Day Trip To Californian Wast Land -Los Angeles - Salton Sea. 8 hours. Vstrom. PICS
I work in television. So that means I occasionally get time off when a show "wraps" or ends. In this case Jersey Shore finally finished. (You can thank me for being a part of bringing that wonderful program to the masses later:norton) and I've had the last month off. I head back to work Jan 14th. It occurred to me that I hadn't really 'made a memory' on this hiatus. I'd spent most of my time messing about with the bikes in the garage. Gone on my standard, ridden a hundred times prior, local rides. And caught up on laundry....... I had a lot of laundry....
I told my wife I need to make a riding memory before I go back to work! She said, "Finally go to the Salton Sea you've been talking about it for years."
Weather was iffy with rain so it was 50/50. The next morning she woke me up at 9 and said, it's sunshine, hit the road! So I was up and in the garage starting the bike by 9:30.
I took the 60 to the 10 for a direct route. Looking back I remembered why I hate "direct routes". They're boring. S.S. is 2 1/2 hours from LA. I wandered a bit and made it there in around 3 1/2. Near Palm springs the temp started to drop and the wind got....windier. Pulled over for a second and took some half assed pics because if I let go of the bike it would have been blown over.
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It was around here I realized I'd grossly underdressed for this little adventure. I had my Drayko Kevlar riding jeans down below,
2 thermals and my Akito riding jacket up top.
I might as well have been naked. The jackets great, but I'd lost the liner on a trail ride a year or two ago, so it's basically a well armored wind breaker. Found a wall mart, got a lower set of thermals and a dickies hoodie to add to my top layers. I looked a little like the StayPuft guy at that point, but it deadened the wind and cold a little better.
I've been riding motorcycles since 1995. I'd never ridden in wind like this. I was on my fairly new to me 06 Vstrom. Fantastic motorcycle. Minus ALL THINGS WIND RELATED. I felt like a skinny kid running down a hallway getting pushed and kicked by bigger people on either side. Only at 70 mph. I'd read in other ride reports of people riding in big wind. Some would say to bump it up to 90mph and it stabilizes things. Yeah, gave that a try twice. Almost killed my self. So shot for 50-70, and to keep it in one lane. It never really stopped. I just got a little more used to it. Until I'd get too used to it and trust that little wind shelf I'd be leaning my body into for a moment then it'd vanish and attempt to drop me on my side. Bastard.
Around Coachella there was a large, brown, wall. In the distance. I'd watch semi's enter it and *poof* disappear. Sand storm. In front and behind.
So take the fun new challenges of high wind. And add visibility of up to around 10 yards. Trucks and cars started pulling over. I pulled over at one point with my hazards on. Put the kickstand down, and knelt next to the bike holding on, waiting for it to let up. It seemed to take a breath so I hopped on and took off again. Made it to a gas station and waited it out. Coffee lady says she hadn't seen a dust storm this bad in "a coons age". I'm assuming that's a while.
Finally make it to the first point of seeing the Salton in a residential little neighborhood I guess it was.
Little disappointed at first. I thought, well, it's waaaaaay bigger than I thought, but it looks like a giant lake that smells like shit. Where's the "magic" and "mystery" I'd read about. Just happy to be off the bike for a few not dealing w/ the wind. I poked around, and hopped back on and further south west around the S.S. to see what I could see.
Came upon this. Which looked promising in a Hills Have Eyes type of way.
This is where I drop the ball picture wise. Pulling down this drive you'd think you were entering a quaint little beach community. You couldnt have been more wrong. There's a market. Sort of. Then a few trailers and houses that you can't tell are inhabited or not. There's a few 4 way intersections, with no stop signs. You could tell once upon a time there were signs, but have long been.....gone.
The vibe of this place was incredible. I've always been a post apocalypse science fiction fan. Zombies. Post nuclear. You name it. this place is what a small town would look like post any of it.
I really wish I had taken more photos of the area, and it's utter despair. But got lost in just slowly riding around it all, looking in all spray painted, burnt, re-consumed by the desert "homes". I saw one kid riding around on a mini bike. And 2 old men that seemed to live there. All eyeballing me as if I'd landed via spaceship. Google: Children here get asthma 3 x's more frequently than children in any other part of California do to the chemicals in the air.
I wanted a cool Vstrom victory picture. So I rode out to this cement platform.
Which was surprisingly tricky. The sand was....weird. Odd rocks everywhere. Unlike anything I'd ever ridden on. It wasnt until I got the bike up there and walked away to get a few pics I realized why.
Thousands and thousands of dead fish and bird bones, and an weird salt deposit. The entire rim of the "beach" where the water had evaporated was nothing but bones.
Creepy, cause I just plowed through bones to get them, victory shots.
Explored about some more, this was the view on either side of the "beach community".
Sun was getting low and I had a long ride back so I found the nearest road/trail/dirt thing around and took it up to the main road again. Only getting stuck once!
Hitting the main road again I stopped for a smoke and to reflect on the place. Hard to explain. So I won't try. Some will visit and think "cool" or "what a shit hole" or "depressing". Others will find an odd fascination with the entire area. Im the latter. I could spend a whole lot of time exploring the area. There's still %60 more of the Salton Sea I've yet to visit, I'll need a few over nighters to really dig into her.
The ride home was as cold and windy as any ride I can remember. It wasn't so long ago I was jumping out of helicopters, shooting things, and sleeping in mud holes in the woods for weeks at a time, never missing a beat. This little 3 1/2 hour ride home reminded me of just how soft I've become as a "man". And how easily I take creature comforts for granted. Good lesson learned.
Only pics are of some cool dinosaurs while I was trying to regain feeling in my legs again.
And 2 of my hands when I stopped because I couldn't use my left hand to clutch anymore and my right hand which has screws in it from a prior wreck was simply not responding anymore.
All in, around 8 or 9 hours. Approx. 500 miles. I'll most definetly be returning to the Salton Sea. Suggest if you have the chance, you do the same.
Goooood stuff. You made the SS area look almost desirable. Too bad you didn't go a little more south into the Anza Borrego.
Now, since everyone is gunna chime in with..."What camera?" and all the other editing questions, just spill the beans right now and explain how you got the great shots.
Great lookin' bike!
I'm really excited to go back and check it our more. You're right, by the pics you'd never guess just how Chernobyl the place is.
Camera is 95% my canon eos rebel. There's a couple including the panoramas which are my iPhone 5. The panoramas came out awesome IMO for a standard camera phone option.
Everything was color corrected in Aperture plus or pro or whichever one cost me $200 bucks.
Thanks for Jersey Shore!! :norton
Thanks for the report, those winds looked real nasty. The worst winds I have experience in my short time were out in Mojave..50kts for what seemed like hours and hours. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath, we were getting worked. :eek1
and RR Goodcat. Im real familiar (so I thought) with that area riding there often as I live in Temecula not too far away..but where are the dinosaurs? I've never seen those.
Goodcat8 .... if you liked Salton Sea, you should check out Trona? A side of California we don't see much of.
Nice write-up, great pictures! Thanks for sharing!
Nice shots! Would love to see more from that area. I hear its quite a sight...
Oh - and about this Jersey Shore thing? Lets not do that again.....
Great pictures and report. Especially the iPhone pictures. I've passed by the Salton Sea hundreds of times in a truck and trailer getting to Glamis. Never once thought of exploring it via bike. Sounds like a pretty good adventure. I live off the 60 in Ontario so I'm sure you passed my exit. Wouldn't mind tagging along next time you venture off that way.
Thanks for the post! I am planning ride from Phoenix to San Diego on my KTM 640 Enduro and along the way I want to ride around the Salton Sea. Now I am looking forward to that ride more than ever!
Fun trip and photos of that wacky spot. There's some great riding east of the Salton that heads to AZ and a famous long trail that's on my bucket list.
Here's an interesting ride for you to ponder... from one tv guy to another...
It's close to home and yet wildly unknown.
Awesome bright pictures. And nice looking Strom, nice decals...I bet it sounds great too! :evil
Thanx for posting.
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