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The Americas: Heading South

A Motorcycle Diary
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Archive for the ‘Heading South’ Category

17/18/19/20 July 2017

20 Jul

Monday was our last day of riding. Whilst my original plan was to do a longer 500km coastal loop from Portland to Seattle in order to do some final exploring (and to prolong the riding a little more), both Max and I woke in the morning feeling lethargic and made the decision to simply press on to Seattle in the most expedient manner.  It was a short ride from Portland to Seattle where we are spending the next 4 nights at a hotel just off the waterfront. We need to start the admin process of getting everything cleaned and putting the bike into storage for the next year or two or however long until I come back to collect her and continue the journey. We will also use the time to explore a little and to close off our journey.

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Our short and final ride for this trip…

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Our Total ride over the last 3 weeks..

Seattle is a truly beautiful city. An eclectic mix of old and new mixed amongst some incredibly dramatic nature, artsy architecture, colourful characters and an interesting history. The weather however is on par with London from what I understand although we have been lucky thus far and have experienced, warm, clear sunny days. Because we so enjoyed touring Portland by Segway a few days ago, we thought it would be a nice way to explore Seattle too so on Tuesday we headed off to find who does it and then spent the next 2 hours racing around to see the sights whilst enjoying the mobility of the Segway’s. The day was capped off with dinner at the Hard Rock café followed by probably the worst movie we have ever seen (the latest iteration of planet of the apes), so much so that we left half way through.

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Some beautiful Seattle sights…

Wednesday was the day that the bike finally went into storage. The guys at Tempus detailing did an incredible job of getting the old girl cleaned up and ready for her long hibernation and highly recommend them to anybody looking for this service. This is the first time that the bike will be going into a storage unit. To date I have housed her with friends so I’m hoping that I wont next see my old girl on an episode of “auction hunters” or “storage wars”!! Max and I (co-incidentally) found ourselves right nearby a Go Kart racing circuit after dropping the bike so found it essential to go and experience the Seattle version of our current favourite pastime!! We had dinner with my old friends Bert and Margaret whom we met in Alaska in 2013 and with whom I stayed with back in 2015 when I did the trip from New York to San Diego. As always it is wonderful to spend time with these two warm and wonderful people and always leave wishing that we lived closer.

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Tucked away in her new home for the next couple of years..

Both Max and I have a feeling of sadness and apprehension as is common when finishing a trip like this, particularly when one has been on a bike as it entrenches such a sense of freedom and that anything is possible. Tonight we start the homeward trek. 11 hours for me, and a mammoth 24 hour stint for Max to get back to CT. I am going to miss this time with my boy. We have already started discussing the next trip, when it will happen and where we will head to. As far as I am concerned, it cant come soon enough.

Thank you for following us for the last 3 weeks.

Rui and Max Nobre

Seattle, USA

20 July 2017

 
 

16 July 2017

16 Jul

We were up early today to take advantage of sightseeing Portland. We are only here for one day and being a Sunday means that we have been able to get in quite a lot. We started the day with breakfast followed by a 2 hour Segway tour which was fantastic. Max and I both have mildly competitive streaks and seeing as it was just us and the tour guide we spent most of the morning showing the tour guide around as she struggled to keep up with us racing around the empty streets of Portland. Great fun!! For Max and I anyway.

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My boy and I on our racing Segway’s. The tour guide was so relieved when it was over.

We left the Segway’s and headed across town to partake in a game called “escape games” where Max and I were locked in a room and had to follow a host of clues to find keys and codes to various locks and doors. We thought it would be fun and it was for a while but the lack of wheels and motor meant that we got bored quickly and were relieved when the hour was up and we got out of there. We headed for the closest Go Kart racing track after that and spent the evening in petrol head heaven followed by dinner at our favourite restaurant, Yard House. A great day in Portland!

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15 July 2017

15 Jul

We left our Motorway motel at the crack of dawn and opted to have breakfast on the road at a diner in a small town called Cottage Grove. These small American towns that are all so similar throughout the US but for their own cultural quirks never fail to make me feel a sense of escapism. I imagine anonymously holing up in one of the many colourful little clapboard houses that line the streets and falling into a small town rhythm; Breakfast at the diner with the locals, a job in a shop on the main street, a beer at the bar after work, and, repeat! Whilst it sounds blissfully simple and relatively free, I do have to wonder how long it would take for me to feel the yearn of the pace of my current life. The grass always seems greener elsewhere and the beauty of the bike is that it enables mini bite size opportunities to sample these lifestyles, rather than just romantically fantasizing about what they would be like. For the moment, I think I will take London, UK, over London, Ohio.

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Our trip today…

We had a relatively short ride to Portland where we are spending 2 nights to rest up a little as we have been riding for 5 consecutive days. I made a bit of a mistake in assuming that Max’s riding stamina was the same as mine and I subjected my boy to long stretches of 200-300km without stopping in order to make distance. He quietly endured this but a few days ago I could see that it was taking its toll and so we now stop every 100km for a coffee/soda which in some respects is actually nicer as it slows everything right down. My personality is to tackle things hard and fast. Its the same with my pastimes and having Max along has enabled me to slow things down to his pace which has resulted in a new perspective which I am enjoying. I think I may adopt more of this into other aspects of my life.

We got into Portland early afternoon, headed out for a walk and an early dinner at a restaurant called Pearl Tavern which was great. Portland is beautiful and tomorrow we plan on doing some exploring and some activities.

 
 

14 July 2017

14 Jul

We were up early today because we are riding one of the scenic routes from my map of “20 of the most beautiful drives through the US”. This is a ride that heads 250km east through Umpqua National forest and away from our Northward trend in order to complete this route and once again, we were not disappointed. We stopped at Steamboat Inn for a great lunch and ended up languishing there for hours. In retrospect, we should have checked into this place for the night as they have fantastic rooms right on the North Umpqua river, but unfortunately they had no availability for us.

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Our ride today…

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Instead, we are staying in a highway frontage motel, the likes of which Jax and I spent many nights in when riding through the Americas in 2013. Not glamorous but an important part of Americana culture and necessary for Max to experience.

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13 July 2017

13 Jul

Another beautiful ride north from lake Tahoe to Mt Shasta. 450km through Plumas and Lassen national forests… Forests, lakes, snow capped mountains (yes, even in July) and empty, fast roads. Motorcycling heaven.

We got in at about 4pm, took a walk around the town followed by an early dinner and bed.

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12 July 2017

12 Jul

We left Little A’le’inn at 06h00 as we had a long 550km ride to Lake Tahoe today. The ride took us west through the Nevada desert, up into the eastern Sierra mountains, and down into the eastern valleys of Yosemite. The beauty of this country never fails to take my breath away.

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We are spending the evening at Edgewood on Lake Tahoe, a new hotel that has just opened and is on the edge of the water. Really beautiful and staying on the same floor as Bill Clinton who is visiting with his entourage (sans Hilary)!

 
 

11 July 2017

11 Jul

Today was the first of five days where we will be riding everyday as we now need to cover some distance as we head north for Seattle. The decision was to cover the longer distance days first as we are fresh from much chilling in Vegas and Amangiri, so today was a 520km ride to a hotel along the extra terrestrial highway in a town called Rachel in the middle of the Nevada desert.  After a beautiful 5 hour ride through some of the most dramatic landscape in existence, we arrived just as the heavens opened to cool this peculiar little spot.

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Todays ride…

When designing the route I asked Max to weigh in with any places he would like to see and stay at whilst on our trip. He said there was only one, and it was this place that he had seen on a video and was intrigued because it is right next to Area 51…. and he has a sci-fi alien thing going on. Anyway, whilst still in London, I booked “the Area 51 Cabin” which is implied as the luxury option when staying at Little A’le’inn. It turns out that the entire town of Rachel is just one vast, spread out trailer park without any seemingly obvious purpose for its existence here in the middle of the desert. There is no commerce, or factories, or mines so I am unsure why anyone would live here which just adds to the oddity of this group of people living here in the middle of nowhere?!?

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Our luxury accommodation for the night, next door to the trailer of Billy-Bob and his sister-wife Ruby-Jo. Nice Max!

We checked into our “luxury” cabin for the night and then did a short ride to the back gate of Area 51 to get some pics whilst hoping not to get shot. The drive up to the back gate is the towns “must do” activity when visiting Rachel. Needless to say, there is nothing to see other than a gate, a thousand cameras and a multitude of signs threatening an instant death if you touch the gate, cross the line or take a photo within 100m of the gate!!

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101m from the back gate of Area 51!!

Whilst we didn’t experience any UFO activity whilst out here, we did experience some of the weird Area 51 activities! At around 11pm, just as we had switched off and were falling asleep, there was a massive roar and the entire cabin shook like an earthquake was about to swallow the entire town. It turns out the military was testing some new jets! The roar and tremor were immediately followed by a sonic boom, the combination of which had us hit the roof with fright and then spend the next 30 minutes outside watching these jets roar back and forth! The event just added to the strangeness of this place.

 
 

10 July 2017

10 Jul

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Chilling at Amangiri…

 
 

9 July 2017

09 Jul

Another day where we had great expectations of departing at 06h30 to escape the heat. Wise as this sounds, it almost makes no difference if you’re departing from Vegas because the temps are 38c at 06h30 and 41c by 11h00 when we eventually left after a slow and easy breakfast.

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Our ride today…

Today was a fast but hot 425km from Vegas to a hotel on the Utah/Arizona border called Amangiri (Pete you would love it). This place is unbelievable and would highly recommend it to anybody looking for a special and relaxing destination. Max and I got in at about 15h30, changed out of our storm trooper gear, unpacked and hit the pool.

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Amangiri with its stark but beautiful views…

We are here for 2 nights to enable me to do some work, and get some exercise as we are riding for the next 5 days in a row.

 
 

8 July 2017

08 Jul

Another day chilling in Vegas. David Copperfield in the evening (Meh!!), followed by more Go Kart racing. Max is fast becoming a pro!!

Tomorrow we head for Utah.