Monday, 19 November 2018

Route 66 Part XIV

Hi there

  Being the last day most of us were early for briefing.After briefing we were back on the saddle after traveling for a short distance it was time for refueling.

    It was time to ride on the Angeles crest  highway,passing through the Oak Pass National  park the most scenic ride of the tour .As we entered the forest for one last time  Richard let us loose.The weather was fantastic as we rode slight drizzle started and it become foggy thus slowing down our speed.This time I was leading the back riders after traveling for about 40 minutes self and Peter decided to overtake the riders in the front as they were riding very slowly.

  As I  overtook the rider in the front and all of a sudden the road looked empty, it was such a beautiful sight one felt like one is riding in the clouds.However my hands had become numb due to cold and somehow fatigue was getting on to me and I slowed down .Peter moved ahead and we halted for few minutes,by this time Mark had also joined us.We decided that henceforth Peter will lead the ride .


    Thereafter we caught up with the group at an abonden restaurant .It was  time for a break ,some selfies , soaking in the lovely weather and  to regroup.



Richard and Gustavo

Gustavo,Javier and Alberto

   We started the ride however now Marco also joined the rear gang and he was riding in front of me  ,due to wet surface at one of the corners  he almost slipped but some how balanced himself and than he halted in the middle of the road,I was behind him and all of a sudden I saw him halted in the middle of the road,I just screeched to halt,luckily the bike was now under my firm command as also  I riding pretty slow.

  We spoke to Marco to ride behind self and Peter,which he readily agreed to thereafter it was smooth ride.

  After getting down the Angles crest ,we saw the first glimpse of LA,what a felling it was.We further rode to a small suburb of LA and had our halt for a briefing .

  Richard briefed us about traffic in LA, he also  told us that what ever he has taught us up till now of traffic rules,riding in formation etc all goes out of window.Now on we have to ride to stick together as traffic in LA is crazy.

  Just after a few kilometers we had the first taste of crazy LA traffic when few cars got into the formation and we broke in two groups.I saw the crazy traffic and also saw how bikers rode in this mad traffic I felt home!!! and said now this is the way I am accustomed to ride.And there I went  cutting through the lane closely followed by the rear group I ended up being the fourth biker in the group.Almost all bikers were having a problem accept me I was enjoying,suddenly I felt how good the raw power of Harley  was.I was able to  very easily  maneuver the bike  through the traffic it seems  she now understood ,me and  had become part of me

   Just than Richard managed to again get the group together by pulling on the side ,thereafter it was short distance to the sea face .As we were riding towards the Santa Monica Pier along the coastal road ,my God what a feeling it was .

  We entered the Santa Monica Pier and Parked our bikes .Adrenalin rushing exhilarating moment it was  I had been working on this ride from almost 8 to 9 months and here I was at the pier all of a sudden all the fatigue went off I felt accomplished and could not believe for few moments that I was at the Santa Monica Pier.We got down from our bikes hugged and congratulated each other.While Richard congratulated each one of us for successfully completing the ride.

Roberto and Javier

  Thereafter we moved to the pier per say for the iconic photo with the end of trail sign.

The gang

Elvina and Nick

Marco and Giorgia

Agnes and Richard

Sara and Andrea

Mark and Peter

 Suzane and Mathew

Gustavo,Javier and Roberto

With my trusted RE helmet

As we were having a lunch , this feather fell on me and Mathew suggested me to keep it as it is a good omen.

Richard our guide

Gustavo sleeping baby

  After lunch we rode again.This time to Eagle Rider now to finally say good bye to our bikes.It was an emotional moment when I handed over the keys,felt like something within me is being taken away,I tanked her many time for she never gave up technically and always listened to me in spite of I being a terrible rider .The bike had not a single mechanical failure. 

      At the start of the tour Richard had warned us that we need to take the the zero rental cover and it came handy to me.As during my  fall with Mark my bike had tilted on one side I reported the matter and off course there was no damage to the bike .The Eagle rider technician inspected it, took the key and told me to sign on a small form and that's it.No money charged!!!!!. While Peter who had a bad fall due to confusion with me,had a loose indicator he had to fill a small form too and that's it  no penny charged .We thanked Richard for warning us in time.

   Thereafter we moved to our tour hotel .Evening was a big gala party with the second group too it was laughing hugging and promise to keep in touch what an epic adventure it was.

   I was the only Indian in the group, never ever did people we meet during the tour nor my tour mates ever showed any discrimination towards me,in fact people warmly welcomed me and took photos with me.My tour mates especially Nick  after learning that  I am tea drinker, use to always find tea for me .We were strangers initially but become a family at the end.I have become good rider at the end it is due to continuous guidance by the group especially Peter who not only guided me but Mark as well.  For me more adventure was not over as I was to back pack 1000 miles across west coast.Adios


Monday, 12 November 2018

Route 66 Part XIII

Hi there

      It was another sunny day to ride .As fas as I was concerned, I was loving this weather, warm ,bright and sunny.However as the day progressed  few riders were having a problem of heat and sun.Today we had to ride through the Mojave desert's Joshua tree national Park.

     Richard in morning brief, had warned of rain enroute and said if it starts raining heavily we will skip ride through the Joshua tree national park.But God was kind and it did not rain at all.

      The Joshua Tree National Park is a vast protected area in southern California. It's characterized by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes. Named for the region’s twisted, bristled Joshua trees, the park straddles the cactus-dotted Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert.

     As  we were riding in the desert suddenly we saw a drone which was flying through us  someone was trying to take shots of moving bikes,but this scared many of us as the drone was flying at wind screen level.

    If there is heaven than this is the place ,such was the view of the Mojave desert.It is similar to our desert of Rajasthan ,accept it is covered with Joshua trees & cactus.It has no sand dunes but huge rocky out crops.There was absolutely no traffic and we could constantly hear the loud noise of our bike.

    It was time for a short break and this time we took break at the historical Kelso depot railway station.At one time this was important railway station used for watering of railway engines .The original building has been preserved and the railway station has been turned into a tourist attraction the railway station is still in use.

The original station

 Mojave as seen from Kelso depot

   By this time both sun and heat had become unbearable,and we were looking for a break. This welcome break was at Roy's motel ,Amboy .Roy's is one of the  most iconic attraction on route 66 due to its appearance in many hollywood movies.  

     Amboy  was a mining city,as well as a site of volcanic crater.It was owned by Roy Crowl. In 1938 he opened the Roy's and it expanded its business by 1940.In 1959 the above famous road sign was put up.With decline of route 66 ,the town changed hands many times,facing challenges including access to water ,gas and electricity. In 2005 the town was listed on ebay for 1.9 million and it went unsold!!!!

     However the new owners of Roy's began a systematic revival and today it has again become an iconic attraction.

The model on above ad is owner's daughter

  The next halt was at the famous bottle tree ranch.Elmer Long as a kid use to travel on the route 66.During his journey he collected many artifacts,also his father left him a large collection of bottles.In 2000 the bottle tree ranch was born,and today there are 200 bottle trees.

Papa Peter

   By the time we reached the hotel it was late afternoon .Richard asked us to be at the dinning hall by 1800h. This was our last dinner together as a group and also our last day with the bikes.

   Before  we sat down for the dinner each of us was presented with tour badge,a group photo along with completion certificate.Also  few of us won certain memorabilia,like I won an route 66 plate this was gifted to us by Richard.After presentation by Richard.It was turn of Alberto he gave an emotional speech translated by  hotel staff and gifted a small Argentina flag to Richard and all the three amigos had moist eyes .

    The evening was full of fun,however all of us looked forward to big day that is the day we will reach Santa Monica pier.   


Presentation of flag by Alberto to Richard

Richard and Alberto

The Gang
  We call it a day, good night Victorville.