Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown

Monday, June 1, 2015

DesTination: My Wild Hog Ride! By Paradise Cove Critter

I am back from a Wonderful 16 days "Wild Hog Westward Adventure". This trip was a bucket list dream to ride to California and wander back at my own pace. I was a little skeptical that this trip would ever happen. My Kawasaki at the last minute was not ready to go and repairs could not be done in time to meet up with family in CA. So the only thing to do was to cancel or take the Blue Goose...

Monday/Day 1 
Nixa, MO to Clinton, OK 
Total 382 Miles...

I'm ready to roll... 
You guessed it... I took the Blue Goose and rode it alone. I was really excited to be heading out on my adventure but at the same time it was weighting on me that I was going alone. I was hoping for a trip with very few issues …if that was possible. I found myself saying a little prayer that I did not meet up with some mass murder or have mechanical issues somewhere on the roadside. Monday morning began with me riding out of the drive realizing that I had 30 miles on the odometer since the last fill up. No worry I could gas up in Joplin. As I got about 50 more miles along I-44 and of course few miles short of Joplin… the bike started to cough and die. I rolled off to the shoulder to see if the reserve would actually work. I turned the lever over and whoosh the thing cranked right back up. 84 miles was a record for having to hit reserve. Later I would find out just how much that oblong travel bag did make a difference on gas mileage.

I needed a lot of drink stops and cool vest soaking...  
McD's over the road in OK...
Now my mapped stops were off kilter for a bit. I cruised right passed Joplin. So early on I decided to throw the schedule and stop plan out the window. Now it is Sept weather and it was still in the 80’s early in the day. I had bought a cooling vest which came in handy later in the day. By the time I got to Tulsa I was feeling into my riding groove. I was really doing this dreamed trip… whoopee. I rode the day with a few drinks & eat stops like the Over The Interstate McDonalds, Cracker Barrels and a few service stations. I was almost thrown out of Ft. Reno due to my oblivious consciousness of time.

Stopped to soak up some history... Fort Reno In OK. 

Stopped for a Buffalo Burger...

I did make the first day journey of 382 so… not too shabby for the fact that gas stops at not more than 80 mile intervals, plus bottled water and diet Cokes consumption lead to stopping for one reason or another a lot. But hey… it was my ride so everything was A-OK. First night lodging was in Clinton, OK. With a quick shower and dinner my day ended in a nice restful slumber.

Tuesday/Day 2 

Clinton, OK to Santa Rosa, NM and a few off road sites... 

Total 352 miles 

McLean, TX 
I awoke with a refresh excitement to get back on the road and to continue my adventure. With the luck of the hotel’s expanded Continental Breakfast I was out rolling early. I made more stops in McLean, Groom, and Amarillo, (of course had to stop to see if anyone was eating that huge steak & see Cadillac Ranch) I took plenty of pics, refuelled me and the bike numerous times. I even gained an hour with Mountain Time but I only accomplished 352 miles on my second day. The body screamed stop in Santa Rosa, NM.

A sad look of a time long gone... 
The first Phillips in TX...

Groom, TX...
Leaning water tower... 
Groom Cross: Titanic Texas Tribute
Ate at the Big Texan but not the 72oz... 
Cadillac Ranch... 
New Mexico and mountain time... 

Car museum at Santa Rosa, NM… 
Santa Rosa, NM 
Now I had stayed before numerous times in Santa Rosa over the years but never really made reservation for this trip. I had no real hard plan except to reach Needles by Thurs or Friday.  I gassed and ate at a truck stop due to pure convenience that evening. With a quick glance at a hotel coupon book while I devoured a soup and salad bar lead me to a welcoming king bed at the local Travel Lodge. The miles were starting to catch up with the body. With a quick run into a museum then a nice long shower at the room made for an early night. Good z’s that night too.

Wednesday/Day 3 

Santa Rosa, NM to Winslow, AZ

Total 380 miles

Views of the road… 
Began with another nice extended Continental Breakfast before hitting the road. The morning was a little chilly but I had packed a few extra shirts and sweatshirt. Big oops would be me forgetting a coat. Several miles later I determined that my cool vest would serve as a dual purpose item. I also had my rain gear so the jacket would prove to be a blessing several days later. The high desert views were fabulous as I cruised onward towards Gallup. I had read of the Historic El Rancho Hotel so that was on my must see list. I was in a mellow mood after stopping off there to enjoy the Doris Day Special of Steak sandwich with a nice green salad and carrot cake dessert.

El Rancho Hotel
“Hotel of the Stars” - Grants, NM           

Reminds Me of Cars (2006)
However, the mood quickly changed with the weather rolling in with a mini wind storm / blacking clouds and few rain drops just after I hit Arizona. There were several prayers  mumbled with something to do with forbiddance of all out downpour gully washer experience. As the sky turned the deepest black I had ever experienced in the daylight. I decided it would be a perfect time to find a resting place for the night. Another coupon book found me a wonderful bed in a Quality Inn. As I checked into the hotel magically the sky turn bright and the day seemed normal again. Well at least I had some time for sightseeing before a burger at a local café.  Life was grand… with another goodnight of sleep I would be ready to roll again.

Thursday/Day 4 
Winslow, AZ to Needles, CA
Total 266 miles

West of Flagstaff, AZ
The day began with a beautiful AZ morning, breakfast and more pics of sights along the road. I buzz right on passed Flagstaff since I had been there on previous trips in the area. Gas was still a disappointment with the bike and luggage arrangement but I pushed onward. I just had to take a turn off the interstate path to see Seligman. AZ.  I blended in with other tourist stopping in the shops and eateries in town. That is however until they spotted my trike rig which brought about some conversation about the bike and then me… a woman traveling.

I just had a coke here…
Kingman, AZ 
I stopped for another bite to eat in Kingman before checking my phone messages. It seemed like that day was a the day that all the relatives wanting to call to make arrangement and check on my wellbeing. After hearing that my cousins meeting me were running a bit late for our meet up in Needles gave me the chance for another dessert and to take a few more pics along the way before checking into the hotel. For some unknown reason I was dealing with the heat quite well compared to my cousin’s wife. When we all met up she was in total distress. We hit the pool before finding dinner at the local McD’s.

Friday/ Day 5 

Needles, CA to Bakersfield, CA

Total 273 Miles 

Seemed like a long hot ride but there was a blessing…
A DQ in the desert/Ludlow, CA 
I didn't start the day off alone. I had been used to lugging along with not a worry about much of anything... Just rolling pretty well along with the heat or cold and road situations. I was happy to have company and excited to meet up with family but had to adjust to rolling with others. They were wonderful about having to stop frequently gas ups for the trike and I learned that the heat was an issue for them. We found it a blessing to find a Dairy Queen in the dessert. They had planned a nice lunch at Kramer’s Junction. This seemed like the longest part of the journey to CA.

Stopped at the Roadhouse Restaurant at Kramer’s Junction 
More cold drinks... Micky D’s in Barstow… 
Mojave, CA 
Road to Tehachapi, CA 
I took in all the serene desert views as we rolled back to their home in Bakersfield. A full agenda was already arranged for visiting and beach trip for my time there. I did enjoyed getting to see family and take some time off the road. Well sort of anyway… not counting the running once I reached Bakersfield. Later reflections reveal that if I had it to do again I would take at least another week to visit and venture out to more places along the coast. I had several opportunities to enjoy some of the wonderful CA sites on prior visits and living in CA again for a short year.

Saturday/ Day 6 
Bakersfield, CA to Pismo Beach
Total 240 Miles

Today was the family ride to Pismo Beach.  We walked the beach, ate at a few of the local joints and just had a grand visit. Also, I had to shop at the local outlet stores. One item that was a must was another bag to load all my things on the bike. I was lucky and found just what I was looking for and on sale to boot. I thought about tossing the other one in the trash can but the Scott in me held me back. I found a function for it as a rain shield by folding it over the new bag. It also worked for a backup container for souvenirs and small things.

Ate at the Splash Cafe...
A little shopping... 
Found some large Strawberries...
Found a 57 Chevy...

Sunday/Day 7 and Monday/Day 8

It was just a day of saying goodbyes and riding back to Bakersfield since my cousin’s wife was not feeling up to a longer journey. Our scheduled coastal ride was canceled. Rather than going it alone I chose to ride back with them. We still had a blast riding and stopping for eats and drinks. I was A-OK just rolling with the plan.

Today was the day to change oil and going over the bike for any issues before heading back out on the road. Bike was washed, loaded and ready for the next phase of my adventure. Now would I be ready?  I was really enjoying being with family but like I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. I had always heard that a visitor and fish both start to stink after the 3rd day.

Tuesday/Day 9 
Bakersfield, CA to South Lake Tahoe, CA
Total 395 Miles

This was along hwy 99... 
Today was the final goodbyes and an unexpected situation that started as I rode off to get an early start and breakfast down the road. As I left I had tucked in my pocket a stick of pepper spray my cousin had given me. As I was stopping at the first McDonalds along the road I noticed a stinging on my leg and stomach. With closer inspection in the restroom I notice the pepper spray head had turn letting some contents leak onto my pants. Oh my goodness by the time I got out a clean change of clothes it was really stinging. I wet down the area as much I could before putting fresh clothes and removing the pepper spray to a baggy in my travel bag.

Heading to South Lake Tahoe... 

South Lake Tahoe... 

Finally I was able to enjoy a breakfast of an Egg McMuffin and cup of coffee before scooting down the road towards South Tahoe. In retrospect found myself wanting to just get to the next destination. An act I now regret. I stopped at Tulare to gas up and see the B-17 along the Hwy. Also, I stopped at my beloved In-N-Out Burger for lunch... something I try to do every time I am in California.  The day was hot and the cool vest became a companion once again. I rode a total of 395 miles until reaching a Holiday Inn Express in South Tahoe. It was a good and long ride on an Intruder for this old gal. I was so tired that I really did not enjoy my dinner. All I could think about was getting into a hot shower which I had neglected to do before I ate. I learned a lesson for later use.

Wednesday/Day 10 

South Lake Tahoe, CA to Carson City, NV… 

Total 30 miles 

I awoke to a dilemma of deciding to stay another day or riding on a short distance to Carson City/ Virginia City. Before I made up my mind I rode to get some toiletries items and talked to a few locals. Then took a few pictures and took a call from home. Ultimately I chose to scoot onward to see if I could still make the weather window before any storms moved in my area. Carson City would be my next night’s stay. Beautiful riding in an area that was all new to me. I had heard about Virginia City so many times that I decided to ride the few more miles after I found a hotel/Casino that would allow me to check into early.

A day trip to Virginia City, NV… 40 miles round trip 

I wanted make a run for the tourist stuff so I pick up some brochures to see what I would do in this historic town. Mines, saloons stagecoaches gunfights and dancing girls were all fun fare here. It was a fabulous experience that I found myself wishing I had someone to share it with at that moment. I was starting to get lonesome. A feeling I am not accustom to in my daily life. A little friendly conversation from a local gift shop made me feel a little better. It seems that the clerk’s best friend had moved to none other than Bolivar, MO. A really small world? After a full day of adventure I rode back to catch a deal of Prime Rib and slots.

Thursday/Day 11 
Carson City, NV to Wells, NV 
Total 360 Miles

I was up and off to I-80. As I rode past Reno I had an urge to stop at one of the Casinos to rest and try my luck again. However, my   head said move along. I was viewing a total new territory now. I don’t remember ever being in this part of Nevada.  I really enjoyed this day of riding with a lunch stop in Lovelock.  Evidently a sought after place for couples. The 360 mile day proved to be a peaceful and solitary road. With nightfall approaching I decided to stop at Wells, NV. After checking with two other hotels that were unwelcoming I took a chance with the local Motel 6.

Visit Lovelock!
As I stood waiting to check in I spoke to several truck driver about my rig. I found out that my CDL would get me even more of a discount than I would normally obtain so the rest of the trip was a less expensive. Supper was passable at the casino across the street. Just as I was heading back to the room the excitement began. It seems a guest was in the middle of a heart attack in a room next to the office so cops and ambulances blocked the driveway for almost an hour. I had hoped to get fuel at the local truck stop but decided to postpone the task to the next morning with my run for breakfast at the local Burger King.

Friday/Day 12 
Wells, NV to Evanston, WY
Total 275 Miles

Took a little detour off I-80 to see this…
Started out with temps being in the low 40’s I was in no hurry to hit the road so I spent some time visiting a couple who proved it was indeed a small world. They had lived all of their life in the area but had raised a sibling’s son to adulthood. To my amazement they had just gotten back from a visit with him in his new home at Nixa, MO.  We talked of Branson and sights they had visited and then I bid them farewell before I took to the road again. I-80 was desolate stretch of road here. I was riding along thinking what a wonder it is to be here when I noticed a sign that said Bonneville Salt Flats ahead.

Add caption
I had to stop here for the memory of my dad. He would have loved to been here with me… I am sure of it. I rode off the interstate for miles before I actually reached the track. I was amazed to think of all the high speed trials that had taken place here. It was a good day. As I got back onto I-80 I started to feel a little vulnerable with the thought of the vastness and isolation of the road with no services for some 60 or more miles at a stretch. I had taken the time to map out the gas stops through this area but as luck would have it I had to stop for the restroom so I had gas up at a little station not mapped. It turned out to be a blessing because as I approached my mapped spot further up the road I found it boarded up and closed with no more service for 60 miles. I may or may not have made it back to the station. Whew I dodge an”Oh Boy” moment there.

I rode onward to the Great Salt Lake Area just outside of Salt Lake City. This was of course a must stop moment with pictures. Since I had visited the Salt Lake City area on numerous occasions I just zipped on through town towards WY. I found myself stopping for pictures moments several times before I stopped in Evanston, WY. My stomach was telling me to get off my duff and feed it so I stopped for a roast beef sandwich and a salad at the local Arbys. This was the first time I met up with an unsavory bunch of hoodlums. The moment I pulled in the parking lot I overheard them calling me names and laughing. I ignored them and walked into place my order.

Great Salt Lake…  

Rolled right on through Salt Lake
Since I have been there several times… Then on to WY. 

To my dismay they came in and sat two seats over still talking about the moron who would ride a bike like that and etc. I just continued to ignore them but to my amazement a local gentleman stood up and kicked the boys out of the restaurant. Apparently he was an off duty cop and he was well acquainted with the punks. I thanked him and left hoping my bike would still be in good shape after their unplanned exit. However, all was well so I cruised on down the interstate a few more miles to another coupon book hotel at the last exit. It was a Motel 6 that had taken over a once larger hotel. I walked into a huge room with a nice CDL discount and exhausted from the short 275 miles. A hot shower and TV was the only order for that night.

Saturday/ Day 13 
Evanston, WY To Cheyenne, WY
Total 362 Miles 

I started off with three shirts, cool vest and rain jacket to ward off the cold morning ride. Next time I will remember a proper coat. I welcomed stops like Fort Bridger and gas to warm up. I plugged along with it warming by the hour so the ride became pleasant by the time I reached my evening destination of Cheyenne, WY. A discount booklet showed me another night in a local hotel. At check in I was given a coupon for a free appetizer at the local Texas Roadhouse Restaurant. That was all the motivation I need to get back on the bike. With a well written directional instruction from the desk clerk I found enough food to feed a small army.

Cheyenne, WY Capitol 
Fort Bridger... 

Hotel next to train tracks. :-(
As I walked in they asked if I had ever dined there. I answered that I had eaten at Texas Roadhouses many times but had never been here. Well that was all they needed to bring me a sampler plate complete with several veggies and three ribs in addition to my free appetizer of fried pickles. With my steak dinner order I had more food than I really could eat. A doggie bag was needed for this pooch to enjoy the next day. Dinner was already planned. With a full stomach and some sights photographed I retired again to the hotel room for another night of good z’s. I can say I had been sleeping quite well in hotel rooms while on the road.

Sunday/ Day 14 
Cheyenne, WY To Kearney, NE.
Total 320 Miles

Views of miles of flat land in NE... 
Was almost an enjoyable 320 mile ride from Cheyenne, WY to Kearney, Nebraska if you didn’t mind long open road and wind. I discover a caravan of old hotrod cars heading east with me. We leapfrogged all the along the day stopping at the same gas stops and lunch venues. I met some nice people who were taking as many pics of my rig as I was taken of their car. Many would pass me to get my pic as I rode along.

Kept running into The West Coast Car Clubs heading to Indianapolis, IN.   

Original Pony Express Station...  

I ran into woman that was working at the Pony Express station that had a daughter, if memory serves me well, that was living in Branson, Mo. We talked about MO and also the fact I had spent many of my formative years living in St. Joseph, birthplace of the Pony Express. The roadway was growing tired so I stopped for a night of swimming, relaxation and my leftovers in a makeshift cooler. With a microwave and nice beverage all was good. I would have to admit I was getting weary of the road and rejoiced at the fact that the road was getting shorter to my home.

Monday/ Day 15 
Kearney, NE to Kansas City, MO
Total 310 Miles 

The morning started out another cold ride. I found myself stopping every 50 miles at first just to warm up. The sky turned black as I approach the MO state line. I was so glad to see St. Joseph in my view. I stopped to consider staying the night but something must have been in the area because after several call no room was found so I scooted onward toward Kansas City. The sky was turning a even a darker grey and my overwhelming desire to not to get caught in a rainstorm lead to an early stop close to the KCI airport. A local Days Inn had a nice discount so I call it an early day. Check in was 3pm so I decided to stop at the Crackle Barrel for a late lunch and waited for a room. The pool was just what I need. With rest I was ready for the final day ride home.

Got a little dark and windy until I turned on I-29... 

Tuesday/ Day 16 

Final Day

Today was the final day of riding. I woke to a fabulous day. With a breakfast of danish, waffles, cereal, fruits and etc. I was set for a good day. I chose to jog over toward Liberty, MO and down Rt 13 all the way home. Stopped a few places along the way but the motivation was to get home and enjoy a late lunch with my better half. It had been a great trip but I was ready to come home. My madden voyage to the open road alone had been a total success. I am sure that the road will beckon me again soon.


  1. PCC does a wonderful ride report with her trips. I enjoyed this trip when I saw it on IA!

    Weary Soldier

  2. Enjoyed this very much! Hope our trip works out as well.


  3. I really enjoyed this story. It makes me what to cross Canada on my ride all alone...a must...in fact.