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:

A post shared by Rachael (@fuzzygalore) on

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.

New Year’s Eve in the Valley of Fire

New Year’s Eve in the Valley of Fire

On the morning of December 31st, 2016, when I awoke it was still dark. I was in Las Vegas. I hadn’t planned on being there for New Year’s Eve, it was just the way that my trip unfolded. Though it was a holiday, it was an easy place to get a room and I ended up staying for two nights.

It felt as if I’d personally brought rain to the desert. I arrived among the shimmering signs and the bustle of Vegas in the pouring rain on New Year’s Eve-eve. By morning, there was still dampness pressing down but at least the rain had stopped.

Because of pre-celebration preparations, the strip was scheduled to close to traffic on the afternoon of the 31st. Being an early riser on east coast time worked to my advantage. I was able to head out at 0’dark-thirty, see some stuff and get back before anything shut down. My destination for the day? Valley of Fire State Park.

At first, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to see the luminescent colors of the rocks in the sunshine. But, that disappointment faded when I saw that the fog brought its own special drama to the landscape. Nothing is perfect and plans deviate from your daydreams. You just have to learn to see beauty in new ways.

Snapshots from Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park

 

The Grasshopper, Scorpion and Serpent Who Stole My Heart

The Grasshopper, Scorpion and Serpent Who Stole My Heart

Coming down from the mountains along Montezuma Valley road there were spectacular views of the desert valley below. I was on my way to Borrego Springs to visit Galetta Meadows and the metal sculptures that live among the sand and scrub.

Though there are over 100 different sculptures scattered about, without hesitation I can say that it was the giant serpent that drew me to Galetta Meadows.

It’s rusting, scaly body undulates hundreds of feet through an ocean of sand. It is ferocious and beautiful.

Though there were dinosaurs, elephants, camels and other more snuggly type creatures around, the giant scorpion was my second favorite sculpture. Something about the way it sat menacingly low and ready to strike really captured my heart. I’m not sure if me liking the creepy crawlies best says something about me.

The hapless grasshopper… face to face with a scorpion. We’ve all been there, probably on both sides.

Incidentally, by the end of my trip I’m pretty sure my legs looked just like the grasshoppers. We’ve all been there. Am I right ladies? 😉

I found two liberty dollars in the sand by the giant scorpion. It was my lucky day. My lucky day indeed.

Riding to Sloan, Nevada to Visit Seven Magic Mountains

Riding to Sloan, Nevada to Visit Seven Magic Mountains

On New Year’s Eve eve, I found myself tracking across the Mojave, on through Amboy, past the world’s largest thermometer in Baker and towards Las Vegas. The sky was gray and a chill settled in. When I made it to Sloan, Nevada the surface of the road whispered that I was chasing rain.

Why Sloan? Well, in the desert stands seven colorful towers: Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains

For some reason I naively thought, “It’s New Years time. I’ll have the place to myself. Who the hell else would come out to see stacked fish tank rocks when Vegas is right over there?

As it turned out – lots of people. The ground around the installation hosted a steady stream of visitors making peace signs and curiously out-of-place “sexy looks” for photos.

I don’t get the need to present yourself as sexy in every situation. This is me being sexy on a bridge. Look at me, I’m sexy by these rocks. Remember that time I was sexy by that tree? But I don’t have to get it, I guess. My job is to mind my own business and follow the colorful cairns scattered around the world that lead a path to my heart.

I bet you’d love me if I were a robot.

Visit:

Seven Magic Mountains
35.839026, -115.272360
S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89054

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

 

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