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Old 05-09-2013, 02:42 PM   #16
Trl Rdr
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:08 PM   #17
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Day 6: Hemet, California to Wickenburg, Arizona

After two full days in Hemet, I guess I had had enough. It's a little tough to see some of one's old haunts again, since they usually haven't aged very well.

One thing I hadn't expected: the ENJOYMENT I took in seeing some of my old friends from the "class of '65" was surprisingly satisfying to see (and talk) with those old geezers again. I may have to think about going back out there in two years for my 50th High School Reunion...we'll see. I'd arrange to take Mrs. Greg for that occasion.

So anyways, it was time to leave. Had a good breakfast---finally got Virginia to start making smaller portions of food for me---packed up Milledue II, and set sail for Beaumont.

Back Through the California Desert: no 29 Palms This Time!

Since I enjoyed staying with Scott & Patti in Wickenburg, Arizona (and they invited me to stop back on my return trip) I was going to take much the same route this first day, with one notable exception...I was gonna continue on I-10 all the way to Desert Center, and bypass the CA 62 mess of Yucca Valley, 29 Palms, etc.

With roughly 300 miles to travel, I didn't leave till almost 0900. Approaching Lamb Canyon, the hills (I think Mt. Rudolph is the summit) north of San Jacinto looked kinda pretty in the morning light:

Once on I-10, I stopped at the REST AREA near Cabazon (I swear it used to be spelled Cabezon when I worked near there for the CA Div. of Hwys. in the summer of 1965...) This was to be my final view of Mt. San Jacinto for a couple years---gotta keep a good memory:

BTW, thank for not ragging on me for having those big 45L panniers. I like to have plenty of space for stuff. I probably could have been OK with the 38L cases, but I didn't know how they were gonna pack. I used the stock Ducati panniers for a couple years (had the larger "lids" for longer trips), but being all "curvy" they're hard to pack. Also don't seal that great, although I did get the auxiliary latches installed. If/when I sell Milledue I'll keep the Touratech cases for the next bike.

I had refueled when I joined I-10, in Beaumont. Good thing, too, because the service station at Desert Center was kinda short on "service"... did, however, provide some nice shade. It was getting toasty warm, and I was glad I hadn't made this trip in, say, July. Although I've done it.

The desert scenery was "typical"---the pic below is taken on CA 177 between Desert Center and CA hwy 62.

There was NOTHING along that stretch---always makes me wonder about riding a DUCATI out there. But the darn thing has been as reliable as a stone, if a little more complicated...

Y'know, it looks to me like I've got some "bug spots" on my camera lens, I guess it's inevitable from taking photos while riding. I'll clean 'em off before the next trip, I promise.

Very Nice Treatment at the Pizza Hut in Parker, Arizona

I stopped for lunch at Parker, Arizona. Now Virginia (Steve's wife) had packed me a "sack lunch" which I wanted to eat. But it was hot enough I wanted to eat inside. I stopped at the "Pizza Hut" and asked if I bought a drink could I eat inside at a table? The waitress seated me, brought me a big soft drink, then wouldn't charge me for it! Next time thru I'll stop there again and BUY something...

Virginia (naturally) packed too much food: big sandwich, big bag of grapes, a bag of chips, and about a dozen Oreos! Yikes! Didn't finish everything, but I brought it home with me...

Parker seems like most "border" towns: kinda sleazy. No offense, but...

Much more encouraging than Parker was the town of "Hope" at the junction of AZ 72 and US 60:

Didn't Bill Clinton come from Hope, Arkansas? Well, here's "Hope" Arizona. Stopped for a soft drink and chatted for a while. Didn't want to get to Wickenburg (only about 50 miles east) too early. For some reason these three signs together tickled me, dunno why...

There's hope for us all...

Remember "Granite Pass" from a week ago? Well, here it is goin' the other way:

The next little town was "Salome" and there was a historical marker...still not sure I really understand it:

The NIGHTMARE BUG from Hell!

So I was just riding along, mindin' my own business, about 30 miles from Wickenburg, when this ungodly BUG got wedged in between my windscreen and the Laminar Lip:

And it was ALIVE!! It slowly writhed around for about 10 miles, then finally "blew out" suddenly (and fortunately the airflow goes just above my helmet). Whew!! I was afraid I was gonna have nightmares from that thing...but I didn't.

As I neared Wickenburg there was another historical marker:

I asked Scott about the "Wickenburg Massacre" that evening and he said there was some doubt about it, that it might have been the local sheriff impersonating the Indians to drum up resentment. Sigh. Sounds likely...the more you learn about the way the American Indians were treated, the more you understand the problems many of the them have. There's an Indian Reservation (Soboba) a couple miles north of my folks' old "mom-and-pop" store; I grew up with lots of stories to tell. But you'll have to read my memoir to hear 'em...

Finally got to Scott & Patti's place, where they showed me even better hospitality than on the outbound leg---what great folks. Got a better pic of them this time the next morning:

Well, I'm outta California. Feels good in some ways, bad in others...

Scott suggested an alternative route for the next day: around the outskirts of Phoenix (that didn't sound too great, but it was a weekend) then up thru the Salt River Canyon. Hmmm, I think I've heard of the Salt Rive Canyon...I'll give it a go!

So, "BUG" notwithstanding, I slept well. No nightmares. Only two more days to go, and I'll be back in New Mexico with Mrs. Greg. It's only been a week, but I'm ready.

Stay tuned: good ride tomorrow.

Isa. 58:14 (KJV)
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:21 PM   #18
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Dr. Greg

Enjoying the ride report. I'm close to 50 (48) and enjoy the strolls down memory lane more and more. Took a ride to Avenal to see my grandparents old drug store/soda fountain. (now a clothing store....) I have so many good memories there. I believe as I age the old days get better and better. I'm looking forward to more stories and seeing your memoir. Ride safe.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:33 PM   #19
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My family had a couple of houses off Florida across from the old Valle Vista store for years,I need to just cruise through there someday and see if I can even find any thing I recognize,it was a cool safe place to go visit Grandma when I was a kid.My great grandparents were Frank and Addie Huntoon,and my grandmother was Francis Huntoon(Eminger/Sutherland)
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:21 AM   #20
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Thanks for taking us along with you on your trip down memory lane Doc. Always nice to visit old friends and class mates. I hope to roam on a path I use to run from S. Louisiana to San Diego and up to Washington to visit a couple old friends next month. Again, Thanks for the time and work of sharing.
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:55 AM   #21
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Day 7: Wickenburg, Arizona to Show Low, Arizona

Like I said, Scott had counseled me to take AZ 74 over to I-17, then down "around" the east side of Phoenix, then pick up US 60 thru Superior, Globe, the Salt River Canyon and eventually my State Park campground near Show Low, Arizona. Even though my outbound route thru Jerome and Prescott had been excellent, I had vague memories of the "Salt River Canyon" so I was looking forward to the day's ride.

Stopped at a gas station in "east" Phoenix; for some reason I thought it was worthy of a pic. Shortly after this I started to leave the metroplex (or whatever they call it). Kinda glad that New Mexico doesn't have anything like "Phoenix..."

Eastward from Phoenix thru the Salt River Canyon---Mighty Tasty!

US 60 is 4-lanes for a while leaving Phoenix; these are the mountains to the north:

US 60 headed ENE through Superior and Globe; stopped in Globe for lunch (I had not gotten the earliest start; Scott and I talked for a while over a cuppa at Starbucks).

Somewhere along this stretch there was a TUNNEL...don't see these much, so here's the classic "LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL"...

Nearing the Salt River Canyon the road developed a curve now and then...

While dropping into---and climbing out of---the Salt River Canyon, I was fortunate to have mostly clear road, so Milledue and I had an exciting time (which means no pics while riding). Lotsa packs of Harleys on the road; I take a dim view of these "rolling roadblocks" and felt lucky to be riding alone on a functional bike (no offense intended). And a QUIET bike...

Climbing out of the Salt River Canyon I snapped this pic...see the road I came down? Cool!

Just after I snapped that pic there was a "scenic view" pullout...I have no idea who the girl was...

Seemed like ol' Gustav Becker had a pretty full life---what more can one ask for?

BTW, I assume the "Golden Rule" cited on Gustav's plaque was "Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You," not "He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules." Sorry...saw the second version on a sign on the wall of one of my bosses' offices many years ago, and never got it out of my head.

Another view of the Salt River Canyon,

And another feeble attempt at a self-portrait whilst at the Salt River Canyon...

Zoomed in for a closeup...yes, there IS water at the bottom!

Fool Hollow Lake State Recreation Area---I Know this Place!

The ride on NE to the Show Low area was very pleasant; Sunday afternoon traffic was minimal and it was a beautiful day. Pulled up to the "guard shack" at the State Recreation Area and they remembered me from a week before...very nice! But they still charged me $17 for camping one night...seems kinda steep to me, but it IS a pretty nice campground. Even has showers (which I didn't know earlier), but since Mrs. Greg isn't with me...who cares?!

I selected exactly the same campsite I had before, and rode out there. This time I had neighbors I walked over to say "howdy!" I always do that. Turns out they were Jack and Susan from the Tucson area...very nice folks!

They invited me over for a beer after I got ensconced...see, there's a good reason to introduce oneself! BTW, you'll never guess Jack's occupation; he owns a bookstore!

Here's a pic of my camp all set up; no rain fly, everything in its place (BTW, no apostrophe in "its" unless you mean "it is"). Grammar lesson for free.

No, I wasn't planning on a campfire, so I wasn't gonna burn down my tent. I almost never have a campfire. Lotta people love 'em. Different strokes...

Tried one last time to get a "sunset" all fairness there were no clouds, which makes it more difficult to get a "dramatic" sunset...

Another beautiful night for stars---the dry air at 6,300 feet really makes 'em pop out. In the "old days" I used to camp w/o a tent; just sleep in the open (weather permitting). You do see more stars that way, but the next morning it felt a little chilly even in the tent. Rolled over and checked my thermometer: 36 deg F! A full TEN DEGREES colder than a week earlier. Brrr! Glad I was in a tent.

So one more day to go. Thanks for reading.

Isa. 58:14 (KJV)
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1992 Ducati 900SS (looker)
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:34 AM   #22
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EXCELLENT , me thinks your RR are getting better!! Thanks for the ride and meeting all your ole friends.

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Old 05-11-2013, 01:24 PM   #23
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Day 8: Show Low, Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico (HOME!)

And on to the 8th day of this little trip: the day that pushed this mundane report into the "TRIP REPORTS" forum. I still feel it shoulda gone into "Day Trippin'" but---like I said---I'm just following the rules...

Since it was a chilly 36 degrees, and I had all day to go 250 miles, I stayed in the sleeping bag until EVEN I had to get up. Took my time breaking camp; even longer than my normal two hours. Some guys can get on the road in a heartbeat...not me. Takes me two hours. At home, too.

Oversize Load Ahead!

About 20 miles east of Show Low on AZ 61, I saw a couple AZ State Police cars approaching, lights flashing like crazy. OK, I know the drill, pull to the right and stop. I had just about come to a stop when THIS BIG MOTHER came about a wide load:

As is usually the case, the photo doesn't do it justice. This was the WIDEST thing I have ever met on a 2-lane (or for that matter, any) road. Still don't know what the heck it was...probably our tax dollars at work.

Between St. John's and the Zuni cutoff on AZ 191 these "humps" reminded me of similar formations I'd seen elsewhere in northern Arizona:

Ah, the wide-open American Southwest. This is looking out over the valley of Zuni Wash in eastern Arizona...

Back in New Mexico

A few miles after turning off AZ 191 onto 61, this bullet-riddled sign announced that I was back in my (adopted) home state:

BTW, the "green & red" things on the sign are chiles (spelled with an "e" to distinguish them from the quite different "chili"...) Supposedly the New Mexico "state question" is "red or green?" As in which chile do you want with your (name your food). And the bullet holes, well, New Mexico is a pretty "good" state to live in if you're a gun enthusiast. As I am. In fact, if I'd a been packin' my ol' .357, I'd a stopped and blasted another hole in that sign. Ha ha, just kidding! Really.

As we in New Mexico say: "thank Heaven for Mississippi"...saves us from being #1 (or #50) on a lotta lists. Now I personally have had a WONDERFUL time on every trip through Mississippi, but I'm just sayin'...

Still, it's good to be back in New Mexico. In addition, I'm on tribal land:

Don't know much about the Zuni Indians, and---like someone in a hurry---I rode right past a "historical marker" talking about the Zuni tribe. Maybe I'll do some research of my own.

Just look at those "mesas" in the last two pics...that just says "New Mexico" to me. Pretty country.

Took a few more photos while riding thru west-central New Mexico...I'll just shut up and let you see the pics. Looks like a Western movie...

Remember "El Morro" National Monument? When I passed thru there on the way west, I declined taking any of the "scenic hikes," but I thought that today I might stop and do a little walking. Then I looked at the time on my GPS: Holy Cow I lost an hour! I had forgotten about the time change from Pacific to Mountain time at the AZ/NM border! I figured Mrs. Greg would be worrying about me if I stopped, so I contented myself with just another couple photos from the bike:

Not long after El Morro, one crosses the Continental Divide on NM 53. No, it's not as impressive as, say, Colorado, but it's still cool (I mean literally, at least this time of year)...

I had my heated jacket liner on "LO" and it felt about right...the rest of the run up to I-40, and 70 miles of slab, was uneventful (and that's good).

Home Again...

So it had been a good trip: no tickets & no crashes. I ended up getting home a little before 6:00 (hadn't changed clock on bike yet; it's a pain). I had ridden 206.0 miles on that tank, and had consumed 4.156 gallons of fuel.

Let's see, that works out to 49.5669 MPG...let's just call it 50 MPG. Not bad (of course I had a tailwind).

The 1198 Testastretta 11-deg mill hadn't missed a beat. After 36,000 miles it still doesn't use any oil between changes (7,500 miles). Like a good watch, it just keep tickin'...

I've dropped it on the left side a couple times; haven't busted the water pump yet! In fact, I haven't put any "guards" at all on the bike (except the Touratech handguards to replace the ridiculous stockers which I broke off immediately).

If I ever sell this bike, somebody will be getting a WELL USED Ducati Multistrada 1200S. But, I mean, aren't we supposed to RIDE the darned things?!?

After getting home, I even cleaned the chain! Man, it hasn't been THAT clean in a long time.


So I visited my old stomping grounds in Hemet, California. Boy, it had changed, and mostly not for the better. But what had I expected?

Y'know, what I had NOT expected was to enjoy seeing the PEOPLE quite so much. And even though I claim NOT to be much of a "people person" (typical engineer) I guess maybe that's not as true as I had believed. That itself was worth finding out. So the trip was a success.

And I had kinda come back to liking the Multistrada 1200S again. Counting its predecessor (remember, no apostrophe), I've ridden close to 50,000 miles on the 2010 Multistrada 1200S. And in all that time I had NOT ONE major problem. Minor glitches, like rain affecting the starter switch, and the lack of a functioning rear brake (really not minor, but mine seems unfixable), but no showstoppers.

Regardless, I had become a little less enthusiastic in my feeling for the big twin. I was more of a fan of my old '06 Uly, which had caused me much more trouble.

But the MTS1200S's performance on this trip was just wonderful. It did everything a bike could do, and did it well. I'll admit to be a little interested in the new LC BMW GS, and I'll test-ride one sometime soon, but as things stand now I can't imagine parting with the Ducati. It is smooth (just enough vibration so you know it's an engine), and SO DARNED POWERFUL...and the Tuneboy electronic cruise control makes it SO COMFORTABLE on long would be hard to go to anything else. And I really like those Zega Pro cases; Touratech did a nice job making a "narrow" rack for the Multi (unlike the new GS).

Mrs. Greg & I are leaving tomorrow for Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a week of R&R; I'll ride the Duc and she'll drive the VW Golf TDI up there. I'll do some riding in southern Colorado next week; undoubtedly including the north side of La Manga Pass, where Milledue #1 bit the dust. But there can't be hoarfrost on that road THIS time of year, can there?

Famous last words. Thanks for reading, and let's all have a summer with no crashes. For me, eleven major fractures is enough...

Isa. 58:14 (KJV)
2013 BMW GSW (traveler)
1992 Ducati 900SS (looker)
1991 Honda Hawk NT650 (commuter)
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:49 PM   #24
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Enjoyed your ride, report and pics!! thanks for taking us along
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:03 AM   #25
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Enjoyed your ride report. been through some of those towns when I thought me and the Misses would retire in Phoenix. Son lives in Tempe.

Desert not for me though.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:45 AM   #26
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Always liked your trip reports Dr. Greg! Thanks for putting it together.
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:40 PM   #27
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Great RR! But why do you have your name on the panniers? Scared you are gonna loose 'em?
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:39 PM   #28
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enjoyed your trip report

and not at all surprised you enjoyed visiting with childhood friends -- they're the best of all ... for so many reasons.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:09 PM   #29
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Ride report

Always enjoy your ride reports. Thanks for taking the time to post.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:38 PM   #30
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I grew up in Hemet and now live in Flagstaff, good to read a ride report that includes roads I've been on. Thanks for the report.
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