Archive for the ‘Ride Reports’ Category

A Miata Walkabout…CA, NV, ID, OR, WA…nope no motorcycles involved!

As I was loading the boot of the Miata, I quickly realized there really isn’t much more room than on my BMW R1200R, but weight distribution to the lowest point was now for convenience rather than solely performance. I had all the essentials for a “walkabout” including a newly found Zin that had a great label. Where was I heading…hmmm, that seemed to be the question, but it really didn’t matter. I was going for a joy ride in my little black car, seeking some twisty fun and scenic country.

I didn’t have much to take, as I’m quite used to packing light traveling by motorcycle. Only this time I didn’t need base layers, or protective clothing. I was free of gloves, helmet, and knee pads and I could allow my hair to blow freely in the wind with my top down and still blow air-conditioning if desired! Wow, this was an entirely new mind set!

I headed east after deciding to stop in Reno and grab a couple of old Lincoln Highway roadside attractions. From Reno, all bets were off and I’d simply drive!

Gas stop in Lovelock, NV brought me to this wonderful vintage sign!

At Winnemucca I turned north. I had decided this was as good a time as ever to go and visit my bro who lives in Spokane, WA. I’d be taking the twisty scenic route.

I always knew I’d make it to Rome!

I shot up Hell’s Canyon along the OR/ID border. I have ridden the Beemer several times up the OR side called Rattlesnake Canyon, but this was my first time on the ID side. WOW!! It’s twisty following the Snake River and we all know how much fun those roads can be!

This guy looked content or cunning, I am not sure which!

Young bathing beauties so far away you can barely see them, but that river was soooo appealing.

I love Lily Pads!


Loved this B&B outside of Spokane. Dog Bark Park.

Cool vintage sign in the old Spokane airport.

My Bro, Bruce and his girl, Paula.

My bro insisted we polish the MX5! 😉

After visiting with my Bro, my nephew and my Bro’s girlfriend, Paula, I headed to Moscow, ID to see my cuz who is putting together an awesome B&B on her farm.

I took the twisty back road called Hwy 27 which was bursting with Americana on my way to Moscow, ID. I spent 5 hours on a 2 hour trip stopping at all the towns shooting photos and conversing with the locals! 😉



Tekoa and the finest caddy I have seen in a while.

Eden…I thought it would have been more lush. 😉


My cuz and second cuz trying to smile as we struggled to put together an Adirondack chair.

I hated to leave Moscow, as the weather was in storm mode and the nights of thunder and lightning were beautiful and alluring. I was only wishing I could have bottled it and brought it back home to CA.
So, I packed the Miata back up and heading south wanting to go to Lewiston and take the Old Spiral Highway then onward to Rattlesnake Canyon! These motorcycle roads are as much fun in the Miata as on my motorcycles!

Old Spiral Hwy in Lewiston.

Always loved this sign!

Rattlesnake Canyon

Top down we had a spirited run up the other side of the snake moving to OR.

In Elgin, OR

Stayed in Baker City, OR and took on some of the fun motorcycle roads around John Day.

You can see I wasn’t having any fun at all.

Heading south on Hwy 395 I aimed for Cedarville. I had seen an AirB&B there that somewhat intrigued me. It seemed like a great place to just get away from everything for a few days, so that’s where I headed.

This is a fantastic place for anyone needing an artistic IV or just wanting to fly solo in an oasis out a dirt road on the NV/CA border. Located 17 miles southeast from Cedarville, you truly get to experience the “outback” feeling, but still have access to wifi and electricity. Though the cabin is rustic, it’s all one needs to cook and kick back. There is no plumbing in the cabin, but there was a bathhouse only a short walk away and let me tell you the sky there while walking to the bathroom, is absolutely amazing. Talk about a star show!

The Rose Cottage

The warm water pond is about 80. It’s a real delight but somewhat of a challenge to get in and out of!

The view from my cabin

Harley the ranch dog with a heart of gold!

Love the flamingo!

My abode for the next couple of days.

Stormy dusk

The amazing sunset

Time for a porter and some art supplies…

Inspiration from Toulous Lautrec!

Leaving, but not forever. A great place to which I will return.

The road to Gerlach and the Black Rock Desert.

The breathtaking Fly Geyser known to the locals as Three Monkeys. Sadly, it’s on private land with no access except for special permission. Luckily, I had “family” connections!

Black Rock Desert

A no longer tumblin’ tumbleweed

Brisk speeds in the NV desert

So for nearly a full week I traversed NV, ID, WA, OR and CA. It was a quick 2K miles and the beginning of a long love for my Miata. What a fun little car for touring and I’m not afraid to take it anywhere. It’s a trooper!

When I arrived home, I had a Ramos Fizz awaiting. Life is good.

Map of my loop…

And along came a Spyder…Tyler Risk’s Adventures!

My riding buddy Tyler Risk was a major influence on me when I first started riding 11 years ago. She had met my husband via the internet and he suggested I try to get ahold of her so I might ride with her. I did and was thrilled to meet another female rider with as much passion for the sport as I possessed as well as some more experience. She served as not only a mentor but we became fast friends. She introduced me to other riders and so began my sojourn into the sport of motorcycle riding.

Tyler has been a mentor and an inspiration to many. After several years of riding, she had a devastating accident which would have kept many from ever riding again, but she not only persevered but pushed her boundaries in new directions. This is a conversation we recently had that I thought I’d share with my readers.

Demen: How many years have you been riding and how many have been on a Spyder?

TR: I rode pillion with a gent I dated for about four years. After he moved back East to be closer to his family, it just seemed easier to get my own bike than a new boyfriend! So I took the MSF course and started out on a little Suzuki GZ250. From there it was a Honda Shadow, a Triumph Trophy (1200), an SV650, and the last one was an Yamaha FZ1 which was my favorite. I rode those bikes for about 12 years.

When I was a new rider, I wanted to find a women’s riding group but most had some sort of prejudicial aspect about it – gender-based, brand-based, sexuality-based, had to ride your own (no pillions), absolutely no men allowed, etc. So a couple of like-minded ladies and I started Dangerous Curves (you can find us on Meetup or Facebook), a women’s riding group where men are always welcome as invited guests, as long as they behave… 😉 We do several rides each year from 2- to 3-day trips, shorter local trips, newbie rides, and parking lot drill days.

In 2009, I had a life altering accident when I was run over by a semi resulting in a broken pelvis and severe degloving injuries on my legs. They didn’t think I’d make it through the night and they didn’t think I’d ever walk again but I did and I am. HA! While the accident itself and subsequent recovery was difficult and challenging, I was also the recipient of some of the most amazing energy and love and spirit and I truly believe that is a big reason that I’m still around to tell my tale.
About 9 months later, I realized that I missed riding, exploring the world, meeting new people, and spending time with friends. I had a lot of damage to my legs and my balance has been comprised so 2-wheels was no longer an option. I had seen the Spyder at motorcycle shows and at local motorcycle meet spots and was intrigued so I went to the dealer in Livermore and took one for a test ride. A few weeks later, I had my first one in the garage. It was red and when I asked my daughter if she could think of a name for it, she said right away, “Clifford!” And so it was named.
(Clifford, for those that don’t have access to kids or grandkids, is a Big Red Dog in stories)

Demen: Since you have now ridden two Spyders, what are the two models and what are their differences and what is quite nearly the same?

TR: There are currently four models:
RS – sport model

RT – big touring model

ST – sport touring model – kind of a blend of the first two retaining the sport look but adding in a lot of the touring features such as cruise control, GPS, hard cases, heated grips, and floor boards.

F3 – their newest model looks kind of like a hot rod… more of a show stopper type design.
My first was a 2009 RS which I rode for two years. In July 2013, I took the RS in for a service and while I was waiting, they offered a test ride on the 2014 ST. Big mistake… I loved it!! They reworked the chassis/frame so the handling was much better. The RS was also manual controls (like a motorcycle) where the ST had the thumb shifter which is really nice especially in rush hour traffic… and I got the limited edition which had all the farkles I’ve always wanted – cruise control, floorboards, hard bags, heated grips, and GPS. It’s a fantastic touring machine.

Demen: Do you feel you have the same amount of freedom riding three wheels as riding two?

TR: Yup. I can go anywhere that 2-wheels can go and even more places because I don’t have a stability issue in gravel or dirt. I’ve put on almost 60K miles in the past four years and have ridden to Baja, Canada, all over the US, and recently in New Zealand (renting).

Demen: What is your most favorite element of riding a Spyder?

TR: Stability… I feel completely confident when riding it and, given my balance isn’t what it used to be since the accident, I really appreciate the fact that I’m not worried about tipping over or low siding on gravel, etc. That and the “Whoa!” factor… I get stopped all the time by people who have never seen one or seen one in person… they are fascinated by it for the most part… even the most grizzled veteran riders… allows me to meet lots of people.

5. Do you feel the Spyder is a motorcycle and why or why not?

Well, in one sense, yes – throttle in my hand, wind in my face, and 1000 cc’s between my legs. Lol On the other hand, it is a completely different ride than 2-wheels… there is no counter steering involved… it handles more like a quad or a snowmobile. Two-wheels is like a waltz… the Spyder is like a polka… but I’m still dancing!!
(Gawd, I love this woman!)

Demen: What best describes a Spyder rider? 😉

TR: I don’t really think there is a difference between riders based on brands. Either you’re a rider or you’re not. I don’t ride with people because of the type of bike they ride… I ride with them because I like being around them and it makes no difference whether it’s a BMW or a Harley or Honda or whatever. Sometimes we even have friends join us on a weekend trip at the end destination via their car due to injury or recuperation from surgery, etc. I don’t care how they get there because they are the most important thing to me. They are not defined by WHAT they ride/drive!

Demen: Describe your current motivation for riding?

TR: The Spyder allows me to pursue many of my passions – traveling, photography, and spending time with beloved friends, meeting new ones, and creating new memories that always put a smile on my face.
(how one usually sees Tyler)

Demen: Can you name a single road that is your absolute favorite ride and why?

TR: One road?? Nope… can’t name just one because there are so many!! We are blessed here in California with a plethora of choices – from smooth sweeper roads like 299 to tight and twisty roads like the Pacific Coast Hwy between Carmel and Cambria with incredible ocean views and of course the Sierra passes (Ebbetts, Sonora, Monitor, Tioga)… I could go on for quite a while and I’m still finding new roads after 17 years of riding in the state not to mention exploring in nearby states like Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Colorado. The world is just ripe for exploration and there is always something new around the next corner… go out and live life!

Well said, my friend, well said! 😉

I should have asked her where her next adventure was taking her, but that we’ll save for a follow up post! If you desire following one of Tyler and my adventures, we traveled the NW into Canada in 2012. The adventure begins here.
And man, did we have fun, fun and more fun! 😉

Shelter from the Storm…

I recently watched the amazing film, “St Vincent” starring Bill Murray. Without any spoilers, I feel the need to share this wonderful closing with Bill accompanying the great Bob Dylan on the song Shelter from the Storm, which has always been one of my favorite Dylan songs.

Songs once filled my helmet as I rode but I have recently given myself to the sounds of my engine and the voices in my head as I ride the the deserted roads of the Nevada back country. The people that coined Highway 50 as the “loneliest highway” obviously never spent much time on the other roads of Nevada. There are many much lonelier roads than Highway 50, although I will give that in its day, it was the only road crossing Nevada. Now there are many side roads that feed into Highway 50 and quite honestly I have ridden many never seeing another person or vehicle! Now that’s lonely.

I had started by riding into Reno for some BMR Rally points and had gotten off to a very late start, when I realized I had the opportunity to visit some friends residing in Virginia City. Points and friends, what could be better?

I decided to use the vantage of B Street for my photos, because everyone photographs C Street or the main drag. Let’s add some variety! 😉

Story County Courthouse

Love this Trompe l’oeil

Just can’t beat a Nevada sky!

Wow, I had no idea!

I left VC the following morning riding one of my old favorite roads, 6 Mile Canyon and then to zigzag across NV back into CA then over to Death Valley and back up to Northeastern NV. This was going to be a fun ride!

After some fabulous back roads I finally reached Bridgeport. I love this little main drag and the beautiful courthouse they have there.

The Sierra Nevada Range without near the snow it should have!

The beautiful courthouse of Inyo County in Independence, CA.

When I reached Lone Pine, I decided to call it a night staying in the Best Western there. I really enjoy this motel after all a girls hasta put her feet up!

The BW also has this lovely greeting mountain across the highway.
Mt. Whitney.

Off to Death Valley

Children of the corn? 😉

Death Valley was covered in wildflowers, but in an effort to cover the miles I needed, I didn’t stop for any close ups!

From DV to Pahrump for some more BMR points then off to Goldfield and Tonopah which I was likely to call my journey’s end and a good thing! It was not only dark when I arrived but most of the motels were full. I stayed in another Best Western, but it was under construction, never a good thing. By the time I settled in, I was spend and sleep found me without any defenses!

The Tonopah Cemetery was a BMR bonus point, but what I found astounding was that the only entrance to the cemetery was in the parking lot of the CLOWN MOTEL! Can you imagine? That’s got to be two of humanities worst fears, dying and clowns! 😉

Google Image

Leaving Tonopah for Ely, I was treated to some wild horses. I adore seeing these creatures roaming wild!

One of NV’s lonelier highways…

The Train Museum in Ely was closed.

The Locks in LOVELOCK were festive. I have spend many years traveling around Nevada and never knew this was here. It’s tradition in many places of the world, but I had no idea there were love locks in Lovelock. DUH…

I feel Nevada is a pretty special place. I really love the state and spent the largest part of my childhood in it. I can’t tell you all my crazy experiences but can tell you that it’s covered in quirky roadside attractions and The Oasis is one of my favorites. Anyone want to go into business or some sort. I think Brothels are always successful…

Nevada seems to always serve as my Shelter in the Storm. I love riding there when I need to empty my head and refill it with the open country, the historic towns, the sagebrush, the neon glows, the wild horses and most of all the miles and miles of empty wild country. Home means Nevada…

Good riding to all of you m’friends and where is the place that means home to you?

Back in the Saddle!!

First off, I feel the need to apologize to my brilliant readers and followers. It’s been a pretty crazy year so far and it makes me wonder if that’s just going to be what it is like every year as we get older. I remember thinking that, “geeze, I’m so ready to have a new year begin” and suddenly I’m thinking that every year. I am not wishing my life away, just asking for a bit o’mellowness before carrying on with whatever is next. Anyway, I do apologize for not being as resourceful as I have been in the past and ask that you all bear with me, as I attempt to resurrect my once active blog!

Many of you remember that I got a Miata from my lovely husband last Christmas, and I have been enjoying the comfort and fun factor of it while my poor BMW R1200R has sat deserted in the garage on a trickle charger. I’d look at it as I’d get in the Miata and take off for the local wineries, a quick trip to Portland to visit my mom or whatever fun I had in store. It’s always warm or cool inside the Miata, I don’t need any protective gear and it’s still loads of FUN!

Well, I knew I needed to break the spell of this black beauty and get out my other black beauty, my Beemer, Hugo. Well, I’m back in the saddle again!

My less than totally comfortable saddle is as fun as it ever was. Proceeding through the routine checks, like oil pressure, tire pressure, nuts and bolts, I then rolled it out and got on. I had to allow for all the “not quite lost, but rusty” skills to return by taking it easy and practicing my slow speed U-turns, quick stops and California’s ever-present lane splitting. After a couple of hours of riding, I was again feeling one with my sexy bike.

The time had come to pack it up and ride into the desert!

Last January I joined in my first rally, The Big Money Rally. It’s much like a scavenger hunt that begins in January and ends in May. The categories are as diverse as they are fun and this season is a true delight with diversity found in match words, film sites, county court houses, town names, the many ways to spell BBQ and a really fun category about everyone’s favorite subject, themselves. The self-portrails include “me and my bike”, “me and my blacksmith”, me and my barber to name a few.

Last winter, I had an early January start which encompassed riding the entire Southwest gathering points. This year, I was a late starter but am working my way up to some higher points through dedication and team spirit. I highly recommend this rally to all that have access to winter riding, for it’s truly fun with an end goal of simply satisfying oneself. There are not really any prizes except the solid respect of your fellow riders and team mates! Also, at the end, there is a big banquet and gathering in Minden, NV so everyone has the chance to meet the others involved in the rally personally!

Here are a couple of examples of BMR rally points. Mine are not the best examples, as the idea is to fill the frame of the photo with the bonus, have some placard and your bike in there as well. This is not always easy!!
The varied spelling of the word barbeque.

One of my favorites…Officer appreciation!

I was trying to receive credit for the town name Ely in this shot. The post office in Ely is fairly new and they have yet to post a permanent sign. The postmistress decided to help me out, although, by definition of “permanent signage”, I didn’t get credit. It was still a fun attempt.

This example served as my first attempt to use a mirror in a complicated shot. The outcome is ok, although the attempt was golden. I did get the points and managed a fairly decent shot, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s not always easy!

From the me and b catagory…me and my barber. 😉

One of the courthouse points…love this catagory!

Well, the riding season is upon us. I’ll be doing some more of the elusive BMR points search, but also just riding for riding’s sake. Hope to see some of you out on the roads. Anyone have any amazing or even not so amazing travel plans?? 😉

Not a Motorcycle, but just as exciting, the Miata sees the SW…

It was a holiday of indifference. Not that I don’t enjoy the company of my two sons, but without the grandboys, Christmas just didn’t seem like Christmas. Gary, who decided to make it difficult for all other husbands, gifted a 2010 Miata to me for my being “a very good girl”. He had two mandatory weeks off from work so the combination of new vehicle and no real reason to stay home, got us out and about with mostly me at the wheel!

We celebrated the holiday with my sister who recently relocated to her boyfriend’s home on the CA coastline. The weather though a bit chilly was sunny and alluring. We had fun traversing the five villages around Pismo Beach, checking the Monarch migration, and eating and drinking to satiation and just plain hanging out. Time flew and we had plans to meet friends near Tucson at the Essence of Tranquility Hot Springs, so we high tailed it to the south the day after Christmas.

Winter in CA on Christmas day…

Anyone for a pint?

Watching some practice kite surfing.

Gary and Randy, two very handsome gents!

The CA Monarch Migration which is absolutely breathtaking!

Randy is a windsurfer and he took us to his favorite surfing spot, but sadly the water lever was extremely low. All the local windsurfers await the possibility of rainfall or any other course that would alter the dropping of Lake Lopez.

The Miata is a real trooper. It’s a blast to drive, comfortable and amazingly enough, easy to pack. Maybe my extensive motorcycle journeys had my focus on just how much one can pack in small spaces. It was somewhat like a puzzle, but we were able to get all our goodies and more into the Mighty Miata., my Black Beauty.

We left Sharon and Randy’s house fairly late so knew we probably would not get as far as we would have liked, and ended up in Indio, CA for the night in a very cute vintage motor lodge, the City Center Motel. The following clear cold morning we loaded up and headed for Safford, AZ, in the muted sun.

Our motel in Indio and it had all the three “c”s, cute, clean and cheap.

A motel version of the Sistine Chapel.

At dinner, I coerced Gary into a selfie at an awesome Mexican restaurant, the Pueblo Viejo Grill.

When we left Indio, the sun was shining, but the temperature was a whopping 36 degrees. It was the beginning of COLD morning temps and I knew just how good the hot springs were going to feel!


Essence of Tranquility is a funky place, but one that I adore. It’s probably not for everyone since there are no upscale amenities, but the water is hot, the surroundings beautiful and it is run by kind and caring people.

The casitas are clean, with shared bathrooms, a full communal kitchen and living room with cable tv and wifi. The price is inexpensive and includes as many soaks as one can enjoy! For what more could one ask?

Well…maybe no frost.

We spent two nights soaking and enjoying our friends company and parted ways at “The Thing” and infamous AZ roadside attraction.

Photo by Roxi of The Good Luck Duck.

A selfie with friends Mark and Deb as we parted company at “the Thing”.

I have been asked to describe “the Thing”, but really one needs to see it for themselves. 😉

There is the re-creation of a torture chamber with each character made from a piece of solid wood. Hmmmmm, why??

There are plenty of these branch characters…

And though it seems sacrilege to disclose the real thing(s), here they are in all their mummified glory.

My friend Roxi said it best, “Thing 1 and Thing 2, may they rest in peace.” She also added, “Sorry, but if I was gonna see this stuff, so were you”. The photo credit goes to her!

Well, after the chills and thrills of “The Thing” we knew we both needed a pint or a margarita so headed directly to Bisbee and our new favorite watering hole, St Elmos.

Photo credit: Nina Fussing 2013

I suppose this would easily be considered a dive bar, but for us it was a great place to meet the locals, have some stimulating conversations and decent booze.

We were booked into a very nice old hotel, The Letson Loft Hotel.

Google Image

Though the room was beautifully furnished and the bedding comfortable, the experience left us feeling a bit luke-warm. I believe if we had a room over the street, we would have enjoyed it more. As it was our room had a sun porch behind it, where the guests could have their provided morning breakfast and lively conversations. At 7 am, I could have done without them!

This was our first time to Bisbee, AZ, which I had been hearing about for a number of years from both friends and my father, who raved about the town. It’s really quite adorable and very artsy but built on a steep mountain and some areas could only be reached by climbing the many long stairways. I must say it’s definitely exhilarating!

There is an abundance of charm.

and some definite questions…

Some questions were answered by the downtown street images and the awesome Bisbee Museum whose state of the art displays were created with the Smithsonian’s assistance.

Much of our time was spent wandering and eating. 😉

Dinner at the Cafe Roka was divine and though I don’t usually do food porn, I simply can’t help but show you these!

My Lobster, scallop and shrimp.

Gary’s Duck Breast

We look quite content.

After dinner we took a nice evening walk with the town still aglow from Christmas.

We left Bisbee on New Year’s Eve heading for Truth or Consequences, NM.

A last look at Bisbee, the vintage trailer motel, The Shady Dell.

The drive to TorC as it’s called by the locals was stunning. The sun was sharing some warmth but the wind began howling and by the time we reached Lordsburg, NM, it was showing its blowing desert power. Dust was billowing in the distance and though the Miata sits super low, I could still feel the strong arm of the wind.

We were staying with friends in TorC, but had booked New Year’s Eve at one of the town’s most posh hot springs, The Sierra Grande. Our friends were in Albuquerque that evening, so we were on our own!
It’s a lovely resort and they are charging for it.

The oversaturated photo provided by Google Images.

We had dinner at the Los Arcos, a local steak house that was amazingly crowded and served a good meal but with a serious over an hour wait! Gary was getting antsy, but I was just going with da flow.

It’s a tough call when Gary resorts to Sam Adams!

Post dinner soak selfie!

New Year’s Day with a light dusting of snow!

The outdoor soaking tub, where I spent a very relaxed morning!

Onward to our friend Annie and David’s home.

And the home of Merle, the best dog ever!

Gary gets a tamale session from master chef, David.

Merle oversees the effort.

While in TorC, we looked at a property for sale. We still haven’t heard the outcome of this place, but have fingers crossed to make it our own.

I can’t help but add a couple of past photos that show why I so love TorC.

We spent a few glorious days with Annie and David. Ate the best meals of the trip, played a silly quote game, and imbibed late into the evening. What a relaxing time, one we can’t thank Annie and David for enough!
While there we were treated to a glistening sight of new fallen snow.

We hated to leave, but knew it was inevitable. We headed home, knowing it would be a two day process. We did see some lovely country but as we listened to the book, The Bone Clocks, the miles flew by. Before we knew it, we were back in CA drinking in a gorgeous sunset.