|MotoTog © Laurie Rubin|
Recently my good friends and pro photographers Laurie Rubin and Peter Tellone came up with the awesome idea to visit the Salton Sea, about 2 hours east of San Diego. I thought, "what a great way to kick off the new year!" I was IN mostly because I knew the Salton Sea is a mysterious and trés cool place to visit, and partly because one of my resolutions for 2015 is to renew my photography hobby with vigor. To add some MOJO to the trip, I committed to riding my motorcycle out for the day... it had been awhile since the F800GS had been on a long haul and this was perfect. ;-)
I left Buckwheat Manor around 6:30am on a Saturday morning for a 9am rendezvous with Peter and Laurie. I'd chosen moderate layering to protect against a cold I just "knew" was going to diminish the closer I got to the desert. The problem of course were the freakin' mountains between me and sea level on the other side! Wheeling through familiar stomping grounds in Ramona and Santa Ysabel it was getting downright cold, but when the mercury hit 31 degrees motoring by Lake Henshaw and through Ranchita the bones were ice. I pressed on regardless and snapped into *high alert* heading down Montezuma Grade into Borrego Springs.
Side note: Montezuma Grade is one of the most epic roads in SoCal for your favorite motorcyclist. My skills can't possibly do justice to the serpentine curves which seem to sliver endlessly 'til the desert floor. But I try. ;-)
My sights were set on breakfast in Borrego Springs and Carmelita's didn't disappoint. Had I not been on the bike, a Bloody Mary would have been in order, but I settled for some excellent Machaca and a place to warm my bones. Looping around Christmas Circle, I knew I had some 30 miles of straight run to the AM/PM meet-up point. Soldiering on, I was excited to see so many desert rats out there camping and cavorting with their toys: Jeeps, Razors, quads, dirt bikes, buggies, baja bugs and a myriad of other post-apocalyptic vehicles stretched to every horizon. God I love America!
The ride out was uneventful, with some nice straights where I stretched the bike's legs to an easy 110mph, tucked in behind a short fairing. Passing the Font's Point turn-off, the slot canyons and radio towers, our friendly Salton Sea shone in the distance, then grew ever closer.
The mini-market was busy. I pulled in around 9am, just about 15 minutes ahead of the crew. Talked to a few dirt bikers and slammed a Red Bull, then Laurie and Peter pulled up - great to see them!
|Airy Seat (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
|Pet Graves & Trailer (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
|Double T Vision (Macphun Intensify Pro & Nik Analog Effects 2)|
|FishBird! (Macphun Tonality Pro)|
|Lake Throne (Macphun Tonality Pro)|
|Dance Party (Macphun Tonality Pro)|
|Head West 3 Sisters! (Macphun Tonality Pro)|
|GeoCruise Ship (Macphun Tonality Pro)|
|Copter Worship © Peter Tellone|
|Snow Angel © Laurie Rubin (Macphun Tonality Pro)|
|Silent Iron Boxes (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
|Upchuck (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
|God's Truck (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
|Launch Ready (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
|Reflective Angel (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
|Serene Twins (Macphun Intensify Pro)|
When that engine quits on a lonely, dark two-lane highway miles from nowhere, it's eerily silent. I pushed the bike off the road and dialed up Laurie on the mobile phone to explain the situation. The stars squeezed in while semi's roared by and a freight train rumbled by, 30 yards away. My bike was silent. I ate a PB&J sandwich to pass the time. Fortunately, town was just 4-5 miles ahead; Laurie and Peter motored back w/ some gas to get me revving again in short order. Wahoo!
A quick gas-up and dinner at Del Taco, left me looking at a 7:40pm departure time and facing a cold daunting ride homeward through the mountains. Obviously up for the challenge (what else?!) but still had to be looked at as something to simply "rise up and get through." Montezuma Grade, upward in the dark and chilly, was a terrific challenge - anticipating the arc of the road and modulating throttle accordingly was great practice. I'll confess, I hit some decreasing radius corners a little hot, but the bike is sheer magic and saved my butt a couple of times.
Rolling in at 9:45pm — fully 15 hours after leaving my house in the morning — I was proud of the 2:05 run home, while respectful and taking a moment to size up the high-speeds needed to make that happen. Why didn't I just chill on the homeward leg, take it super-easy? Errrr... not my nature. Someone "upstairs" was definitely looking out for me today! ;-)
|Super Happy: Me & the Nun (Macphun Intensify Pro)|