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Old 03-16-2010, 11:35 AM   #1
frenchy750 OP
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The Road to Wrestlemania XXVI

Is it just me, or are the days, months and years flying by quicker than ever? I can remember being seven years old, and it seeming like the summer would never end, each and every day a perfect eternity of youthful, blissful ignorance. Though less blissful these days, I'm still pretty much as ignorant as I was back then, but now it seems the days, weeks and years are blurring past at a frightening pace.

Case in point, it seems like it was just yesterday Dark Meat Snack and I were gearing up for our semi-epic Road to Wrestlemania XXV ride. Now, here it is, one entire year later, and on Wednesday, I'll be setting out on the Road to Wrestlemania XXVI edition.

Unfortunately, Dark Meat Snack won't be joining me on the RTW XXVI this year. Why? Well, seems he lost what little remained of his mind and went ahead and got married over our Christmas break. Since I've already been down that dead-end road before (and yes, just in case my girlfriend Sleeping Beauty happens to read this, I may yet go down that road again... someday....) I already know what that means - he's pretty much done as a riding buddy.

Life goes on, as they say, and so does the show. Wrestlemaina XXVI is being held at the University of Phoenix on Sunday, March 28th. If you're not planning on attending, make sure and buy the Pay Per View, a T-shirt, and souvenir Championship Title Belt - such generous contributions keep yours truly employed, and yours truly has his little heart set on buying a nice Dual Sport this season and getting duuurty in Baja. Sleeping Beauty will be joining me on the second half of the trip - the Road Home From Wrestlemania on March 31st.

Yesterday, freed at last from the garage for a four hundred mile pre-trip test ride, Rain Cloud Follows proved more than ready to go. During our solo jaunt, I promised my faithful Yamaha that on the Road to Wrestlemania XXVI we will go as fast and far as we can.


Rain Cloud Follows - Cue the Chorus of Angels

I further promised Rain Cloud that since this leg of the Road to Wrestlemaina XXVI will include just the two of us, we'll seek out as much strangeness as possible. Strangeness like this grammatically challenged yet inviting place:


Don't Be Politically Correct!


In last night's lonely, Macallan enhanced stupor, trying to stay true to a promise that I made to an inanimate, beat up hunk of metal, worn out rubber and scratched plastic, I came up with the lamest Map-kin yet:


The Road to Wrestlemania XXVI Map-kin

Yes, all the money I spent on art class would have been better spent on a Dual Sport bike. Here is my proposed ride explanation, subject to change based on whim, whimsy, weather or hangover:



This Wednesday, I'm aiming Rain Cloud Follows north, with Death Valley squarely in my sights, stop off in Vegas to win several million dollars at a penny slot machine, drop down into the forbidden city of Bisbee, AZ, visit a real, live nuclear missile silo, stare at some real, live cacti, bust a few real, dead ghosts in their towns, look for the end of the universe at the Kitt Observatory, go peek inside a gigantic hole in the ground left by a chunk of rock that fell from space, repeatedly toast the Best Day Ever, and then finally amble over to Phoenix to do a little show called Wrestlemania for 75,000 of my dearest friends.

Once it's all said and done; once another Wrestlemania is safely in the history books, I'll brain-vomit up a poorly written, yawn-inspiring ride report to kick off the rapidly approaching, and, if time speeds up any more, almost already complete 2010 ride season.
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frenchy750 screwed with this post 03-16-2010 at 02:28 PM
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchy750
Once it's all said and done; once another Wrestlemania is safely in the history books, I'll brain-vomit up a poorly written, yawn-inspiring ride report...
I'll look forward to it.
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:27 PM   #3
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Any excuse for a great ride like this is a good one

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Old 03-16-2010, 02:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by frenchy750
Better than a GPS. Looking fwd to the RR!
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:05 PM   #5
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Hot Damm, I am soooo in.
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:28 PM   #6
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:44 PM   #7
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And... I'm OUTTA HERE!!

The waiting is over. The countdown has reached zero. I am officially starting to ride the Road to Wrestlemania today.

If you are having trouble sleeping, feel free to follow my ride at this link.


Updates to follow on the off chance that anything interesting happens between now and Sunday.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:32 AM   #8
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I'm in for another Frenchy750 ride report!

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:30 PM   #9
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Sounds like a blast mate! You'll probably have even more fun by yourself anyway what with the strangeness factor increased by a magnitude of at least 5 when traveling alone. Good luck with those penny slots!
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:01 PM   #10
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Cool! I just read your RR from last year a couple weeks ago. I'm looking forward to this. Great Map-kin!
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:48 AM   #11
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Gee I thought this was going to be a report about the latest fight with the old or sorry young woman.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:53 PM   #12
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Day One

The silence is thrilling, the emptiness all-encompassing, the involuntary smile on my face is so wide it hurts. All of this can only mean one thing: A scant three hundred fifty days from the last time we set out - Rain Cloud Follows and I are once again doing it, we're on the Road to Wrestlemania.



Last year's Road took me, my riding buddy Dark Meat Snack (and occasionally my girlfriend Fiona) on a long and winding commute to work from California to Houston, the site of Wrestlemania XXV. This year's version of Wrestlemania - the XXVIth - is being held at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, AZ. In a straight line, the UoP stadium is around three hundred fifty miles from my adopted home in California. I figured with a little creative planning and Map-kining, I could make this year's commute to work last a few days and at least fifteen hundred miles.


The 2010 Road to Wrestlemania Map-kin

For various reasons (a marriage in Abi's case and a new addition to her sister's family in Fiona's) this year I am riding the first half solo - not such a bad way to go if you ask me. My route the first day takes me up 395 in California, a pleasant backroad-ish route, until I'm involuntarily tagged into a spirited but annoying game of Pass the Ass.

A white pickup truck races past me, pulls in directly front of me and sloooooows down. I then turn up the wick and pass him. This driving exhibition, more boredom induced that road rage, continues for about eighty miles until I'm finally tired of it. At the Trona cut off, I fake Mr. 'I-Love-My-White-Truck' out, turn off 395 onto Trona Wildrose road, and am once again peacefully on my way to Death Valley.



I stop at a breathtaking scenic vista high above an incredible valley for a few photos, and am amazed at what happens next. As I set up my shot, a fighter jet comes screaming out of the sun, wags his wings back a forth a few times at me then races away over the mountains.



I smile as the jet disappears in the distance, then notice another flier watching in mutual appreciation, or possibly jealousy.



Not ten feet from me, a Chukar partridge sticks his head out of the scrub, intently watching the activity. He coos and honks away, saying, "Hey Dude, take my picture!" I oblige, then he whoops it up, flaps himself into a frenzy and also disappears into the distance. As I start putting my camera away for a second time, I notice something out of the corner of my eye in the direction my feathered friend flapped off to. Brown, vaguely car shaped and way, way down in the valley, I wonder what it could be.



Pulling out my big lens, I realize the brown lump is a car, or at least it used to be. The owner must have taken a serious wrong turn many years ago.



Happy with my decision to stop and the pictures it provided, I realize that daylight is already starting to be at a premium, and if I'm going to make it to the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley before sunset, I've got to crank it up a notch. I mount up and rapidly descend towards my eventual home for the evening.



Along the way, a tempting road side sign offers a tempting distraction. Though somewhat in a hurry to get a room before nightfall, I'm always willing to sacrifice the destination for the day.



It's not hard to figure out what happens next. Yielding to temptation, I turn right down the 3 1/2 mile dirt road down to do some sloppy dual sport riding and bust some ghosts, of course. Sunset be damned!



As far as ghost towns go, Ballarat is definitely one. Not a good one, but at least there is one deserted building that is somewhat interesting.



Rain Cloud Follows handles the dirt road like a pig in ballet slippers, we're slippin' and slidin' all over the place as we make our way back to the pavement. The fighter jet makes a return pass overhead, low, fast and loud!

Life is good.

Before I left home, I decided to take one 'Ghost Rider Tribute' picture per day on this ride. Ghost Rider, for those few that live under rocks and don't know, is Neil Peart's excellent book about life and motorcycling. That book is one of the main reasons I ride as much as I do.



Here is today's tribute:



All this ridin', off roadin' and photographin' in the desert makes a guy hungry and thirsty. I stopped to top up both me and the bike in Stovepipe Wells.





The sun paints the sky as I brush the last crumbs of apple pie off my well insulated belly. Rain Cloud Follows and I race deeper into the desert with our night's home of the Furnace Creek Inn locked in my sights.





Unfortunately, when I got there, I found out there was no room at the Inn. I guess they expect people to make reservations, which would mean they also expect people to know where they are going ahead of time. I hate making reservations, because then I'm stuck having to be somewhere at the end of the day. As they say, the adventure begins when the plan derails, and now, in the desert at night without a place to stay, I'm on an adventure.

Checking the GPS, I realized there isn't much out in the desert in the way of hotels. I briefly considered going back to Ballarat, because I knew of at least one building with a vacancy. No roof, but at least vacancy. Then I find another hotel, right across the state line in Nevada called the Longstreet Inn. Beggars can't be choosers, so I head that way to try and sort something out.

My oasis turns out to be the place where elderly weirdos hold their elderly weirdo meetings. But, at least the Longstreet Inn has a room, and not long after I check in I easily figure out why. This is the kind of place where the bartender gets mad at you for expecting him to get you a drink. After waiting and enduring a long, "What the fuck do you want?" stare, I finally am able to toast the Best Day Ever, substituting Jameson for Macallan in honor of my patron saint, Patrick.

I wander over to the sad looking slot machines, and am soon on a roll. Bells keep ringing, and I keep winning. Pretty soon I am up, way up. The little voice of reason, the one I almost always ignore, shouts in my ear, "Take the money and run!" For once I do the sensible thing and hit the Cash Out button.

Excited to be instantly rich, I quickly realize two things. One, instead of dollars like I thought, I was only playing for nickels, and two, instead of printing a slip that I can take to a cashier, this is a first generation slot machine, and by hitting the Cash Out button, sixteen hundred nickels are slowly clank-clank-clanking their way into the tray.

The worst is yet to come. The grumpy bartender is also the grumpy cashier. He gives me the Stink Eye as I patiently sit at the bar with my brimming bucketful of nickels. Finally, with a great big sigh, he trudges over to me and just stands there. After a minute of hoping I'd just vanish, he asks if I want to cash in my nickels.

"No, I want to buy another beer!" I paid for a Corona with 110 nickels, and, being the generous soul I am, I even tip this grouch with two more of my newly won nickels. I take my nickel bucket back to the room, and am soon fast asleep, with visions of deserted roads still to come dancing in my head.
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frenchy750 screwed with this post 03-30-2010 at 07:09 PM
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:17 PM   #13
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Ok...

I'm in. You had me at the map.

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Old 03-30-2010, 09:08 PM   #14
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Day Two

At the crack of very late morning, I'm half awake, and not feeling so good. For a change, the previous night's nickel beers didn't do me in, I just have some kind of cold or virus or, more likely, a super strain of the Bubonic plague infecting me. I can feel it in my head, my sinuses and my chest, and no, it doesn't feel good.

Hoping the awfulness will soon clear, I stare at the map in my tankbag, and in my semi-hallucinogenic state, a new route starts to form. "Hmm, there are a lot of scenic roads up in that toothbrush shaped state. Didn't notice those before." As I get out of bed, I already know my plans have changed, so I grab my Map-kin, blow my nose in it, pitch it in the trash and head out towards the scenic roads of my second favorite state, ToothBrushLand.



To save a little time getting between my current location and my new destination of Utah, I opt for the highway. I had all distances, sights and places to stay worked out on the Map-kin, but that's in the trash. Now I'm venturing into unknown territory.

I love it.



The little bit of I-15 that thrusts into Arizona is as good as any mountain road I've ever had the pleasure of slowing traffic down on, with deep, sweeping, beautiful curves lovingly sheltered in a mountainous canyon. Even though I'm under the weather, I know my route change was the right move. A few curvaceous hours later, I am surprised to find myself at the gates of Zion National Park.



I love Zion.



What's not to love?



I mean really...



Zion Rocks!!



Signs at the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel warn to wait for an escort, but at the guard house I'm just waved on. The tunnel is a miracle of 1930's technology. Dug by unemployed cartoon characters after World War One using mostly TNT and other dangerous cartoon methods. This is a fact that I just made up.

All I know is on the other side of the tunnel, the temperature started to drop.



After the park exit, the temperature still drops, the road straightens out, but it is no less scenic.



Utah is without a doubt my second or third favorite state. If they could just fix their wacky alcohol laws, Utah would definitely be my second favorite state after the Kingdom of Rhode Island.





By improvising a route, I knew I'd need to figure out a place to stay, and I also knew that out in the great wide nothingness of upper Utah, places to stay would be sparse. One thing I know, accommodations always work themselves out, so there's no sense in worrying. Besides, there's still a lot to see before the sun sets.


Today's Ghost Rider Tribute

I follow the map as Route 89 takes a sharp bend, and I am suddenly riding in a huge semi-circle. I trust the designers of the road made this detour for a reason, and my trust is rewarded with the best scenery of the whole trip.


Navajo Bridge


Marble Canyon

I could not have felt luckier if I'd hit for thirty-two hundred nickels the other night.

On an adventure, everything is a compromise. At the beginning, adding hundreds of miles to detour to an exotic location is a great idea. At the end of the day, those additional hundreds of miles can leave you far from a place to sleep.



But the sunsets out in the middle of nowhere are nice, and riding in the dark is fun, for a while. The closest town to me is Tuba City, nearly one hundred miles away. To Tuba City I go.The miles tick off as I assure myself the big TC has plenty of hotels to host the legions of faithful fans that must visit the Tuba Hall of Fame. In inky blackness, I pull into a safe haven, and manage to secure an expensive room.

With my head still stuffy and sick, I am soon fast asleep. I am at least five hundred miles from Bisbee, where I have a reservation at a haunted hotel for the following night, but that's a problem for a new day.

Screw it. I'll rework that part of the plan in the morning.
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frenchy750 screwed with this post 03-30-2010 at 09:52 PM
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:09 AM   #15
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i watched wrestlemaina, what a big show (no i am not a fan, but the size of the event was amazing)

when are you going to finish this report?
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