3442 miles $6,170 in donations

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Monday, May 17, 2010


Scoot, Bob and I skipped out of Stovepipe Wells at the crack of dawn.  My hope was to watch the sun light up the desert as we headed west.  Unfortunately, we just got a glimpse of the sun and then a heavy overcast set in.

We pressed on climbing to almost 5,000 feet over the Towne Pass and roaring down the other side, with inclines as much as 9%, back down to sea level in the Panamint Valley. 
We pulled into Panamint gas station to fill up.  It was still early, but we met Wally Henderson. Another great, interesting person.  He lives in New Mexico but was out traveling with friends. I noticed he had a "smoke jumper" belt buckle on and asked if he knew a couple of jumpers I knew from the 60's.  I misjudged his age by a few years.  He was a smoke jumper in 1946 and 47. I did not even know that they jumped that far back.  He said when he graduated from smoke jumper school, they were told not to think of making a career of it as, in a few years, water bombers would replace smoke jumpers.  The Smoke Jumper Assoc. celebrates the 75th year of smoke jumping this year.

We began the next climb up to the top of another approximately 5000 foot pass and another roaring decent into Owens Lake and out of Death Valley.  My neighbors, Vicki Bennett, a felt artist, and Rich Luker had sponsored me across Death Valley.  I am sure Vicki was probably trying to link me and Death together some way.

We got on US-395 for a short run to join CA-178.  Again we began a climb to get over the Walker Pass at around 5,000 feet again and then roared down into Kern River Valley.  The wide valley is lush and green with the water from the river and is watched over by the dry arid mountains on each side. 

We cruised along and began to look for some gas.  The first 2 stations were out of gas, so I was forced to do my second aerial refueling.  Supervising was Zack, a very outgoing young man.  I found it odd that he and his brother had played tic-tac-toe on his skin with markers.  Guess there is a paper shortage or they are really into recycling here.

We finished the valley and descended down the mountain on a 2 lane winding road lined with wild flowers to Bakersfield.

We blew through Bakersfield and out the other side on CA-58.  We traveled through rich farming land and the old oil fields in the Antelope Plain. CA-58 makes a right turn and begins the climb up to the California Valley. The sign at the turn said "no services for the next 70 miles", just my kind of ride. It was a beautiful rolling ride with wildflowers everywhere.  Then we climbed over another mountain range and descended into Santa Margarita.

Descending into to Santa Margarita we turned over 10,000 miles and, as you can see from the yellow light, running on fumes.

From here it was about a 40 minute run into Morro Bay.  Today was a great ride and I think one of the longest I have done on a scooter. If the sun had been out it would have probably been one of the most spectacular rides of my life; but it was still great and that is why I went so far in the rain.  We got a classy room on the water and took the rest of the day off.

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