Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Motorcycle Diaries 2015, Part 5 (The Wishlist edition)

Cortez, Colorado to San Diego, California.  Lots of ways to get there so I decided to choose the one that didn't involve me riding through Los Angeles.  I still think it was the right choice.

Off to my right was Monument Valley.  I'd like to go through it some day but it wasn't on the itinerary for this trip.  You have to pay to go through and pay more to get a guided tour.  Probably worth it some summer but I was a bit time limited as I had to be in San Diego nlt Sunday afternoon.

Keep going and you pass the turn-off to the Grand Canyon.  I want to hike down into the Canyon some day.  Stood on the top rim a couple times and looked down but never had time to go farther than that.  This time I rode past the signs that said "North Rim this way" and "South Rim this way" (or somesuch wording).  Had a good breakfast in Cameron at the general (read tourist) store.  Fancy dining room from a more luxurious age.

After a minor issue in Phoenix (motorcycle battery died, thankfully at a gas station just outside of Phoenix and not in the middle of the Sonoran desert) I headed through said desert.

(Oh, battery story?  Turns out that batteries which typically last about seven years in the mild climate of the Pacific NW last about two years in Phoenix.  I was there for two hours and it took mine out, most likely because it was getting old and tired anyway.  Had the bike towed to the dealership, had them put a battery in, runs great.  Most expensive battery I've ever bought by the time you add in towing and a mechanic.)

Through said desert to Yuma, arriving shortly after dark.  That was a hot day.  From the time I started down the hill into Phoenix it got progressively hotter.  I can't imagine what it must have been like to live there when it took you days to cross that desert and before you had an air conditioned room to retire to.  Of course that's why not many people did live there.

Woke up at 5am in my Yuma hotel room, packed up and walked out the door at 6am to 86 degree Fahrenheit temperature.  Did I mention it was six in the morning?

I was out of there fast to get across that next stretch of desert before it warmed up.  I'd love to tour the territorial prison there some time, so that's on my wish list.  Just not thrilled about braving the heat to do it.

Oh, here's an interesting tidbit.  Border patrol checkpoint.  Everyone has to stop.  Buildings, barricades, fences, vehicles, border patrol agents galore.  And a big sign announcing that they have apprehended 614 illegal immigrants.  I think it was in an eight year span.  I don't now how much it costs to run a 24/7/365 checkpoint right there, but 614 illegals in eight years doesn't seem like a very efficient use of our money.  Could probably get rid of a thousand times that by enforcing employment laws and patrolling the border more heavily.

Riding up out of Ocotillo I entered the In-Ko-Pah Mountains.  It was super windy so I didn't have an opportunity to take any pictures, but the In-Ko-Pah mountains are, and I quote, "faulted granitic intrusive bedrock, weathered into dramatic piles of residual boulders".  Dramatic is an understatement.  Giant piles of boulders.  The whole mountain range that you can see from the highway appears to consist of nothing but boulders.  Here's a picture from that I pulled off Google.

After that it was easy.  Breakfast at Major's Diner in Pine Valley. Highly recommend.

Not much traffic on a Sunday morn so made it into San Diego too early to check into my hotel.  Went down to Pacific Beach instead, rented a surfboard and a surf lesson from San Diego Surf School and kicked back a little before heading for the hotel.

All in all a good two day ride but it's too bad there isn't a way to get to San Diego that doesn't involve either insane heat or Los Angeles.  I don't know which is worse.

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