Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mike's SCMA 4 Corners/True X Ride

The Southern California Motorcycle Association sponsors a ride called the "USA Four Corners Tour."  The rider has 21 days to ride to each of the four corners.  The corners are San Ysidro, California; Key West, Florida: Madawaska, Maine, and Blaine, Washington.  The corners can be ridden in any order as long as the ride is completed in 21 days.  Upon arrival at each corner, the rider must obtain a gas receipt and a photograph of the rider and his or her motorcycle in front of a landmark unique to that corner.

Another option, which I chose, is the "USA Four Corners' Tour/True X."  Like the regular Four Corners' ride, the rider must ride to each corner of the US, but in between each corner, the rider must ride to the geographical center of the US; Lebanon, Kansas, for a total of three times.  While in Lebanon, the rider must get a gas receipt for each visit at the lone gas station and take a photograph of the rider, his or her bike, in front of  three different landmarks; the monument marking the geographical center of the US; the lone gas station; and the post office in the small town.  The rider has 26 days to complete the True X.  If the rider completes the ride in 21 days or less, the rider gets credit for both the Four Corners and the True X.  This calendar year, only 6 riders completed the True X and about 20 completed the Four Corners.

I started my ride August 6 in San Ysidro, California, easily completing the True X in exactly 21 days.  I was on course to complete the ride in 15 days, but I was meeting my brother in Abbotsford, British Columbia, August 30, for another ride, the Three Flags Classic, from Abbotsford to Rocky Point, Mexico.  I then decided to do some sightseeing.

My ride to complete the True X was 13,001 miles.  The route I took was San Ysidro, Lebanon, Key West, Lebanon, Madawaska, Lebanon, and finished in Blaine, Washington.  I had one oil change in Paw Paw, Michigan and changed the tires in Missoula, Montana.  My intent was to make a nightly entry on this blog, but after writing in my journal the first night in San Ysidro, I didn't touch the journal again or make a blog entry due to my long days of riding.  Therefore, four months later, I am going to try and update this site to the best of my recollection.

The traffic during the week in Southern California is a mess.  Therefore, after Teresa took a starting photo of me in front of our house, I rode down to San Ysidro on a late Saturday morning, still hitting a lot of traffic.  It was solid traffic with gridlock from Corona past Temecula.  I wanted to take my picture in San Ysidro Saturday afternoon at the Post Office after it closed, as the parking is a challenge when the Post Office is open (I had scouted the location when in the area on a prior ride).  As I positioned my Goldwing near the post office sign and set up the tripod, a white Goldwing came riding in.  It was some nice folks (Neal and Karen) from Lebanon, Kansas, who were also doing the same ride.  This was there third corner and only had to return to Lebanon and then Key West before they were finished.  After my photo, I went to dinner and got a few hours sleep before starting my adventure at 0324 hours on Sunday morning.

After getting a gas receipt at the local Chevron in San Ysidro at 0324 hours, about a half hour later than I wanted to start, I hit the road, going east on the 8.  I had initially planned on starting at 0200 hours to beat the heat, but I didn't want to deal with drunk drivers, so I figured starting any time around 0300 hours, would better my odds of not encountering a drunk driver.  I rode 900+ miles the first day, stopping in Las Vegas, New Mexico the first night.  I had heat during the day and heavy rain from Albuquerque to Las Vegas.  On the way to Lebanon, I stopped in Colorado for lunch and to take a break from the rain.  Below the passenger seat on the right side of my Wing, you can see my "Moto Jug" attached to the right side.  It is a one gallon cooler I fill with ice and water in the morning.  It is very important to stay hydrated. 

I made it to Lebanon on my second day after riding a total of 1,630 miles.  After taking my photo in front of the monument and getting my gas receipt, I headed east.  There wasn't much going on in Lebanon when I fueled up, but there were about seven farmers in the lobby of the station.  They are all familiar with the ride and reminded me to get a receipt.

I rode through several states as I made my way towards Florida.  On most days, I was on the road well before 0500 hours.  I would start most mornings off with an apple or banana and that would keep me going until a late breakfast/early lunch.  I usually ate at a McDonald's or Taco Bell.  At McD's, I would get an oatmeal without cream, a side salad without dressing, and a cup of black coffee.  I think McD's has the best black coffee in the fast food industry.  At Taco Bell, I would get two Cheesy Bean and Rice Burritos, "Fresco" style, without cheese or the creamy sauce.   When on long road trips, a rider should be aware of what they are eating as the weight can pack on real fast or add a number of restroom stops.

I remember stopping at a Taco Bell somewhere in Missouri. A man and his girlfriend, who appeared to be homeless, came inside and sat down near me.  The man kept looking at me while I ate and followed me outside as I got the Wing ready.  I thought he was going to ask me for money, to which I would have probably bought them lunch, when in fact he just asked me a lot of questions about my Wing and my trip.  When I told him I was from the Southern California area, he told me he grew up in south central Los Angeles near Florence/Normandy.  He said he saw the start of the riots when Reginald Denny was beat and we talked for a bit about the riots as we were both quite familiar with the riots and the area.  He then told me about the rise of crack cocaine in the 80's in south central.  After about twenty minutes of an enjoyable and interesting conversation, I told him I had to go.  I never judge a man by his wealth, but by his character.         

As I continued towards Florida, I got stopped in gridlocked traffic in Nashville, Tennessee.  While stopped on the freeway, it began to rain.  It was one of the few times when I missed the crazy state of California, as California is the only state in the nation that allows lane splitting.

I arrived in Florida City, Florida in the afternoon of August 9 and checked into the Travelodge.  Florida City is the last city in Florida before heading to the Keys.  I was up at 0300 hours and on the road shortly towards Key West.  My research indicated that traffic can be bad going to the Keys, so I wanted to leave early before traffic.  I was warned by friends who have completed the Four Corners of two things: Do not speed, as there are Police with radar all along the route to Key West and to keep an eye out for deer.  Deer????  They had to be joking.  True to their word, I saw a police car at every little town on the way to the Keys.  Also, at one point, I saw a sign indicating deer in the area.  I laughed, thinking "no way!"  A short time later, I saw some deer on the side of the road feeding in the dark.  I slowed down as I have heard some awful stories of accidents between deer and motorcycles.  I arrived in Key West before the sun came up.  I had time to fuel up (and get a receipt) and have some oatmeal/coffee at McDonald's.  Did I say McDonald's has the best black coffee?  As the sun came up, I toured Key West a bit on the Wing and found the Southern Most Point, marked by a buoy.  Unfortunately, the city had a fence barrier around the buoy and I was unable to get a photo right next to it.  Five days of riding and I was in Key West, having rode 3,952 miles.  I was putting in some major miles and time to head back towards Lebanon. As I was leaving Key West, the rain clouds started moving in.

I hit some light sprinkles on my way back to Florida City.  I could see the line of traffic headed to Key West and although I was tired, I was thankful I got an early start.  As I refueled in Florida City, the skies opened up with heavy rain.  The temperature was in the upper 80's as it rained.  I put on my rain gloves and hit the road.  I got on the Florida Turnpike and headed north.  There was a lot of traffic and the cages (cars) were moving along at about 85 mph in the heavy rain.  Every time I would allow for an open space with the cage in front of me, another one would move into the open space.  I just took a breath, relaxed, and moved on, hoping no one would have an accident.  After a few hours on the Turnpike, it was time to pull off and get some gas.  As I exited the Turnpike, the rain stopped and the temperature shot up into the 90's.  I put on my cooling vest and hit the road.  The cooling vest does a great job of lowering the body's core temperature. 

The gray and yellow jumpsuit I wear for long distance touring is an Aerostich R-3 Light.  It is 100% waterproof and was put to the test on this ride.  Aerostich suits are expensive, but in my opinion, they make an excellent/proven product.   I was completely dry in the heavy rain and I never felt warm until the temperature rose into the mid-90's.  My boots are SIDI Tour Gore-Tex.  They kept my feet dry, provide excellent protection to the foot and shin, and comfortable to walk around in when taking a break or exploring a town.  I practice ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) and don't cut corners when it comes to quality safety gear.

As I continued my ride towards Lebanon, I continued to have periods of heavy rain.  I can't remember if it was in Georgia or Tennessee, but I rode through some mountains with heavy rain.  The highway had two lanes in each direction.  Due to the heavy rain, I had low visibility.  I slowed down and rode in the number two lane.  The cages and trucks were driving extremely fast in the wet weather, I would estimate at about 75 mph.  Pure insanity!  I kept thinking I was going to come around a corner and see a jackknifed truck.  Eventually I made it over the summit after an "E Ticket" ride.  As I was going down the mountain, now in light rain, I saw a jackknifed truck blocking both lanes in the other direction.  I could see that coming with the speeds they were driving.  The other lanes were stopped, not slow, but stopped for a minimum of five miles.  I was thankful the truck didn't crash on my side of the highway.

While on the Kansas Turnpike between the Missouri line and Topeka, I stopped to use the restroom and get a cup of coffee at a toll road service area.  I was transferring the coffee from the cup to my "Butler Cup" attached to my left handle bar and I spilled some on my hand.  As I was returning from the trashcan, an old Toyota pickup parked with an elderly man and woman inside.  The man said, "Looks like you are doing some major riding."  As I approached him, I noticed the tattoos' on his forearms were so faded that I couldn't make out what they were.  He had old leather skin and when I looked into his eyes, he looked tired.  We began talking about my ride and as I continued to look into his eyes, although hard to explain, I could see his eyes coming back to life.  Both he and his wife were asking me a lot of questions about my ride such as where I was going, the Wing, my gear, etc.  I truly felt I could have spent the day talking with them, as it was obvious they spent a lot of time riding in their lives, but I had to get back on the road.  The man extended his hand and I said, "Sir, I'm sorry but I spilled coffee on my hand, " showing him the coffee on my hand.  He said, "That's ok, I want to shake your hand."  I extended my hand and we shook, as he gave me a firm handshake.  I think about these folks often and wish I could have spent more time with them.  Seeing the man come to life as we spoke is something I will never forget.

I arrived back in Lebanon on Day 7, having completed 5,562 miles.  The gas station was closed, but the pumps were working.  I refueled and got my receipt.  There was a local farmer fueling his truck and we talked for a while about life in Lebanon and he was familiar with the ride, as most Lebanon residents are.  I positioned my bike for the photo at the gas station and began to set up my tripod.  I could hear a Harley coming down the road and he came into the station.  This guy reminded me of an old Confederate soldier on a motorcycle instead of a horse.  His braided beard was at least two feet long.  We talked for a while and it turned out that he was also doing the "X", with only Maine remaining.  He was a retired pilot from Georgia and spends a lot of time riding.  He took my photo for me and I told him I would see him on the road, as we were both going towards Maine.  I didn't see him again until Abbotsford, British Columbia, at the start of the Three Flags Classic ride.  We were both surprised we didn't see each other on the road.  In the attached photo, you will notice a numbered towel on my Wing.  Each rider is assigned a number and the towel must be present in each photo. 

As I left Lebanon, I was looking forward to this next section of the ride to Madawaska, Maine.  This was new country to me.  I had been all over the southwest, south, and southeast US, but never up to the northeast.  My route would take me through Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Canada, and crossing the border back into Madawaska, Maine.  Having been on my motorcycle a couple times in Western Canada, I decided to enter Canada from Michigan into Point Edward.  While riding to Canada, the left low beam light went out on the Wing.  I stopped by a Walmart and bought two replacement bulbs and did the change myself.  Much cheaper than going to a Honda dealer.

My first night on the way to Canada, I stayed in Adair, Iowa.  As I recall, it had two hotels, two gas stations, and one restaurant.  The perfect place to get a few hours sleep and hit the road early.  I planned on leaving no later than 0430 hours.  I had the bike loaded and ready to go.  I always keep the one cent plastic key card the hotels give out.  However, on this occasion, I decided to leave the two key cards in the room so that they could be used again by the hotel.  As I turned the key on the Wing, I noticed I didn't have my gloves on and I had left them in the room.  I walked to the room and when I reached into my pocket to get the key card, I remembered I intentionally left the cards in the room (along with my riding gloves).  I went to the desk and nobody was on duty.  I sat in the lobby until 0600 hours when the owner entered and gave me a replacement key.  That was the last time I left the keys in the room.  I was not happy with myself as I had a LONG riding day ahead of me.

I really enjoyed my time riding through Canada.  I didn't realize there was so much farm land.  I rode through Toronto, Monteral, and Quebec.  As I began to ride south towards Maine, I was on a mountain highway with several warning signs for elk.  I had seen elk while riding in the past in Colorado, but no luck this time.  As I was approaching a summit, there was a large, flashing sign, warning of caribou crossing.  I slowed down as I really wanted to see some caribou, but again no luck.

My luck changed at the small border crossing going into Madawaska, Maine.  The officer and I had some small talk and I explained the ride, of which he was aware of.  After giving him my passport, I saw him scan it and a loud alarm sounded.  Three officers, led by a cute female officer, ran out of their office and it appeared the cute female officer was about to tackle me off my Wing, when the initial officer with my passport shouted, "I don't think it is him!"  I didn't get tackled, but my Wing and I were escorted to the rear of the building where I was detained and escorted inside as my Wing was searched.  I was asked a series of questions and had to provide my driver license to confirm my identity.  After nearly thirty minutes, the initial officer explained that there was a warrant for an "Armed and Dangerous" assault suspect with my exact name, birthday, similar body description, and also from the Los Angeles region.  About the only difference is that the suspect is African-American and as you can see from my photos, I am of European descent.  The officer said he would speak with his supervisor and attempt to put information into the computer system indicating that I was not the suspect.  I appreciated that, as I had several more border crossings to make.

A little shook up from being "Detained by the Man" (my wife says it is karma), I went to McDonald's and had some coffee and oatmeal.  The small McDonald's was packed with several retirees.  Many of them approached me and we talked, as they are all aware of the ride.  One of the gentlemen asked me if I would be going to Four Corners Park to take my picture in front of the monument.  They are very proud of their city and Four Corners Park.

I rode down to the Post Office for a quick picture.  I met a friend and had it jump in the picture with me.  As I was loading up my tripod on the Wing, a man stopped his car and asked me if I wanted him to take my picture in front of the Post Office.  Such nice people here.  I then rode to the gas station to fuel up and get a receipt.  My final stop in Madawaska was at "Four Corner's Park." ( )  The park was the idea of Joe LaChance, who completed the ride in 2000.  Although I had never met Joe, I called him while still in Canada, hoping to buy him a cup of coffee and say hello.  Unfortunately, he was not available.  As I entered the park and rode towards the monument, the man who had asked me about the picture while in McDonald's was there and guided me toward the parking spot at the monument, where he gladly took my picture.

I had been on the road for ten days, completing three of the corners when I was in Madawaska.  I had rode 7,527 miles.  To be quite honest, I was still a little shook up from the border detention and hoping I wouldn't be stopped at each border crossing entering the US, as I still had more travels into Canada and Mexico before my journey was finished.  It was nice crossing back into Canada.

I again enjoyed my ride across Canada.  It is a beautiful place to ride.  I stopped at a McDonald's in Montreal to use the restroom and get a cup of coffee.  While waiting in line, I noticed everyone was speaking French.  When it was my turn, I asked for a small coffee and the young man behind the register looked at me.  I then pointed towards the coffee and again said, "small coffee."  He looked at me again and said in perfect English, "Very good, one small coffee."  I had to laugh.  Same thing happened at the counter while waiting for the coffee.  The gal would call a number in French and give the customer their food.  She called a number in French and I noticed she was holding a coffee.  I knew it had to be mine.  I handed her the receipt and as she said something in French.  I smiled and said thank you.  She said in perfect English, "Thank you.  Have a great day."  I had quite a laugh at that experience.

As I was approaching the Michigan border, I was wondering if the alarms would be activated and I would be detained again as I contacted the officer at the border crossing.  While waiting in line, I slightly jumped when I heard the alarm go off and observe several officers swarm a car as the passenger exited and was led away in handcuffs.  I was thinking, "Don't let that be me.  What will happen to the Wing if I am detained?"  It was finally my turn and as the officer scanned my passport card, I was relieved when the alarm didn't go off.

I stopped in Paw Paw, Michigan for the night and stayed at an Econolodge, across the street from a Honda dealer.  I was due for an 8,000 mile oil change and the manager said he would get me in first and back on the road.  Most motorcycle shops are good about helping out riders that are touring and on a schedule.  

My older son, Austin, had a good friend in Michigan and visited the state a few times.  He had been following my progress and said that I had to try a Michigan Coney Island Dog.  He said that although he didn't care for it, it was a must try when in Michigan.  I asked the gal working the desk at the Econolodge if knew of a place that had a good Coney Island Dog.  She had no clue what I was talking about.  I walked around town and found a cool drive-in that specializes in hot dogs and home made root beer.  Sure enough, they had it.  I had two of them and some fries.  Not my favorite, reminded me of a chili dog.  The ice cold root beer was amazing and I think I had five refills.  My son was happy to hear I tried it.  

True to their word, the Paw Paw Honda had me at the front of the line and on the road in an hour after opening.  As I always change my own oil, it was tough to pay the $80 for the oil change, but that's what is expected when touring on a motorcycle around the country.

As I was making really good time, I stopped by "Freedom Rock" in Menlo, Iowa.  It is a large rock painted with  patriotic pictures.  One side of the rock was dedicated to Dedmond Doss, WWII Medal of Honor recipient.     

As I continued my ride towards Lebanon, I stopped at a gas station in Nebraska surrounded by cornfields.  As I parked the Wing, I saw a motorhome at the next island with about eight people standing around talking.  I started to fuel the Wing and I hear a man say, "I've gotta go talk to this guy!"  He walked over and shook my hand and said he rode a Goldwing back in the 80's.  He developed carpal tunnel and had to stop riding.  As we continued to talk, I could tell that he missed riding.  He added that he would rather be riding with me across country than going out in the motorhome.  We wished each other safe journeys and I was back on the road.

While on a back road in Nebraska, I saw a historical marker in the middle of nowhere.  I stopped and it was the sight of "The Skirmish at Spring Creek."  On May 17, 1870, a sergeant and four privates from the Second US Cavalry were attacked by fifty Indians.  The skirmish lasted two hours.  One soldier was wounded and their horses were killed.  They all received the Medal of Honor.

I arrived in Lebanon for my third and final time on August 18, thirteen days and 9,490 miles after I started.  My final photo was in front of the Post Office located in the business district on Main Street.  The business district is made up of the Post Office, American Legion Hall, and Ladow's Market, the only market in town.  The market also has a very small restaurant attached, and yes, it is the only restaurant in town.  Unlike other locations on the ride, the photo in front of the Post Office was easy, as there were plenty of open parking spaces.  In fact, the street was nearly deserted except for a few cars in front of the market, which was my next stop for lunch.  I wouldn't have known about the restaurant, as there is no advertising on the front of the market.  On my second trip to Lebanon when I met the retired pilot, he recommended I have lunch at the restaurant and told me it was inside the market.  There were about ten people inside the restaurant having lunch, most of which greeted me with a smile.  I had an excellent burger and topped it off with a slice of German Chocolate cake.  Outstanding lunch and great price!  I am going to miss this farming town of about 200 residents in the middle of nowhere.  I am looking forward to coming back in a couple years.

I headed north from Lebanon towards Nebraska. Shortly after leaving Lebanon, I stopped along the road to take a picture with the corn that seems to go on forever.  I was amazed that I could stop on the road, look around, set up my tripod, take a picture, pack up, and continue north with a car driving past.  I next stopped at the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie.  There were some nice views of the prairie.  I then continued 200 plus miles to my hotel in Ogallala, Nebraska.

I was sitting in my hotel room in Ogallala, looking at my maps.  I realized that I was an easy two day ride from my final destination and that would put me at a ten day layover before I met my brother in Abbotsford and I still had eight days until the 21 day mark.  Before I left, my mother-in-law requested that if I had time, to ride up Fort Frances, Canada, and locate her father's grave, as she was now too old to travel that distance.  I knew I had the time, so I pulled out the maps and came up with an alternate route.  My first stop was Mt Rushmore.  I had always wanted to see Mt Rushmore and I didn't know when I would be back in this area, so the next day I rode north to South Dakota and Mt Rushmore.


Leaving Mt Rushmore, I rode north through South Dakota into North Dakota.  That segment of the ride was the hottest I had on my trip, reaching 104 degrees in the South Dakota plains.  I spent the night in North Dakota and then rode up through Minnesota, into Canada.  North Minnesota was very green and beautiful.  I am sure they get a lot of snow in the winter.  I also saw a lot of deer.  It was a small, uneventful border crossing into Canada.  I had done research long before I started my trip as to where the grave may be located.  I stopped by City Hall in Fort Frances and they were extremely helpful, giving me a map of the cemetery and a rough estimate as to where he may be buried.

I rode to the cemetery, about ten minutes outside of town.  I parked the Wing and with the assistance of a cemetery worker, we found the grave within fifteen minutes.  After taking some photos, I rode about 20 minutes west, to the town of Emo.  My mother-in-law said this is the town where her father had a farm, four miles north of town and she requested a photo of the old barn.

Armed with that information, I started at the Department of Agriculture in the small town. They had no records and recommended I go to City Hall.  City Hall had no records and recommended I go to the hardware store, as old timers often hang out there.  No old timers, but I was directed to the small town museum, as the lady that runs it, "had been around forever and knows everyone."  The lady (very nice, but can't remember her name) was helpful and we looked at a large map.  She didn't recognize the name and we were unable to locate the farm.  We had a nice chat about life in Emo and how they only get five feet of snow per year.  She asked what I did for a living and I explained that I was retired.  She asked what I had done before retirement and when I told her, she said, "We could really use you up here!"  For about two seconds I had a crazy idea about moving to Emo and going to work for the city.  Then I came to my senses and told myself to get the heck out of there before I  decided to go back to work!


After crossing the border back into Minnesota, I decided I would ride to the small town of Park River in North Dakota.  My dad was from Park River and my mom was from the nearby community of Edmore.  We took a family trip to Park River in 1976.  I didn't remember much of that trip, but I remember going to a small bakery every day.  As I rode into town, it didn't take me long to find the bakery.  It was about the same as it was in 1976, as was the rest of Main St.  I had an awesome cinnamon roll and a cup of coffee.  I then briefly walked around the town and started riding west towards Montana.   

Leaving Park River, I headed west with my next destination in Butte, Montana.  In the early 70's, myself and every young boy/teenager, was a big fan of Evel Kenievel.  We rode our bikes around going over small jumps, thinking we were Evel Kenievel.  I can still remember watching the Snake River jump on ABC Wide World Of Sports (back when the best sporting events were free on TV), thinking he was going to die on that one.  Glad he didn't.  I still enjoy watching old footage of his jumps.

After a quick lunch at Taco Bell, I easily found the cemetery (Mountain View Cemetery).  I had done research while in the hotel, so it didn't take me long to find his easily marked tombstone.  I thought it was an interesting tombstone.  He had the tombstone made in 1974, before the Snake River attempt, in the event he died during the jump.  It has a picture of the "rocket" on it.  I am glad I made the stop to pay my respects and give thanks to Mr. Evel Kenievel.

With 22k miles on my Dunlop E4 tires, they were showing some wear.  I made an appointment at the Honda dealership in Missoula, Montanna and headed west from the cemetery so that I could replace the tires the next morning.  Like the other Honda dealer, they moved me to the front of the line and had me in and out in minimal time.

When I left the Honda dealer, I chose to stay off the freeway and took an awesome ride through the mountains/forests on Highway 12, to Lewiston, Idaho.  Last time I was in Lewiston on a Three Flags ride, it was down pouring rain.  Today was hot.

Leaving Lewiston, I worked my to Richland, Washington, to satisfy a craving I have had for nearly three years.  I had seen a television show about the best donut shops in America.  "Spudnut Donuts" in Richland, Washington was on that show.  I tried to get my brother to make a 100 mile detour two years ago on the return ride from Canada, but he didn't want to go.  Spudnut uses a potato flour and has been in Richland since 1948.  When I arrived at 7am, the shop was packed, with a line to the door.  I saw one open seat at a small table and a waitress told me to grab it before it was gone. Although I had a light breakfast at the hotel, I had two donuts and a good cup of black coffee.  One was a maple bar, and the other, was some type of chocolate cake.  Both were delicious!

I met my brother, Jim, in Bellingham, Washington, on August 25.  On Day 21 of my ride, August 26, we made the short ride to Blaine, Washington.  We fueled up and I got my final gas receipt.  I took my final pictures in front of the Blaine Post Office to complete my "Four Corners/True X" ride.  I did it in 21 days, riding 13,001 miles.  

 I called my wife and she asked if I was ready to come home, after riding for so long.  The Wing is such an amazing motorcycle to ride cross country, I felt good and was ready to ride some more.  I am blessed to have an amazing family that are supportive of me taking such an adventure.  I have a "SPOT" tracking device on the Wing and my family followed me on the computer and the device allows me to check in and let them know I am safe.  I am looking forward to riding the "Four Corners" ride in 2019, combining it with the "15 Best Roads" ride.

There are no guarantees in life that there will be one more day.  I encourage people to live life to the fullest, as there are no do overs.  Don't put your dreams off for another day, as you never know when your health will prevent you from taking that big adventure.  Although I rode alone for 21 days, I never felt alone.  Everywhere I went, someone wanted to talk me about my trip and the Wing.  Although I didn't capture every detail in this blog, the memories of the trip will stay with me the rest of my life.

I dedicate this to our son, Austin Robert Williams, who passed away unexpectedly on October 29, 2017, at the age of 26.  Thank you for the love and all the good times we had together, including that last fishing trip to the Sierras, ten days before you passed away.  We will always love you!

Austin Robert Williams
July 29, 1991 - October 29, 2017




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Antimony Peak W6/SC-008

July is here and the weather is heating up.  I have been looking at hiking to Antimony Peak for well over a year.  My window to do the hike was closing, as this is a hike you do not want to do in ho weather.  It was easy drive from the Crescenta Valley, arriving at the parking spot about an hour and a half from my house.  The cutoff is a dirt road (Forest Road 9N22) which you follow for about four miles.  About a mile up the road, you arrive at a "T" intersection.  Go to the left and follow the road to the end.  I had no problem on the dirt road with my 2 WD Toyota.  The dirt road is marked in red on the below Google Earth picture.


The hike is about 5 miles round trip.  I recommend doing this hike in cool weather and being in fairly good shape.  The 1.25 miles is mostly shaded as you walk below trees, dropping about 700 feet.  you reach a saddle and then climb up nearly 900 feet over a series of switchbacks to the peak.  The switchbacks have no relief from the sun, but offer nice views.

After parking, walk to the end of the parking area and follow the old road past a fence, which quickly turns into a trail.  The trail is in relatively good shape.

As I continued down the trail, I could see Antimony Peak approaching.

I reached the saddle and it gave me a good look of the switchbacks and the climb I had ahead of me.

The switchbacks were slow going at the beginning due to all the rocks on the trail.

At one point, I saw what looked like mountain lion tracks.  If so, it looks like he had a tasty meal.