Category: California – December 2016

A Yeti, an Art Gallery, a Kickass Road – This must be Ranchita, California

A Yeti, an Art Gallery, a Kickass Road – This must be Ranchita, California

In December of 2016, I was in California taking a week-long riding trip. I flew to LA, rented a bike and wandered about. While heading towards Borrego Spring on Montezuma-Borrego Highway, I passed a Yeti in Ranchita. Often people will ask me how I find such things. In this case, it was pure serendipity.

So was this little roadside art gallery. You just never know what you’re going to find out there in the world, do ya?

One of the patronages of St. Maurice is to the Brotherhood of Blackheads. I myself have not-so-great skin, but damned if I’m joining a club about it.

Saint Maurice

A place of subtle old fashioned
virtues an escape from …
present into a softer more
gentle way of life and opening
up to light and the weather
a sense of real luxury
the kind that cannot be
measured by monetary standards
a level of tranquility
a sweethnes[sic] of tone
an uncomplicated
round for the ongoing

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.

sal·va·tion
noun: salvation
1.
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?

Walking With Ghosts in The Desert

Walking With Ghosts in The Desert

The Goldwell Open Air Museum sits just outside of the northeastern entrance of Death Valley and at the edge of the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada. I’d seen photos of the sculptures that grace the grounds many times online. But, seeing the ghostly shapes of Albert Szukalski’s pieces in person caused a visceral reaction – somewhere deep inside, things felt off kilter. The figures possess a powerful and strange voodoo.


The Last Supper – Albert Szukalski

I find this figure to be particularly haunting.

What an incredible gift to have, to be able to make people feel something with your art.

New Year’s Day with Beggars in Death Valley

New Year’s Day with Beggars in Death Valley

On New Year’s Day, I awoke in Las Vegas. The rest of the world was still asleep after a long night of reveling. As I rode down the strip towards old Las Vegas and the Freemont Street area, a less-than-glamorous film stuck to everything. Once outside of the fantasy bubble of a bazillion-dollar casino hotel, the empty streets seemed gritty. After visiting a few sights scattered about town, I hit the road towards Death Valley. After two nights with a million of my closest friends in Sin City, it was time to get back to nothing.

My ride into Death Valley wasn’t without company, however. I met a car full of young women who also stopped to take photos at the park sign. They didn’t speak very much English, but they were able to convey that they were excited to see me alone on my motorcycle. I guess some things are universal. Women who ride motorcycles kick ass in any language.

I also met these two wily beggars. They were hovering around the roadway, waiting for cars to come along. As a car slowed, they’d move in closer. They must get a lot of food that way. I didn’t feed them but I enjoyed watching what they were up to. Seeing animals, especially ones not typically in your environment, is a simple pleasure.

After the hustle of Las Vegas, being nowhere felt wonderful. It was a perfect way to welcome 2017.

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