Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A ride through the Mojave (Julian to Bishop)

Orchard Hill Country Inn is a beautiful, peaceful, romantic bed & breakfast. We ate breakfast outside at the Inn and enjoyed the peaceful beauty of the rolling hills, horse pastures, and pine trees. I think they were Marigold flowers that were in full bloom next to our patio table.

Back to our room to pack and blog. We sat on the patio outside our room, which was named Sweet Bough. We were having such a nice time talking and blogging about the previous day's adventures we kind of lost track of time. It was 11am before we started packing up. I would have stayed another night there if I could have.

We hit the road with the knowledge it was going to be a 400-ish mile day. No problem, we can do that!

Oh boy, it got hotter and hotter the further north we went. When we hit Riverside Ca, it was 87 degrees. We stopped at a gas station there, drank a gallon of water between us, ate a popsicle, and had a snack. Neither one of us was terribly hungry in this heat. Though, I insisted we drink water until we could drink no more. In hindsight, this was a really good move because by the time we got to 395 in Boron it was 100 degrees with a 30 mph cross wind! We had another 250 or so miles to go to reach our goal of a town called Bishop. A local told us it was going to be like this until we reach our destination.

This was the most intense riding day of my entire life. Crossing the spine of the Mojave desert on motorcycles in 100 heat with a 30-40 mph cross wind is about as hard as it gets. I can't begin to explain what it's like going 70 mph into a wind that feels like a sauna or a giant hair dryer pointed at your entire body. There is no relief by the convection of the wind at 100 degrees. The cross wind added to the misery by trying, in fits and starts, to push our bikes off of the road. At some points the wind would gust and my bike would move 5 feet toward the ditch on my right. Added to the cross wind, the KLR's front fender acts like a sail above 65 mph and makes the front end very light and wobbly.
There were times I felt overwhelmed by the signs that read - Bishop 164 mi. Other times, usually after we stopped for a cool down, gas, and water, I felt empowered by the experience. Kris and I were doing this extremely hard thing together and the spirit of comradery helped me soldier on.

We stopped multiple times at gas stations to top off our tanks, cool off, and guzzle water like nobody's business. Though, there were vast stretches of the desert where there is nothing. I remember going 100 miles where nothing but scrub brush and sand exist. It was a very humbling experience. Being stranded out here without water and a means of rescue could be disasterous.

The last 40 or so miles got a bit greener. I think we got close to Owens Lake because there were cows, some green trees, and some grass. Though, it was still sandy and hot as hell. Bugs became a problem. Our visors and bikes became covered in bug guts. Yuck!

Weary as hell, we finally reached our destination and checked into a hotel. I had joked with Kris earlier that she would get there and collapse from exhaustion. After some dinner, exactly that happened. I was feeling good still, likely due to the gallons and gallons of water I drank. I brought our dirty laundry to the hotel laundry facilities and started it. It's nice to have clean clothes after a day like today.

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