Manifest Destiny – Week Four, From The Valley of Death to The City of Angels
Putting this up a day early b/c we are heading into the desert to camp and ride dirt bikes tomorrow…
- Woke up and soon realized I lost my debit card. Fuck.
- Ran all over town retracing my steps but no luck.
- Went to Ryan’s to finish maintenance on the bikes and hang out. It was great to see him and catch up. Overall I had to straighten out my idle issues, oil change, clean and wax my chain, & replace my clutch cable as it had begun to fray.
- Radke got a new rear tire.
- We ripped with Ryan (who is still killing it on his Goldwing, the raddest Goldwing) to a real seedy dive bar for a couple of drinks.
- We said farewell to Ryan then did more sinful Vegas shit. No absolution in sight.
- Couldn’t wait to get the fuck outta Vegas. I highly enjoyed seeing Ryan and working on my bike. The strip club in North Vegas was fun and so was Fremont St but the strip can burn in the manufactured hell that it is. I could go on and on but in other news the sky is blue.
- The plan after today was to go to Yosemite then San Fran but the weather in Yosemite is highs in the 50’s and lows in the 20’s. Fuck that. Route changed. Half Dome is going nowhere and now I have an excuse to fly to San Fran some other time.
- At the tip of our buddy Luke we made the destination Kernville, CA which will be a nice middle point to Big Sur.
- We left Vegas and hit the desert, rolling through the Red Rock Canyon area.
- Within the hour we hit Death Valley. What an awesome place. 90 miles to get through the park and it’s outer worldly. Starting at 4000 ft above sea level and dropping to -190. The heat was not bad especially while on the bikes. The road was full of whoops and twisties. Awesome mountains and dunes for miles.
- Got to see living coyotes finally.
- Outside the park Eagle Eye Radke spotted and abandoned silver mine off the road. We shot straight to it. I have wanted to explore an abandoned mine for a long time.
- We hiked to the back of the mine. It wasn’t too deep but still ruled.
- Ran through more desert and soon spotted the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have waited years to see these mountains and they did not disappoint.
- Headed alongside the Sierras in a southerly direction but soon turned in on 178 west and had our minds blown. Crazy winding roads into the Mountains surrounded by desert, filled with Joshua Trees and farmland.
- Pulled into Frandys Campground in Kernville and was greeted by the campground manager Stanley. What a rad guy. Originally an old LA dude, he retired up here and is living with his awesome dog Frandy. This dude rips around the campground on a 6 wheeled ATV riding side saddle. A character for sure. One of many characters we have met.
- We were a week late for the Biltwell Kernville Kampout but got the whole campground to ourselves.
- Stuffed our faces at the local brewery.
- Went back to camp and set a fire with free wood from Stanley.
- Today did not suck.
- Woke to a chilly but beautiful morning and had a conversation with Stanley before getting food.
- Headed out 178 west some more and soon had our faces melted by the best road since Deals Gap – The Kern Canyon. What a ride! This road had everything you could ever want. We took no pictures because we were having too much fun on the road but I’m sure you can google it if you want. Better yet just go ride it. Officially “carved” my first Canyon in Cali.
- Emerged into the Bakersfield area and cut across the Central Valley.
- Went through an area called Oildale that had more oil pumps in one spot then we saw in the entirety of Texas. The thick heavy smell of fresh crude everywhere.
- Brian “Ansel Adams” Radke was so focused on making the Pacific that we averaged 90 mph to get there with no picture stops. Which is unusual for him.
- Outside of Paso Robles the road got mountainous and interesting again as we wound through so many vineyards.
- Soon we crested a hill and saw the Pacific. We stopped to get pics and reflect. At this point we have finally achieved true Manifest Destiny.
- Hopped on rte 1 and stopped in Cambria, CA to eat and get ready to ride the PCH. At first it was tame then it got crazy. It is everything everyone says it is. That is until you get stuck behind a mini van.
- I lost it with Radke for a second because he passed on a double yellow turn and I was pretty fucking close to hitting a truck coming the opposite way when I followed for the overtake. Heart pounding dumb moves.
- We rolled 70 miles north to camp in Big Sur.
- On the way north we stopped at McWay Falls. Another scene I’ve wanted to see for years.
- Stayed at a private camp b/c all state and national were full but it was worth it. Our site had a stream running through the middle of it with a bridge to a sleeping sight completely surrounded by Redwoods.
- Waking up to a babbling brook and surrounded by redwoods is a great feeling.
- Hit the PCH southward and grabbed some pics.
- Stopped to check out Elephant Seals just chilling on the beach. Saw zebras at the Hearst Castle ranch too.
- Got a tip from some guys to head to Morro Bay to see Sea Otters. Took off like bats outta hell and saw them. Just floating in the bay chilling.
- Grabbed a lunch of fish tacos, and fish and chips by the ocean.
- The ride to LA wasn’t too interesting save for a stretch called 154 that took us through the Los Padres National Park and dumped us in Santa Barbara.
- We decided to make straight for Rick and Heather’s place instead of going a long way via 1.
- In Santa Barbara we hit traffic, and for the first time since entering California we finally got to lane split legally. Radke was pumped on this and took off.
- What felt like a long, dry, hot ride finally ended as we pulled into Rick and Heathers.
- Rick greeted us w/ cold beers and we relaxed in the backyard. Good to see old friends.
- Got up and had breakfast with Heather then saw her off for Babes Ride Out. Speaking of Babes Ride Out, somehow we were one week early for Barber Vintage Days. One week late for the Biltwell Kernville Kampout and perfectly on time for Babes Ride Out. God damn it.
- Rode to a cycle tire place to get a new rear for myself. Wear bars are showing after 7000 miles on the tire. Still a little meat on it but our thought was get it now in LA while it’s easy instead of bum fuck Texas on the way back east.
- Still having idle issues where at stops my idle can be at 2-2.5k until I pull up and forward on the carbs. It’s leading to thing my insulators are weak and shot. Thanks to Ryan’s advice I have wire tied the carbs to the frame to try and keep them positioned right. Did the work at the tire spot while waiting for my KZ to get on the lift.
- Shot the shit w/ old timers and a highway cop while putting back tall boys of Banquet. The cop was into the KZ big time. He had 3 in his day.
- Took forever to get the tire on. Remember friends that that a new tire is slick for the first 100 miles. Another dude must have forgot that and dumped his bike on the way out of the shop.
- Took Radke to get In-N-Out Burger for his first time. Had to go there because duh, it’s fucking awesome. I inhaled 2 animal style double-double’s and have renamed this trip Manifest Gluttony.
- Luke met me at Ricks and we went for a 60 mile ride on the LA crest. Doing that at sunset set the ride over the top. Rides like that with friends is what its all about. Also broke in that new rear tire real well.
- Came back and had beers at Ricks while he rebuilt his RT oil pump.
- Life is good.
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Published - Sep 21, 2018