blogging kp!

some of my travels with random musings & silliness mixed in

Desert Christ Park, Yucca Valley, CA October 27, 2010

While out researching another ride to Pioneertown, CA, I came across the website for the Desert Christ Park in Yucca Valley.

This is a hillside park adjacent to a church with 35+ statues of Biblical figures… some of which recreate events from the Bible. The statuary also shows various apostles and/or others in what appears to be discussions or taking time out to contemplate. There are even 1 or 2 statues in a lying down position… maybe resting or maybe just enjoying the sun on their alabaster skin.

Back in the 50s, this park was created by sculptor Antone Martin as a his statement of peace. From what I could tell, his cement sculptures appear to be placed facing away from the sun… with the exception of Jesus who always seems to face Yucca Valley.

Unfortunately, a 7.3 earthquake back in 1992, did some damage to a number of the sculptures… removing heads and hands. This left rebar sticking out bare almost as if someone took the sculptures’ skin off.

Martin also built a large wall with the Last Supper in bas relief. (You can go behind the wall and place your head in the window next to Jesus… it’s ok… the wall was built for this!)

More of my photos: http://wp.me/pyPkl-9I

 

Pioneertown, CA October 25, 2010

Saloon, Bank and Barbershop

Back in March 2009, one of my great friends was about to celebrate his birthday. I knew this because he sent a party invitation via Facebook asking his friends to join him at the Rim Rock Ranch in Pioneertown (Yucca Valley) for the weekend.  I did some “googling” and read up on Pioneertown and it sounded both fun and like a great ride. So, I told him I would come up on my bike.

Pioneertown is four miles from Yucca Valley which is very close to 29 Palms and north of Palm Springs. I “mapquested” the route. About 120 miles… 2-3 hours. This would be an easy ride and it was somewhere new!

I took the 15 to the 79 to the 10 to the 62 toward 29 Palms. BE CAREFUL on this road (62). The wind is gnarly! I have been on this road many times and sometimes I felt like I was riding sideways! Once on the 62 it is only about 25 miles to Pioneertown Road… turn left and about 5 miles, some Joshua Trees, boulders and rock formations later I pass one of the best honky tonks around…. Pappy and Harriet’s Palace. Another 5 miles and I arrived at the Rim Rock Ranch.

The Wagon Wheel Saloon

There were about ten of us hanging out at the ranch. It was a great place!  I won’t go into the details of the birthday party but we rocked the high desert!

Somehow, I managed to miss Pioneertown itself on that trip. When I look back, I have no idea how this happened! I just rode right on by it. So, when I heard my favorite band The Farmers were playing at Pappy’s, I had to go! Once again, I loaded my bike for camping and met the band at Pappy’s on Saturday. I brought some friends with me this time. They stayed in the Pioneertown Hotel and I pitched my tent out back.

Pioneertown Bowl

Let me tell you about Pioneertown. Pi-Town started as a living motion picture movie set in the old west style. From what I understand it was built in the 1940s sometime. The concept was the actors would live in the set while they were filming. If you have seen Judge Roy Bean, Annie Oakley or The Cisco Kid, you have seen Pioneertown. Roy Rogers, Barbara Billingsley and Gene Autry were a few of the actors you could find on set. Also, to be found is the Pioneertown Bowling Alley. Gene Autry would tape his show there and he rolled the first ball in the late 1940s. Check out the murals!

During the summer months, old west re-enactments take place on Saturday right on Mane Street. Also, behind Pi-Town, there are corrals that can be rented for your horse(s).

(The hotel is under new management and no longer allows tent camping, but the owner of the corrals does. There is a giant fire ring and it has plenty of room by the fence to set up.)

More of my photos: http://wp.me/pyPkl-a6

 

Big and Lone Pine, CA September 11, 2010

In order to celebrate my birthday with the people I love, I decided to hurry up and get home from Mammoth.

Normally, this is an eight (8) hour ride via the 395 and the 15, however, I had to stop in Independence, Big Pine and Lone Pine.

If you follow any of my blogs or know me well enough, I have a “thing” for neon signs… particularly the old motel signs. Since these towns are peppered with old signage, I had to stop and grab my camera. I wandered around a bit, took quite a few photos and had lunch.

I left around 2pm and pulled into my local watering hole for some birthday celebratin’ with my favorite friends around 9pm… yep I hauled ass. After a while, I tumbled into my own bed. Have to say there’s nothing like falling asleep in your own bed after being gone for awhile.

More of my photos: http://wp.me/pyPkl-9m

 

Yosemite National Park September 9, 2010

For someone who is not a fan of big cities (me), I had a pretty awesome trip to San Francisco. Hanging out and reconnecting with Cindy and her family after 15+ years as well as meeting her husband and son was great. But it was time for me to head home.

I decided to ride over to Yosemite, cross Tioga Pass and head down the 395 back to home. This time, however, I was going to spend less time in the Village and around Glacier Point. My goal was to camp in Curry Village, get up and spend my day going through Tioga Pass.

Last time I was in YNP, it was late afternoon and SUPER cold, so, my goal was to get over the pass quickly not sight see!!

Half Dome at Sunset

So, I set off around 12:00ish and headed east on the 580 and followed the signs to Manteca. I stopped and grabbed a coffee… because… coffee is the nectar of the gods (behind Captian Morgan, of course)!  I then hopped on the 120 East to Yosemite and cruised for a few hours. I must admit, I didn’t find anything particularly stand out as far as scenery or roadside stops along the way. The whole trip from San Francisco took about three and a half hours.

Yosemite. It is one of my most favorite places in the US. Funny. I have been there at least a dozen times… winter, spring, summer, fall… and I am always mesmerized by it’s beauty! I must admit that since I purchased this bike, I have been back many times in three years after a five or six year hiatus. It never gets old and to be on the bike in YNP is pretty amazing. I have been trying to get my friends to join me but … no takers. Talk about missing out!

Housekeeping Camp #156

Before I pulled into Curry Village, I stopped at Housekeeping Camp. I went into the office and was lucky to get a spot for the night. If you are not familiar with Housekeeping Camp it is an “H” shaped concrete structure with a heavy canvas roof and doors. Each half of the “H” has a double bed, a set of bunks, some shelves and electricity. All you have to do is walk in and make the beds. No tent pitching. Each half also has a picnic table, fire ring and a metal shelf outdoors for cooking, eating and storing your food. YOU MUST USE THE BEAR BOX!

Quick note: Housekeeping Camp rents bed linens and camp stoves. The cost is minimal and might be a great option instead of packing a lot of gear. HC also has a small camp store and laundry room… and of course showers!

As most of you know… I love camping. So, why Housekeeping Camp instead of Upper or Lower Pines? I have never been able to stay there and I wanted to experience the “tent cabins”. As I mentioned earlier, I have been trying to get my friends to ride to Yosemite with me as well… I want to experience the different lodging options.

Diggin the reflection on my saddlebag!

Once settled in, I went to Curry Village for dinner. They have a pizza joint (long lines), a dining room, a coffee bar, a grill and a taco stand. I ordered a burger and fries and sat down in the BAR! Woohoo! I stayed for a few hours & talked to many nice people.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES:

If you are going to Curry Village from Housekeeping Camp… walk or hop on the bus! Yosemite Valley is surrounded by one way roads. You can only drive into the Valley on one side and out of the Valley on the other side.

Your options from Curry Village back to Housekeeping Camp are: You drive the wrong way on a one way street (not recommended) or drive through the Village, part way down the Valley, make a u-turn and head back up the Valley to get back… which is a little gnarly on a motorcycle in the PITCH BLACK with the chance of critters or animals crossing your path.

 

Goin back to Vegas, Utah & Arizona! September 3, 2009

Ugh. 6:39am I feel like I am fighting strep throat and I haven’t packed. I just want to roll over and go back to bed.

So, I am off on another bike trip today. Back to Vegas. I am going to meet my friends from Europe and my friend Sue. We are going to Zion NP, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce NP and Cedar Breaks NM. No camping this time… just rooms…. Somehow we were lucky enough to get a cabin on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

I quickly grabbed the clothes and gear I would need for the trip. I knew there was probably going to be rain, so, I packed one of my dry bags with some gear and necessities. Since my camera gear takes up almost a whole saddlebag and I do not own a “pizza box” yet… the dry bag and a few other items were thrown inside a duffel bag and bungee(d) to my luggage rack. 

I went to work. The day seemed to drag on forever!! Finally, I was able to leave. Riding to Las Vegas is not very exciting. It is about five hours of NOTHING! The traffic wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. I also chose to stay on the 15… The last time I was on the 215 was a miserable experience due to construction. The 215 only saves about twenty miles…not much of a loss to stick to the 15. 

The trip itself was pretty uneventful with the exception of some girl from Arizona in a light colored Honda who was on her phone while weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds. She came so close to me I could see that the light on her cell phone was orange. It seemed as if everything I did to avoid her wasn’t working… she was always right there. It was pretty dark by this point…knock me off my bike no one would know. I decided to pull off the highway and grab a coffee. 

The longer I sit and drink my coffee, the farther away she gets. (note: I don’t wish the cops on anyone but there was a very similar car to hers pulled over and receiving a ticket… I just smiled as I went by… silently hoping it was her.) 

Mad Greek Cafe

Mad Greek Cafe, Baker, CA

One more quick break in Baker (and two lotto tickets) I was back on the road. Baker is an interesting place. It is out in the middle of NOWHERE California. Home of the tallest thermometer. Home to a store that has had many winning lotto millionaires. Alien Jerky. And of course… The Mad Greek… a big Greek restaurant complete with all the Greek kitsch and a drive thru window. Pretty hilarious. Baker is a great place to stop for gas and fast food. Beware: Sunday the lines will go out the doors it gets so busy! 

The weather was still pretty warm crossing the desert. I wasn’t bundled up like usual. One of the great things about riding is experiencing the weather… it can also be one of the worst things… but in this case… I had great riding weather. All the better for the HUMONGOUS storm cloud I had in front of me for most of the evening. Anvil shaped, white, grey, black and full of lightning. I had my own show for most of the trip. The lightning would send giant flashes through the cloud and different sections would flash different shades of white and grey. The bolts were super bright white and very jagged… one second visible the next second gone. Mother Nature sure is awesome. 

Anyway, I pulled into Vegas. The girls from Europe had arrived from Los Angeles in their rented convertible. We all caught up with each other, planned for morning take off and went to bed.