Just a perfect day

Dear future me,

My body might grow older every single minute, but my inner me is rejuvenating with every single mile I put on my bike. This big child is smiling her face off, singing about sunshine and happy days, while embracing the magnificent outdoors of America. Every morning starts with a new music theme and The (inner) Voice is on repeat mode all day long. Today it was a just a perfect day.

When I left Los Angeles, I needed some space and emptiness. Well I found plenty in Joshua Tree, a national park in the shape of a desert and well known for its name giving tree. I had never heard of it before, until I read a sad story in the Dutch newspapers two years ago. A Dutch guy found his death in this park, while he and his German girlfriend tried to walk back to the main road after their car broke down on them. They succumbed to a heatstroke. I visited the place and I couldn’t understand why they went in this heavy 4WD road in the first place. It seemed they were trying to find the Joshua Tree of U2. Wrong park (should be Death Valley) and wrong side of this park (no Joshua Trees in the southern part). I felt bad for them. It didn’t discourage me however to do some 4WD on my own (on a different road), although the park ranger thought I am a 1WD. Up North all the Rangers know exactly how the roads are and if they are suited for dirt bikes, but in the lower states it is very hard to get some good information. Thank god there is internet! Many bikers have done this before me and it turned out to be quite easy and fun. Loads of sand though, weird…in a desert. I really loved Joshua, either on wheels or on foot and it definitely earned a spot in my top five. Meanwhile I was meeting a lot of bikers in the area, which wasn’t very normal to me in the last few months. I finally found motor heaven again, where it is warm enough for others to explore the roads on two wheels. I met a big group of sport bikers from Southern California. Taking the bike out on New Years Day to feel the winding roads underneath their tires. I also met a couple of guys around Joshua Tree, who directed me to some good roads to explore on my way back to the ocean. I had to make a last stop on the Californian Coast: San Diego.

From the high plateau desert into the lower endless fields of sand dunes, into the mountains before the sea opens her arms again. No way any person cannot enjoy the sunny outlook of the southern parts of California. But I wasn’t sure about my destination: another city. The only reason to retrace my steps to the ocean was to get closer to Baja California, the Mexican peninsula. A lot of people told me that it is a beautiful place to visit and some had nice stories and pictures. But somehow my gut feeling, or the inner voice, was telling me not to go. I still don’t know why, but I didn’t feel very comfortable to explore this Mexican state on a “brand new bike”. And as I am always listening to The Boss, I found myself staying in San Diego for a while. Not that I minded that very much, as this city is the oasis I was longing for. Where LA gave me the creeps, San Diego felt like a warm bath where I finally could relax. Part of it was the hostel experience, where I met a lot of nice fellow travelers and some quite interesting snowbirds. One of them gave me the shakes as I didn’t want to recognize her. The screaming lady of Sacramento had returned and unfortunately I couldn’t mistake her for somebody else as she repeated her screaming act. This time not in my room (I was smart enough to book a co-ed dorm), but her roommates were telling the story in the morning: part of it was that she accused some innocent Korean girls, who could barely speak English, of smelling bad. Mmm, that’s not the correct welcoming sentence written in the (secret) Hostel-How-To-Behave-Rule-Book. If she really wanted something to smell, she should have come to my room a few days later were a 92 year old man decided to pee in a bucket in the room instead of going to the restrooms. That is smelly!

Enough of the hostel stories, back to the roads. After extending my stay in San Diego for multiple nights, I felt the time was right to start my long journey East. After all, I have only 3 months left to get myself to the other oceanside of America: The Atlantic. So I left The Pacific behind and went back to Joshua Tree. This time I followed another route that took me over the Santa Rosa Mountains. Believe me, descending from these mountains into Palm Desert/Springs is a fun ride, winding all over the place. As always, I did this in the pitch black evening, because I found it hard to leave San Diego early in the morning. You don’t have to pay any expensive Disney ticket to get the same feeling as Space Mountain, riding in the dark. In Palm Springs I found more than a sandy outstretched city of long forgotten richness and a millions palms. I found four beautiful Canadians, defrosting from the northern chills. Hardly an coincidence, as I’ve been chatting with Larry since I met him in the very small ghost town of Wayne in Canada. The Canadians showed me what a real thrill is, taking me on the aerial tramway to experience a ‘breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon’. Ha, rising up from earth to heaven is a better description for this minddazzling rodeoride to 8500 feet (2600 meter). The good news is, they send us back to earth again, so we can still roam around this planet.

Next on my shortlist was going north to find the historic route 66. If you’d ask me in Holland if I wanted to ride parts of this route, I would have laughed aloud. But after reading the great book of John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, I definitely wanted to get a glimpse of this famous road from East to West. Thankfully, they made it a two way road, so I can use the pavement for my journey too. Some parts of the historic route are desolated, which makes me very cheerful as I ride from one valley into another valley. All different in color, wide, smell, feel, but all vast. You could see the gleam in my eyes right through my sun glasses. Some parts are very touristy however, like Oatman where the donkeys on the street are waiting to be fed by the hordes of (elderly) day-trippers, while some guys are shooting at each other just for shows. My route 66 took me through Amboy, Needles and all the way to Flagstaff. There awaiting me another second round, in fact the big number one on my shortlist: The Grand Canyon. Two months ago I was just a heartbeat away, when the snow started to fall and forced me to leave for Las Vegas. Now, I’ve gotten a second change and while it is freezing like crazy in the evening, the days are sunny and fairly warm. The only hiccup is that I have to travel about 80 miles or 150 km to get there. The first day I started out late, so I could only experience the west side of the south rim (okay, for people who have been there, this actually means something). I can tell you now that it gets really dark at the Grand Canyon when the sun has set. And bloody cold too! Being the tough girl I am (mommy, it really hurt!), I survived the two hours back to Flagstaff. Only to do it all over again the next morning. This time I was better prepared. If you really want to experience one of the seven world wonders and you can’t do it on a bike…….fly in a helicopter. Yahoooooooo!. Words can’t describe what a magnificent feeling creeps into your blood and bones if you soar over the rim into the Canyon. The only thing in my mind was this repeating song, going over and over again.


Annemieke, 15 january 2014

Reacties 3

Eddie 17-01-2014 22:37

Heerlijk verhaal weer Annemiek. Hoop dat ik na je reis weer eens met jou mag zingen, moet na al dat oefenen fantastisch klinken

Michael 19-01-2014 12:30

Wat een beetje warmte allemaal niet met de mens doet Ik denk dat je goed aan gedaan hebt om niet naar Baja te gaan. Ben zelf in Tijuana geweest, net over de grens bij San Diego en daar het nachtleven verkend, bere gezellig maar niet iets om in je uppie te doen, in het zuiden van Mexico had ik zelfs een gewapende begeleider. Ergo, je hoeft achteraf echt niet meer in dubio te zitten of je niet toch naar Baja had moeten gaan.
Gaaf hè vliegen in een helicopter waarbij je de grassprieten bijna voelt kietelen en het idee hebt nog steeds op de motor te zitten maar dan met losse handjes. Ga je straks in de moerasgebieden nog met zo'n swampboat op pad?
Nog heel veel fantastische kms en lekker genieten op weg naar het nog warmere zuiden

Dennis 20-01-2014 11:31

Pfoeh..... ***Jaloers***


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