Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Headin' for the border

No wi-fi last night. Catching up this morning.  Left Ritzville  yesterday morning heading toward Spokane.  Ten miles down the road ran into heavy rain.  Stopped at a rest area to suit up.  Hot coffee was being provided by the "Combat Vet Riders". 
Met Lowbow, Precious, and Andy.  Lowbrow is 79 and Andy 75. Still riding strong for all their brothers. The Combat Vet Riders Harley motorcycle club holds fund raisers to provide services for Vets.  Services not provided when they should be. Like providing over 200 pairs of socks for Vets whose feet were cold. Real honor to meet these guys. They are the real deal. Brothers helping brothers and sisters.

North of Spokane HWY 395 opens up reaching into the forests.  It was a day or rain, sun, rain, sun.  Enough rain  to wash all the cobwebs out of my head.  It's what the black ribbon of road can do for you if you let it.
North of Kettle Falls crossed the Kettle River.  The Kettle River is a 175 mile long tributary of the Columbia River.  Stopped along the river to see it, smell it, and feel it.  I don't think we do this enough in our everyday busy lives.  Reconnects us to the important things. 
1528 miles north on HWY 395 from Los Angeles, along a quiet two lane road, I stopped on the line drawn on a map separating the US from Canada.  End of HWY 395...the Forgotten Highway.  How lines drawn on maps can create such boundaries.  Boundaries between individuals, states, countries, nations.  Sometimes breaking us apart when it would be so easy to be one.

Kickstand down in Colville last night.  At McDonads this morning with coffee and wifi.  The American way...?

Ride back down to Spokane today.  Drop off the bike in the morning and fly home to Santa Fe.  Working to sort out all my thoughts from the road.  It was wet, cold, with a life time of experiences all wrapped together along the black ribbon with the white line called freedom of the road.  Rolling on the throttle...wind on my face...

be strong, be safe Carlan

Monday, May 25, 2015

What's buzzing....
Looked out the window of the motel in John Day, OR this morning.  Sun, blue skies (check ?)...twenty miles down the road the temperatures dropped to freezing, clouds on the ground, snow hitting my goggles.  Three hours later broke out of the cold into the sun.  Unbelievable front moving across the landscape.  Never seen one this large.
Across the Columbia River, into eastern Washington.  Sun on my back.  Feeling good.  Noticed a buzzing up my right sleeve.  With all the open space and air how could a bumble bee find his up up my sleeve?  Even worse, my right sleeve.  The right sleeve you say...yes, the throttle hand.  Traffic on both sides of me... hand off the throttle, shaking my arm, slowing down too much, back on the throttle, hand off the throttle, shaking my arm, slowing down too backing up behind get the picture.  Will leave the rest up to your imagination.  Finally, get pulled over, jump off the bike, peel off my jacket, several stings latter the bee seems to happily fly into the great beyond.  Maybe rainy weather is better...
In Ritzville, WA tonight.  In 1901, Ritzville received the title of the greatest wheat shipping point in the world.  Between August of that year and August 1902, approximately 1,967,725 bushels of wheat were received in Ritzville warehouses for shipment and 1,990 rail cars of wheat and flour were billed out.  Things have changed since 1902.  The "Ritz" has been disconnected from the "Ville".  Changing history in our country.
Thunder and lighting tonight.  Looked out to see the sky opening up with thousands of gallons of water coming down.  Lucky for me I have rain gear with me...oh yea....

Just another day on that black ribbon with a white line called the open road...nothing could be better.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Check list for a very good day on the road

Wake up...look out the window of the motel...the sun shining with blue sky
Call Nancy
Looks warm out...don't need the long underwear today
Pack the rain gear
Check the cameras, cards, and batteries
~check....double check
Brush my teeth
Load the bike
Check the gas 
Find the local spot for breakfast
Make sure I am still on the route
Roll on the throttle
Stop often to make photos
No Highway Patrol in the area when I accidentally exceed the posted speed limit
Only cross traffic is four legged, runs quickly across the road and is quite small
Sun on my face, wind on my back all day

It was a very good day.  Traveled through the Great Basin area of Oregon today. 
North from Lakeview, OR HWY 395 becomes straight and narrow.  Extends to the horizon as far as the eye can see.
Albert Lake.  Formed over 10,000 years ago.  Glaciers and melting ice formed ancient lakes within the Great Basin.
Massive uplifting of the earth created dramatic cliffs and ridges throughout the area.
Open road reaches to the horizon.  Passed fewer than a dozen cars all day. Sun warmed my bones.
Cliffs and ridges give way to gentle sage covered hills.  Clouds dot the sky as if added with a paint brush.  Each curve in the road carries with it a new view of the landscape.
The largest pine trees in the United States once proudly reached to the sky here.  Unrestrained timber harvesting in the 1920's left few of the remaining giants.
The road carried me across incredible landscape today...a perfect day...

Emails tonight from all my special friends
~check and thank you

What a check list...

Kickstand down tonight John Day, OR

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sharing the stories
Talk with the locals.  They know the history.  They know the weather patterns.  They have been telling me this past week..."never seen this type of weather in over 80 years living here".  Rain, sleet, snow, wind, cold.  That's what the Eastern Sierra and I have experienced the past few days.  Sure happy I have my long underwear.  Leaving Gardnerville this morning heading into Reno it seemed the sky opened up with more water than I thought clouds could hold.  
At Susanville the sun began to peak through the clouds.  Four lanes of HWY 395 suddenly turned into the traditional blue highway.  For a moment I thought I had missed a turn.  LA traffic disappeared, that familiar feeling of the open road began to seep into my bones.
Rolling on the throttle, wind in my face, feeling of being one with the landscape and road grew stronger and stronger.
The high desert was covered with new spring sage.  Mile after mile the beauty and wonder of the landscape filled all my senses. 
Crossing into Oregon  Goose Lake came into view.  Goose Lake is a large alkaline lake on the Oregon-California border.  Like many other lakes in the Great Basin, Goose Lake is a  pluvial lake that formed from precipitation and melting glaciers during the Pleistocene epoch.  At an overlook I met George Steward.  He moved to Goose Lake with his family eight-two years ago.   Within fifteen minutes George shared the history and his stories of the area with me.  Invited me to have breakfast with him in the morning. with the locals.

It is all about sharing.  Sharing the stories, sharing the history, sharing the photographs, sharing the experiences, sharing our world.  I received an email from a long time friend tonight.  Sometimes, I wonder if anyone out there actually reads my traveling rambles.  He said..."Wow, to have just a bit of your eye and talent to document our beautiful world.  And the ability to ride free and find it."   Thanks for those thoughtful words.  Makes me want to share it even more.

Kickstand down in Lakeview, OR tonight.  No rain so far.

live free, ride free,  Carlan

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rain, sleet, riding in the clouds
Two days of clouds with sun breaks where the majestic Sierras have been sharing their beauty.  Stayed at Tom's Place last night near Independence.  Tom's Place was originally built in 1917 by a German man named Hans Lof.  It all started with a much needed gas station to fuel the traffic moving up from Southern California.  Lof built a cookhouse, added a store and corrals, then started packing people into the mountains for a wilderness getaway. In 1923, Thomas Jefferson Yerby and his wife, Hazel(stage actress, Jane Grey) purchased the business for $5,000 and Tom build the original Tom's Place Lodge in 1924.  People really started getting into the fishing here in the mid 20's, and there was a lot of traffic to Yosemite. The Lodge has not changed much since 1924.  No wi-fi, no TV, only fly fishing rods from the 20's on the wall.  Met some great folks in the bar.  Good food, great conversation.
Sierra Nevada is a Spanish term meaning "snow-covered mountain range".  Riding with the mountains on my left for two days, watching the light hit the jagged peaks, the wonder of how this mountain range formed continues to amaze me.  The Sierra runs 400 miles north-to-south, and is approximately 70 miles  across east-to-west.  More than 100 million years ago granite formed deep underground.  The range started to uplift 4 million years ago, and erosion by glaciers exposed the granite and formed the light-colored mountains and cliffs that make up the range.  The uplift caused a wide range of elevations and climates in the Sierra Nevada, which are reflected by the presence of five life zones.  I have experienced all those climates during the past two days.
Yesterday north on HWY 395 near Lone Pine I stopped at Manzanar.  The Manzanar National Historic Site was established to preserve the stories of the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and to serve as a reminder to this and future generations of the fragility of American civil liberties.  I remembered the story Ansel shared about making the photograph of Mt. Williamson during the days of the internment.  How seeing the morning light on Mt. Williamson had given the people hope for a new and better day.
Leaving Manzanar twenty-five miles of single lane twisties off of HWY 395 on HWY 168 led to the grove of Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains. The Bristlecone Pines are the oldest known trees on Earth. Many of the trees are over 4,000 years old.  At an elevation of over 10,000 feet some of these trees grow only 1/100th of an inch per year.

Back to the rain, sleet, riding in the clouds part.  This morning at Tom's Place the clouds were on the ground, light snow, heavy rain was falling.  Weather report was the same for the next two days.  Spent an hour getting the "foul weather" gear on and headed out.
Remember the saying....a good picture is worth a thousand much for the words.
By late afternoon the sun poked through the clouds as I crossed into Nevada.  Dry pavement never looked so good.

Kickstand down tonight in Gardnerville,NV.  Looking out the window of my motel room it is raining hard again....

be strong, be safe, Carlan



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The king of the easy-riding chopper style.
For the 395 assignment I am running down the highway on a special HOG project bike.  Harley says..."The Wide Glide combines old school attitude with 103 cubic inches of V-Twin engine to rattle minivan windows."  Yea...I think I have been rattling a few windows.  Actually, got my heart to thumping nicely.

Out of the LA traffic. Mile by mile the white noise in my head began to disappear. By the afternoon I am in the zone. Wind on my back, rolling on the throttle, feeling one with the road.
Into the Eastern Sierras
Pearsonville, Hubcap Capital of the World
Bleachers looking for a crowd
Keeler Beach Resort, Owens Lake
Television set waiting to tell a story 
Motorcycle art
Mt. Whitney hiding in the clouds

Kickstand down in Lone Pine tonight.  Cobwebs  gone.  Heart  thumping.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Back on the road for Harley-Davidson and hooking up with old friends:

At the airport yesterday in Albuquerque I could already feel the wind on my face thinking about riding Highway 395 from Los Angeles to Canada.  Pouring over maps the past two months, planning the trip, getting the gear ready, packing my bags.  It was time to ride.

Arrived in LA, picked up the new Wide Glide HOG project bike, made a couple of very important stops before rolling on the throttle heading for HWY 395.

Had the opportunity to hook up with some very special friends.  Thanks Linda and Peg for opening up your home to a biker guy needing a good bed, making me the perfect tuna sandwich, and putting a big smile on my face.
Fifty years ago I hung out with three very special guys.  We were together from the  first grade in school through high school  graduation.  After graduation we went different ways.  My assignment for Harley-Davidson brought us all back together after 50 years.
The four "motor heads".  Jim, Mike, Me, and Marty.  The '74 yellow convert belongs to Mike.  Good things never change.

After reuniting with special friends it was freeway madness across the LA Basin.  Made the turn onto Highway 395 near Hesperia.  Kickstand down tonight at Boron, CA.  Up the east side of the Sierra tomorrow.  Ridin' the "Forgotten Highway".

Wind in my face, hooking up with old doesn't get any better.

be strong, be safe, Carlan