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Old 06-29-2012, 12:34 PM   #61
adventurebound9517
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This has been an unbeliveable ride and life you are on. If you ask me this is publication quality material and you should persue this to help fund your lifestyle. I sit here reading with great interest of your journey and wishing I had the ability to put your lifestyle in motion. Good for you and thanks for keeping the rest of us who would love to be doing what you do but can't or won't leave our own comfort zone.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:52 PM   #62
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Going cross country on a Greyhound bus qualifies for an RR without mentioning the bike ride.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:39 PM   #63
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:38 PM   #64
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Bus and Ride – Exploring East Jesus (April 22nd)

(This entry was HUUUUGE so I had to split it into two posts... hope you all don't mind the massive amount of pictures! )

Even with going to sleep at 2 am and waking up at 8, I awoke to the day having already gotten ahead of me – it was already 80 and the sun had barely come up! Yikes!

I wandered over to the kitchen/lounging area and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but… FRESH, HOT PANCAKES! Complete with butter and syrup! In the middle of nowhere! Thanks, Frank!


There were some interesting conversations over breakfast. A couple of women, both from LA, discovered that they were essentially neighbors – one was opening up a coffee shop literally down the street from where the other lived. Strange coincidence, going to the middle of nowhere to meet your neighbors! Frank was nonplussed. He explained that this kind of serendipity happens constantly at East Jesus, that he’d seen it so many times he’s come to expect it as a matter of course. He relayed a recent experience, where a small independent film crew showed up, but had no special effects person, and a special effects person just happened to be staying there at the time.

I’ve found in my journeys that strange places like this do seem to attract more serendipity than normal, perhaps the people are more open to it, with no set schedule or assumptions about how things will progress...

I wandered around East Jesus for a while, before it got too hot, taking photos of everything I could. And there was a LOT to take photos of!


Most of the sculpture was made out of repurposed materials. During the tour, Frank mentioned that it was a driving ideal behind most of the art – mattress springs become fencing, bottles become a wall, shell casings become art.



Charlie, the creator of East Jesus, used to take this van to Burning Man and pick up chicks by offering them chocolate martinis. Thus the First Church of the Chocolate Martini was born.


The Tower of Barbarella was pretty awesome.




I believe this mammoth made out of tire scraps was a refugee from another art gallery.


I could stare at this place for hours and never see every detail. Frank agreed – even living here for months, you will stumble across small bits and pieces you never noticed before.






Even the composting toilets were covered in art...






DANGER! Armed and bitter libertarian drunkards live here.



The desert was vast, with the Chocolate Mountains in the distance.




RIP Charlie.




Down the rabbit hole we must go...

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:44 PM   #65
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Great report !!! I'm ready for an update .....
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:07 PM   #66
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Bus and Ride – Exploring Salvation Mountain and Slab City (April 22nd)

After an hour or two, Chris and Beth were on their way out of Slab City, so I asked if I could hitch a ride to Salvation Mountain, with the intention of walking back through the slabs and seeing the sights. I filled my gatorade bottle with as much ice water as it would hold, and set out on my quest.

Water Cistern

Water cistern. Precious resource in the desert...



Salvation Mountain Welcome

Salvation Mountain looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. The bright candy colors were a sharp contrast to the drab, desaturated hues of the desert. The creator, Leonard Knight, was in the hospital, so I didn’t get the guided tour and instead randomly wandered around the huge structure.

Salvation Mountain

God MailboxGod is Love

Much of the mountain was created out of hay bales, adobe, tires, sticks, and thousands of gallons of paint. I had seen photos of the mountain before, but somehow I wasn’t aware that you could actually walk inside part of it, the area called the “museum”.

Built Mountain

Beth and Chris Explore the MountainWindow

Stick-built

The sticks did not inspire confidence for the structural integrity, especially after I read the part about how the previous version collapsed.


You could also walk on top of it:

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Follow the yellow brick road...


Salvation Mountain View

It was more than a little bit creepy.

Jesus Cave

I never did figure out what the trophies were for.


From a placard inside:

“As a boy growing up in Vermont, Leonard Knight dreamed of visiting the California he knew from watching movies. After serving the army in Korea, he spent a number of years criscrossing the country, eventually stopping in Nebraska for five years. During this period Knight developed a fascination with hot air balloons and began constructing one from colorful remnant material discarded by a balloon manufacturer. Although the balloon never flew, it now has a permanent home in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Leonard Knight visited his sister in San Diego a number of times. During a visit in 1967 he discovered God in a life-altering experience. Years later, in 1984, he settled permanently near Niland California, 190 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and began creating Salvation Mountain. The Mountain is about as tall as a three-story building and as wide as a football field. Colorful decorations and religious texts cover Salvation Mountain. Most prominent is the statement, “God is Love.”

Salvation Mountain is molded with adobe clay. Most of the clay and paint Knight uses are donated to him. When he first started working on the Mountain, Knight used concrete and stretched it with sand, but the entire artwork collapsed, so he set to remaking it with solid clay. Knight uses window putty to shape decorative elements such as flowers. The mountain is constantly changing, due both to Knight’s ongoing work, and to the elements, including the desert sun. Knight has decorated numerous other objects surrounding Salvation Mountain, including the truck in which he lives. Next to the Mountain, Knight is currently building a museum out of hay bales, used utility poles, and found objects such as tires.

Leonard Knight describes his work as a love story: “I painted the mountain because I love God and I love people.”


Trailer

This is Leonard's trailer.


This experience felt a bit like wandering around inside somebody else’s head. It was such an amazing expression of his faith, fanatical and obsessive. Every available surface was covered with Jesus, and he even had a few art cars (and an art scooter).

Salvation Mountain Art CarsJesus Scooter

After wandering over, around and through Salvation Mountain, I started my hike back to East Jesus, which was a couple of miles away. Or felt like a couple of miles away. I am not sure which.

Slab City Welcome

Slab City Overview

Slab City viewed from the top of Salvation Mountain.


The sun was burning hot as I walked across Slab City. I repeatedly dumped some water over my head in an attempt to cool myself, and it dried into a sticky film on my skin less than 5 minutes later. I’d dealt with this kind of heat before – my parents live in Phoenix – but having lived in cooler climes for quite some time, it was pretty harsh. It would reach a high of 110F this day.

ThermometerRoadkill Lizard

I felt a lot like this guy. By the time I thought to take a photo of the temperature, it'd cooled down a few degrees.


There were lots of other things to see and do at Slab City, but it was too hot for me to feel much like exploring, and many things were closed as it was Sunday. I didn’t get to see the library, the hot springs (I love hot springs, but I was hot enough…), the art on the water towers near Salvation Mountain, and some of the small businesses which have sprung up.

Slab City Signs


I did enjoy the Shoe Tree:

Shoe Tree

Seeing The Range by the light of day:

Range Sign

Range in Daylight

Range Seating

Somehow the seating looks even less comfortable during the day...


Memorial near The Range:

Chrome Cow Skull

RIP Insane Wayne Smith

RIP Insane Wayne, whoever you are.



The slab city sign, rules, and calendar:

Slab City Bicycle Sign


Slab City Rules

Slab City Calendar

Church, church, church... I wonder if the schedule changes when hundreds of traveler kids descend on this place to party all winter?


I also enjoyed seeing some of the other inhabitants of the Slabs:

Slab City Inhabitants

East Jesus Neighbor

The guy in the second trailer was a neighbor of East Jesus, he hung out a bit and was pretty awesome. Hopefully he survives the summer!


I returned to East Jesus, rehydrated myself, and attempted to take a nap, which provided fitful, sweaty sleep. Most of the “tourists” who were visiting East Jesus left, as they had jobs and other activities to return to on Monday, leaving Frank, Phil and myself a quiet evening. Frank made some pasta with salmon and a cream sauce for dinner (I picked around the fish), and I had a nice cool shower before settling down to another night’s sleep.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:30 PM   #67
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Yep...I'm in...
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:48 PM   #68
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This is Awesome. It was nice meeting you in HC. I'm in...
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:12 PM   #69
Feyala OP
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Holy crap guys, I leave for a few days and I come back to dozens of replies! I'm flabbergasted! If this keeps up it'll be hard to reply to all of you... Suffice it to say that for everybody who's subscribed, I'm glad to have you along! I'll try to keep up on replies, but this'll get exponentially harder when I don't have access to a PC anymore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCates View Post
Thanks for writing this down. I'll try to keep up!
It'll get easier once I'm up to date! The only reason this is going so quickly is I already have notes and pictures, I just have to process and assemble them (which takes a surprising amount of time!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by achesley View Post
An intertaining young gal on a DR650 roaming about the country is great. Plus a unique style about telling her story. Keep it coming, Love it! Your bus ride had me pondering on my bus rides from home to San Diego and Carlsbad , California in the early 60's. Really put a smile on my face. Safe Journies.
I'm glad you like it! Somehow I think Greyhound had to be better back in the 60s... less fascist security theater for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kitesurfer View Post
so far, you are one of the better story tellers. .. right up there with radioman, idave, crashmaster and the couple that rode the 250 ninjja all over mex and central america...can't remember their names.
Really? I haven't really gone to that many exciting locations yet...

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Originally Posted by papaduc View Post
PPFFFHHHHHTTT!!!!
You sound like one of them "Miscreants" to me.
But since I got nothing better to do I guess I could tag along

Don't let the innocent smile fool you, I'm definitely up to no good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadride View Post
The whole Jesustown thing was great! Hoping you come across more such bizzarosity. I am in.
I specifically seek out weird shit whenever I can. Spice of life and all that!

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Originally Posted by wachs View Post
Larryboy sent a pm that I should see your thread - he was right, you're cool

If you get up into the Bend area for crap's sake, stop by and let us get you some proper luggage before something gets tangled up in the wheel or chain!
I appreciate the offer! I'm currently in the process of putting together a set of mermite cans which should solve most of my problems, but it's definitely taking some time to get done. Luckily nothing's gotten tangled up yet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Bike View Post
I've fantasized about what you're doing, but I was raised to be "practical", f that sometimes! It was cool to hear that you started out on a Rebel - I've had mine since January and have been on one 800 mile trip and am setting off on a destinations unknown trip early July (with about 4 weeks to play). I teach and I don't think they would give me a leave of absence to experience what you're doing for a year and if I quit there is no way I would get another position any time soon given the California economy. Have to be an after retirement plan.

I'm glad you had a good experience at Slab City - they get a bad rap too often. I haven't seen Salvation Mountain yet, its on my list of rides for fall, I'm one of the weird people who like the Salton Sea area - I think its fascinating.

Kudos to you and stay safe!
Thanks! I was raised to be practical too, but I tend to be on the rebellious side, and thankfully the dice have mostly landed in my favor. There's been a lot of times where if shit had hit the fan in a slightly different way, I would have ended up in some pretty dire straits. Definitely not risks I could take if I had people depending on me.

Rebels are great little bikes. I'm very happy I started on one. Good luck with your trip in July! Seek out the unexpected and roll with whatever comes by! Oh, and don't forget to write yourself notes every day, or you'll lose details to enjoying the moment, haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixels View Post
Hmmm, she rides...

And writes!

Just like Gadget Boi

Great to have you along, Nicky! I'm aaaaalmost to the bay area part of the story... hahaha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladybug0048 View Post
Hey Fey, I'm here too.

Can't let a good ride report get by without subscribing to it. Beside if you're hanging out with LarryBoy and Nixels I need to be around to keep an eye on the entire bunch of you. You sure do pick up some strange friends .....Hi Rob and Nicky Did anyone invite Little Wan to this party?

This report is going to be one of the greats and I plan to be along for the ride.
Hey Sherry! Glad to have you! I hope I can get to the Hells Canyon part of the RR before the next ice age...

Quote:
Originally Posted by limeymike View Post
Poor Johnny Cash, he must be dizzy from rolling over in his grave so much, thanks for sharing the video, I think . .

Loving the report, keep it comin'
My thoughts exactly!! That's why you only see the second half of the song, I was too busy laughing to film...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott_PDX View Post
Feyala, nice meeting you at Hells Canyon. Looks like you had some grand adventures before even getting there. Looking forward to the continuing adventure.
Hey thanks! Was good meeting you too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyWriter View Post
Lol, I subscribed earlier so I wouldn't lose the thread and just now read it. Can I just say I WANNA BE YOU WHEN I GROW UP!??!? I did a bunch of travelling when I was younger and you're RR is reminding me why.

East Jesus is on my list of must-visits now. That place looks in-freaking-CREDIBLE. The "Bible" band amused me, the other video was horrifying. I read the EJ website, and although the Dude doesn't approve of the toilets I think they're pretty ingenius. Really am looking forward to visiting there, never got to Slab City on my 2009 roadtrip through there!!

I'm so IN!!!!
Man, you just don't appreciate toilets until you find yourself in a location without so much as a porta potty... the composting toilets were pretty amazing! There was almost no smell, not even in that heat. You should definitely check out the Slabs if you get a chance, though do try to aim for fall/winter/spring, as I wouldn't wish 110F on my worst enemy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivyleague View Post
except for age, sex, and experience. I respect anybody under 5'5" who can ride an unmodified DR. Like your style...
Awww, thanks! Now if only I can get better at riding it off road...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mistress of the dual View Post
Hey Feyala, look how many people are already subscribed. I think there are a lot of people living vicariously through you. Since you are living a vagabond nomadic lifestyle you should check out the Tent Space Map found here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=776925
Yeah, I'm amazed at how many people are digging this report! And the Tent Space Map has been an invaluable resource so far... but I don't want to spoil the story!

Quote:
Originally Posted by muddyrabbit View Post
Feyala, we have a couch reserved for you if you ever pass through Ohio! Just awesome how you are experiencing life and the world!
Thanks! I might take you up on that sometime!

Quote:
Originally Posted by adventurebound9517 View Post
This has been an unbeliveable ride and life you are on. If you ask me this is publication quality material and you should persue this to help fund your lifestyle. I sit here reading with great interest of your journey and wishing I had the ability to put your lifestyle in motion. Good for you and thanks for keeping the rest of us who would love to be doing what you do but can't or won't leave our own comfort zone.
Wow, thanks for the compliment!!

I'd love to make this trip self-funding... going back to work is always a bit of a drag, and I think corporate sponsorship would make me feel like a bit of a sell-out. Not really sure where to take this... I'll figure it out eventually!

Quote:
Originally Posted by limeymike View Post
Going cross country on a Greyhound bus qualifies for an RR without mentioning the bike ride.
Adventure Greyhounders? Hmmmmm. NEVER AGAIN!
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:14 PM   #70
Feyala OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear69 View Post
This is Awesome. It was nice meeting you in HC. I'm in...
Was good meeting you too! HC was a fantastic time, I'm really glad I went!
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:29 PM   #71
Feyala OP
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Questions...

For those of you following my story, I have some questions...

Would you prefer me to use a different color for my text so they are easy to pick out from the replies?

Are there any things you think I could do better?

Any burning questions you have, things you'd like to see in the future, suggestions or whatever? I'm happy to take photo requests, I've got nothing but time!

I did evolve a bit over the course of documenting this, and I definitely started taking photos "for the ride report". I know there are not many pictures of the road yet - there will be! It's been a challenge to learn that it's okay to stop on the shoulder to whip out the camera. Most of the roadways I like the best have almost no shoulder though, and I am not comfortable riding while taking a photo with the other hand. Maybe eventually I will invest in a helmet cam, but I'm not sure if single frames from those make passable still shots... hmm...

As I said, this is my first RR and I am still learning.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:03 PM   #72
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You just keep riding, writing and taking pictures.
We'll be fine.

It's your ride, we are just lurking along.
Be safe, and if you're coming thru WV give me a shout.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:36 PM   #73
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Feyala..........I'm really enjoying your RR. Love your spirit of adventure & you have a very engaging style. Continue as long as you can...life, things & stuff will become impediments to adventure soon enough.

And yes, a different color font does help to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In till the end.......and thanks for taking the time to bring us along.

Look me up if you are ever in my neck of the woods.........Best...........John
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:20 AM   #74
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Bus and Ride – Slab City to Angeles (April 23rd)

(I didn’t take too many pictures this day, due to bad weather and being in a hurry. Sorry!)

I woke early after sleeping fairly well; the cold shower the evening before definitely helped in that regard. After packing everything up on the bike, I had a bowl of cereal and a bit of banter with Frank. I tucked some donation money into their can as a thank-you for the fantastic hospitality, watched the water truck refill the cisterns, and left early in an attempt to escape a repeat of the blinding heat death of Sunday’s adventures.

I’d had a chat with a good friend of mine who had been staying in Oakland, while taking advantage of East Jesus’ free wireless internet. She was getting a bit antsy to head back east, so I was on a definite schedule if I wanted to see her before she left. It’d been a bit over half a year since the last time we hung out, so I figured I’d better boogie. I scrapped my plans to check out some nearby mud pots, an abandoned building, the Salton Sea, and Joshua Tree for the time being. Without a specific path in mind, I aimed myself North.

Salton Sea


My path took me near the Salton Sea, which is a curious bit of history, but not one which I had the time to investigate much this time around. From a distance, it looked like any normal lake. I snapped a few quick pics and was off.

Salton Sea Coast


Most of the camping within a wide radius of LA has steep fees, due to heavy use. Thinking back to the terrible hotel situation earlier in the trip, I would not be denied in my quest for free camping! I resolved to find a solution, and decided to choose a campground which was free with an Interagency Pass. I’d been planning on getting one anyways, because I’d like to visit Yellowstone and Yosemite again, and the fees really add up. The Pass is $80, but if you visit more than 4 parks, it’s totally worth it. Also, one pass is good for two motorcycles, so my boyfriend can sneak in too once he joins me on my adventures.

I headed toward what Google promised me was the ranger station, and which a PDF from the federal government assured me issued the passes… but instead, I found myself riding through drizzly, grey weather to a probationary work camp… not what I was looking for at all! Curse you, Google! After being directed to another location which also didn’t issue passes, I called the office, and they informed me that they were closed to the public and that I’d need to visit an office in San Fernando, almost an hour away. In LA-ish traffic. During rush hour. Oh boy.

I somehow managed to avoid becoming somebody’s hood ornament and finally found my way to the San Fernando office, just before they closed. I inconvenienced the poor rangers and felt really bad – it took another 20 minutes for them to restart the computer to process my transaction, but I was eventually successful.

Interagency Pass

Success!


I explained my financial situation and the woman recommended that I stay in a camp called Millard. It was only a quarter-mile walk to the site from the parking area, fairly nearby, and my best bet for a free night’s stay. It was already late by this point, so I hurried through the unending drizzle through the city toward the site.

The road up the canyon and down into the parking lot was a bit hairy – it was poorly maintained road, full of ruts, with many blind corners. Especially in the rain, with poor visibility, I went ridiculously slow. I made it there safely, and as the promised, the only thing I needed was my shiny new decal to park in the lot, and the campground itself was free. Score!

Millard Sign

I hiked the quarter-mile or so to the campground in the dark, through thick fog and light misty rain. I didn’t want to leave any luggage on the bike – I don’t have much faith in humanity as far as theft is concerned, and even on my optimistic days I prefer to avoid presenting the temptation. I managed to hook much of my luggage to itself and waddled there in one very awkward, lumpy trip.

I set up the free tent and had a humid night’s rest as the rain continued into the night and the tent was anything but waterproof. This was the first time I’d used it in years, and the first night in the rain, but it beat hotel fees or sleeping with no tent! I made a nest out of my motorcycle gear to act as a ground pad, and made a pillow out of my spare clothes.

Millard Campsite

Derpiest tent ever.


The campground was very quiet, there was only one other tent that I could see. Not bad at all for just outside of LA!

Millard Campsite
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:45 AM   #75
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Recommended by Nicky, Larryboy and the Hells Canyon gang....it's gotta be good!
It is...it is.
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