ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA - 01/31/2009



Day 1 - Phoenix, AZ to Arroyo Grande, CA - 571 miles

WHAT A TRIP!  I repeat, WHAT A TRIP!  It's hard to know where to start so I'll just start at the beginning and go from there.

All of the images on this and the following pages are links to larger photos.  Click the small image to view a full-size image.


As was the case every day this week the dawn was clear and bright.  A little chill in the air as we prepped the bikes for a trip west, and once on the interstate my heated jacket liner really felt great.


My flight left Nashville at 4:35pm and arrived in Phoenix at 7:30pm.  AGirl and KC met me at the airport, and after a few hugs we grabbed something to eat at the food court and headed over to prep the bikes for the following morning's departure.  Since we were leaving for the west coast at 7:00am it was either get up real early to set up the bike I was going to ride or do it Friday night.  I was not sleepy at all after my flight so it made more sense to do it then and have everything ready to go early the following morning.

Since I own a Suzuki DL650 V-Strom and am already very familiar with the bike I rode AGirl's DL1000 V-Strom.  That way there was no leaning curve for me to get accustomed to a completely new bike.  I hopped on and it felt just like mine with a little more power.  AGirl was, as usual, riding her Yamaha FJR1300.


Today we headed west for Arroyo Grande, CA with a stop at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area so I could pick up a California stamp for my Passport Stamp collection.  The only damper to the trip was that we had to leave our friend KC behind.  She had work commitments that prevented her from being able to join us, and I'm not sure which of us was more disappointed.  She lived in California for a while and was really looking forward to this trip.  It was hard to watch her in the mirror as we pulled away.  KC, I promise I'll be back and we can do it again.  How's October for you?

Four of us headed west, AGirl, myself, and two of her close friends Russ and Ron.  We stopped for gas at Tonopah, AZ and again at Quartzsite, AZ.  The VTX one of the guys was riding could only go about 115 miles between gas stops which was just fine with me because that was about as far as I could go without a stop as well!  We then stopped for some breakfast just across the California border in Blythe, CA.

I had never before set foot in Arizona and had only spent about 4 hours of my life in California (4 hours that I'd rather forget about!).  This was all new country to me, and the sights were just magnificent.

Undoubtedly commonplace stuff to people who live there but it's all new to me!


Our next stop was at a small place named Chiriaco Summit, CA for some ice cream and gas.  While they guys enjoyed ice cream AGirl and I explored the exhibits outside the George Patton Memorial Museum.

 


We made our next stop at Palm Springs, CA to take some photos of the wind turbines installed there.  The photos below do not do the installation justice because they are EVERYWHERE!  According to This Web Site there are over 4,000 of them installed in the vicinity and they generate enough electrical energy to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley.

AGirl has some more photos on her web site that show the extent of the installation.  She took them as we were coming back through Palm Springs on Monday.  The link to that page of her Journey Report is at This Link.

 


After a quick gas stop in Pomona, CA we made our way through Los Angeles.  Because of a traffic accident traffic was stopped for a couple of miles.  Fortunately, I think, this was California where "Lane Splitting" is legal.  This was my first experience with that and I must say that to a boy from Tennessee it was somewhat unsettling to find myself on a motorcycle riding between vehicles and weaving in and out of traffic.  California drivers are accustomed to it though and give motorcycles plenty of room.  The law says that they must, but in many cases we were given more room than expected by some surprisingly courteous drivers.  A word of warning: Don't try this in Tennessee unless you want to become a squish mark on ths side of a car door!

Everything worked as advertised though, my heart settled back down to its normal state of accute hyperactivity, a normal state when following AGirl, and we made it through to Thousand Oaks, CA and the visitor center of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area so I could pick up a California National Park Passport Stamp.

As I have come to expect on this trip the scenery was fantastic.  I didn't know it at the time, but in a very short time that would get even better!


We then continued farther west to the Pacific coast at Ventura, CA and then headed along the coast on Highway 101.  Turning northwards we headed for our motel at Arroyo Grande, CA to finish up the first day of this trip.  We had some supper, got some sleep, and got ready for our second day.



GPS Track Log for 01/31/2009




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