2014 Moto Guzzi, Fly-Buy-[fix]-Ride
I Purchase a Moto Guzzi LeMans MkIII over the internet and fly to Austin Texas to ride it 2,100+ Miles Home
The plan was to fly into Austin TX on Friday afternoon, give the bike a quick inspection, fit a new Battery and Rear Tire and be on the road that evening, heading back to California diagonally North West across Texas, through New Mexico to 4 Corners, on to Moab UT then across Utah, Nevada & into California on Highway 50 which has been called "The Loneliest Road in America" it's also part of the historic Lincoln Highway & Pony Express Route.
Then I would sort the bike and take it to The 2014 California HUBB Travelers Meeting in Mariposa.
Texas to California on a Moto Guzzi LeMans MkIII

Sacramento CA to Austin TX
29 August 2014 - Getting there !?!
Friday 5:00 AM Sacramento Airport having my carefully packed luggage pulled apart while I explain the Tools
& Motorcycle Riding Gear, only to be then loaded on a plane that can't fly on time because of
"Maintenance Issues"
We finally depart at 9:30 instead of 6:05 leaving me stranded in Salt Lake City for 10 hours waiting
for a connection to Austin TX, finally arriving at close to midnight... Thanks Delta.
Thankfully Christian, the guy selling the Moto Guzzi, had agreed to pick me up from the airport and put me up
for the night...

Stuck in Salt Lake City Airport
My view of Utah for 10 hours as I wait for a connection.

Austin TX...
Very hot and humid makes wrenching interesting...
Well I was too preoccupied to take too many photos as it turned out the Moto Guzzi needed some love
to get it road worthy, but by late afternoon Saturday we had it running and rearing to go...
However I was totally drained from the heat and humidity, so Christian and Danielle kindly invited me to stay
another night to recuperate so I could head off fresh & early the next day.

Christian & Pups
Christian did his best to assist me, earning a Cold Beer and the loving attention of their rescue pups.

Love Dog
Sweaty much, not a problem for a little hound

Danielle sporting a dog neck rest...

With the Bike now running, plus a shower, a meal and a place to sleep on offer, the pressure off I was able
to relax and enjoy a really nice evening with Christian, Danielle & Family

Austin TX to Albuquerque NM
Maiden Voyage, Let's see how well this little Guzzi can run...
Christain loses his baby
The next morning I was up early and ready to go, Christian came out to see me off and got all nostalgic and damp eyed seeing the bike ready for an adventure....

Gasing up in Texas
Before getting too far down the road I decided to fill 'er up, so I would know how far we could get on a tank as there would be some very long stretches without gas stations once I got up in the High Desert of Utah and Nevada

Price of gas
Read it and weep Californians, this wasn't even a budget station, and still the Premium is 70+ cents a gallon cheaper and tests 1 Octane higher than the typical California offerings !? Kiwi's that's $1.10 NZ Liter for Super

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Of course you see a ton of bobbing Derricks and smell the sulfurous odor of Crude Oil being drawn out of the Texas landscape, but what you don't imagine seeing in the Lone Star State is so many windmills

Furnace Creek
And I mean thousands of them, especially where the land starts to rise up to the High Plains of West Texas,
these shots where taken N. W. of Sweetwater TX, on a dirt road just off the 84

Glenn Hamberger
Later that afternoon we crossed into New Mexico at Clovis and I had decided to push on up to the 40 and see how I feel after that, arriving in Fort Sumner as the sun was setting after cruising alongside a huge freight train, my only company most of the way across the vast plain in the eerie dusk light.
It was time time for a leg stretch, toilet break, visor wash, drink a liter of water & buy a PowerBall ticket...
Well the jackpot was over 100 Million, funnily enough I didn't win, can you imagine?!
Still feeling good I push on.

The Kino, Hermosillo
Made it through to Santa Rosa NM & the 40, time for Dinner the Silver Moon Cafe will do, food was fair to middling, but I did have an interesting chat with a fellow patron who travels around the country buying Airstream Trailers (Caravans to us Kiwi's) and sells them overseas, I have his business card if you have &/or know of any Airstreams for sale...

Mexican Bar-B-Que
I took off after dinner and didn't give much thought to our Gas situation until we went onto reserve in the middle of nowhere, the Guzzi was running on fumes when finally an exit showed that there was gas available, pulling into what appeared to be a closed Gas Station called the Flying C Ranch, to what seemed like half the pumps having signs saying "Out Of Order" I was relieved to find at least one pump powered up and able to dispense.
While I was pumping the Gas an old Airhead BMW rumbles in out of the gloom and parks on the other side of our pump, that's how I got to met Dan Cressman who on a whim decided to go for a ride that night, just so we could bump into each other.
Dan told me had retired, bought some acreage and was now a "Gentleman Farmer" growing Chilies & Garlic among other things, we chatted for awhile like old friends do, it felt fated that we would met that night and for me reinforced that a good road-trip can be a series of happy encounters if you're open to it.

The Kino, Hermosillo
Arriving in Albuquerque a bit worse for wear, the bike veered into the forecourt of the first Budget Motel it encountered, after haggling the price down, then having to switch rooms because the lock didn't work on the first one they gave me, I was ready to crash...
Just over 700 miles (1,130 Km), beating my previous record of 635 miles (1,020 Km) in one day on a multi day bike ride, the Moto Guzzi ran well and the only damage was caused by leaving a side pocket of my tank bag unzipped losing my favorite $200 Raybans... Sacrificed to the Road Gods & no doubt summarily crushed under the tyres of a Cowboy Cadillac somewhere in rural Texas.

DAY THREE : Albuquerque NM to Moab UT
Covering 4 States in a matter of seconds...

Leaving Albuquerque, heading North on the 25 toward Santa Fe, then West on the 550 till we climbed over the Continental Divide the Hydrological Division the of the Americas that runs North to South.
Supposedly water split on the East side will end up in the Atlantic Ocean & on the West side the Pacific Ocean, a novel though when you're nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 Km) from the nearest coast

Heading Out, Hermosillo
That's right, all the way to the Pacific, which is straight ahead that way....

Heading Out, Hermosillo
Following the 550 to it's end at Bloomfield, we turn West on 64 toward Shiprock, again a strange name for a town so far from a major body of water, before long the mystery is solved as this huge rock formation loomed on the horizon

Straight Roads for miles
It doesn't look like it but in this part of the world you're riding at close to a Mile in Altitude
(1,500+ Meters above sea level)

Straight Roads for miles
And often alone, I had to wait several minutes just to get vehicles in the frame to give some perspective...

4 Corners Monument
Well I had to to do it, So I paid my $5 Navajo Nation to enter the 4 Corners Monument which is surrounded by vender booths on all sides...

Here it is folks, me standing in all 4 States at one time...

Some a crazy enought to lay down on the roasting hot concrete
Considering it was about 100º F (38º C) in the shade, laying down in all 4 states didn't seem like a good idea to me, but that didn't stop some people, however they didn't linger too long and avoided skin contact with the hot ground

High Desert surrounding 4 Corners Monument
Apart from the Monument with the venders, there was really nothing but barren land scoured but hot dry wind in all directions

Best Veggie Pizza
Before arriving at the 4 Corners we had ridden from New Mexico into Arizona, after having left it we rise above the plain on the Colorado side before descending over the ridge into Utah, I catch one last glimpse of Shiprock.

Chille Colorado
And a well maintained Altar with this spectacular backdrop for a young soul.

Main strret Pizza

Now in Utah and still deep in Navajo country, I decide to stop for water, some shade and a snack of Jalapeño flavoured chips, my favourite, as it turned out the local strays love them too.
This guy was polite and waited patiently for any dropped morsels or offerings tossed his way.

Swine Transport
These 2 not so much, I decided to stop feeding them when my fingers ended up inside the big white dogs mouth as it lunged for a chip I was holding...

All fingers still attached we carry on toward Moab UT our destination for the night, getting closer the landscape changes again and the colour of the rock shifts from grey to rusty red and golden hues.

Final stop for the day, just 25 miles Moab UT is Wilson Arch, stopping for just long enough to take the obligatory road-side snaps while leaving enough time to arrive in town during the last of the daylight, so as to scan for a reasonably priced bed for the night...

Moabs Best Deal
Well I couldn't resist the Red Stone Inn's neon sign proclaiming "Moabs Best Deal" (Pictured above the next morning) so I pulled in and was told it was $120 plus tax for a single, a little haggling got it down to
$107 including tax for what turned out to be a small but admittedly very comfortable, clean and well appointed room, but all I can say is I'd hate to pay the prices at Moab's Worst Deal.

DAY FOUR : Moab UT to Ely NV
From the Red Rocks to the High Desert

Bush Walk to the Sounds
It's a question of perspective, I see a beautiful classic Italian thououghbreed sports-tourer with a big ol' Harley behind it, but from my little cozy room I watched a few people walk around this fantastic bike as if it were nothing more than an obstacle to marvel at the blue behemoth beyond it.

It became apparent to me that this is how most people saw my bike in the presence of "American Iron", in other words barely at all....
But seriously tasseled leather bags attached to the outside of a perfectly good hard luggage? I just don't get it...

Lisandro Inspects the BMW
I stopped at the entrance of scenic route 128 that follows the Colorado River North East through a canyon of red rock that it has carved out of the landscape for itself

Snoqualmie Falls
When I hear, "Wow what is it?", "I know it's a Moto Guzzi, but kind is it?" I look around to find a lycra clad cyclist, we chatted and she told me of the motorcycles she's had over the years, of life in Moab and were the best scenic spots are, I promised to remember her name because I thought she was just delightful, but I guess I'm incapable of keeping all my promises... terribly sorry about that.

WA breakfast all day
If you just look away from the road you realize you're in totally wild country, without the security of our vehicles and the asphalt ribbon we roll along we would be totally lost.

Cold riding in Chihuahua
Also if you find scenery boring, just scroll down for a healthy portion of Pie, because I took a lot of pictures and I'm about to share a few....

WA Apple Country
It's hard to grasp the scale from these photos, but this ridge goes on for miles

Little Stove of Happiness

Looking North East up the valley to where the Colorado flows from...

This rock wall looks deceptively close, but the Colorado runs between it and the road, about 30' (10m) below where the Guzzi is parked.

Local Shorthaul Vehicle

As you can see a little further down stream.

Road to Batopilas

The colours and textures were a thing of beauty...

Welcome To Creel

& it just kept coming, it took me about an 2 hours to ride 30 miles (50 km) because I kept stopping to capture these vistas

Hangover Hospital

A tributary emerges from a small canyon to add it's silt to the muddy Colorado

Local color

Looking back up stream and along the narrow road that follows the course of the river...

Just classic, like something out of an old time western...

BC roads Closed
Looking back up stream...

Boots & Buckles

& down stream from the middle of one of big sweeping bends in the river

south of Creel

Almost back to the main highway, you skirt around the bottom of this massive rock face that feels like wave that could crash down on you at any moment

Arty landscape shot (at least my attempt)

If only all our impact on the planet left little more than artistic impressions....

Now that the morning hours had been consumed by my scenic excursion, it was time to hit the main highway and get some serious miles behind us.

Looking down the valley

Climbing out of the valley of Moab and the Colorado river, we were raised out of the red and up to the sun bleached tones of the high desert, the road the only real sign of civilization, it slicing through the massive landscape like a razor's cut

Burrito Road

As we continued to climb the world tilted to follow us up to the higher altitudes...

Overnight parking

finally cresting things started to level out,

Hotel Santa Eugenia
It was so dry and the sun was intense, but with altitude comes some small relief from the heat.
looking back you could see the red of the high valleys laid out below us.

Now we're in the country

I told you there would be Pie, I decided after refueling the Guzzi, it was time to refuel the rider, Cherry Pie a la mode at Mom's Cafe, Salina UT right on the corner where the 70 & 50 intersect...

From Salina it was a mixture of Interstate and Country Highway, most of it reasonably flat and straight, pretty boring but allowed us to make up some miles as we headed West

small farming village
Arriving in Delta UT and in need of the usual liquid in, liquid out, face wash for me & helmet, I stumble into the first promising fueling station and am confronted with mural that covers all walls of this establishment...
Above the Hot Beverage Station.

Sharing the road
Above the Cold Beverage Station.

shear drop both sides
Outside the Men's Room, but this snake has 2 eyes

Men's Room Door, that gives me ideas

Mini Cathedral
Inside the Men's Room, looks like a long drop.

Craig Watercrossing 1
Inside the Men's Room, watching to make sure you wash your hands.

Craig Watercrossing 2
Again inside the Men's Room.

Craig Watercrossing 2
I had no idea that the ancients did Monster Truck Petroglyphs.

Dry & Happy
Sand rails instead of Hand rails.

Dry & Happy
The Hall between the Men's & Women's Toilets


Again the Hall between the Men's & Women's Toilets

Leaving Delta, we soon cross into Nevada and push on toward Ely, the next sizable town.

long way down
The road through to Ely was a series of winding hill summits punctuated with vast valley traverses.
We managed to arrive in Ely before dark and find a Motel 6, of course I did my usual haggling and got the price down from the posted 47.99, later that night I noticed the sign's price had been raised and now read 49.99.

Settling in I decided I was going to go out for a meal, I was recommended an Italian Restaurant that was in a local Casino, well as they say "it was Crappy but at least it was Expensive", so when the bill came and they had forgotten to charge me for the wine (The only part of the meal I really enjoyed) I rounded it up to give very a small, (read) more than appropriate tip, dropped the cash on the table, pocketed the receipt and split...

DAY FIVE : Ely NV to Carson City NV
The Loneliest Road in America where you meet some really nice people and the odd crackpot

Main Road
Next morning I wake up and see 3 Dogs tied up by the Guzzi, which turn out to be the loyal companions of Ivy, who was moving to California from Texas and had decided to just pack the basics in & on her Jeep then hit the road with her furry buddies, nearly every time I stopped for any length of time Ivy would pass me waving and smiling, then inevitably I would pass her again on the road at speed waved on with the same smile...

steeper than it looks
"The Loneliest Road In America" adopted from a LIFE Magazine article from the mid 80's that depicted the road and attractions along it in a very dim light. Anyway the White Pine County Chamber of Commerce in Ely NV decided to "own it" and promote the the Highway and the experience of traveling it as an attraction,
well I guess it worked, I decided to ride it rather than take the Interstate...

steeper than it looks

Stopping in Eureka NV in time for Brunch at the Owl Club Bar & Steakhouse, I chat with some fellow travelers, who tell me they are taking it slow crossing the country on their Harley and before they depart finding out I'm on an Italian Bike, that they fully expect I will pass them just a few miles down the road.

Anyway while I'm waiting for my food a local walks in and strikes up a conversation with me, (let me summarize) Turns out he's originally from California but he hates it now because Obama has ruined everything and that's
why it hasn't rained in California in 25 years, but Reagan was the best Governor & President ever and he would have made sure it rained and we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now... believe me, it got worse.
I think it might have something to do with the fact everywhere I went in Nevada if there was a TV on it was tuned to Fox News (should be spelt Faux News) that's why conversations like this don't even raise an eyebrow in this part of the country.

all downhill from here
The Next town we came across was Austin NV, as you wind down the hill into town, there a hand painted sign
declaring "Speed Trap Ahead" it seemed to have the desired effect the few vehicles that I saw driving through town made no attempt at speeding.

catch your breath
It doesn't look there has been anything new built in town for at least 60 years.

Curious little cow
& many of the buildings preserved by the arid climate have been repurposed.

Gentle Bend
Austin NV had been built on one of the ridges that separated the vast high desert valleys, leaving town meant it was back to the deceptively long straights, One might imagine that it will be 5 miles (8km) or even 10 miles (16kms) to the next corner, only to find that the straight will be over 20miles (32kms) before it yields to a slight deviation in direction...

Devils Peak?
All the while playing tricks with your eyes...

& often with no other vehicles for miles in either direction for even the briefest of company, in this case I parked the Guzzi in the middle of the road to take the photo with no fear of being run over.

Civilized end to the day
I needed a leg stretch, so I pulled into the only service station I had seen in ages, only to stumble on to the couple I met in Eureka NV, I had finally caught Warren & Julie who had traveled out from Iowa to experience the West at a leisurely pace using the byways and highways instead of the Interstate, hoping to make it all the way to see Yosemite before heading back home on their Harley.

Nice room in Batopilas
About 25 miles East of Fallon NV, is Sand Mountain Recreational Area, a big solitary sand dune, I had to stop for the photo op, but didn't want to pay to get in... besides this was the best perspective.

Nice room in Batopilas
& also on both sides of Highway 50 is Salt Wells Basin, a large Salt Pan from a long since evaporated Inland Sea, but it's tiny compared the Great Salt Lake to the North East

Glacier NP Bus
I finally arrive in Carson City NV to a warm welcome from an old friend Eric and his boyfriend Gary...

This a Sausagefest... Dinner at Red's Old 395 Grill, don't go unless you're hungry and a carnivore,
Gary seems to be in him element.

DAY SIX : Carson City NV to Sacramento CA
Just a Hop, Skip & a Jump and I'm Home....
Glacier Upper Waterfall
The next morning I sleep in a bit and was presented with a beautifully prepared late breakfast made with love & leftovers thanks to Eric, This means I would depart Carson City NV for the short trip home, well feed and rested...

Glacier NP Apline Flowers
Up the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada and I catch the first glimpse of the familiar blue of Lake Tahoe, who's waters are the eastern pivot of the California / Nevada boarder, now it's just a matter of riding into South Lake Tahoe and through the lights at Stateline and we're back in the Golden State...

Motorcycle Parking Glacier NP
Descending from the Echo Pass at 7,377 ft (2,249 m) I feel the temperature steadily rising as the altitude decreases after an hour we've dropped down to the lowest we've been since climbing up to the High Plain in Texas 5 days ago, soon the highway turns to Freeway, more lanes & traffic, the most I've seen the entire trip and before I know it I'm pulling up to my place in Sacramento CA, Sukie didn't seem to have missed me that much but it was still nice to be home... (still haven't worked out how to take a Selfie without pulling a face)

The Guzzi made it and didn't miss a beat, it did however expel a small quantity of it's fluids, all while returning between 53 & 58 Miles Per US Gallon (62 to 67 MPG Imp) or (4 to 4.4L per 100KM) which for me makes the Guzzi one of the most economical bike I've ever owned.

So with 2,100+ miles (3,380 Km's) under our belt and $200 at DMV, it really feels like the Guzzi is mine,
and it's all official.
After riding across the country without a plate or current registration on the bike, it was nice to finally have the paperwork done and a plate to put on the bike... (No that's not what's actually on the plate, some numbers have been obscured)

Glacier NP Lower Waterfall
Oh and it turns out the Guzzi is a total Babe Magnet, as Grand-nieces (L-R) Alexia, Taylor & Chloe demonstrate..

The Second Leg :
Prepping & Riding the bike to the California Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meeting

Tarozzi High Rise Bars on a MkII Lemans
If I could get the bike ready the way I wanted it for another trip, I would take it to the Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meeting in Mariposa, California.
Because now I didn't have the time to further afield or get back up to the Meeting in Nakusp, British Columbia I had enjoyed so much in 2013, I planned to go to the Travelers Meeting closer to home.
Of course it would be easier to pack the BMW GS and go, but where's the challenge in that?

Getting the bike ready included Scraping the ridiculously low Clubman Bars that were fitted and replacing them with some Tarozzi High Rise Adjustable Clip-on's, giving a similar position to the factory bars but with more adjustability, they totally transformed the way the bikes feels on the road and it's comfort level in the saddle, now the fairing worked properly to deflect the wind, instead of bouncing my head around and rattling my visor, it gently lifts the weight off the wrists as the speed increases leaving your helmeted head in clear air above the turbulent blast created by the fairing, all because I am now seated in the correct position.
Also the handling improved as it moved the weight off the front a little and narrower bars also reduced the input leverage making the bike feel less skittish at lower speeds... all in all a major improvement.
I also added folding bar end mirrors, replaced the fork seals and added fork gaiters to protect the new seals, Steel-braided brake-lines along with cleaning the calipers and fitting new EBC HH pads, for improved feel and braking power.
I cleaned the K&N Filter, balanced the Carbs, packed the bike and was ready to go at 4:20pm, not the "Between 9 & 10am Departure" I had planned.

Drought in California
The ride was pleasant, even though I had left it too late to arrive in Mariposa before nightfall, along the way I couldn't help notice that the reservoirs here in Central California are in the same sad state as I had seen on the ride from Texas.
Above is Coyote Creek, looking out toward Indian, French, Norwegian & Solder Gulches that all feed the New Melones Lake.

Just to give an idea of scale, I have zoomed in so that you can see the scene relative to a Full Sized Pick-Up.
If there is any doubt whether we are in the middle of a drought, affected by climate change, then here is some of that evidence the Scientists talk about...

Arriving well after dark I stumble into the registration office to let them know I arrived safely and scope out a meal & camping spot, Over hearing this a big guy in riding gear tells me I should camp next to them "'Cause we've got Margaritas" I obeyed and ended up with the best Campground neighbors, Lowell & Anna here extolling the virtues of setting up next door, You had me at Margaritas guys...

My little Nemo Tent served me well, including keeping me dry during an all night thunderstorm on the last night of the rally.

The Football field was the least popular spot to camp, but even so the snoring and farting amplified & reverberated around this little stadium with the sound quality akin to sleeping amongst a comical army of Frogs,
it turned out to be quite relaxing once you visualized the said Amphibians...

There where an array of atypical bikes scattered through the usual offerings of BMW GS's and the like, including this Bike called "the Big Vibe" belonging to Kim Airs...

You'll never guess what area of business she is in...

Ok so you worked it out, Just don't get any of that lube on your tires.

Ural Sidecar
Of course there were a couple of Sidecar Hacks including this brand new Ural

& this spectacular BMW Hack belong to Ramey "Coach" Stroud

I'd love a rig like this, but I was informed that could cost between $40 & 50,000 to build one...

2015 Indian
Others rode in absolute decadent style, like Moto Journalist and Self Publishing Guru Carla King, who was lent this 2015 Indian Roadmaster for the ride

1929 Harley Chop
The other end of the spectrum is this 1929 Harley JD Chop, built and campaigned by Doug Wothke on this years Canonball Endurance Run

If you couldn't tell Doug has quite a sense of humor...

Which is about as subtle as a Brass Hammer...
If you can't read the label, it says "If you can't fix it with a Hammer, You probably have an electrical Problem!"

Here's a sweet little Streamliner built around a Honda Helix scooter by Craig Vetter, Yes the very same guy that designed the ugliest yet most popular aftermarket fairing's of all time, The Windjammers... Loved by many Loathed by others, I admit they were ground breaking, but see if you can guess which side of the fence I stand on...

There were dozens of interesting presentations throughout the rally, Including this one by Tad Haas & Gaila Gutierrez of

& Young Gun in the Overland Adventure scene, Alex Chacón

But it is all about meeting like-minded people to be an inspiration to and inspired by, all the while making friends that may lead you a little further down the road physically and metaphorically.
The list of fantastic people I met is lengthy but includes, Tammy Perry (bottom corner) who is heading South from Nova Scotia to meet up with her beau in Mexico, so they can explore together.
Ironically a selfy taken right after Alex Chacón told us not to take bad selfies... ;-)

& having a great time chatting with Chris Tavenner a Flight Instructor from the Bay Area aka Tracktorking, as he was packing to leave.... If want to learn to fly, support a fellow Adventurer.

Breakfast with Azure O'Neil (USA) & Roel Bremmers (Netherland), who had both been traveling solo until they met in Australia and decide to continue the adventure together, After a delicious meal and the fantastic company of Azure, Roel, Anna & Lowell I took one last photo of the Grrls & said goodbye, before making my way home, Uplifted by the experience but a little sad that it had already ended...

All too soon the ride was over and I was home, nothing left to do but dry out my soggy kit & dream of adventures to come...