Category: Road Trips

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch – Oro Grande, California – Route 66

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch – Oro Grande, California – Route 66

On the gray morning of January 2, 2017, I was cruising along Route 66 through Oro Grande, California on a rented Tiger 800. Amongst the dusty scrub sat an oasis – Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. It was glorious.

During my visit, I had the place to myself. I silently walked among the bottle trees listening to the wind make squeaking, tinkling music across the assemblages. My only wish? That the sun was out. Seeing the light reflecting through the different colored glass must be magical on a bright blue day.

The hypnotic twinkling sounds of Elmer’s:

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Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch
24266 National Trails Hwy,
Oro Grande, CA 92368
Google Maps

One Year Later: My Desert Awakening Went Back to Sleep

One Year Later: My Desert Awakening Went Back to Sleep

One year ago today, December 28, 2016, I stood in the golden sun of the California desert taking in Salvation Mountain. The day shimmered with magic, possibility, and the excitement unique to being on a journey.

noun: salvation
preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.
synonyms: lifeline, preservation; means of escape, help, saving, savior

During my week of desert solitude, I found and lost myself a hundred times over. Each new vista that spilled away to the mountains that sit at the edge of eternity breathed new life into me. The cycle tore me down to the raw meat of who I am – weak and scared, and then mile by mile, it built me up again. I found salvation in the controlled burn.

By the time my ride came to an end, I thought I came away with some understanding. I was so sure that I took with me a change. But here I am, one year later, and I don’t think I have. I am that same uncertain person who went fumbling around in the desert for answers. How could I have learned nothing?

Seeking LOVE in Monterey, Virginia

Seeking LOVE in Monterey, Virginia

After leaving the town of Buckhannon, West Virginia then stopping at the tiny Randy Brown Memorial Chapel – I wound my way across the mountains down 219, across 250 and into the town of Monterey, Virginia.

I’ve ridden this section of Route 250 quite a few times and it never disappoints. After all, it has big wide valleys, toe-scraping hairpins, and little traffic. But, there was actually a method to my madness.

Since I was in the neighborhood, I thought that I would stop in to see one the many LOVEworks that Kathy has documented in her travels. There’s always room for a little more love in your day.

Done up in a barn quilt motif, the LOVEWork sits in a park just south of the intersection of 250/220.

After snapping a few photos, I made my way back to the Bonnie in search of twisties. In this corner of the world, they aren’t hard to find.

That Time I Met the Lord on a Virginia Backroad

That Time I Met the Lord on a Virginia Backroad

Some might say that riding along through the mountains and valleys of Virginia backroads is heaven. I’m inclined to agree.

After dipping off of Virginia 42 in favor of some smaller roads, I found myself in a rolling valley. The road I was following didn’t have a stripe up the middle. It was just a small, tar ribbon snaking among the greenery.

Without anyone else around, I stopped often to take in the view. At one point, I sat for about 10 minutes observing 6 or 7 deer munching away, scratching, and being wary of me.

Continuing along this quiet little road, there were few houses and no other traffic.

It would be totally understandable that if I pulled over near a home in such a lightly traveled area, that a person who lived inside might stop what they were doing to see what I was up to. Who is this stranger on a motorcycle? Why are they parked near my house? Do they need help? Are they selling encyclopedias? Valid questions all.

While parked along a little bridge, some woman working in a churchyard just kept staring at me so intently that I found it unnerving. So much so that I said, “geez, what the hell is up with this lady?” out loud.  I figured it was clear that I was just taking photos. Afterall, I looked like a traveler given my dress and the luggage on my bike. And, I wasn’t presenting myself in a menacing way. But man, she just wouldn’t take her eyes off me.

After stowing my camera and setting off again, I figured I would just give the lady a friendly honk and a wave to let her know I wasn’t some creep casing the joint.

But when I got closer…

Oh. Right.

The Old Burke’s Garden Virginia Post Office

The Old Burke’s Garden Virginia Post Office

Following the very wiggly VA 623, will drop you into the upland valley of Burke’s Garden, Virginia. When there, something about it feels like you’re in a place cut off from the rest of the world.

The local whitepages:

My travels brought me to Burke’s Garden because of a photo I’d seen online of an old post office with a Pepsi ghost ad on the side. I was surprised to see what nice shape the mural is in. By the looks of things, that Pepsi ad is pretty well cared for.

I gingerly stepped up onto the front stoop to take a look inside. My chances of either falling through the step or being stung by bees seemed to be about 50-50. It made me chuckle to myself to think that if I was really lucky, maybe I’d be able to pull off both.

The sign above the door reads: “Burkes Garden, Va – God’s Land”


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