Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Enduro ~ a sport that is like power washing the soul

There is nothing quite like being around an adrenalin sport to electrify the soul and stimulate the senses. This was the case over the past weekend in Fouts Springs, California for the 47th annual Jackhammer Enduro. I learned about this sport last year for the first time and what an enduro is all about. This is an event for some seriously fit individuals as it takes timing, focus, athleticism and some copious stamina. I was honored to be part of the registration crew with the Oakland Motorcycle Club for two days as well as being involved with two checkpoints along the route. And of course motorcycle camping at the venue always brings joy and beauty ~ waking up in the middle of the night to go out and look at the clear stars unobscured by city lights in the Mendocino Forest.

Friday afternoon arrival, ready for the action

this area is very popular for the OHV crowd and will be in perpetuity now

checkpoint 3, the "A" riders coming through 

checkpoint 3 

yep, that's a checkpoint alright ~ checkpoint 10

checkpoint 10 snuck up on some riders who hammered their brakes

Smitty recording the riders and their times

coming in hot to the 10th checkpoint

Monday, October 16, 2017

Oaklandish events last night ~ double "wow"

Two incredible experiences last night and both were a first for me. Going to the Paramount Theatre in Oakland and seeing Ludovico Einaudi perform live on stage. One of my favorite pieces of his, Nuvole Bianche can be listened to at the bottom of this post on YouTube.

I discovered this artist via Pandora Radio one day five years ago and I find some of his pieces very moving. At this sublime venue on stage, he was as impressive as ever.

The theatre itself is worth reading about here, such interesting history.

the details inside the historic theatre

can't resist a selfie of me and Heba in the lobby before the show

the ceiling, patented design by original architect Timothy L. Pflueger

image from last night's show toward the end, slowly rotating on screen

details in the theatre
captivating and ever-changing neon light show out front

wall of light in the lobby ~ stunning

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Wonders of the Rabbit Hole

dueling queen of hearts 2012 / me @ R
I've always been a huge fan of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and five years ago I attended a party hosted by a friend in the desert in a town called Darwin near Death Valley that was an entire two days of Alice in Wonderland themed festivities.  People took it very seriously at that time complete with a piano player entertaining guests in an old cave used by miners over 100 years ago. The fact that this book was written over 150 years ago and still has such pull is also interesting to me.

With all that in mind, I was inspired to organize an ANNA in WONDERLAND ride this past Saturday and 11 intrepid souls, mostly with the Oakland Motorcycle Club that I'm a member of came with me "down the rabbit hole" for a treasure hunt at six rest stops on a 102 mile route (map below).  It was an all day affair with "prizes for everyone" just like the Caucus Race in the original story. All participants took it very seriously and "a good time was had by all."

The many excellent quotes from this story are worth reviewing at the very least if you can't make time to read the whole bit.

original invitation to join me down the rabbit hole

the first stop / hunt, getting the hang of finding the hidden cards

fierce competition at stop 2 on Mines Rd.

stop 3 at the Junction Bar & Grill and the hunters are moving fast

Tweedle Dum and Dee with Nick at The Junction

Tracy at Lick Observatory almost going head first into the garden

a proper Mad Hatter tea party WITH tea at Joseph Grant County Park

Mark Norris discovers a card under his seat at the tea party

fun to try and hide where the public would not find them

the Junction Bar and Grill on Mines Rd.

roses hidden at each stop scored extra points (reference to the book)

mistress of ceremony for the day

the group at lunch

James carried a flask with this A in W scene engraved
inside the great Lick Refractor, the man James Lick is entombed under the telescope

approaching Lick Observatory, an impressive place

with mostly roads like this, no wonder it took all day to do 102 miles

the route / going clockwise

2012 party in Darwin CA

2012 party in Darwin CA

2012 party in Darwin CA

dueling queen of hearts 2012 Darwin

2012 party in Darwin CA

2012 party in Darwin CA

Monday, September 25, 2017

Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting California 2017 recap

This year's annual Horizons Unlimited event in Mariposa was very informative as it always is. To be surrounded by so many people that have done or are planning to do some serious adventure travel is unlike anything routine. Five years ago I attended my first annual meeting in Cambria after having learned about it from Carla King who I met shortly after reading her book American Borders that was given to me by a friend who thought it "sounded like me".  I remember thinking then that I finally found "my tribe" where people live very much in the present and look into all the infinite possibilities with positive attitudes even when things go sideways. It was like being surrounded by a bunch of Buddha-like enlightened ones.

The best part now for me going to this event is meeting the new people (at least new to me) and saying hello to those I've met before and usually am following via social media all year. This time I was especially impressed by meeting Amy and Buck Perley who went after a Guinness World Record and set out on July 19th, 2013 on what would turn out to be a 146 day, 34,153km/21,221 mile motorcycle ride around the world’s most populous country -- China. Their presentation was riveting for me (mostly since I was in China traveling in 2002 so could related to some of it even more). They have a website here.  They've published a book and have a TV Pilot in the works... here's a trailer of their trip:

Another of the many people who got my attention was Kerri Dougherty who has launched her own motorcycle touring company for women called Motobird Adventures. Kerri is one of those people you've heard a story about and then get to meet in person. At the Oakland Motorcycle Club two months ago, I'd heard a recap of an adventure ride where Kerri apparently did a hard core wipeout over a log on her F650 but then bounced up to give "all is well" thumbs up. But the whole thing was captured on film, I'm still trying to get a link to that video. It was great to put a face with the story and know she is so resilient. I can only imagine what her tours would be like.

Kerri not afraid to get INTO IT on her F650 

Those aren't the only two that impressed me by a long shot, many of the other presentations and people were very moving and interesting too.

Some of my photos and experiences getting to, getting home and during the event are as follows:

California Highway 130

the landscape en route to the venue, beautiful golden hills

Highway 130 heading west, back home

Pete Corboy on Highway 130 ~ saw him on my way home ~ he had done RTW moto trip in 2002 and 03 on this bike

Kerri Dougherty of Motobird Adventures and me on Sunday

Merced River

serious fire damage seen just south of Fish Camp on the way to Wawona, Yosemite

Mariposa is Spanish for "butterfly" ~ this all over the downtown area

one of the many camping areas all over the Mariposa Fairgrounds

the "ladies only" discussion on Saturday morning

Carla and Jonathan talking about travel with trailer conversion (affordable)

selfie in the mirror at Lick Observatory

oak tree with golden hills -- this one near Livermore
350 miles round-trip