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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Death Valley, Hoover Dam, Route 66

We've been in New Mexico for a couple of days now and I haven't updated my blog. I guess we've been visiting too much with so many friends. I'm so happy to have seen Steve Sullivan, my friend since we were eight years old, his sisters Amy and Michalene and their husbands, Juan and CJ, and also Steve's brother, David. I met his wife, Angela, for the first time as well. It was just like old times for me. Of course, Juan husteled us in a game of pool, but that's o.k. Good times.

Anyway, I'll post more about our time in New Mexico next time, but now I want to catch up on our trip here from California. As I said before, on Wednesday (April 11) we left Mammoth Lakes on our way to New Mexico. Our first stop was a bakery in Bishop, Calif. for coffee and pastries, called Schat's. That place was amazing. I felt like I could have been in a bakery in Germany or something. It even looked like it. If you're ever in Bishop, you have to stop there. Apparently, everyone does.

Schat's Bakery, Bishop, Calif.

Not long after we left Bishop, we cut across Death Valley. Unfortunately, we had some clouds, so you can't really see it, but the highest point in the lower 48 is pretty much visible from the lowest point. Mt. Whitney has a summit of 14,505 ft. Steve and his brother, Clark, climbed it back in the day.

Mt. Whitney is somewhere back there behind the clouds

Death Valley was different than I thought it would be. I guess I expected desolation, no growth or beauty. I mean, the name of it is "Death" Valley. Instead, this is what I saw.

I did take this photo with my GoPro from my helmet, but I'm quite sure I thought it was an amazing view when I took the picture. The GoPro has that extra wide angle, so it doesn't do the scenery justice.

Maybe it's called Death Valley because this is the place I thought I might die. Well, not really, but it was very scary because I experienced the worst wind so far on this trip as we drove through Death Valley. I had the bike leaned over pretty far to combat the sideways wind, yet I was going straight. In fact, at one point, the wind literally blew me over. I had come to a stop and a gust of wind hit me just right and I couldn't hold the bike up. This time I didn't have time to get the camera before Steve was picking up the bike. Plus, I was so frustrated, I think I just laid there on the ground for a minute.

Or maybe it's called Death Valley because they are going to bleed you to death of all your money. Check out these gas prices.

Once we finally made it out of Death Valley, Las Vegas was next. We continued to have high winds and we half considered calling it a day and hitting the casinos. We rolled into the BMW Motorcycle dealership there at about 4 p.m. or so, and we were ready to call it quits for the day. Unfortunately, it would have meant a very long drive to Albuquerque the next day. So, we continued.

Once we left Las Vegas, we stopped at the Hoover Dam. I had never seen it, and Steve had never seen it with the new bridge, so we did the tourist thing and stopped for a few pictures. Which picture do you think is the best Dam picture?

With all this stopping, we were really running late. We had thought we were going to be riding in rain most of this day, but as you can see from the photos, it was a beautiful day (other than the high winds). By the time we rolled into Kingman, Ariz., it was 8 p.m. Arizona doesn't spring forward, so it was quite dark by 8. We had a few sprinkles from a storm that was petering out, but apparently we missed the worst of it from earlier. We decided on a hotel again, instead of camping.

It was another great day on the road, with so much desert and mountain beauty.

On Thursday, we could have taken I-40 to Albuquerque and made quick work of the 480 miles we had to go that day. But, that's no fun. We absolutely had to do some of Route 66. From Kingman, we did about 85 miles of the old Rout 66 and it was a great road. I wish we could have done that kind of road the whole way.

This was one of the first things we came across on Route 66, an old Union 76 gas station. Obviously, this was not even made into a tourist stop like so many of the other old stations. This one was also a post office at one point.

They sure are making signs bigger than they used to. I don't know if you can see it, but there is a neat Route 66 sign behind us.

This was a neat shot of one of the historic road markers with the long stretch of road behind me.
We got back on the Interstate a short distance before Flagstaff. Now we were on a mission and wanted to get to Albuquerque by 7 p.m. Well, except for a leisure stop at the Starbucks in Flagstaff where we met another GS rider. We have a game we play when we see another BMW GS type bike in a parking lot, it's see if you can pick out the guy (or gal) riding it. Too easy, BMW riders all wear the same kind of gear.

But, we didn't get any more pictures that day. Once out of Flagstaff, the eastern side of Arizona is not as pretty, at least not from I-40. And now, we had a tail wind. We were moving, and getting great gas mileage, like about 50 mpg. That meant less stops.

We are in Albuquerque for a couple of days and I will blog about our time here on the next one.


  1. I'm really enjoying your blog Kelley. And humor too!

  2. Loved your comment about the bleeding. The gas prices in California SUCK!. It's the price we pay for living in California. Just makes me want to say "Welcome to California". Ride safely and thanks for the updates

  3. Hard to say which is the best Dam picture - I'm partial to the perspective in the first one but no matter. I'm glad your having a good time. Your blog has had me doing pick up drills with my bike on the front lawn - practice makes it perfectly possible.