We got quite a treat on Christmas Night.
We got quite a treat on Christmas Night.
Well each Thanksgiving there is a motorcycle ride that starts from around Los Angeles, travels on a long, roundabout way to Barstow and then finishes in Las Vegas. It’s a very popular ride and this year over 700 people suited up and took their motocycles out of Palmdale and headed for Las Vegas. I was among those who departed but unfortunately I was not among the ones who arrived.
Anyhow, I was at a loose end (nothing to do) this Thanksgiving and rather than dwell I decided to RIDE.
The adventure started in Palmdale, California and for many hundreds of riders completed in Las Vegas Nevada.
The first thing that I noticed when I showed up to enroll was that every single rider, without exception, was geared up with full motocross gear. Motocross boots, protective knee pads, and so on. Heavily suited up riders stolled by in the hundreds. Hmm. This is not a race mind you. This is just a ride. I showed up in the same clothes that I used to ride my bike to work. Interestingly enough, my jacket had shoulder and elbow pads built in. When I ended the ride, these were the only two parts of my body not in agonizing pain. Moving on…
Riders started departing at around 6:30am, I left Palmdale a little before 7 am.
The start of the ride, once we hit the dirt was a fast, sandy trail. Being 54 years old and pretty much a Sunday stroll kind of rider, I wiped out pretty quickly. By 9 am I had eaten dirt three times and was sporting bruised knee, bruised shoulder and neck and a sprain in my right hand. Fortunately I am left handed. So I rode on.
Of course I was left in the dust by younger and more experienced riders, and that dust provided me with two more spills. The first, emerging out of a cloud of other riders dust and seeing….a pack of 5 stopped riders…to avoid S&M sex with several other riders I ended up eating large amounts of dirt and sand.
Then, by the time I had been on the trails just 2.5 hours I encountered a huge cloud of thick dust and then, a railway line! All that I can say is that the bike came out on top, for which I am very grateful. It only takes a week or so to generate new skin, and skin generation is totally free! Bike repair is incredibly expensive. So I guess I lucked out to find myself flat on my back with my bike’s fall onto the railway lines happily cushioned by the presence of my ankle. I have to say that I slapped my hand up and down in the sand many times in surrender, but my bike did not get up and walk away. In the end, I had to pry my ankle out from under the bike on my own. I lost about 12 square inches of skin, but replaced it with 24 inches of ankle swelling. So I came out the winner in the end. However at that point I suddenly realized why all the other riders were suited up so good. It wasn’t that I fell down more (I saw plenty of other riders picking themselves up) it was that I didn’t bother to suit up!
To my own amazement, I rode another 6 hours with a sprained ankle and stripped shin. I guess it was the adrenaline. However at the end of the day I made it to Barstow, day 1 completed. But Barstow was as far as I went. Next year you can be sure you will see me in Las Vegas, suited up to the max! And in the end I was glad I went and enjoyed every insane minute of the blood, the sweat, the dust and the ride!
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Well the Baja 1000 started on the 15th of November and since it was close by I went to watch the start of the race in Ensenada. The race is a monster- 1000 miles across dirt roads and trails. There are pit stops but no sleep. You just drive. The guys that do it fast can do it in around 24 hours. Guys that are slower or less experienced can take up to 40 hours to complete. And of course you have to drive on these rough trails through the night. I arrived too late to see all the categories starting (they started at 5:30am) but it was fun seeing the trucks up close and watching them as they whipped through a few Ensenada side roads and the into a dry water canal that lead them out of the city. After they were all gone I drove up into the country and actually drove down one of the better dirt roads that make up the Baja 1000.
Debbie and I have been here 6 weeks now, and I would say that about 80% of the time we get an incredible sunset. We are on the West Coast of Baja California so the sun sets out to the sea. Sometimes I don’t even bother to photograph them because its that way pretty much every single night. However, I have to say, I don’t ever get sick of sitting on the deck and watching the sun go down in Baja California.
I often walk down in the beach in the morning. If I time it right and the tide is low, I can walk to several beaches. If the tide is high I have to scramble over some of the rocks. But it’s a nice walk and the dog certainly enjoys it.
Well Debbie and I said goodbye to our caribbean paradise and headed onwards towards slightly somewhat more English speaking lands. We found ourselves in Mexico- Baja California to be precise. And very nice it is. We have only been here a few days but we are liking it a lot! We are renting a 3 bedroom condo facing the water. It’s an older condo but we love it already. Food is cheap and delicious. People are friendly, and about 50% of the people not only speak english, they are Americans. My French was getting a lot of work but really not cutting it. My Spanish is pretty much non existent but thank goodness I don’t need it. People here are used to dumb gringos and are so glad to finally see a tourist that they don’t give me a hard time at all. Our apartment complex is quite eclectic. We have already met professional poker players on the run from american law, multi-millionaire retirees and there is even a rumor going around that Cuba Gooding Senior lives here. Or lived here. Or passed by one day. Anyhow, we are having a good time. Our dog Buster is diggin’ it too. Perhaps a little too much as you will see in the photos.