in these parts.

    Awesome pictures. So vivid with the brilliant blue sky but pale sandy ground.

    Looking forward to part two.

  2. Wow, I haven't seen that much blue sky in ages. If it weren't for the bare trees you could have gotten the impression that you have eteran summer down there.

  3. @Trobairitz - Had a great time! Yeah looking back through my photos I'm even surprised on how many don't seem to show any clouds. We just happen to get really lucky and visit between storm fronts.

    @SonjaM - Ha! I don't think I could take an eternal summer down here. I'd have to move to get away from the heat. But you can't beat our winters:) Thanks for the comments!