My general route is:
START: SF-Truckee, CA
-Death Valley, CA
-Las Vegas, NV
-Valley of the Gods area
-Grand Junction, CO
-Denver and surrounding area, CO
(Maybe New Orleans/Florida/Georgia?)
END: North Carolina
HEY GUYS!!! I did not fall off a cliff, haha. I did however, get totally sucked into Truckee, CA and how amazing that place is for about a week!
The wind has been following me like crazy on my last bits of travel, and on my first try of leaving Truckee, IT SNOWED. So... I decided to stay another two days and soak in a hot tub . I guess, it really hit me that the whole reason I'm doing this isn't to prove to myself how much of a badass I am, but to enjoy every bit of the ride, and to make it to my next destination. Not a bad idea, huh?
Here's a picture of Jolene at Lake Tahoe:
Not a big update, but I am headed up to South Lake for tonight then off into Yosemite area for the next few days
So.... I got lost in the mountains (Again)... And by lost I mean stuck. For those who haven't spent time exploring the Sierras, I SINCERELY recommend it
So as far as my scooter update goes, here's a great little story for you all about me entering Yosemite National Park last week (I put this on my Facebook page, but ran out of internet before posting it here, sorry for the delay!):
"After traveling for about an hour in almost 100 degree heat, climbing up to Yosemite on 120 from the west side yesterday, my little Jolene decided not to start after getting gas. I pushed her over to a parking spot, unloaded her, and got to work problem solving my issue. Within the first minute two road workers got out of their truck and helped me take apart the front end (it's helpful to have someone hold onto all those silly plastic parts while disconnecting things). We walked through some issues, but the bike still wouldn't start. I wished them well, as they needed to get back to work, and I continued to work in the sun, reading through my manual, and trying to get her to turn over! I reached out to my mechanic savior from the Bay Area (seriously, I am the luckiest person ever that I have this guy on speed dial), and then he walked me through some different possibilities of what it might be specific to the SYM scooter. After following up on his advice, SHE STARTED!!! In the midst of my happy dance, a Harley came up to park in the gas station. Walking over, he asked if he could help. After relaying my story, he insisted that he travel with me a bit, to make sure that my bike would keep starting. Finally getting my EGO to shut up, I agreed to accept his help, and we ended up having an AMAZING ride through Yosemite!! On breaks he would offer up his knowledge of the road, how to handle specific things that we came up against and overall he was patient and kind. No rush, no judgement, just appreciation of the day. Thank you Motorcycle Gods, you are the best!!!"
But Seriously, Mike (that's his name), was a gift from wherever you get the nicest people ever. He was just out for a ride, with no particular destination in mind, and he took the time to watch over me. So, there's a way that some people will join your trip where they have opinions on everything, a secret checklist of things they want to do, or just are actually wanting to be doing something completely than what they are doing. (If that makes sense). Mike was the complete opposite. And, I'll throw some more personal stuff in here, I have hardly ANY experience spending time with anyone that actually wants to just be supportive to me. No agenda, no creepy vibes, nothing. It was one of the most liberating experiences ever. The best part? He would get so excited about everything with me. I would start emphatically pointing at another grandly incredible vista and he would start flagging me to pull over saying, 'if this makes your heart happy, please stop and enjoy it'. As I kept pulling over for more photos, even as I'm just taking off my helmet, I can see him almost jumping for joy at whatever new beautiful lay before our tires. Here was this stranger who was so content to share overwhelming joy over everything we were seeing. How amazing is that?! I know I'm speaking to the choir here that on a bike, you have the ability to experience nature in a way that you just CANNOT do in a car. I don't care if you have a convertible, it's just different. As that new slice of sent comes curving under your helmet and into your nostrils, you just fill with that perfect joy of pine needles and high mountain air, or what have you. MAGIC.
AND here's the next part, NIGHT TIME:
Ugggg.... So my experience with night driving on the mainland (one night) was crossing from Berkley to SF with A MILLION street lights. I didn't even think how this would have padded my experience. Duh! SO, after my 10/11hrs of adventure for the day we stopped to have some dinner in Lee Vinning, before he continued to escort me to my destination in Mammoth Lakes (he insisted he would not leave me until I was in good hands). After BBQ, it was PITCH BLACK. Awesome... So turning on my bike, I saw my little puddle of a light before me. Even turning on the brights I was looking at a slightly larger spread of puddle. Swallowing my fear, I pulled out and had him follow behind me. There were some hills I could barely go 45 and was just using the force to determine if there were deer thinking of running into my path. BUT the wind played nice, which probably saved me from having an anxiety attack. And by golly, I survived. I was just thanking my lucky starts that he had insisted to go with me as I am not sure if I would have made it otherwise in the dark with the semis hurtling past me. When we arrived at my friend's He turned me over, barely human form from the long day, to my girl. He gave me a big ol stiff hug, and told me to text him every once in a while to let him know I wasn't dead. With a bold smile hiding under his white handlebar mustache, he waved goodbye and the Harley roared into the night.
And now: The Sierras are AMAZING!!! I have been just adventuring all over the place, meeting amazing people and have FINALLY given myself a date to leave California, as the jokes of 'when are you getting a state ID' are starting to sound more like reality, and I so look forward to the continued magic of new destinations! So, Wednesday I will be heading out into Nevada for a few days and venturing down to Las Vegas to stay with an old friend.
Anyhow, that's what's going on. Sorry for the long delay: "The mountains are calling..."
<3 - Sarah
Mike and I at Yosemite:
Poor Jolene taken apart:
And here's a picture of LeeLoo The Adventure Pooch, with her dad riding on the back of a KLR in a box he made for her.
I managed to brave Death Valley and not die of dehydration Hurray!! It was so beautiful and impressive. A Little crazy spending the night... Only three other people were in the campground with me, and of course they had to be right next to me. I guess they figured the crazy girl on the scooter had the best spot It didn't go below 109 and with the howling lava wind, I didn't get much sleep, but the star show was AMAZING!!
Here we are watching the sunrise:
The night before Death Valley, I got a great recommendation from a waitress in Lone Pine to camp at Mount Whitney's base camp area, up Whitney Portal Rd. I also had an incredible view of the stars but was woken up about 2 am to 'HEY BEAR'. I decided it was best to just pull the bivy over my head and try to hunker down and sleep, as I wanted to get to Death Valley as early as I could in the morning. Waking up, I saw no bear tracks, so I guess the folks he found first scared him off on his way.
A pic of my bivy sleep set up:
It's an OR Gortex bivy. I LOVE having the bug screen, and have woken up floating in a mini river, and have never soaked through. Combo that with my Sea To Summit coolmax insect repellant sleeping bag liner (which I also use in my hammock for hotter nights), and I am stoked The big green blob you see is the liner covering my inflatable pillow I had it on top of my 35 degree sleeping bag. Having a good sleep means so much toward having a good ride, so I don't like to skimp too much on that regard, but some how everything still fits! I could use a better sleeping pad... but everything else works great for now!
I like my little solar Luci Light too. It packs suuuper small and I have the one that changes color, so I can have some disco mood lighting in the wilderness. Nothing like a dance party in the woods I say!
And here's Jolene 'exploded' at the campground:
The camp host had just come to check to make sure I was alright, and stopped dead in his tracks. "I already thought you were a little crazy when you said you were by yourself, but I thought you were just being silly when you said scooter. You weren't kidding!!"
I seem to get that quite a bit
And then there was yesterday... I left Las Vegas at about 9am, and didn't make it to Phoenix until 7:30pm... LONG day to say the least. I started out my ride going around Lake Mead, which was lovely and I was pretty much by myself. Connecting onto Highway 95.... Yeah... I was not alone, and definitely did not plan for the Sunday surge of people fleeing Vegas back down to Phoenix. I had a small reprieve when Google Maps took me onto Route 66, I even had a segment with no wind!! It was glorious. Stopping by the last little iconic shop to get a mandatory route 66 photo, this couple stopped by my scoot and asked "Are you on ADV Rider?"
-"Why yes I am!"
-"I knew it! We've been following you since before we left New Zealand to ride on Route 66!"
Yep, amazing. I am constantly reminded with how small this world is <3
After chatting with them a bit, and hearing about their travels, I headed off on my 'avoiding highway' route. About 1/4th of a mile on 66 and I took a right down a road that quickly turned to dirt/gravel/sand. Looking up I saw the sign 'Unimproved Road Next 18 Miles'. Hmm... Looking at my gas, I realized I might not have enough to go back to the last gas stop. As I didn't have access to cell service, I also didn't have the ability to check and see what was ahead. Deciding to go for it, I took off down the road.
AHH! The rest of my day battling insane drivers (including a Rolls Royce that passed me on the shoulder), paled in comparison to the nerves that I battled on this non-road. BUT, I made it!
My next hurtle of the day was running out of gas, which was by far the best running out of gas experience ever as 1) The next gas station was 1/2 a mile away, 2) I was walking down the road for barely two seconds before I was offered a ride, 3) Person that offered me a ride was SUPER nice, 4) He gave me a ride back, and 5) Another motorcycle pulled over to just check and make sure I was all right as I was packing up
Just another day on the bestest battle scooter there ever was!
SO, things are still good! I did some math today and realized that I have done 2,159 miles since I left on June 7th, making that 46 days of Scooter Life! And, I've only done four states, and am definitely NOT in North Carolina hahaha. Well... We'll see how long this thing really does take me.
Here's my route so far:
Also, just in case I haven't said thanks for all of the wonderful advice with gloves: THANK YOU!!! One of the many reasons why ADVRider rocks I ended up swapping out my gloves for another pair at Cycle Gear, and then instead of black hands and lost circulation I got a few blisters:
And super raw knuckles:
With a super fancy burn line below the glove. I just can't seem to remember to put sunscreen there... :doh
BUT, I don't loose circulation, and the blisters have turned into calluses I may try swapping them out again, but it looks like the gloves that will actually work. The Elk/deer skin ones that I think would work require online ordering, and well, I don't have much of an address these days! Plus, $50 goes to A LOT of gas
Gosh, so I guess I left you all headed into Phoenix!
Here's where I've been since then:
Prescott, AZ- Got to hang out at Overland Journal, eat some tasty food at the Raven (Seriously, so tasty. And the beer selection is on point!!)
Sedona, AZ-Mainly drove through. There were a LOT of people about and I was ready to get to Flagstaff. I did manage to stop at an overlook, buy some handmade earrings, and snap a photo though
Flagstaff, AZ- Hung out an at the awesome Grand Canyon Hostel, met some fantastic people, watched a bagpipe performance and recharged all of my electronics
Page, AZ- This was my scariest so far. No shoulders, INSANE inconsistent crosswinds, and massive traffic. Every gas station I would pull over at, I would hide inside the gas station, let the feeling come back into my arms, and try to psych myself up for the next leg. I'm sure it was beautiful, but my neck was too sore to look around. That sucked :-( . Once I hit 20 to cut up into Page, the traffic was mostly gone, the wind was more manageable, and the road was beautiful. I am so grateful that the hardest days are combo'd with some of the most beautiful rides, or I'm honestly not sure if I would still be on the road. Pulling into the campsite for the night and chatting with the host, we got to talk about Hawaii, traveling on a plane (he hadn't before), and other fun things. His excitement for all that we talked about helped bring the joy back into me Next step? I met three road bikers that were traveling from Brooklyn to LA and they were fantastic. We swapped small packing tips, road stories, and just relaxed our bones.
Bryce Canyon, UT- YES!!! This place is magic!!! the ride up there was absolutely beautiful, and the ride up 12 from Bryce was even more spectacular. I hiked, met new friends, went to a geology talk, and marveled at everything my eyes met. Here's a shot that I snagged of my sunset:
Sadly I only had time to spend one day there as I have a bit of a deadline to get to Colorado. I WILL be back!
Provo, UT- Ok, one of the highways up to Provo was actually the scariest road I have been on as of now. I guess that's great that I am learning how to read a wind landscape... hah. But when you see giant dirt/sand/dust cyclones surrounding you... Yeah, it sucks. I got hit by one while I was filling up for gas and it almost knocked me over, filling my ears, nose and mouth with dirt. THAT was a hard moment to get back on the scoot and head back out. I am still not sure how exactly I am able to swallow my fear and do it, but I seem to keep being able to find that gumption, throttle and lean like the dickens. Again, somehow, I managed to find a road down in the valley that didn't have the wind howling through, and it was some of the most majestic landscapes of my journey to date. Also, my music playlist was on point, so my last 50 miles or so up to Provo ended up being absolutely fantastic!
SLC, UT- I had a great time hanging out and meeting new friends here as well My phone did have a melt down and I lost all of my stored gps locations and addresses that were saved in text messages, so that was kind of terrible. But I did some nerding out with my phone, and eventually got what I needed!
Logan, UT- As far north as I think I will go on this journey! Super beautiful up here too.
Next? Off to Colorado and then... Well... I still don't have an idea haha. I'll be working on that!!
Ha! Had to smile, Ive been at that exact spot many many times (and I mean exact!) way back in the long ago days of legend when I lived in Flag. We used to ride to Sedona,... to get gas. Couldn't think of any other reason. Mostly just to ride.
In the moonlit nights we'd bypass the barrier posts and ride right to the edge where you are sitting in the picture, and watch the moon and cars in the canyon below. Coyotes would sing in the woods and hills. Theres a fantastic camp spot about 300 yards from that spot youre sitting.
I know of a place that sells deerskin gloves for pretty cheap. If you still need some, you could send a tracing of your hand and I could get some and send them to you general delivery mail to some point you know you'll be in a week or so. No charge to you, I'd be glad to help in your journey. Its been fun following.