Tag: California

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

A Whimsical Wonderland

In January of 2017, I was riding my motorcycle on a solo trip through California. I followed a leg of Route 66 back towards Los Angeles. That’s where I learned about Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.

Route 66 Sign in Oro Grande California

January 2, 2017, was a gray morning, I cruised along Route 66 through Oro Grande, California on a rented Triumph Tiger 800. Amongst the dusty scrub, I rolled up to an oasis.

Welcome to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch

Motorcycle road trip Elmer's bottle tree ranch route 66

The ranch was an unassuming place. When I pulled up and parked it almost felt like I was trespassing. I wondered if I could just walk in? Or if I needed to pay? Or how this all worked. But, there was no one there but me.

I figured, what the hell and made my way towards an opening in the fence. The welcome sign quelled my fears about trespassing.

welcome sign at Elmers Bottle Tree Ranch in California

Yup, I had the place to myself. I silently walked among the bottle trees listening to the wind make squeaking, tinkling music across the assemblages.

Elmer's bottle tree ranch - motorcycle road trip

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.

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-r7TThS6/1/3c970a92/X2/i-r7TThS6-X2.jpg

Aside from the bottles themselves, the bottle trees are also adorned with found objects and other assemblages.

old cash register at Elmer's bottle tree ranch
motorcycle road trip to elmers bottle tree ranch

You know I couldn’t help but smile to see a hat tip to motorcycling.

old gas pump at Elmers Bottle Tree Ranch in California

A lovely Coco-Cola relic.

Coca-Cola sign at the Bottle Tree Ranch in California on a motorcycle road trip of route 66

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is definitely a place to get your kicks on Route 66.

route 66 sign at elmers bottle tree ranch

A forest of beautiful bottle trees.

bottle trees at elmers bottle tree ranch

Listen for the hypnotic twinkling sounds of the ranch:

 

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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

 

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