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A Tale of Two Cities (San Diego to Las Vegas)

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This ride was sparked by the imminant departure of "The Art of the Motorcycle" exhibit at the Guggenheim in Las Vegas. Santa enhanced the idea by adding two nights in a luxury room on the 24th floor of the Mirage as a Christmas gift.


The question then became one bike or two? Always a bit of a poser for me since the longer rides on the 1200C are a bit more challenging than the same rides on the RT.


Well, the weather was beautiful, Jamie was willing to keep the speeds below 90 and accomodate the required gas stops, so off we went on Maynard and the Göttin.


We left San Diego under crystal skies and headed northeast toward Anza Borrego via Hwys. 67, S2 and S22. The tempuratures were crisp going through the hills and mountains and traffic was minimal. We lost the majority of motorhomes and toy boxes as we turned left onto the S22 to head through Ranchita and down to the desert.


There is a point on this road where you crest the summit and lose your breath as the desert view stretches out in front of you. After this the fun really begins as the road spirals you down from Culp Valley at 3400' to Borrego Springs at about 700'. Along the way the curves bend in and out, each outer edge seemingly canitlevering you over the desert floor.


On this gloriously clear morning, as we continued to swoop downward, we could see the Borrego Badlands midway between us and the blue finger of the Salton Sea which beckoned from 30 miles east. Font's Point rises above the surrounding terrain and with the changing light seemed like an earthbound sunrise with oranges, pinks and tans painting streaks through the exposed geologic timeline of the uplifted folds of rock.


On to the east we raced, to the Salton Sea where we turned north on Hwy. 86. At the junction with the 111 we headed east to Mecca for a drink for the Göttin and then continued through Box Canyon, Joshua Tree National Monument and on to Twenty-nine Palms (thanks to DTool for the wonderful route suggestion) to top off the bikes for the ride via Cima and Kel Baker Rds to the 95 and Searchlight, Nevada.


In Twenty-nine Palms, we met a couple of Harley riders on their way from Las Vegas to Palm Springs. As they came over to admire at least one of our bikes smile.gif, they said they had just gotten a Christmas present from one of the local constabulary.


Highlights of this portion of the trip included: Box Canyon out of Mecca with the traffic countable on one hand and twist after twist of washes disappearing into gnarled rocky hills; Not seeing any sign of the generous LEO; Winding through beautiful Joshua Tree; Stopping in to replace a "lost" National Parks Pass which turned up approximately 10 seconds after we signed the new one (anyone in the market for a gently used NP Pass?); Continuing through J Tree with almost no traffic; Kel Baker Road's smooth, twisting, red pavement roller coaster, and never ending up more than 30 or 40 seconds behind Jamie and Maynard on the twisties.


Searchlight came into view just in time as the Göttin was starting to whine for libation. If we keep making these longer trips I guess I'll have to break down and get an RT. The need for more frequent gas stops and taking time to accept the adoration of the people lining up to drool over the C blush.gif added and hour to our travel time.


From Searchlight we headed into Boulder City and straight into the welcoming arms of the lovely Gleno and the equally lovely Terri smile.gif. Allow me to add our voices right now to the hundreds on this board who sing the praises of this beautiful couple. After chatting and viewing the "Garage-mahal" Gleno and Terri piloted us into and through the thick, slow traffic of the Vegas Strip. The Garage-mahal, being examined and found sufficient, The Göttin took her rest there for the weekend. I rested on the back of Maynard and passed on the "opportunity" to weave through the pre New Years Eve traffic. BTW, noticed last night that there were 250,000 people celebrating on the Strip!!


After going up to our room to check it out (they didn't charge us for the beer you took out of the computerized fridge Gleno), the four of us shared a great meal in one of the many restaurants of the Mirage. After, somewhere in the neighborhood of midnight, Jamie and I hiked back to the elevators, made the quarter mile walk to our room and crashed for the night.


We ate breakfast by the pool and made a brief foray into the Caesar's Palace shopping arcade. These things just have to be seen to be believed. This is a massive indoor mall with marble everywhere, vaulted sky and cloud painted ceilings with changing lighting, huge fountains, and columned alcoves with classical statuary- mind boggling, thinking of the costs and materials involved.


We stopped gawking like rubes and headed to a lunch spot to hook up with Gleno, bes Barry, and Denny (DTool) and his buddy Chester (appropriate, considering the limp) who had caged it in that morning from San Diego. Tool's pal had suffered a nasty get off recently. Denny, well have to meet your friend again sometime when he's not gorked on pain meds laugh.gif.


The six of us went to the Guggenheim and I'll be durned if we weren't right back into gawking mode again. The Art of the Motorcycle is one beautiful exhibit. The bikes, from the first attempts to the current state of the art, are shown on sweeping mirrored surfaces and there's a new treat for the moto senses around each corner. Everyone of us oohed and aahed over one great bike after another. That includes Gleno who's been there a half a dozen times. I can certainly see why! Why...wait....what's this I see........? Is it a bird? Is it a Plane? Is it an RT? No, no my friends. wink.gif It's an Ivory R1200C in all her naked glory, right there in the Gugg. I loved that part!!


Moving from a feast for the eyes to a feast for the eating, off we went to Gleno and Terri's where we were plied with artichoke puffs, all manor of veggies and dips, minnie eclairs etc., all as precursors to a gut busting meal of succulent BBQ'd tri tip and bacon wrapped shrimp, home made bread, baked potatoes and spinach salad (insert groans of delight and pain here). We had a great and gluttonous time and got more of a chance to visit with Denny (pal Chester was in a drug induced stupor on the sofa), Gleno, Terri, and Kim and Leslie. Some may remember them from the meat fest or what I like to call the carne-val for Gleno's birthday (Leslie made the cake).


We heaved our bloated bodies onto Maynard and headed back to our hotel. Before Gleno's, we had changed rooms because of some mistakes at check-in. When we got to our new room there was a giant flower arrangement on the table. I was about to show Jamie the time of his life when I noticed that the card was made out to some guy named Danny. We called the desk and were told that the blooms were probably meant for some VIP who had cancelled and to enjoy them as a part of our room. I decided it was better not to ask Jamie who this Danny guy was laugh.giflaugh.gif. When we returned from the Garage-mahal food orgy we entered our room to find "our" flowers gone only to be replaced by a giant basket filled with fresh fruit, biscotti, brie and crackers, chocolate truffles and more. (no card on this one - very clever Jamie).

Seriously though, we called the desk again wanting to make sure this wasn't a mistake before we tore into it the next morning. We scored!


On our way home on Monday we rode into Boulder city to pick up the Göttin and leave all that fresh fruit with Terri and Gleno. They met us at their house and, as if they hadn't already done enough, presented each of us with a beautiful Fisher Space Pen (Terri works there). I was going to submerge myself in a freezing tub of water and write this post upside down on grease soaked paper, but I couldn't figure out how to transfer it to the board. Gleno also sent me away with his 1:18 scale model of an Ivory C. You guys are too much!!


For the return to San Diego, Gleno suggested a route that followed the Colorado River. This entailed many direction changes and some slow travel through the Lake Havasu area. By the time we were nearing Quartzite, Arizona, it was dark, we were on a two lane highway with a lot of on coming traffic and I was having problems keeping the pace. Jamie stopped to let me catch up and he talked me into giving up my stubborn idea of making home that night because I finally admitted that I was just too tired. Neither one of us wanted to have anything other than a happy ending so we motelled it in Ehrenburg just outside of Blythe, California.


We couldn't have made a better decision because the ride home the next morning was awesome! We boogied west on the I10 to Indio. We got off there to get gas and almost made it. My bike coughed her last about a mile from a gas staion. Luckily we had been reminded by Denny to carry a little extra gas for the C and it came in mighty handy! Back on the road again we headed into Palm Desert and through the traffic to the 74 and up and over the mountain to the 79. The wind was fast and furious, trying to throw me and my handle bar mounted fairing off course at every turn. But oh those turns! What an incredibly fun road!! We zoomed through the high valley and the town of Anza amid gusts and dust storms. We turned toward Warner Springs at the 79 and then moved on to Santa Ysabel for lunch. I was getting blown around the whole time but still had a great ride and Jamie was enjoying himself thoroughly. We zipped out of Santa Ysabel and took the Old Julian Highway into Ramona. There's another fun set of twisties which avoid most of the traffic going into Ramona. From Ramona it's pretty much a race to the stables except that the big sweepers on the 67 are a blast when the road is as clear as it was.


Home again, home again joggity jog to a very happy dog, a surprise groomed and cleaned backyard, courtesy of Jamie's brother and a cozy New Year's Eve with a crackling fire, the lights of the tree and a champagne toast to a marvelous and successful trip and to the year to come.


We wish you all a New Year filled with love and happy adventures!!


Leslie and Jamie

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What a wonderful trip report. Very well written, just like we were there to share it. Please contribute more reports of future rides.


Snowed all day here, no riding in this neck of the woods.


Ride safe...

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Absolutely terrific write-up. Last Thursday I took the identical route (up to Kelso) to Las Vegas last Thursday. Just a wonderful set of roads for a motorcycle. DTool did us proud. THANKS DTOOLcolor=red> Your description of the route is poetic and dead-on. Wish I could write as well, but am glad you can so the group can share the magic. And I agree with you about "The Art of the Motorcycle" - a morning doesn't do it justice.


At Kelso I chickened out & went to Baker to get gas since I didn't know if there was gas on Cima Rd. (there is). Then bumper-to-bumper at about 30 mph all the way to Las Vegas on I15. Kind of a waste on a KRS, or an RT, or a R1200C, or a Harley , or a Honda Civic.


I have to tell you another beautiful route is my return trip via Beatty, NV and Shoshone, CA via Death Valley. Grand sweepers down and down and down and down with a 50 mile vista all the way. Virtually no traffic even through Furnace Creek.


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It was the best of rides, it was the best of friends;


It was the age of the twisties, it was the age of fast sweepers;


It was the epoch of Maynard, it was the epoch of Göttin;


It was the season of Guggenheim, it was the season of Guggenheims demise;


It was the spring of hoonishness, it was the winter of, well, winter;


We had Gleno's ribs before us, we had not Gleno's spicy nuts; (why?)


We were all riding directly to Heaven (LV), we were all going back home again;


In short, the period was so far like the present.




Jamie and Les, it sounds like a magnificent time. Thanks for sharing!

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Wow! I'm jealous! Sounds like you guys had a blast! We just went out with the Jeep today and did some of four wheel drive only roads in Anza-Borrego State park, so we were on all the roads you talked about. Beautiful country!


Glad you had a fun and safe adventure! smile.gif

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That route is fantastic. By the way...the whole first part of that route is how D Tool and I are going to Death Valley Daze in a couple of weeks. Anyone who's interested, check out the Ride Together Thread here


S22 is aka "The Glass Elevator" and it's just an awesome road. We came down it today in the Jeep and I was hurtin for sure...especially when we passed a couple of R11S' going up the hill and saw a whole gaggle of BMW's at the bottom in Borrego Springs (BMWOCSD?)


And Box Canyon road?!?!?! Did you feel like John Wayne in a western...just sure you were about to be ambushed by the entire Cherokee Nation or something? Awesome. The cruise through Joshua tree is too pretty to hoon. I love watching the ecosystem change when you go from the Colorado to the Mojhave desert.


Doesn't it look like Kelso is about 100 yards away when you crest that hill?....and it takes 30 minutes at 120mph to get there! laugh.gif Did you stop to look at the old train station there in Kelso?


How 'bout the Amboy cinder cone? Is that not the durndest thing sticking out in the middle of the desert floor like that?


Too bad Roy's in Amboy is closed. I stop there about 1/2 the time anyway, just for a stretch.


Did you have any pucker moments between Searchlight and Boulder City? That road scares the crap out of me every time.


I still have the Space Pen that Terri gave us at Vegas Tech Daze in Sept. 01. The thing's been in my tankbag the whole time, so it's seen 115+, 20, and lots of positive and negative G's. smile.gif Still works great.


The Gugg exhibit is not to be missed...especially with Gleno there to get you in trouble for almost touching stuff. wink.gif And I'll swear to my last day that it WAS a bench. It looks like a bench. It feels like a bench. It MUST be a bench. laugh.gif


That whole group is just top-notch. Chester's a fun guy...He and Denny and I went out terrorizing some of the roads around Temecula a while back...great guy.


And finally...Göttin. I have to say that I haven't been very fond of the looks of the C in general (to each his/her own). But yours in ivory with the matching Beatle bags and Corbin saddle looks really sharp. It needs more fuel capacity, but it's got a good beat and you can dance to it, so I give it a 94. smile.gif

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Wow! Great ride tale - thanks for sharing it! I know the route you took well, and it's one of those routes that for me never gets old. Your writeup is the best summation of it I've ever read - felt like I was there.


Bummed I missed you guys when you passed through Indio/Palm Desert to 74... you were 5 minutes from me! Another time.


Happy New Year to you and Jamie.



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Outstanding ride report. Excellent detail and emotions to pull the reader INTO the experience.


As for Gleno and Terri, what can be said that hasn't? He's the BBQ king and she's the queen of hearts to anyone who's met her. Great couple. Friends you can count on. Love them both.


Finally, there's the Gugg. I've seen it twice, but I wanted to see it one more time. When's the official end, or was it 12/31 and I missed it?


Thanks again, Leslie. You and Jamie rode it together, then took all of us along for a GREAT re-ride.

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"When's the official end, or was it 12/31 and I missed it? "


FB - I think the last day is the 5th of January. I think! Regardless you or anyone else who wants to see it better hustle!!


As for Leslie's ride report... wow. I was reliving those roads in my mind as I read her descriptions. And a hearty "YOU ARE WELCOME!" to everyone offering thanks for the suggested route. Not like those are secret passages or anything... I was merely sharing some roads shown to me by good folks I used to travel with - the San Diego Touring Society!


The trip in the cage was more drudgery than we wanted, but better than not making the trip at all! My buddy, Chester - he of curious limp and Valium-laced speech - had planned to ride over with me, but he got crunched in holiday traffic on Monday before Christmas, and wadded his Kawasaki Concours. Bike is prolly totaled, but Chester got booted out of the hospital the next day. He's a trooper; already shopping for a new scooter. Can't even swing a leg over yet, but out looking the next day. That's a Rider! smile.gif


The cage ride was a last-minute decision, and I am SO glad Chester decided to give it a try. Too bad he was too zonked to answer the dinner bell at Gleno's! tongue.gif I was having so much fun with Gleno, Terri, their neighbors Leslie and Kim plus Jamie and Leslie, that we didn't bug out for home until about 11pm.


Hey folks, thanks for a great bunch of memories. I owe you all!



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Fantastic write-up! Sounds like a very well-rounded getaway: Bikes, roads, scenery, adventure, food, friends, Las Vegas, chocolates. Great report!



Chris (aka Tender Vittles),

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as...color=green>


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