The Americas: Heading South

A Motorcycle Diary

Archive for the ‘Heading South’ Category

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.



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?!?



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!!


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


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.


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.





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.


7 July 2017

07 Jul

Today was a day spent at rest and used to explore Vegas and its surrounds. Max and I took a Helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon in order to obtain a vista of this magnificent landscape that cannot be seen from ground level, and it didn’t disappoint. I have said it before and I will say it again, the US is genuinely a world in one country. The beauty that reveals itself on a daily basis, whether its in the form of a hot and stark landscape, a breath-taking canyon, snow capped mountains, man made wonders or just the genuine kindness of strangers, the decision to linger longer has definitely been a good one!

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Heli flip over the Grand Canyon..

We caught a movie in the afternoon in an attempt to stay in air conditioned climes and then took a long walk to Andreas to experience the much hyped impossible burger which was “interesting” and certainly has the potential to catch on as an alternative to beef, provided it ever moves beyond the “fad” stage! It would certainly help with reducing cattle farming’s’ Co2 emissions although to the extent that this product were ever to become mainstream, I have no doubt that its mass production would bring some form of environmental destruction in itself to fill the void left behind by beef production. The only question is, will it catch on, and, to the extent that it does, is the resultant manufacturing implication better or worse than the status quo?! Time will tell although it would certainly be the more humane option.

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Vegas by Day..

The Go Kart racing of last night has certainly taken hold! So much so that we were back again this evening and God help anybody that found themselves on the same track as Max and I as the battle for lap time superiority continued! I would love to say that I kicked the whipper snapper’s butt but I cant, he is consistently 0.5 seconds faster than me although my only consolation, which I steadfastly hold on to in order to defend my bruised ego, is that he has a 25kg weight advantage! Damn you Max, and damn anybody that gets on the track with us that shaves microseconds from our goals!


Max Schumacher Nobre….

We were originally only due to spend 2 nights in Vegas but have decided to extend by an additional night in order to get in a show (and some more go kart racing no doubt!!) and to see some more of this vibrant city.

As a sign of the grand disposability that has become a hallmark of our modern day culture, It has occurred to me that Vegas is a place that our modern day jesters come to see out their dying days. People that were once considered global stars with massive influence all seem to eventually get relegated to a stage in Vegas in an attempt to perpetuate the glory of their once meteoric status. Simply by looking out of the window of my room, I can see adverts for Jennifer Lopez (who can forget Jenny from the block?), Britney Spears, David Copperfield, Elton John and Gordon Ramsay, all jostling for visual prominence between McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Hard Rock Café adverts! As the famous quote goes, such is the fate of everything that once rose, although the opportunity to get up close to now B Grade stardom still has massive audience pulling capacity, such is the allure of Vegas, and Max and I are not immune as we will be going to see Copperfield tomorrow!



6 July 2017

06 Jul

We had an awesome and relaxing evening at L’Horizon last night. We also had designs on leaving at 06h30 to avoid the heat of the day. That didn’t happen! Max and I eventually sauntered out of there at 09h30 just around the time that the sun cranked things up to about 40C and got progressively hotter as the day got later.


Our 4 hour ride in a convection oven…

The ride was fortunately fast and scenic, with a single pit stop along the historic route 66 at Amboy for a Root Beer and a photo before pressing on to Vegas. By the time we got here, it was 45C. I am sure not many of you have ridden a motorcycle in 45C? it feels like riding inside a convection oven with a wind so hot that it literally sucks the moisture out of you. Ironically its cooler to ride with the helmet visor down so by the time we arrived at the Bellagio we stood like two zombies in the lobby for 10 minutes soaking up the air-conditioning before eventually moving to check in.

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Stop on Route 66..

I had promised Max that we could go do some indoor Go Kart racing this evening. After the 4 hour ride in the heat, it was the last thing that I was feeling like so suggested that he drive and I would sit it out and be the official photographer which went down like a lead balloon!! After much cajoling by Max I relented and boy am I glad I did!! What was supposed to be one race resulted in us being there for 3 hours until it closed at 23h00 and they literally had to crowbar us out of the cars! What awesome fun with my boy!!


Vegas at night…Never fails to impress!!


5 July 2017

05 Jul

When touring on a bike, it is difficult to call any day a bad day. However, sometimes the stars misalign, and God sits back and has a chuckle. Today counts as one of those days and one of my top 10 worst riding days!

It was supposed to be a short 300km hop from Santa Barbara to palm Springs via Burbank and the Hollywood sign. The outset along the PCH was smooth, cool and fast, then we entered the greater Los Angeles area and for the next 180km it was 30-40km/h of lane splitting bumper to bumper traffic in 40C heat over a period of 5 hours! Exasperated or rage doesn’t begin to describe the range of emotions and the only thing I have to say is Fuck You LA Traffic!! There! Its off my chest!


Our ride today..

We arrived in Palm Springs at 5pm. It was 43C when we got here. We are staying at a great hotel called L’ Horizon and upon arrival, climbing off the bike with much relief, we were informed that this is an adult only hotel! I think the bellhop and frontdesk person saw the threat of death in my eyes and promptly announced that it wouldn’t be a problem and that just for today, they would make an exception for Max! Good choice!



The famed Hollywood sign in the Hills of LA.

Anyway, my bitching of the day aside, we had a great swim, an awesome dinner and are going to retire early as we have a 5 hour ride to Vegas tomorrow and its going to be another scorcher! Its 30C by 6am so there will be little to no reprieve from the heat tomorrow.


4 July 2017

04 Jul

Max and I have been getting up at 05h30 most mornings. I would like to say that this is a product of a healthy and vigorous life but no, its still the effects of the Jetlag! Be it as it may, we are up, I am doing some work, and we are walking in the sunrise, and having early breakfasts thus enabling us to take full advantage of the forthcoming day.

Today, I took a short ride from Santa Monica to Malibu to meet the famous artist Christian Vincent as I am looking at purchasing one of his pieces for our London home. Fascinating man, incredible talent and a lovely human being. The ride up the Pacific Coast highway is one of the most beautiful rides in the Americas. The weather was cool, windless and the traffic at 8:30am on this public holiday was light enough to enable a smooth and fast ride which added to the pleasure of riding up this coastal road.


Our ride today up the PCH…

Todays ride was a short one up to Santa Barbara. I fetched Max, packed the bike and then backtracked again up the PCH up to Santa Barbara. We got in at lunchtime, checked into the beautiful Four Seasons resort and then relaxed with some lunch, a walk along the beach and an uneventful day. Dinner was on the beach watching the 4th of July fireworks.

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A relaxing lunch and chilled afternoon with my boy…


3 July 2017

03 Jul

Today was a day spent at Leisure in order to show Max around LA. I have been coming here intermittently for the last 20 years and unfortunately, unlike most of the USA, I have never been able to say that this is a city I love or like. Yes, its got the mysterious aura afforded to it by its Hollywood reputation and its home to so many famous modern day jesters that it must have something going for it, right? Well, um, no. At least not for me, and that doesn’t mean much as my opinion in this regard counts for exactly zero! However, and its important that I qualify this, I have never stayed on the beaches and have always trended towards Beverly Hills, and the other areas that a foreigner would typically associate with LA when popping in for a short visit. Santa Monica, whilst still considered “LA” feels like a world apart from the LA that I refer to above and have found here the same feeling that I have for so much of this incredible country.

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To test my theory, I took Max on the red bus tour, and yes, granted, he is only 16 and prone to early boredom however it took him about 37 minutes to declare the city a dump and asked if we could get off and Uber to Universal Studios to check that out before rushing back to Santa Monica where he once again had a smile on his face! Like I said, my/our opinion is unimportant, but to the extent that anybody actually cares about what is written in this motorcycling travel blog, give LA a wide berth, head for the beaches if you come this way, and other than that, this country is magnificent!



The remainder of the day was spent doing a double hitter at the movie theatre after a long walk along the beach and an awesome dinner at the Curious Palate.

Tomorrow we head for Santa Barbara where we will be spending one night there before starting our trek east to Palm Springs, and onwards to Vegas and the Canyons.

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The famous Muscle Beach and Santa Monica Pier…