Tag: California

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?

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.

One Of The Simplest Pleasures of Riding a Motorcycle Is When You Stop

One Of The Simplest Pleasures of Riding a Motorcycle Is When You Stop

Sometimes the simplest pleasure in the world is doin’ nothin’. There can be so much to see when you’re just standing around being. Life becomes uncomplicated and yet expands far beyond the reaches of your mind.

Not far from Ocotillo, I stood watching some wind turbines and snapping a few pics. I heard a familiar sound in the distance. Two KTMs approached, stopped in the middle of the road and said ‘hello.’

It was obvious I wasn’t in distress so they were just friendly; asking where I was heading. They never asked what I was doing. I’m sure it was obvious and familiar. I wasn’t really doing anything.

Standing around taking photos or just taking in the view seems to be an integral part of motorcycling. You have to stop doing the thing you love, to capture an image of the thing you love. In the stopping, the standing around looking – that’s often where the simple pleasure dwells.

When else do you find yourself standing on the side of the road for no reason at all? On some random Wednesday do you ever pull over in your car, get out and just gawk for a few minutes? I don’t. Perhaps I’m missing out. My brain isn’t wired to relax or see the world from my car. My car seems to be for purpose or task-oriented travel. Not for pleasure like my motorcycle.


This post is part of a month-long writing prompt challenge: Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017 hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com.

Prompt: Simple Pleasure

 

Riding a Motorcycle Through the Big Wide World

Riding a Motorcycle Through the Big Wide World

Riding across the Mojave from Twentynine Palms on my way to Amboy, California was something of a spiritual experience. Seeing an ocean of sand spill out before me with dappled light spread across the expanse… it is a moment I will never forget. I had many such moments in different desert landscapes around California.

If you asked 21-year-old me what type of riding I would like to do forever and ever and ever – the answer surely would’ve have been twisty mountain roads as fast as I possibly could.

Here I am now in my 40’s smiling back at that narrowminded girl. Such a simple and predictable answer. An answer from a version of me that did not understand the beauty of serenity and solitude. That is what these wide open spaces provide.

On the surface, you might look at the photos and think “boring ride!” But I assure you, nothing could have been further from the truth.

Being in a tremendous expanse gives the mind room to roam unfettered and free.


This post is part of a month-long writing prompt challenge: Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017 hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com.

Prompt: Open concept or rooms with walls

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