The Woodlands to Ozona, Texas ~ August 10, 2009
Ozona, Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico ~ August 11, 2009
Las Cruces, New Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona ~ August 12, 2009
Phoenix, Arizona to Palm Springs, California and Joshua Tree ~ August 14, 2009
Joshua Tree, California to Los Angeles, California ~ August 15, 2009
Los Angeles, California to Williams, Arizona ~ August 20, 2009
Williams, Arizona to Winslow, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico ~ August 21, 2009
Santa Fe, New Mexico to ~ Santa Rosa, New Mexico ~ August 25, 2009
Santa Rosa, New Mexico to Sweetwater, Texas ~ August 26, 2009
Sweetwater, Texas to The Woodlands, Texas ~ August 28, 2009
Day One - Prelude
The excitement for the trip has been building with each passing day. There's just something about knowing you will soon be traveling the open roads and seeing many things you've never seen before that gets your mind working overtime. Everything is mapped out and all of our interesting sites are planned, but I can't wait to see what unexpected things we find along the way. As the song says 'we may never pass this way again', so I always stop and take the opportunity to enjoy the cool things I see along the way. This will be our longest motorcycle trip in miles so far. Everyone keeps mentioning the heat of the desert and how we will be able to handle it. I think we're up for the task. Again I will mention the Silver Eagle Outfitters Evaporation Vests. They work wonderfully while on long rides to keep you cool.
We had a family lunch today at the Spring Café in Old Town Spring so we could see everyone before we left. We'll meet up with my parents in Santa Fe, New Mexico on August 20 for the Indian Market weekend. Our friends, Gary and Patsy, may be making the trip by car to join us as well. The Indian Market in Santa Fe is a must see at least once in a lifetime. The people and the art are wonderful!
More notes from the road later!
August 10, 2009
The Woodlands to Ozona, Texas - 421 Miles
After a night of not much sleep (too excited!) we started out and got breakfast at Chick-fil-a.
We decided to go I-10 instead of 290 as we have been out 290 so many times and we don't get many opportunities to go I-10. We were blessed with unseasonably cool weather. It only reached about 91 degrees today. We stopped in Boerne at Chili's for lunch. I will admit I had a small freak out about 3 miles from Chili's. We had passed all the restaurants in the San Antonio area as we wanted to get on the other side of town. The area looked pretty desolate to me. Finally, I saw a sign for a gas station/Subway and pulled over. Well, Jer wanted to know why I was pulling in there, and well, I said to get off the bike and EAT. He had told me that there were restaurants everywhere on I-10 after San Antonio.
Well, a couple, in Boerne. We ate at Chili's and I was super happy once again. :) I was happy to see the home sweet Holiday Inn as we pulled into Ozona around 6:00pm.
We unloaded and left to go eat at the *famous to julie* Pepe's Mexican Cafe.
Love, the chicken fajitas and they have the best refried beans I've ever had.
I love the artwork in the restaurant.
It is painted by the owner, Tovar. As we were checking out I noticed in the cabinet that they had scored a ticket to the Michael Jackson Memorial Service, complete with the gold arm band!
Not much interesting today. We just spent most of the day trying to get across the great state of Texas. Tomorrow we'll be in New Mexico.
Day Three -
It's Not The Destination, It's The Journey...
Las Cruces, New Mexico to Phoenix, Arizona
This morning was just beautiful . Sunny, and just outside the hotel was the view of a huge mountain in the distance. We headed out for breakfast at McDonalds after a futile search for Chick-Fil-A.
(i should have seen this as a sign of things to come)
With the new George Strait CD, Twang, playing I was just enjoying the wonderful scenery. By the way, 'Twang' will be another hit for George. I played the hell out of it today, the songs are great! I highly reccommend it. Today was a much prettier ride as there were mountains and beautiful rocks to see along the way. It's strange how once you leave Texas the land changes so much. It really was not supposed to be a very long ride today, but that's not exactly how things turned out.
Several miles outside of Las Cruces Snakebites Engine light and Battery light came on. That's not really what you want to see while you are so far away from home. We had no choice but to ride several miles as it is really not safe to pull over on the side of the interstate. We had to go through the border patrol.
They just waved us through this time. We passed a beautiful mountain area called Texas Canyon.
Finally after crossing the border into Arizona (whoo-whoo, alice country!) there was a rest area 11 miles in.
I wanted to turn Snakebite off for a while and see if he would cool down and maybe the lights would resolve themselves.
So we hung around for a while with the visitors and truckers. A train came by while we were there.
I'll never know why I think trains are so cool, but I do. There was a sign stating that there were dangerous snakes and insects in the area where you were supposed to walk your animals.
Okay. If you're walking your animal you're going to be there too, right?
I started Snakebite up and the lights were gone! Off we went. Too good to be true, the lights came back on about 10 minutes later. Nothing to do but try and make it to Tucson and the Harley dealer there. I couldn't take the chance to turn it off again and it not start. Not in the middle of nowheresville in the desert. I usually look in my rear-view mirrors a lot while I drive. Thankfully. About 10 miles down the road after the rest stop I noticed my flags on the back of my bike were really flying. More than usual. I look again, and thought, well, one of the posts had gotten broken. Then I noticed they both seemed to be really leaned backward. HOLY SHIT! My whole brake light was laying off of the bike onto the bumper!!! It had fallen off. The antenna for the J&M Radio was almost on the ground and everything was flapping in the wind. Nothing to do but pull over - on the interstate highway. Big Daddy unscrewed the antenna and we put the whole discombobulated mess in the trailer and took off once again for Tucson. I think that was the longest 90 miles I've ever driven. Just worrying about a breakdown on the side of the road and having to wait for a wrecker was a pain.
We drove into Harley and went in, explained the problem. Roe asked me to go out get my bike and drive it in for him to look at. Out I went to get him - he wouldn't start. Big Daddy pushed me in, we left him there and went to eat. A welcome meal since we had not had anything to eat since breakfast at the long ago McDonalds. While there Roe called and said it was the strator (alternator) and they didn't have one, it would take until Friday to have it shipped. We went back over there and they had worked it out so they could get one there tomorrow, (thursday) and have it ready then. However, they don't have the tail light, and neither does Phoenix. I guess we will have to call ahead to LA and see if they may have it. The taillight assembly cracked so I need a new one. Delima. Drive to Phoenix 1 1/2 hours away to our reserved hotel and then drive back to Tucson tomorrow or stay in Tucson and just stay one night in Phoenix. We decided to go on to Phoenix with me riding bitch.
Okay, I can do this, I thought. Yeah, right. I thought the ride from Las Cruces was long. Now I know the ride from Tucson to Phoenix was the longest of my life.
We are fortunate to have two bikes, but wow.
My legs are killing my from riding on the back of SkyDawg. I just think the issue is there is no other position to get in back there. Shoutout to my friend, Lorraine! Girl, you are one strong person for all of the riding you have done over the years on the back of that bike! I told Big Daddy at the rest stop we pulled over at that you had one up on me for sure. You Rawk for all of those miles you've gone on that Goldwing all over this Country!
I made the most of it and took some pictures along the way. I even made a new friend on the drive.
He asked me to take his picture, and who am I to refuse?
This is where Snakebite is sleeping tonight.
And this is where I'm sleeping tonight. Ahhh.
I've never been so glad to see a sign. Home Sweet Marriott!!!
After we checked in and were walking back to Skydawg a bunny was running across the driveway.
Just a simple reminder that all of these little irritations don't matter at all. There are beautiful things to see in this world and I intend to soldier on!
I so love the trains as I'm travling along the road! This train was between Tucson and Phoenix.
Phoenix and Cooperstown
I woke up this morning and looked out the sliding glass window and the view was so beautiful.
The Marriott Canyon Villas have beautiful landscaping. Big Daddy enjoyed the pool side bar last night and brought a margarita back to the room but I stayed in the room and enjoyed the cool and the wonderfully comfy bed. After the trials of the day I wanted to relax. I knew today would be a busy one, and exciting! It had rained a bit this morning so it had cooled of some which was a welcome relief. We left for Alice Cooperstown.
Anyone who knows me knows of my passion and obsession with Alice Cooper. I'm not really sure why I have this passion, I just do. It all started back in 1972 with the album School's Out, the Billion Dollar Babies Album the next year just clinched the deal. That album, Billion Dollar Babies, would be the one to get me and my sister in more trouble than we could count. To say my father thought Alice was the devil incarnate was putting it lightly. At one time all of our posters were taken away as well as the records and we were Alice free for a time. But as daughters are known to do, we soon got it all back and the Alice train was back in motion and it has never stopped in 37 years. To my dads dismay, in May I went to Dallas to actually meet Alice in person! Going to Cooperstown in Phoenix was one of my dreams. I have been reading about the restaurant since it opened, hell, since before it opened, in 1998. An Alice Cooper restaurant? What could be better? A restaurant full of The Masters memorabilia? Shit - I'm going!
Cooperstown is located at 101 Jackson Street in Phoenix, Alice's hometown. Thanks, Alice, for putting your restaurant on a street with my last name! They have great ribs and very crunchy french fries.
I finally made it! Just before entering the inner sanctum of Alice's place.
Me and my Alice Autograph Tatt with the Alice dummy.
I had a very reflective moment in this stairwell. On June 13, 2009 Alice and his fans suffered a big loss. Brian "Renfield" Nelson passed away. Renfield was Alice's assistant for about 30 years. He started as a fan as a teenager and that's basically how he got the job. He hung around enough, Alice noticed him and said if your gonna be here so much you might as well work for me. To say Ren knew everything about Alice is putting it lightly. If you were to ask him where Alice was on a certain day in a certain year he would ask you what time. He was a fans fan and to many of us he made our night at a concert. He was the link to Alice and he knew what a thrill it was to get an autograph or to actually get backstage and he made that happen for lots of us. And he did that all while performing his usual job. In the 90's we had a fan list called Sickthings and Renfield would regale us with tales of tours and inside information and endless trivia. He had a mind like a steel trap and he could recognize you from your e-mail address - in person. He might say, 'what's your e-mail address?'. Then he would know you! He had the biggest collection of Alice memorabilia in the world. As I stood there I wondered who would now have the collection of memories he had? Who would have his collection of Alice 'things'? But also, how sad it would be to go to a concert and not be looking for Ren anymore....
RIP Renfield. You will not be forgotten...
The plaques presented to Alice when he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I visited his star three days later!
In May Alice Signed my Shoulder and I had it tattooed on.
Me and My Pal, Alice
Beautiful Mountains and a fellow traveler along the highway near Phoenix.
This will let you know how dry it is in the Phoenix area. These are dust storms. We saw quite a few of these in the desert area. Try riding through a lot of these and seeing what your clothes look like at night, not to mention your skin!
J & M Radio Corp in Tucson
It was time to head to Tucson to pick up Snakebite. The technician had asked me the day before if the bike was a boy. I said of course you don’t expect me to ride a girl bike do you? I told him his name was Snakebite and he said that he hoped he wouldn’t get bitten while he worked on him. I assured him Snakebite would be good for him. Apparently he was because when we drove up he was waiting for me up front all shinny and gleaming. He is now back where he belongs ~ on the road between my thighs.
After that it was onto J & M Corp. They are the makers of my CB radio. Oh, the prevails of the damn radio. The speakers were not working properly and of course the antennae had fallen off yesterday. We drove up and I told them I wanted the shorter antennae. Then Big Daddy and some guy who said he was a salesman tried to figure out how to attach the thing so we could communicate until we get to LA. I got a new speaker for Big Daddy to put in my helmet. I can’t say much for the owners of J&M. My volume knob had fallen of yesterday day as well. You know how when you are driving down the road and you use your controls without looking? Well, I was turning the volume knob but the volume wasn't changing. I finally looked down and noticed the damn thing was gone. What next?
After having all of the problems with my in helmet speakers and then the knob Big Daddy said they were in Tucson let's just go on over there. I was in the lobby of the small office and the male there said to the female ‘are they still here?’ – she said ‘yes, they are, she’s in the lobby talking to the technician’. I could tell they were irritated that we had the utter gall to drive up to the business and ask for help. The technician was awesome. He helped out a lot and gave us some tips. When I heard them discussing if we were still there I wanted to stick my head inside the little window and say ‘yeah, they're still here and btw, they have spent an assload of money for your obviously faulty products and if your products were not faulty they wouldn’t have a reason to drive from Texas to be here in your office, and they have referred and assload of people to your business' soooo, if I were you, owners of J&M Radio in Tucson I wouldn't be discussing the customers while they are actually in the little waiting room of the business. Although I realize it was close to closing time, I hesitate to buy something from people who only seem to care about the money and not customer service. If you are that damn anxious to close the door at five o'clock, put a lock on it and close the business because with customer relations like that it won't be long before you go out anyway. I guess if you build the only on handle motorcycle CB radio you can afford to treat your customers anyway you like. However, please take note that the two employees that helped us were very, very nice and helpful, the one even talking to us after he himself was locked out of the door.
My final take on the J&M CB radio? When it works properly it is the most awesome helpful product you can get for your bike. When it doesn't work properly, all they tell you to do is take it off the bike and send it back so they can fix it. Yeah, like I'm a motorcycle mechanic, can remove the gas tank from Snakebite to get the head of the radio off to send it back to them. Therefore to get it fixed I would have to pay Harley Davidson $300.00 to get it off, send to J&M, pay Harley Davidson $300.00 to have it put back on. Very realistic.
I guess as you can tell, they pissed me off....
But they didn't ruin my ride cause it was time for me to head to Joshua Tree!
"I'm Driving Down The Road And I'm Flirting With Disaster..." I love that song by Molly Hatchet and it was playing the morning we left Phoenix for Joshua Tree. Sometimes when you are on the road for a long time you feel like you may be flirting with disaster, but that's what life's all about, right? Makes you feel alive to get out and take a chance once in a while.
Of course, we had to start the day at our favoite, Chick-fil-A. One thing about it, all Chick-fil-A's are not equal. In Phoenix the corn salsa in the Southwest Chargrilled Chicken Salad is way too hot for me. Not like in the Houston area. I tell you these things as I feel you need to know them in case you ever find yourself in the area and feel the hankering for a good ole' Southwest Chargrilled Chicken Salad, I wouldn't want you to be dissapointed, lol...
I swear I have seen every type of truck known to man on the roadways on this trip. This particular truck was piled high with boxes from Walmart. Just old crushed boxes. Also, you would be amazed at how many women truck drivers there are. I'm not talking about big sturdy truck driving women. I'm talking petite, pretty, truck drivers wearing makeup and nails. Surprising!
On our way we stopped at a rest stop and a father and daughter drove up on a Harley Road King. We talked for a bit. They were from Wisconsin and he was taking her to San Diego to be with her husband who was in training with the Marines. He has already been to Iraq two times and is training to go to Afghanistan. They were hot as hell, although they did have some wraps that held ice around their necks. We gave them some bottled water and some ice for their wraps, and of course talked about our bikes and chewed the fat for a while. The poor girl was sunburned to a crisp but said she loved the feel of the sun on her skin. Loved the stinging sensation.....Hello, skin cancer? Poor thing, I hope they made their trip okay. You meet the most interesting people on the road. Blessings to her husband as he protects us and our Country.
We crossed the California Border at 12:20 p.m. Whoo-Whoo ~ We made it!
You would have thought we were entering another country. They had it set up like a border patrol with booths and everything. We didn't have to stop, they waved us through. It was strange in that as soon as we crossed the border the landscape changed drastically. It was flatter and populated. Very odd.
About 30 miles from a place called Desert Center I needed break. The desert is very hot and although we had our evaporation vests, it's kind of hard to drink while driving a motorcycle. I needed some drink and there is really no good place to pull over in the middle of no freakin' where in the desert. No safe place anyway. Trust me, there is nothing there but beautiful mountains and rocks and lots and lots of truckers. Oh, and dust and sand. So we finally saw a sign for Desert Center. Not knowing when the next stop would be we pulled in. Good thing we did. Little did we know it would be the last stop for a while. How to describe Desert Center? Well, you just had to be there!
Talk about a one horse town. I don't even think this town had a horse. First of all it would die from the heat, and then there would be no extra water for the poor thing, no grass to eat, it would just be miserable. So there was a gas station there - notice the word 'was'. It was closed, had been for some time. We went into the one business open, a cafe, Desert Center Cafe. No pictures of this food. I'm sure you can guess why. The story is that the owners came driving through one day in 1921. "Desert Steve", while crossing the desert on his way to LA broke down in the area and realized there were no facilities there. He completed his trip, went home and came back and founded Desert Center. The cafe is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Trust me, they need to be. Just in our time in the restaurant there were so many people running in asking the one waitress (who was also the cashier, i've no doubt she was the cook as well) where to get gas. This is how the conversations went:
"Do you have any gas, or where is the gas station"
"There is no gas for 25 miles"
"Oh. My. God. I can't make it 25 miles!"
"Here, call this guy, he will talk to you about arrangements on coming to give you some gas, here is his card."
First of all, did these people realize they were in the desert? Did they not know where they were? We filled up at almost every gas station we passed just in case there was not one at the next stop. Hello, outer space people? The desert is a lonely place with not many amenities. It's worse if you are on the side of the road out of gas. Get a clue.
Have you ever heard that every town has a bum? I have, and Desert Center is no exception. Strangely enough he did not ask us for money. He did, however, ask us for a light and we said we didn't have one because we don't smoke. I told him just to look up and light it off the damn air because it was certainly hot enough. If you look in the photo of me by my bike in front of the Desert Center cafe you will see Desert Center Bum in the background. While we ate we watched Desert Center Bum walk around with a cigarrete paper and collect all of the discarded cigarretes off the ground. He would then open up the butts, pour the left over tobacco into his paper and roll his cigarrette. Once he got enough to make his roll, he would light it up and lay back on the dry hard sandy ground and have himself a good old smoke. Desert Center Bum doesn't expect much out of life, just a good smoke. And he must get it right there in front of the cafe. Now that's what you call industrious.
After eating lunch and having a small break we headed out for the next town and to fill up with gas. At the gas station a man came over to, what else, talk about the bikes. I swear, if you want to talk to a lot of people, just get a motorcycle. He was asking me about my bike because he wants his wife to get one as he wants her off the back of his. I told her to go for it, she could do it. Damn, it I can make it across the Mojave Desert anybody can ride a bike and go anywhere they want.
After that it was onward and forward to the most beautiful place on earth I have seen so far ~ Joshua Tree National Park. Or as some still call it, Joshua Tree Monument.
Okay, this is hard to describe actually. It's just a valley of mountainous wonders. Every turn of the road is a "Wow". And as to the Joshua Trees themselves? Oh, my! I told Big Daddy that they looked like a bunch of people standing out there with their arms spread wide just welcoming you into their forest. He told me that he had actually read some western books where they were mentioned and that is what was said about them.
The trunks are rough and do not have regular bark, it's almost like a basket weave. I want a Joshua Tree in my yard.
They are majestic. They are magickal. It's something you just must see. This National forest is equally populated with rock formations, trees, cactus and flat valleys all through. Most of the others we have been through are in sections.
There is a cactus garden called the Cholla Cactus Garden. There are so many of then it's amazing! I've never seen cactus quite like this before.
For a full album of Joshua Tree Photos you can view my facebook photo album here:
It is so beautiful I would like to go back there one day soon and spend more time. As we left the Monument and drove into the town Big Daddy said we might have found a place to retire to. I guess he was as impressed as I was. That's unusual. At the end of the roadway out of Joshua Tree National Forest is the town of Joshua Tree and the Joshua Tree Inn. I have written a separate section on the Joshua Tree Inn. Some may not be interested in the subject and it's also quite long. However, on the recommendation of the Inn Keeper we drove out to Pioneer Town, California to have dinner at Pappy and Harriett's for dinner. It's a local hangout in Pioneer Town. They had a nice jazz band that night, which was a Friday. The outside seating was almost full by the time we got there and although there were some open tables inside we found out they were all booked up with reservations so we ate at the bar. There were a lot of motorcycles out front, and of course, when we went inside the bikers came right over to shake our hands and ask where we were from, where we were headed and such. So nice to be noticed and have a comraderie with people no matter where you go. We wished each other safe travels and got on with our dinners.
The Ashes of a local singer who used to play and hang out at the bar.
The food was cooked over open flame. The ribs were good, but the chicken was better. The veggie stir-fry was excellent!
Pappy and Harriett's ~ About 15 miles from Joshua Tree, up in the mountains. A nice cool place to hang out. A very nice ride up the mountain, and down.
It was wonderful food. While sitting at the bar I found an Urn on the backside of the bar where they keep the booze and the memorialbelia. Grave hunter that I am I was able to find a grave even in Pioneer Town inside Pappy and Harriett's Restaurant. I asked who was in the Urn and they told me it was a local singer who used to play at the restaurant. By the way, Gram used to hang out there. While we were inside it cooled off so much that I had to wear a jacket on the way back. Curvy roads back to the Joshua Tree Inn made the ride so much fun. One thing about weather in the desert - you never know what it will be. Come prepared for intense heat and extreme cold. At night even in the summer it can get down to the 50's.
The Majestic Rocks of Joshua Tree ~ So Beautiful
Pure Joy!!! Riding through Joshua Tree!!!
Joshua Tree Inn and Gram Parsons
Well, Big Daddy must really love me because the things I can talk him into doing for me! For those of you who don't even know who Gram Parsons is, these photos will not mean anything to you at all. For that maybe one person (Gena, :)) who does, they will be a thrill. If you want to come to know who he was watch a movie on DVD called "Grand Theft Parsons". It's a small budget movie, but very entertaining. Gram was the originator of country rock music. Many artists site Gram as their influence including Elvis Costello, U2, the Black Crowes, The Eagles and The Rolling Stones. Emmylou Harris herself said in an interview that without Gram there would be no Emmylous Harris. She was one of his last singing partners. Although of such great influence with his music he is most well known for his travels after his death. Sounds funny, doesn't it? Yes, Grams body was actually stolen from the airport while enroute to the chosen burial place of his father (Step-adopted-father) by his friends. He had told his friends he wanted his ashes spread in his favorite spot, Cap Rock, in Joshua Tree Monument and they were determined to carry out his wishes. So they stole his body and took it out to Joshua Tree, lit the casket afire and tried to burn it. The body and casket were later found and the friends were convicted of "Gram Theft Parsons" because there was no law against stealing a body. Only stealing a casket. Thus the book and movie "Grand Theft Parsons". Gram had a way of always just slightly missing his big shot at huge fame. Just as in life, he also missed the big headlines in death. One day after his demise, Jim Croce's plane crashed and those huge headlines overtook Grams last shot at great news. However, the hotel where Gram stayed his last days is still at the end of the road at Joshua Tree. And, yes, folks, you guessed it ~ I just had to stay in room #8, where Gram took his last breath. And Big Daddy was talked into taking the journey with me. Thus, the things he will do for me. Ah, love!
After visiting Joshua Tree Park I can relate to a young Gram visiting with his mother and him finding peace there. Gram suffered a troubled childhood. His father killed himself and he did not get along well with his new step-father. He was sent to a military school where he promptly proceeded to get kicked out. It was around this time that his mother decided to take the kids on a trip. Joshua Tree was one of the places they visited and Gram had some type of spiritual connection to the place. It was where he went to relax. In his late teens his mother became addicted to prescription drugs and Gram started partaking of her stash. She overdosed on his high school graduation day. It was always at Joshua Trees Cap Rock he went to find solace. During the recording of his last album, Grievous Angel, he and a group of friends had gone to Joshua Tree for some rest and fun. His friends left him alone in Room 8 and a while later they went back to find him non-responsive. He passed away that night from alchohol and morphine poisoning. His friends were surprised as he had been clean for some time.
The room is old, and antique. Probably the original plumbing and sink that Gram used. But for the nostalgia factor it was great! It was pristine clean. The bed was comfy and although it was a window air conditioner it kept us comfortable. It had a patio off the back where you could sit out and relax. The pool was beautiful and there was a huge Joshua Tree right out front. I didn't get much sleep that night as I stayed up to read the whole diary and all of the articles they had in the notebook there. I've never seen the newspaper articles from the time of his death. They were very interesting.
When we checked in the owner said 'oh, you're in room #8, you're gram's people', lol, too funny!
Cosmic Hotel! I love it!
Gram Parson memorial on Findagrave:
A 'real' hotel door key, room 8
The diary that visitors write in when they visit Room 8. It's very interesting reading the past entries.
My token, a Harley Davidson Guitar pic, on the left side of the poster, it's orange.
A hat left by Tanya Tucker inscribed, "Gram, we're keeping it going, Missed You, Love, Tanya Tucker."
A small memorial people have set up in the courtyard outside room 8
The last door Gram Parsons ever walked through
Palm Springs and Cathedral City, California
Finally visiting Sonny Bono in Desert Memorial Park, Cathedral City, California. I've only written one fan letter in my life and that was to Sonny. At the time he was already a United States Congressman. He wrote me a letter back. What a great man he was. Yes, I do have Alice Cooper's autograph tattooed into my skin, but I never wrote him a fan letter. :) If you ever want to know more about Sonny you should get his book: The Beat Goes On, it is a great read and I think you would be really surprised at his life events and the things he accomplished. To visit his online memorial and read a short bio visit Findagrave:
This plaza, located just to the left of Sonny and his mother's graves was dedicted to his honor on the first anniversary of his death.
Visiting 'Ole Blue Eyes, Desert Memorial Park, Cathedral City, California
The grave of William Powell in Desert Memorial Park, Cathedral City, California (Near Palm Springs)
T. Boone Pickens Windmills near Palm Springs, California
BIRDS ~ Hollywood, California
Birds was a restaurant just a couple of blocks walk from the Pensione. Great roasted chicken was their speciality. We ate there about three times. The first night there was a festival in the street and someone had a pet pig eating outside with them. Great!!!
When looking for place to stay in LA I had quite a delima. I had to find a place that would be safe to park the bikes. I also wanted a place that would be close to everything we wanted to do and see. After looking at hotels and discovering that you had to pay for parking at all of them, that would mean two parking charges for us, and reading that most of the parking lots were blocks down the street I decided to look for a bed and breakfast. I found a bed and kitchen called The Hollywood Pensione.
I looked at so many but I kept going back to the Pensione. I finally made the reservation and can now say that it was perfect! From the moment we drove up that afternoon I knew that I had found the perfect place. The Inn keepers are a couple with a 5 year old little girl. The house was built in 1915. The bottom floor is for the family and the top floor has three huge bedrooms with private baths. A full kitchen is on the top floor with a full sized washer and dryer for use. The washer and dryer was awesome for this part of the trip. It was just time to do laundry so this was great. Each room at the inn has it own fridge so we could put our snacks in there as well. Douglad and Erika actually moved one of their own cars so we could park our bikes in their space. How nice is that? We basically had the house to ourselves although there were other people there we never saw them. It was a cozy, nice, quiet place to be. But it was only three blocks from Hollywood Blvd. We could walk to almost anything we wanted to see and that's what we did the first night we were there. That's when we got our first taste of Pinberry Yogurt. Oh. My. God. Can I just say, Pinkberry Yogurt is the bomb. They need to have a store on every corner just like Starbucks. I've no idea what they put in the stuff but I warn you ~ don't take the first bite, cause it won't be your last. It's like a drug, you won't be able to put it down. That was our first of many and we were only in LA four days. Dougald, the Inn Keeper gave us some tips on different ways to go to Malibu which were great tips and Erika, his wife gave us some great ideas for restaurants. Birds was one of the restaurants we could walk to. It was very interesting because not only was the food great, it was right across from the Scientology Celebrity Centre. Believe me, they have that place locked up tight. There are guards all around it, and they have the fence and gates set up so you can't see inside. The breaks in the fence are covered up with green tarps so you can't peak through. I ask you, what on earth are they doing in there that they don't want you to see it? We enjoyed food at Birds a few times while we were there and it was great every time. My only regret with staying at the Pensione is that I didn't have time to sit out on either the front or the back balcony to enjoy the view. We just didn't have time. Maybe I'll go back one day and get to do that.
The view from our bedroom window at our Home Sweet Hollywood Pensione. We were just about three blocks from Hollywood Blvd. And two blocks from the Scientology Celebrity Center. Guards everywhere!
The balcony and sitting room at the Pensione
Our First Pinberry Yogurt. OMG! Come to The Woodlands already!!! Can you say Addiction? What do they put in this stuff anyway, heroin?
Monday, August, 17, 2009
It was so cold here in Malibu that we had to find a Target store in Oxnard so I could buy another pair of pants. I had already put on my other two shirts and my thick leather gloves. Thankfully, I always travel with my thick leather gloves in my saddle bag in case it rains I will have the other pair when my summer gloves get wet. I had on a regular shirt, a thermal shirt, and a jacket. My legs were freezing off. I got the pants at Target and another pair of socks. I was still a bit cold, but warm enough to ride comfortably. The sun was out and it was beautiful there, but I just couldn't believe how cold it was on the beach in August. I swear in these pictures the surgical steel was about to break off my boobs!!!
You know sometimes when you are having a converstaion and you look back on it and remember a fateful moment? Serveral times on our trip Big Daddy and I remembered a conversation we had while deciding what to take on our trip. We discussed taking our leathers. He told me that it would be a bit 'cool at night'. And we decided not to take the leathers because we had some long sleeved shirts and I had the thick jacket. I always layer clothing while riding here when it gets a bit cold so we just decided to leave them at home. WHAT A MISTAKE. Many nights and a few mornings we could have used them. But, live and learn along the way. We won't leave again without those leathers, believe me. Big daddy especially won't leave without them because one night we had to stop in the middle of nowheresville at the rim of the Grand Canyon to stay because I couldn't make it two more hours because of the cold. I wish I had a video of that ride, lol. But that's another story for another leg of the trip.
The Original Hamburger Hamlet. Now called "The Hamlet On Sunset". Sunset Blvd.
Jerry's first bite of hamburger since November, 2008! Man, doesn't that hamburger look good? I'll tell you, it was much better than it looks. They make REAL hamburgers there. OMG!!!
THIS is what caused the fires in California. Yes, folks, three whole Dump Trucks full of POT! And we were driving right beside it in Oxnard, California. I thought something smelled familiar, looked over and saw this huge dump truck of plants. Said to Jer, looks like pot, he said, yeah. A couple minutes later there was a Forestry Police Suburban Escort behind them, Jer pointed and mouthed "Pot?" and he shook his head yes! I can't believe they escorted it down the freeway in the open, not covered up or anything. Maybe they were trying to make a staement.
Link to the story :
While going down PCH there were two German Shephards in a surbaban in front of me with their heads stuck out the back window. For a while they just looked at me like 'what the hell are you doing?'. Then they started barking at me going down the road. Guess they finally realized that there was someone they could actually converse with on the roadway as most people are inside of cars. Love these small delights while on the road!
Pinkberry Yogurt at the LA Farmers Market while waiting to take Scott's Dearly Departed Tour. In case I have said it before, I LOVE Pinkberry! One day we had Pinkberry THREE times!!!
Hollywood Walk of Fame
A Michael Jackson impersonator in front of the Wax Museum. We had a nice talk. He has an uncle who lives in Sugarland. It truely is a small world. He was an impersonator who could stay still so you wondered if he was statue or real. He was very good.
"We're going off the rails of a crazy train...." OZZY!!!!!
I hate to say it, but Marilyn was wrong. She said Diamonds are a girls best friend. Wrong. Harley Davidson is a girls best friend. I'd take that over a diamond any day.
Well, what else can I say? It's just an Alice Cooper year for me!
The beautiful Natasha. What a wonderful actress. So unfortunate what happened to her at such a young age. We also visited her grave at Westwood Memorial Park.
"I'm beautiful, Damn't!" Bette Midler, Jerry and I have met her and she is delightful.
"Ride, I used to jump my horse and ride...." Sonny and Cher
"Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner" Patrick Swayze
"Through The Park Bidderman, You Know How I Love The Park" Dudley Moore
One of the statues at the beginning of the Walk of Fame
A star for the LAPD
Jer at the beginning of the Hollywood Walk of Fame
One of Texas' Angels, Farrah Fawcett
We visited Elvis' Star on the 32nd anniversary of his death. Hard to believe it's been that many years.
The Queen Himself, Elton John
People are still leaving tokens on Michael Jackson's star.
Mann's Chinese Theatre
Poquito 'Mas, a mexican food restaurant recommended by our Dearly Departed tour guide. It was good, but not good enough to visit twice.
And walking down the street right on West Sunset in LA, Jesus. As you can see the photo didn't really turn out. That Jesus, man, he's elusive, doesn't like to have his pic taken by the paps!
Winslow, Arizona (which ended up being Williams, Arizona for the night)
I was a bit sad as we pulled out of Los Angeles. We had so much fun there and I had seen so many things that I had been wanting to see for so many years. So many dreams come true. We would be heading back into Arizona to get to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Indian Market. The first thing I wanted to know when Big Daddy told me we would be in Arizona on our trip was if we would be anywhere near Winslow. I remember so well hearing the song "Take It Easy" by The Eagles and always wondering about Winslow, Arizona. So I decided if we were anywhere near there, I was going to stand on a corner. Little did I know the small town of Winslow has created a whole tourist industry on those words and it is an official Route 66 landmark.
On the way to Winslow we stopped to get gas in a town called Ludlow, California.
We rented a room across the street from the gas station for three hours.
*Use your imagination*
The air conditioner in this fly-by-nite hotel would freeze your ass off. What a surprise. Because when you drive over to a hotel in the middle of nowhereseville and it says to go across the street to the gas station to rent the room and get the key you are not expecting the best.
What a pleasant surprise. It served our purposes anyway.
Our original plan was to stay at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow this night. However, we didn't make it. We ended up staying in a town called Williams, Arizona at the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Riding to Williams
The entrance to the Quality Inn in Williams had Tee Pees
These pictures were taken the morning we left. Trust me, I wasn't seeing anything the night we pulled in there.
On the ride to Winslow it got dark. As it got darker it got colder. I'm okay with a little cold. But after I had on two pair of pants, three shirts and a fleece jacket and that wasn't enough I was freezing. My thicker gloves were not keeping my hands warm enough. We had about two more hours until Winslow and our nice, cozy, pre-paid La Posada Hotel. Finally, I just couldn't do it anymore. One thing about the desert. It is hot in the daytime, but at night, when in the mountains it gets cold. This was at the rim of the Grand Canyon and I guess that just made it colder. I told Big Daddy I had to get off at the exit. With no cars and suprisingly no truckers in sight either I drove to the stop sign and just stopped. He asked me what now? I said that I was freezing and couldn't make it two more hours. He said go to the Quality Inn. I said I have no idea where that is! He said turn right. My, God, I was so damn cold I did not see anything on the freeway at all. He led the way and it was on a backwards feeder road. We drove up, walked in and asked for a room. The room ended up being seperate from the hotel where about five rooms were in back. I parked the bike got off, stripped and got in the hot shower. I stayed there for about 30 minutes, got in bed and didn't get up again until the next morning. Poor Big Daddy had to get everything into the room by himself that night. I was useless.
The next morning I walked out and noticed there were horses and cowboys. I woke up in the middle of a dude ranch! WTF? Big Daddy asked me did I not see that last night? I said no I didn't I was too cold. That is how damn cold I was, I had no idea there were horses out there when we pulled up. Remember the previously mentioned leather conversation? Don't leave home without them.....
We continued on our journey that morning. We had places to go and things to see. This was one of my Rock-N-Roll dreams after all.
Along the way we crossed the Continental Divide in Arizona. This would be the second time we had crossed it along our travels.
A beautiful view across the highway from the Continental Divide Sign
Beautiful Mountains Just Outside of Winslow
Arriving in Winslow
When traveling Route 66 you run into a lot of people that speak little or no English. Traveling Route 66 is a very big deal to people from other countries and they really love to come over and rent a Harley and ride the Route 66 route. We saw three people in the parking lot at this mural. They got out of the car, walked over to the mural took pictures and came and started getting back in the car. Well, Big Daddy and I discussed the fact that they may think that was 'the corner' and wouldn't that suck if they came all that way to America then to Winslow specifically and went to the wrong place? So he walked over to them and asked them and they said they thought that was it. He told them it was two blocks down and how to get there. Very appreciative they took off to take their 'real' picture at the real corner in Winslow.
We drove up to La Posada and it was beautiful. They have a great restaurant there. If you're ever in the area stop in for a great meal - you won't regret the time. And the decor is wonderful.
The train runs directly behind the hotel
Each meal came with this cornbread. It's crispy on top but also has a honey glaze. Yummy!
Jerry about to enjoy his tacos. And he was going to get a hamburger!
Tacos with cabbage on them? Oh, my, they were so good!
This was a very good dessert!
After a wonderful lunch it was time to mosey on down to the corner. The famous corner. Just to stand there. Take it easy. For a bit. Just to think about all of those times I listened to that song and wondered about that very phrase. Well, now every time I hear that song I know I've been there and I know I've stood on that corner. Whoo-Whoo!!!
Shopping on Route 66 across from Standing On A Corner Park
The store was an old bank building that had an upper and a lower vault.
All the states of Route 66
Big Daddy says this will be my version of the Softail Deluxe when I get to old to ride, lol. It's red has three wheels and has the flags on the back....
We left Winslow and headed toward New Mexico. Just as with Arizona, this would be our second crossing into New Mexico on this trip.
Welcome back to beautiful New Mexico!
Santa Fe and Madrid
I love New Mexico. It is so beutiful there and the mountains are just so great. So colorful. I swear some of the mountains in the area look just like a Starbucks Mocha Frapuccino. Along the torquiose trail you can actually look at the top of certain mountains and see green. Just lovely. The people are also great. Maybe it's living among all that beauty that just makes them happier or somehing. But they do seem to be friendlier and nicer than other places.
The Santa Fe Indian Market is one reason to visit Santa Fe but there are many others. There are great museums there and shops filled with wonderful artwork. Within a short days trip in many directions you can see so many things. Architecture, history, and nature. On the square in downtown Santa Fe everyday the Indian people set up and sale their jewelry. You can go to the Five and Dime and shop for cheap souvineers and get a Frito Pie.
I think this guy and Jer are related....
Museum Hill Indian Sculpture
My favorite dish is a chicken casserole.
You see lot's of interesting things at the Market
New Mexico Veterans Memorial
After leaving Santa Fe we headed to Madrid. It's only about 30 minutes from Santa Fe. Madrid was made famous by the Movie "Wild Hogs" which starred John Travolta, William H. Macy, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and Marisa Tomei. Disney built the fictional diner in the movie, Maggies. It is actually a store not a diner. The town of Madrid is about 1 mile long. There are shops filled with art and a couple of Bed and Breakfasts. There are a few restaurants, but you are lucky if they are open at any given time. It's a very laid back community of about 300 people. Due to the movie lots of bikers want to make the trip to Madrid. Judy Swan has a shop there. She makes custom chaps and purses. I had her fit me for a pair while we were there. They will arrive in a few weeks.
Getting fitted for my chaps. Now those are some serious looks!
Big Daddy walking into Johnsen and Swan
Me and Judy
We had lunch and then headed out in the rain for Sweetwater, Texas.
Although I knew it was time to go home, and I was in a way ready to go, it was a bit sad to know we were heading back to Texas.
Can I just say, why did the designers of his grave make it look like a jail cell? They say they had to do something because the headstone kept getting stolen. But really, weren't the steel bars on the actual headstone enough. Even for an outlaw this just seems a bit disrespectful. Perpetually in jail?
The map at the gas station that led us to Billys grave
Not only did we see the windmills in action, we saw them moving across the highways to get to their destinations. They are huge! One piece takes up a whole 18-wheeler.
Driving across Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona the one thing we saw a lot of was the T. Boone Pickens Windmills. I didn't know they were in so many places. In some spots they are so vast it's hard to imagine that they are really so big. It's cool to watch them as you drive by because the speed of them seems to change. As you move the speed gets slower.
It was just lots of little towns and scenery from Ft. Sumner to The Woodlands. We made it home safely. Another successful journey on our trip through life.