Road to Ruins – 1: The Salton Sea

We’re in a bar, because if you’re going to kick off a series called “Road to Ruins” it needs to start in a bar. A properly seedy bar, one in a town where dreams haven’t just been dashed or faded, they’ve been bludgeoned to death and their corpses dissolved in a toxic stew.

Neil and the Machine versus Florence and the Machine

72 Hours, 3 days; waiting in anticipation it can seem an eternity, but three days to ride from Vancouver to Los Angeles? That can seem all too brief. And the deadline? The will call at the Wiltern for a sold out concert of Florence and the Machine. Conspiring against me the scheduling deities are cramming the ride with a border crossing, two business meetings, and pesky biological needs; eating, sleeping and washroom all taking time from a 2,048 kilometer direct route. So, it’s Neil and the Machine, a R1200GS Adventure, versus Florence and the Machine.

Valdez, AK – Everything for a Reason

“We’re going to get wet.” That’s pretty much Glenn’s end statement on the matter as we look down the Richardson Highway from Gakona and into a black wall of cloud veiling the mountains in the distance and Valdez, AK beyond.

Denali Highway – One Yurt, Hold the Testicles

Can you really go wrong with a morning that starts in a yurt? Especially if the evening before was 100% boiled goat testicle free and featured a nice red wine rather than fermented yak milk? The yurt at Carlos Creek Campground in Denali is a long ways from roughing it in Mongolia and is more Ikea does yurt…

A Life in 66.6 Mile Increments Part 5 – A Matter of Necessity

Will the marine layer ever relent? Into Crescent City the “jumps” have been lengthened to the 1098S’ maximum safe range, 120 miles, out of necessity.  In response, my body is betraying me.    That’s making it hard to keep a positive attitude.

A Life in 66.6 Mile Increments Part 4 – 80 Miles

I’ve made navigational errors before, tons of them, but this one feels profound.  The fog is so dense I can hardly make out the cat’s eye reflectors on the road in the 1098S’s projectors and we’re reduced to near walking pace, down a road with no discernable name cloaked in 10 feet of visibility.

A Life in 66.6 Mile Increments Part 3 – Here There be Turkeys

L.A. … The 1098S slices northwards on the 405 out of Irvine between columns of traffic trudging forwards like workers in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.  Even with the Ventura luggage, I’m the widest thing on the bike – my shoulders inches from SUV mirrors as we split lanes. The 1098S is due in Portland 3-days from…

A Life in 66.6 Mile Increments Part 2 – The 1098GT

“They took my Allen keys from my at security,” on the phone photographer Kevin Miklossy sounds disgusted, “you need a 6mm and a 3mm.  Does the Ducati toolkit have them?” I laugh, “You’re joking right.” The 1098S toolkit philosophy is one of insert gold card and swipe.  Kevin is flying to meet me with another…

Return to the Lost Coast

It is September 2003, and the chugging of my new VTEC VFR’s ABS, normally so subtle and elegant as to be unnoticed in all but the direst of conditions, gives me notice that we have taken a wrong turn. I stand up on the pegs, advice given to me by a former BMW stunt rider…

OWD Roadshow: Ridge Crest to Las Vegas

130 mph is indicated on the speedo as the bikes shoot arrow-straight across Death Valley’s floor. The road may be linear in direction but the warning signs of dips are not to be disregarded. Over one rise the bars begin to wobble a bit indicating an oncoming tankslapper. The VFR, it seems, was never set…

OWD Roadshow: Buttonwillow to Ridge Crest

It’s 0 Celsius, we’re navigating though the occasional bout of slush and the bikes are now thoroughly coated with sand, gravel, salt and road spray. I haven’t had time to plug in the heated vest, I’ve been too busy working the bike and that’s warmed me up naturally. No, I’m not having flashbacks to a…