Thursday, July 2, 2015

Leaving the Flag

We said goodbye to the Pirates and headed off to Grants, NM. I should mention Gosh left his bank card in Needles, AZ by mistake. It was easily taken care of, but leaves me in charge of foraging for food while he sets up camp. (Usually, it's he who heads off to find the markets and such, as he has a better sense of direction.) Off I go into town- a town where I lived! Do you think I can remember where the Smith's Supermarket is that used to be near my apartment? Nope. As I write this, I recall Nimitz Street and the grassy area where I used to walk Wicca but I cannot make that picture meld with what I'd seen driving through town. So much has changed, yet so much looked familiar. It's so strange. I found a package store and the clerk directed me to a Walmart behind some hotels and fast food joints (none of which were there when I was there) and headed home with dinner.

My return was in time for a huge monsoonal storm that blew a transformer and scared the bejeebees out of Kewpie. We may not have had power but we learned our tent can stand up to a helluva storm. When the storm subsided, I headed off to take a shower. Apparently, a well system relies on power to pump the water, so even though I had my light cleverly rigged to find soap and shampoo and all the accouterments necessary, I was left full of soap and out of wet. Good thing there was no power and no other campers in the tent area because Gosh had to take our 2.5 gallon water bladder and rinse me off. Chilly! Yet oddly refreshing. Incidentally, the next morning, I realized I'd been in the men's room showering. Always an adventure, I say!
Painted Desert

The Gosh at Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

Family Photo at Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

Petrified Tree

On our way to Grants, we went through Gallup. There's a hotel, El Rancho, that has housed many actors filing old Westerns. It's quite a place and next time, we might stay there. Lots of kitschy nostalgia to be had and there were plenty of bikes in the parking lot.

We also looped Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Very beautiful and hard to capture with a small camera. A very long time ago- like millions of years- there was a forest that was suddenly flooded leaving all these trees to be quickly taken over by minerals and leaving them petrified. (I am not a science teacher or an archeologist, so I am doing my best, here; forgive me.) The petrified tree pictured above is interesting to ponder but on closer inspection, the colors and crystals are just spectacular!
Kewpie... what a smile!
Stay tuned, as we are a couple of days of travel ahead of the blog...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Catching Up with Route 66

Welcome! We've been on the road since Wednesday, June 24. It's been a wild ride and we have been surrounded by a myriad of distractions keeping us from posting our adventures... There was a Washoe County School District board meeting, a few blown transformers and a couple of Pirates trying desperately to deter us from using the interwebs.

So Wednesday morning, we headed off to Barstow, CA; a 440+ mile push to get to our starting point on Route 66. (We decided the western end was close enough for later and we were not sure we wanted to be in LA. Hindsight and after a discussion with some Great American Racers in Tucumcari, NM, we will need to check out the end. We are assured the end of Route 66 is at the ocean and there is a big Route 66 sign. He seemed jazzed about the whole affair and I don't want to miss out on that much excitement.)

It was a big push and it was pretty warm (this was before I realized I could check the temperature at my whim while riding on the bike) but still I could feel vacation sinking in and a school year full of highs and lows finally falling away. Perhaps they were melting in the heat.

Barstow to Kingman, AZ was a really hot one. It was consistently 105*. We were beginning to follow Route 66 and there were some really pretty stretches but I have to say the day was marked by the frozen cherry slurpee we consumed at the mini market on highway 58.

Kingman to Flagstaff was outstanding! Route 66 goes through gold mining country and it's obvious what people will do for the shiny stuff when you see all the twists the road will take up and down mountainsides. Hackberry was a great rest stop filled with tons of nostalgia. We are talking about the real deal here. (After going through a few states and seeing Route 66 Museums everywhere, it's pretty cool to see some old guy holding court in a folded up mountain town. There are cars, a preserved garage, signs, gas pumps... you name it. AND cold drinks and souvenirs.) Too, we met a photographer who explained we'd be running opposite The Great American Car Race headed out of Flagstaff. 100+ cars from the 1920's- 1970's make this race every year and this year was Route 66 from Missouri to California. It was awesome to see all the cars headed in the opposite direction and we waved to every one. 

Our weekend in Flagstaff was spent with our Pirate Crew. It was delicious fun and included a hike through Lava River Cave- a consistent 40* romp through an underground lava flow. On a Saturday, it was pretty busy, but we still had moments of sensory deprivation... no light and no sound and cool temps were worth battling the Boy Scouts. Dinner at Beaver Street Brewery and a drink at Mother Road Brewing followed by a leg wrestling match where I consistently beat Gosh rounded out a perfect weekend!

There's more, but it'll wait... Suffice to say it is a wonderful journey and we are having a great time! Stay tuned for more antics from the road... Rubber side down!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Featured in Chester's Reno Harley-Davidson

Check it out!

Chester's Reno Harley-Davidson is having their street party on Saturday! We'll be helping friends move, and then we'll head over to check out the party. Hope to see you there!

Mind you, Sunday we'll be headed to church... Don't know where that will be yet, but I hope it has some twisties!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Joshua Posting: A Ride to Virginia City, NV

     Geiger Grade (Nevada State Highway 341) is the quintessential twisty/turney ride for any motorcyclist visiting the Reno/Sparks/Carson City area. The ride to Virginia City, NV, from Reno, is wonderful for many reasons. It is not that long (30 miles from our house), it is a great twisty/technical ride, the scenery is awesome, Virginia City is a great old mining town with lots of history, there are some great restaurants, great shops, and the list goes on and on. It is also one of the roads both Alissa and I cut our teeth on riding big cruiser bikes. I have "rubbed" the footboards on my Heritage Softtail many a time going up and down the grade, and we still look forward to the ride every time.

     We both had a great ride, even though the weather conditions were not quite ideal. I ran the whole Grade at the posted speed limit of 45 MPH, even through the corners I used to take at 25-30 on the Heritage. Alissa pushed a little harder than she used to on her V-Star, and even commented "Wow, it is actually windy" when we parked the bikes in town. The handling is great, and I think the fairings and weight do a great job of negating the effect of the wind. The new bikes are AMAZING!

     Running back down the Grade was a similar experience, with minimal traffic, and a couple of wild Mustangs (wild horses) thrown in. While the ride is beautiful, there are some thing to be wary of. The Mustangs, falling rocks, and car wrecks are among the potential hazards we have seen over the years. As always when traveling, caution and prudence are the order of the day. Ride safe, rubber side down, and we will be back soon with more tales from the road.


The Twins in Virginia City, NV, with Sugarloaf mountain in the background

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Josh Posting: A Dream on Wheels

     Yesterday is the first day I can remember not being uptight about getting home from a ride after 7:30 pm. What started out as a 250 mile ride ended up being a 330 mile ride. I decided to try to find a route we had been on once before, which winds past Antelope Lake in Plumas County, CA. It turned out to be a wonderful, twisty, rustic, and middle of nowhere road that added most of the extra mileage because it did not run in a straight line like the original route. The main reason for lack of stress is the  level of comfort on our new motorcycles.

SouthWest shore of Lake Almanor, CA

Near Antelope Lake, Plumas County, CA

Near Antelope Lake, Plumas County, CA

Rest Stop on 395 by Honey Lake, just south of Janesville, CA

 Our 2014 Ultra Glide Limiteds have many features that make the ride safer and more comfortable. From the audio system to the super comfy saddle, there is just too much to list, so I will start with the full faring. It is actually two parts, an upper and a lower fairing. Combined they block most of the wind while riding, which is nice on a chilly morning. There are vents to open if the rider wants more airflow around their body. There is also a vent in the upper fairing which creates an updraft just behind the windshield which keeps the airflow from coming over the windshield and buffeting the rider's head. Another benefit is gusty winds do not seem to push the bike around like they did my 2005 Heritage Softtail. Perhaps the extra 200 pounds has something to do with it as well. I am pleasantly surprised at the huge difference a full fairing makes in comfort and reduced fatigue. After three days on the bike coming back from Ocean Beach, CA, I still did not want to get off.

Home Sweet Home

     We have had the bikes for just over a month, and yesterday put both at just over 3000 miles. Our Ocean Beach trip was 1600 miles, and there was a discrepancy of two (2) miles on our trip odometers. Most of the time we are riding together, and having the same motorcycles makes planning for fuel stops and maintenance pretty easy. We both weigh about the same, are within 2 inches in height, and carry similar loads when we travel. It will be interesting to see how the only difference, our riding styles, will affect each machine. I will keep you posted...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alissa Posts: Yearly Pilgrimage

Every year, my friends and I take our pilgrimage to Ocean Beach, California. We come from all over the place and we travel in a variety of vessels to spend as much time as we can in this cute little house near Dog Beach. That smile you see pictured above is pretty much permanent unless I am laughing. We have been doing this trip for ten years! We each have an account so we can help each other when times are tough, or, in the case of this year, when we want to celebrate a life change, like our friends getting married and doing the happily-ever-after thing.

Josh and I work in public education, so our friends
schedule their yearly vacation time for our spring vacation. I know, cool, right? That's because we know the coolest people EVER! And we love them immeasurably!

We visit the same places... Kevin's JumpStart Coffee Cart (he knows us by now), Bravo's Mexican Bistro and Cantina for delicious tacos and mango margaritas, Hodad's ( for burgers (yes, it is worth the wait~ whatever it is~ and we get asked every year), South Beach for oysters on the half shell and the view (, Mother's Saloon because they have the most delicious macaroni and cheese (we call it crack and cheese), the AZ for a drink ( because it's thirsty work on vacation, and Pat's Liquor Store on the corner for just about anything from lottery tickets to champagne.

Every year, we try to take a slightly different route. This year, we took highway 95 to Death Valley after a snowstorm curbed our plan to head down the coast. Getting over the Sierras was just too risky, even with the new bikes.

This year, we were able to take a friend on our day trip to Julian, CA. It's a beautiful ride through some twisty roads into a really cute mining town. Julian is now known for its apples and we were able to bring back an apple-boysenberry pie for the troops (something we've not been able to finagle in years past).

Leaving OB

View along the trip

Another view along our way

A rest area stop (Yes, we took Kewpie along, too. She hates to miss anything!)

We were able to take our coastal trip on the way home. What a great way to end the trip~ taking the long way on Lady Illiria and Freddy (our Harley- Davidson Ultras). We rode highways 1 and 101 and stopped in Morro Bay for a night, as well as Santa Cruz for a night. We've stayed in Morro Bay before and love it there! A fantastic seafaring town, dog-friendly and with delicious seafood. What a treat! Plus, we got to listen to the sea lions! We keep thinking this is a place to spend more time. 

In Santa Cruz, we found the most delicious Indian fusion restaurant! ( This is a must-stop! They are SO friendly and the food is SO delicious, we would return just to eat there again! Truly! And in the morning? THE BEST coffee (next to Kevin's, of course), Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company ( 

The riding... hoo! The riding was outstanding! Over 1600 miles and it just gets better! Where I used to get nervous pushing Floyd (my 2007 V-Star 1300) through the freeway turns going over Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevada Mountains... nothing! Set the cruise and hit the road. Just delicious! I leave it to Josh to talk techie with you. Suffice to say I am satiated: I spent quality time with friends I love doing things I enjoy with the intent of doing it over and over again. (Beach, wash, rinse, repeat)

It's a good life and I am a lucky girl.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Alissa Posts: Journey on New Bikes

It's been a bit since we've been posting... and many things have changed... One of the changes includes finding a way to delineate which of us is posting, as Josh and I have very different ideas about how to say what we think is important. Look for the title to give you an idea of who is saying what, and understand that as a couple, we provide each other with input and ideas to include no matter what the other thinks! For example, Josh is WAY more mechanical and can speak to those topics better than I, though sometimes I have very definite ideas about machinery and I am forceful about asking for those ideas to be included.

Almost a month ago, Josh and I had twins. We'd been planning carefully for about a year, but nothing really prepares you for twins. We had a gift card from a friend for Harley Davidson and wandered into Chester's Harley of Reno looking for a helmet when we spotted them. We sat on them and petted them and loved on them and Kevin came over and told us all about them!  Then we wandered over for helmets since that was really what we thought we'd wandered in for. But we kept thinking about those cute little twins! We left empty handed except for Kevin's card but I couldn't stand it! When we got home, we called Kevin and let him know we were thinking about adopting.

Alissa and Josh at Chester's Reno Harley Davidson

Less than a week later, we were the proud owners of twin Electra Glide Limited Harley Davidson Motorcycles. They are beautiful and we couldn't be happier! Many factors went in to planning the twins, including cost, accessories, availability, maintenance... and I must tell you it was hard to think of any of those things when we were sitting in the saddle. It's a very good thing we thought about those things first!

We had a very big ride ahead of us (1500 miles)... our next big decision was whether to ride the 1000 miles and have the first maintenance done before the trip or go easy and do the first maintenance after the trip. We decided to RIDE RIDE RIDE (duh!). What a joy!
Taking a Rest at Yerington Rest Area on Alternate HWY 95

Stopping for Lunch at Nu Yalk Pizza on South Virginia in Reno

At 1100 miles, they were named (Freddy as in Mercury as in quicksilver and Lady Illyria as in pirate ship as in Queen Teuta encouraging her peeps to attack Rome before it got too big for its britches), serviced and ready for their first big trip. 

Today we rode aver 350 miles to Beatty, NV and the heart of  Death Valley. We left the house at 9:30ish and after a few quick stops were on the road in earnest at 10:20am. We took Interstate 80E to HWY 95S and stopped for fuel and a snack in Hawthorn at about 12:45pm. (We brought salami, goat cheese and a baguette). We purchased hot drinks because it was VERY chilly and super breezy. If you'd been in the greater Reno area Saturday, you'd know there were blustery winds and snow in the hills. 

It was chilly and still blustery but we have heated grips, fairings, lower fairings and we dressed well. Still, using the cruise control and stretching my arms up and out made me realize what a bubble those bikes create around the rider. We made it to the hotel by 4:30pm... after one stop for lunch... rider fatigue was supremely diminished. 

These motorcycles are going to spoil us in a wonderful way! 

About 20 miles north of Schurz on HWY 95S