Saturday, May 9, 2015
San Diego to Kernville
So yeah didn't get bugger all photos in San Diego. We had a real nice ride leaving San Diego and rode back towards Julian where we had lunch at a great little diner/cafe place. Best milkshake ever, and a pretty good burger too. This is obviously a popular road for bikers in the San Diego area, there were bikes of all kinda going both ways all day. Riding down out of the hills around Julian was also great – tight and windy – the DRs love the curves! It quickly turns into desert though, and loooong straight roads. I kinda love the desert but, obviously, it gets hot pretty quick. We were headed for Utah but this day, yet another day of relentless desert heat made us reassess that plan. We'd ended up at a campground at the top end of the Salton Sea. It wasn't great, none of us liked it that much. It smelled bad and there were dead fish everywhere. It was like the whole place had been recently abandoned and it had a weird vibe to it. We all slept pretty bad too as there was a highway and train tracks very close to the campground. Trains ran all night long.
Anyway, next day we decided to head for the Sierra Nevada mountains instead of Utah. We wanted to get out of the desert for a bit!
So next morning we all woke up real early and hit the road. After getting slightly lost around Coachella we gassed up and made it to the southern entry to the Joshua Tree National Park. We thought rather than ride round it we'd ride through it again, even though it costs $5. We stopped and had breakfast at one of the campgrounds where someone had left enough embers that we could get the fire going again. Cowboy beans!
We then took the road up to Amboy on the old Route 66 where we got gas at Roys. It was a cool spot run by a great guy who's name I can't remember, but I heard him tell someone his father (or grandfather?) ran the place in the 50s. We met a film crew here who talked to us about where we were aiming to go in the Sierra Nevadas. They suggested we stop at a place called Kernville, and it sounded good, so that became the plan for the rest of the day... make it the few hundred miles to Kernville.
We left Amboy and headed north east. The road was cool for a while, an old two-lane road that was kinda falling to bits in parts. The old Route 66! Things soon began to suck though when we hit the interstate. It was kind of unavoidable that we'd have to do some time on these suckers, but it was made worse by some of the worst cross-winds I've ever encountered. I got the worst fright I've had in a while on a motorcycle when a gust blew me right across a lane in front of a truck and onto the very edge of the road... almost into the gravel. Which considering I was doing about 75mph woulda been bad.
I was pretty shaken after that and was keen for a beer. Joe's lack of empathy kept me going for a while though and we didn't stop until the town of Mojave. A pretty shitty looking town in the middle of the desert. The place we went into for a beer was pretty cool though. Well it was run down, but it was an awesome interior. It hadn't been touched since the 70s or 80s, or so it seemed? I really dig the booths and stools at these places and took a bunch of photos, cause I'm thinking we should build something like this in the kitchen at home?
Anyway we hit the road again for the final run to Kernville. It was still really windy for a while but as we got off the desert plains and into the hills it chilled out a bit. It was also starting to get dark though and I only have my tinted visor, which sucked a bit. But the road here and the countryside it cuts through are amazing. Really beautiful and a nice change to our 3 weeks, more or less, in the desert.
We were sore and tired when we hit Kernville, and it was great to see a gorgeous pub at the top of the hill where we drank their brews and ate some great food. Malcolm and I got a hotel room – mostly because Malcolm had bad guts and the runs, and Joe decided to be cheap and go camp. The motel was cool too – in that mountain chalet sorta way. The nick-knacks had changed from the desert-y Mexican kinda stuff to forest-y native Indian sorta stuff. Check out them dream catchers!