Day 10, June 29th, up at 4:30 and after a quick breakfast we were on our way. Immediately we were struck by a sober reminder of the potential perils of riding a motorcycle, we passed and obviously very serious motorcycle accident as we left Vegas on hwy 160. Just north of Pahrump we took hwy 210 to 190 into Death Valley.
Starting into Death Valley around 8 am and it was already flirting with 100 degrees fahrenheit.
I feel it important at this stage to point out, with a life full of choices why anyone, other than gas station owners (really important) would want to live in this area totally escapes me. Particularly in light of some of the incredible country we have come through.
There is always a silver lining because on the other hand as I have found the perfect resort spot for unethical attorneys (I know, broad reference) at Badwater Basin, California 282 feet below sea level. I have a vision for all sorts of mandatory outdoor activities which would commence daily at 10 AM and involve lifting and moving heavy objects long distances for no particular reason.
The route through Death Valley was amazing and at one time the area used to be very busy with borax mines first discovered in 1881. There is some very interesting material on this area on Wikipedia.
We continued north on 190 eventually finding our way to the famous oasis of Scotty’s Castle, which has to be seen to be believed. Unfortunately no tours were taking place so we hit the souvenir shop, had a drink and hit the road. We took highway 267 to 95 north and eventually connecting to 376 and travelled north. I am finding it more difficult to find different ways to describe the scenery. This part of Nevada certainly isn’t as beautiful as many of the areas we have travelled through but unique and interesting in its own way with many changes in terrain and geography as we made our way north particularly as we passed between the Toiyabe and Toquima mountain ranges and around the area of Austin, Nevada. We shut it down for the day in Battle Mountain, Nevada. It was a long day covering about 812 kilometers (504 miles) under sunny skies.
Now there were some neat stretches of road as we headed north through Nevada but for the most part this picture captures the essence of this leg of the journey.
Day 11, June 30th we packed up and were preparing to head out when we made a discovery. Dad’s bike had developed an oil leak at some point yesterday. The oil level appeared to be good. We planned to stop somewhere around Bend Oregon as we both were going to need tires but this little development would have to be monitored and may alter those plans. Out of Battle Mountain we took Interstate 80 to 95 north and a short distance later 140 west.
Highway 140 was a very nice drive and took us out of Nevada into Oregon. The plan was to take 140 to Klamath Falls and spend the night somewhere between there and Crater Lake and travel around Crater Lake and on to Bend to the tires the next day. Like I said that was the plan and plans being a bit like insurance rates, subject to change without notice, we had to adjust. The leak was going to need attention sooner rather than later. The only bike shop we could locate that would be able to help us was in Medford, Oregon. So out of Klamath Falls we continued west of hwy 140, which got more scenic the further west we travelled. We got to the bike shop and made arrangements for tires, oil changes and the necessary repairs to dad’s bike. My tires had to come from California overnight so an extra charge for that, more on that later. We found a nice motel and at about 6 we were done for the day having travelled about 720 kilometers.
Day 12, July 1 a down day. On different trips over the years I have been blessed with some exceptional service. Shops that appreciated you were a long way from home and on a bit of a time table and they seemed to go that extra mile to get you going on your way ASAP (I think of a Yamaha dealer in Corning NY I encountered in 1986, exceptional). This time, yeah not so much, so I will not mention the shop by name, maybe I have just been spoiled in the past. My bike got looked after fairly quickly to the tune of about $600 Canadian. Thanks to the overnight delivery charge for the tires the obscenely powerful Canadian dollar (not). Unfortunately by the time they got around to dad’s bike and diagnosed the problem they realized more parts were required and they would not be there until the next day. They had also discovered a small coolant leak. So it looks like we are down for a second day.
We had covered about 6000 kilometers to this point, I imagine about halfway. We have done a bit of zigzagging around that I hadn’t planned on so it was hard to know. It had been unbelievable to this point with a lot of spectacular things still to see. Nathan was into it more and appeared to be having a good time.
Day 13, July 2nd instead of sitting around the hotel all day it was decided, OK mom on a phone call suggested to dad, that we rent a car and go to California which was only a couple of hours away and not far south of the Oregon, California border, were some incredible redwood forests. Sounds like a good field trip to me.
We took Interstate 5 west and then hwy 199 south into California. We took some great pictures of the redwoods. I remember the first time I saw them in 1983 and it is difficult to describe to someone how big they are. I had stood beside a limb that had fallen from about one hundred feet up in the tree and it had a diameter almost equal to my height. A 6’ branch from 100’ feet up in the tree. I got some great shots of Nathan and dad standing at the base of a reasonably big one that we spotted.
We travelled to Crescent City and dipped our feet in the Pacific and got some more great shots. We travelled a short distance south along the scenic hwy 1 that follows most of the coast from the Canada, U.S border all the way down south of L.A. .
We headed back north along the same route and got back to the hotel in time to contact the bike shop and get an update. Dad’s bike should be ready in the morning.
ROUTE MAP DAYS 10 TO 13