Monday, March 31, 2014

99. What have you done?


The past couple of hours have flown by as I dig through my old music files and fatten the auditory excitation quotient of my phone. It needs to be ready for my next adventure which is t-minus 9 days away. Back to my favorite part of the country.

When passing over the evidence of past adventures the gravity of quests conquered bears little weight to me. However, while hiking last week, my buddy Dustin made the comment, "You have done more things than anybody I have known." Even though this is actually true, that my experiences are of a vast number, my feelings reflect the exact opposite.

Maybe it is because my past few years have seen little distance covered per adventure? Now that I have invested in a faster motorcycle that can cover ground at a rapid rate the adventures are ramping back up. Only for so long as the little baby girl is making herself known through the swell of my lady and the thump of the belly. For me, I have to get while the getting is good.

The past few years of my life have been boring though. I have stayed out of trouble. Made everything look spotless from what was once a thrilling novel. This more normal living is not easy for someone that runs nitroglycerin for the body's sanguine thirst.

From said adventures I will put up some pictures and let them do the talking.
















































Some great times have been had and the real stuff is about to come.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

98. Spirit guide


Usually the writing comes after the event. Reactionary writ. Tomorrow I ride. Tonight a little scouting and a dash of music.

It could be said that most of my old adventures were with a good friend known as "The Chassis". Not pronounced correctly with roots entrenched in the land of Francois. Instead with the candor of an American drop out, "thu chas-sis". The Chassis earned this nickname due to his incorrect pronunciations of most any word, local or foreign. The Chassis somehow developed an epic level of wealth among his modern man.

Anyway, he would plan a route like nobody I have ever met and on the day of departure he would exceed every departure time by an hour or a few. There was always another trinket to pack or necessary piece of clothing to cover every possible scenario. It used to drive everyone nuts but he subscribed to the credo of "It's better to have and not need than to need and not have."

I think that may be why we got along so well. He used to over prepare and I the inverse and yet we both always made it through despite our differing assaults on the same problems.

Tomorrow I will do a quick check over of my bike and gear up and head out. Tonight I will take a few minutes to look over a few route options as I don't know if I will be headed north, south, east, or... you get the picture. A few goals for my ride are to fill my memory banks with beautiful scenery; smells; snaking roads; mental exhaustion to quiet the mind.

Sometimes during these jaunts I will hardly eat or drink which is what the peers say not to do. When hitting these mental zones I don't need to eat, drink, or speak much and it is rewarded with a sense of cool and calm reserved for a fair weather day on a crease-less pond. If I could meditate surely this would yield similar results.

My meditation preference just so happens while putting bends in my trajectory while a brisk wind peels away my troubles.

On another subject, and I may have written in this in a prior installment; religion.

When on a hike with a buddy a few weeks back, one that was very dangerous, he had to drop the Christianity bomb on me. I cannot stand religion for this reason. Especially the fanatical Christians who see only their belief as the absolute truth. No respect for others and their beliefs. I was raised Catholic and maybe because my father bounced around a few Christian denominations looking for a handout or an answer why he constantly failed in life that I grew distant from the way of the Christian.

The only religion I really identify with is Buddhism as it seems the purest and most steeped in equality and happiness. When my buddy was dropping Jesus bombs on me and telling me about all of the events surrounding the events of his life, he spoke as if he personally witnessed the events. I told him I was not there. The stories were written well after his death. People were and still are very gullible.

My choice is not to subscribe to any religion. I don't have the answers and refuse to believe any story someone spoon feeds, no matter the sweetness. If the end comes and I die then nothing will be matter when this existence ceases. As they say,

So, enough with that annoying subject.

Tuesday my girl and I go check on the loving bun in the oven. She stole her first tear with a grip of the fingers on the ultrasound. We are both very excited and here's to hoping that the genetic coding takes the best of both worlds since we are both from different hemispheres. She is slightly big and ahead of the growth curve.

To life...

Monday, February 17, 2014

97. I sent it to her in a text



"Sometimes the sensation of speed makes me want to impact a fixed object and emerge a shooting star on the way past the heavens."

I feel it now. Not a feeling or morbidity but the sensation of wanting to go higher than the sensation of speed can provide and never come back. There has to be something better out there.

Back to reality, a good motorcycle ride with a proper soundtrack and twisty stretch of ribbon is downright divine. Yesterday was one of those days where I satiated my need for adventure, speed, and exploration with two wheels and the hyper speed punches of pistons.

I did not have the bike for twenty four hours and I saddled up after seeing the lady off to work. Weather was clear with little challenge from the wind. The temperature was two shades from perfect(77degrees Fahrenheit if you are counting(complete opinion on behalf of the author)) and the bike checked out good.

I had not ridden the bike to it's maximum rpm as of the start of the ride as the maiden voyage was the night before with the lady in tow. The start of the ride was not a full throttle affair either. Quite contrary. Very docile and not getting over 40% of capacity in any one gear. It still pulled much quicker than my other bike so the speed was welcomed.

For years the need for speed has subsided for responsibility and calmer waters of the mind. In fact I was used to now traveling with the speed of the masses until... yesterday. It started when a Prius driver thought he was a badass and passed me on an open road nearing Shoshone, CA.

Sure, I thought, just let him pass and do his thing. Then it hit. The lion had awoke and it was time to play before sinking the claws into the hindquarter of said Prius and continuing on to a vice's grip of a bear trap to the jugular before I reached for 14,000rpm and left my Caribou for dead with the clean carcass he was.

Hello Adrenaline, my old friend. You have been missed and before the day ceases I will be raging in a bath of your intoxicating effects. Damn it feels good to be bad!

Riding a sportbike is like holding a powerful army at arm's length and their will is but a thought away. No phone calls. No chain of command to figure out which hand is wiping the backside. You speak it goes. Passing on a two lane road happens in seconds. You don't have to wait. You want to go around a bend at a quick clip? Dance on the pegs, initiate an upper body movement and roll that throttle to desired trajectory.

Love poems are written about this stuff. You just didn't know it.

Back to the ride. After gassing up in Shoshone, CA to get a baseline for efficiency of the new ride I continued on to my first stop. The Armagosa Opera House. Google is your friend for information here.

Pictured below is Dante's View in Death Valley. It is a mile above the Death Valley floor of Badwater.

Pictures rarely do nature justice. This is recommended viewing any time you are on the south side of DV.

This is a panoramic pic and keep in mind that the hills on either side are actually along a straight line and not curved as in the pic.


Up next are the Mesquite Dunes on the way to Stovepipe Wells.

Not sure what the people out on the dunes were doing but maybe sand boarding. They were ants on the horizon to my eyes.

This time of year Death Valley is beautiful since the weather is not threatening to incinerate any living thing or liquid. The people were out in droves and plenty were out on off road motorcycles and trucks. A wonderful thing!

I was not able to get much in the way of pictures on my ascent out of the valley on the west side. Did not want to take the bike in the dirt at Father Crowley Point for the best view.

Just realized to always take scenic video in landscape after seeing this played back.

Now that Death Valley is out of the way, a very small portion of it mind you, it is off to find Darwin.

After Darwin was mentioned on the forum I did a little bit of research to see what this little gem was. If you have seen movies like The Hills Have Eyes then you may empathize with what I felt coming into this mostly abandoned mining town. Of immediate recognition from pictures online were the little miner barracks. As a matter of fact even the still in use dwellings were very tiny.



These are the closed off miners quarters, these two pics above. Far above there looks to be a current resident near the American flag. Most likely the town mayor, ha ha.

The healthy town stats are slightly inflated(the most recent census indicates 43 as the current population).

Random residence and associated junk(treasures) littered throughout.

The Renault Dauphine just waiting to be restored. Truly sad seeing this car here in this condition. Part of the engine block out in the dirt, radiator fan still intact. Like a soldier who was killed and they ripped his heart out and lay it beside the slain.

The Darwin Dance Hall replete with an old radio cabinet out front for free to a good home. Could not fit it on my bike but as I was leaving town someone sped in in a sport utility. Possibly to take the cabinet. I wonder how often dances are held?

It was at this point that the realization materialized; there was not a soul stirring. I did not see one ounce of life. I saw dummies which you will see in the next picture. Some were even stationed inside houses, one of which was sitting still in a rocking chair with odd small white statues in the window next to it.

It was actually a creepy and odd feeling place. I would love to meet someone from there but the opportunity failed to present itself.


Next time I will have to go slower on the video. To my defense this was right before I fired up the steed and casually rolled out of the town line followed by blasting down its desolate road.

This next panoramic was the mountain ridge near Olanche, CA with a little snow capping on the top. Beautiful.

Last but not least, the bike in Baker, CA. One large circle I made and the bike held up well. Better than I. My muscles are not used to the sportbike riding position but as maiden voyage I knocked off nearly 600 miles so I haven't lost my will power to get on a motorcycle and go ride all day long.

Speed. It was a pleasure dispensing with traffic with not much more than a thought. High speeds were reached, no doubt. Had a sixth sense moment and slowed down just before entering a speed trap. The while before that I was cruising above the ton toying with some traffic coattail riders.

Time to slow it down again.