Side Tripping

While in Southern California, I spent time with family inland, friends near the coast, and the folks at MotoQuest. At some point, I had an afternoon to myself and wandered around the beaches until the sun would begin to set. The only bummer: I lost my third pair of cheap sunglasses since November. It seems to happen after taking off my helmet to catch the best light of the day, taking a walk to get some pictures, then putting all the necessary bits back on after the sun has set.. and remembering the sunglasses were left on top of the rear pack once I’m far enough down the road for them to have blown off. This time I went back, but they weren’t on the ground where I had parked and didn’t see them on the road. C’est la vie.

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Caught the Point Vicente lighthouse at the golden hour/time of lost sunglasses.

If I had been more determined to get across the border I would have blazed that trail, but taking time to enjoy California had it’s own appeal. My buddy Mike had a few days off from work, and I was itching to take the NC700X out, so we took a trip to Joshua Tree for a night. I had forgotten how smooth of a ride this bike is! Along the way we checked out the swirly patterns at Rimrock and visited Pioneer Town. We chose to camp at Jumbo Rocks in the park after finding a site which wouldn’t be too bright in the morning (#39, if you must know).

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Motionless windmills are a joyous sight for motorcyclists.
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Took a break at Rimrock for posing.
And climbing to pose.
Stopped by Pioneer Town for some tourist fun.
My tent at Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree before the sunset.
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Sunrise over the rocks.
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Daybreak at our campsite.
Early light on our bikes.
What’s on the other side of these rocks? More rocks.

Salvation Mountain didn’t seem too far away, so we ventured down Box Canyon Road for some beautiful scenery before the long stretch beside the Salton Sea. Mike pulled off the pavement to slide his baldish tires around the soft sand. “If I fall, you can laugh, unless I’m screaming.”

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If you squint, you might be able to see Mike and his GS in the distance.

While at Salvation Mountain, I had befriended a group of retirement age fellows. We chatted about touring, chaptering and my intent to wander around Baja in the future. I gave them the tour of the NC700X. The frunk(front-trunk for the uninitiated)’s capacity to hold a full-faced helmet and the gas tank beneath the seat always grabs attention from my audience. My average 62mpg and ability to ride it over 10,000 miles in three months were other features they found appealing.

Dear Honda,

You should pay me to travel and demonstrate the NC700X’s capabilities.



I took my time wandering up the mountain and around the side structures. It would have been interesting to check out Slab City and East Jesus, but Mike wanted to get home without riding too long in the dark. I don’t blame him.

Salvation Mountain

The windmills which had been still during our ride east were now whirling as the sun’s light turned to gold and the warmth of the air gave way to chill. Fancy words for it was getting cold and windy, and the sun was burning our eyes at sunset on a westward ride. We took a break at the Cabezon Dinosaurs to warm up, calm our nerves, rest our pupils, and fill our tanks before continuing our respective hauls. I eventually peeled off to return to Riverside, and Mike continued on to Los Angeles.

Golden hour. Wind. Dinosaur.



Steve’s family for always making me feel welcome in their home. I love you folks so much!

Cheryl and David for housing and feeding me, setting me up with more tools and a few other odds and ends I don’t have the means to acquire.

Everyone at MotoQuest in Long Beach! Specifically: Kevin for the satellite personal tracker and not minding that I forgot to pay you back again (you know where to find me in April), Darin for all the mechanical help, information about what to expect this summer in Alaska, and dinner, Nancy for taking time to doodle points of interest on my map and all the Baja safety advise, Kelly for laughing at my terrible jokes, Eric and Adam for teaching me how to load and fire the latest toy, Brenden for reaching out to me when I was in a jam.

Mike for adventuring with me, posing for my entertainment, and letting me borrow your car indefinitely.


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