The West Side
Yes we are still alive! I (Dan) have been a bit slack at updating the blog and have put it off for long enough. I should be able to squeeze it all into one update though – especially as everything gets blurry after suffering the heat of Death Valley and enjoying the excessiveness of Vegas!
After seeing all the amazing rock formations in Utah, we headed to The Grand Canyon. How can I best describe it…… Massive? Humongous? Frickin’ huge? I’m sure there are better ones out there but the place is so magnificent that people just sit and look at it in silence. We met an old guy a while back on Route 66 that has spent the last two decades studying and photographing the canyon in great detail.
It is a 200 mile drive from the north rim to the south rim so we just imagined what it looked like from the other side and headed to the next destination – Vegas!
We did our research on Sin City before we arrived as people tend to spend a lot of money when they go and we were determined to try and keep to the usual daily budget. We got a great deal on a suite in the MGM Signature and after checking in, immediately rode to the local supermarket to buy supplies to last the 4 days. No need to tip the hotel valet guys – they didn’t even want to consider parking the now very dirty Transalp.
Then we did a lot of relaxing! It was a nice change to riding each day in smelly bike clothing and sweating profusely along the way. We tried to blend in with normal people in the casinos and even ironed our clothes (after washing them in the Jacuzzi). I think it worked as we got free drinks everywhere!
After four blissful (and slightly profitable) days in Vegas, we hit the road again on our way towards the west coast.
We had to ride through Death Valley on the way as it sounds like a pretty mean place and it didn’t disappoint.
July is the hottest month and it was between 115-120 degrees on the day we were there.
I’ve always been envious of Lisa’s bike clothing as it has a mesh design for great airflow and mine just has a couple of crappy vents. In Death Valley, my gear actually shielded me from the intense sun whereas Lisa suffered mild heatstroke by the end of the day. On top of that, I decided that we didn’t need to refuel on the way through (over 5 bucks a gallon) and was quite worried about running low when realizing the next town was further than I initially thought.
The day after Death Valley, we got our first puncture. It happened after we parked up for the day.
Good timing or what?!?
Next destination was Bodie State Historic Park. It is now a ghost town but was originally a thriving gold mining town in the late 1800’s. Murders, shoot outs, barroom brawls and stagecoach holdups were regular occurrences back in the day.
On to Yosemite National Park. We didn’t spend as such time as we could have here. It was a beautiful drive through the park but to see it properly, hiking is recommended. The famous “Half Dome” is very popular but hiking permits are in high demand and run out quickly.
After driving through the national park we stopped in a small gold rush town of Columbia which is still stuck in the 1800’s and checked into the Fallon Hotel which is haunted. After a long, tiring day of riding, we slept straight through anything that might have happened that night!
Lisa’s 30th birthday celebrations in Vacaville, Napa Valley.
We are now in San Francisco. What a beautiful (but chilly) city! We are wearing fleeces for the first time since Colorado Rocky Mountain High! Alcatraz was on the to-do list but unfortunately the trips are sold out until mid August…..boooooooo!
We did the bus tour instead which gives a good oversight to the city.
A strange fog envelops Golden Gate Bridge for most of the day. Evidently it is caused by the water temperature being higher than the air temperature (so the local Kwik-E-Mart guy tells us) and the temperature gets very cold until the bus returns to the blue skies in the city.
We are staying close to the dodgy part of town called Tenderloin. The locals advise us to avoid the area at night as muggings are very common. We saw a nice white Cadillac pull up last night on the side of the road but then noticed the driver was dressed all in black and wearing a gimp mask – frickin’ scary neighbourhood!
Where next? Riding The Pacific Highway south towards LA. We have a couple of weeks to kill before we fly home for a “holiday” so maybe we’ll see about some beach time on the way. It’s a hard life…….