Adventures in Motorcycling, Part Five

Bright eyed and not so bushy-tailed, we knew today we would arrive back at home-to kids, dogs, cats, and the realization that Robert would soon be back on the road, alone, in his truck.  Neither one of us wanted our vacation to end so soon but, alas, bills must be paid.

The wind was horrible and I needed to keep my head tucked down and against Robert’s back to minimize the feeling that I’d be blown right off the bike into oncoming traffic. There were gusts expected upwards of 30 mph and for a new rider like myself, that news was far from good.  I did the best that I could to hold on as tight as possible and when we finally hit a rest area, my muscles were feeling strained from holding the same position for so long. I was glad for the break to rest a little.  Robert’s dad gave him an extra handkerchief when we were there visiting, and boy, was that a lifesaver! While not what I’d consider glamorous, it was of great use to prevent the heavy winds from invading my nostrils with so much force.  The air was cool which made it all the more uncomfortable.

We were on the main highway for an hour, at least, and the wind was picking up even more which is worrisome when you are travelling on a road packed with big rigs.  I just wasn’t up for becoming a pancake because a semi blew over on top of me-Robert was feeling the same so we got off the highway and on Route 66 through Amboy.

In case you aren’t familiar with Amboy, California, it is in the Mojave Desert, west of Needles and east of Ludlow.  While it was a boom-town in 1926, it was more of a ghost town when we went through. We passed only one police officer and I wondered to myself what bet he lost to be stuck on that lonely stretch of highway. The road was enjoyable with many curves and we pretty much had it to ourselves.

We did not gas up under the assumption that there would be plenty of opportunity after getting some miles under our belts. Well, as the gas light came on and we passed  mile after mile of burned out houses-I swear it was a scene out of Breaking Bad. I was starting to panic. Robert asked me to check my maps to see if there was anything around but my dumb “smartphone” thought I was still at home and was absolutely worthless.  Images went through my head about us having to walk mile after mile in what I only imagined to be Meth Alley while Robert pushed the bike-this very heavy bike, to a gas station. Oh, the humanity!  We pulled over and his phone was much smarter than mine so he was able to see that there was one just around the corner. Whew!  Talk about too close for comfort.

The wind was still very strong as we pulled up to the Joshua Tree Saloon. Of course, the parking lot is all gravel and being on a bike in gravel makes me extremely nervous-not that don’t have confidence in Robert’s abilities, I just don’t like the feeling of sliding while we maneuver through it so I asked him to stop for a minute so I could hop off while he parked.

I was so ready for a drink. Or three.

The wind was really howling and I was afraid that the bike would fall over while we were inside but it’s not like I was going to sit outside and try to catch it if it did so I decided I’d just go in and enjoy myself.

We decided that it would be best to stay the night and start the trip home after we rested and the wind died down some (supposedly, it would be better the next day).  Oh darn, we have to stay another night on the road in my favorite place with my favorite person.  Double darn.

Robert called the Joshua Tree Inn just in time because they only had one room available.  We were able to get the John Barrymore Suite which we had never stayed in before (this was John Wayne’s favorite room) and I was beyond excited.  It’s a very romantic setting;  the rooms are done up all cozy, and they each have their own private patios.

We finished our food and I had a couple of Cowgirl Gun Slingers (in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the drinker in this outfit) so I was sufficiently loosened up for a relaxing evening.

Unfortunately, the Joshua Tree Inn has no covered parking or anywhere to park a motorcycle that could topple over into the car next to it…I did wish that we could sneak it into the courtyard when the owners left but I’m pretty sure someone would give them a call once they heard the loud rumbling of the engine right up at their bedroom doors.  We would just have to hope for the best.

After we were all checked in and given the keys, Robert let me into our room while he gathered our belonging and brought them in.  I promptly found my comfy spot.

 Yes, that’s my side of the bed.

It was an absolutely adorable room.

I told Robert that he could sleep on the daybed. I’m a giver.  It was a cute little kitchen stocked with utensils and a fresh supply of coffee.
  This was a lovely sitting room at the entry.  Coffee!  Oh, was I happy to see that we didn’t have to go anywhere to get a fresh cup in the morning.  I’m cranky if I don’t have coffee and quiet first thing.  You never would have guessed that, would you?  Now be nice.

I made myself a cup and listened to the wind from inside the bathroom where I could get a nice view.  Yes, that does sound a little strange-but it was the only unobstructed window.

I really do love the sound of wind blowing through the trees and bouncing doors to and fro as long as I don’t have to be out in it.

I slept so well that night other than an occasional start from sleep due to the sound of something knocking around outside.  I finally told myself, as I was worrying about falling motorcycles, Screw it, if it falls, it falls, and hopefully the ghost of Gram Parson will help Robert pick it back up off its side.

Yes, the concrete slab used to memorialize the place where Gram Parsons had been cremated has been moved to the Joshua Tree Inn and supposedly his spirit, at times, parties it up a little with the guests.

The sky was a bright and beautiful blue with windswept clouds spread about just so.  Gram Parsons Memorial to the left-in front of the stone guitar.
  Outside our suite.  The unheated pool just yonder.        I’d love to take a swim one day but it hasn’t been quite hot enough during the times we’ve been there.  I have, however, been entertained watching a man swim with his family while wearing his Speedo.  There’s something so comical about men in Speedos…maybe it reminds me of watching the boys high school water polo team.      I loved this piece.  It’s a bicycle wheel with painted lampshades attached to a pole so that it rotates in the wind.  

 Robert carried our stuff back to our (still standing) motorcycle, got it all packed in, and then we said goodbye to our favorite little hideaway.

I had such a fantastic trip and I owe it all to Robert.  He spent months planning this trip trying to make it absolutely perfect and he exceeded my expectations.  He went above and beyond to not only ensure that we had a great time and got to enjoy the true beauty only found in nature, but that I always felt safe while we rode so that we might have many more adventures together in the future.  He’s quite the man and I’m a lucky girl.

Adventures in Motorcycling, Part Three

I neglected to mention the fact that our room number was also my birth date.  We enjoy funny coincidences, especially in Sedona where the word ‘vortex’ is used in everyday conversation and they are thought to be locations that have a certain spiritual energy flow that exists on, what some believe, are multiple dimensions…

The entry to our abode.

Where all the magic happens

 

After a bite of breakfast at the hotel, we were ready to head on out and do some meandering about town.  Of course, we knew it would rain yet again but rain is some of my favorite weather and we certainly don’t get any at home so I knew I would enjoy it, regardless.

 The breathtaking views even made the public parking lots beautiful!

There are so many shops to visit and each one is unique-gemstones, jewelry, art, knickknacks, paddy-whacks…you name it.  We even found a Harley store and Robert found himself a new ring:

  We found a lovely pair of opal earrings for my mom-2nd row from the top on the right.  I think I was more impressed with them than she was.  I have to remind her periodically that they aren’t abalone…
 I find silly things are often the most pleasing.

We roamed around a bit more before my stomach started grumbling for a margarita, er, lunch, so we had a nice little break and chatted about how unusual we found Sedona.  Not what I expected, in the least.  Honestly, I thought for sure I’d find hippies dancing barefoot in the street telling of how magical “The Vortex” was while trying to lure us into their shop to get our palms read.  Instead, we encountered friendly people just enjoying their day like we were.

There were plenty of opportunities for photos with lovely scenes in the background.

Amethyst is my birthstone and as we were looking at some jewelry, Robert found a beautiful ring and bracelet for me.  I was absolutely spoiled and loving every minute of it!

 As we were about to cross the street to another set of stores that we hadn’t been to yet, lightning lit up the sky and a thunderous applause was delivered promptly afterwards.  We found an unoccupied bench and just drank it all in.  The sounds and smells of a fresh thunderstorm are indescribable.

It was amusing to me to watch the jeep tours drive by with the passengers wearing what amounted to giant trash bags-that’s some dedicated tourism! I think I would have been content to spend the rest of the day there on the bench with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and my other holding Robert’s. 

The rain died down a little so that we were able to cross the street that was quickly becoming a deluge.  I was almost hit by a distracted woman in her car who bit her nails knowing what she had almost done.  Rain and drivers don’t mix well.


The hunt was on:  Find an umbrella!

We walked down the street, unsuccessfully dodging raindrops, until we stopped at Murph’s Country Store.  We looked around a bit until Bingo!  Green umbrellas at an Irish grocery!  I’m not sure what was said, exactly, but Robert got us into the best conversation with Ann that I’ve had in a long while.  We discussed rebellious teenagers, our relationships with our dads (who are both deceased) and she had me in stitches with Feckin’ this, and Feckin’ that-if you stop and take the time to have conversations with strangers, you’ll often find it truly rewarding. She was a wonderful story-teller and I could honestly get a little glimpse of what her life was like in Ireland.  What a treasure!

After saying our goodbyes with promises to return on our next trip, we made our way back, green umbrellas in hand.  Yes, we each got one because Robert didn’t want to share.  He knew it would become mine and he’d be the one left in the rain.  Smart guy.

My Robert.  He’s such a ham.

It was about time to start heading back to the hotel so I snapped a few more pictures and then we were off.

    

And away we go!

We arrived back at the hotel just in time to watch the sunset.  After a day full of rain, thunder, and lightning, the display was spectacular.  I took some photos while Robert chit chatted with other observers standing by.  It’s fun being social.


    

We ended our day on a happy note, ready to travel to Laughlin in the morning.