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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Early Christmas Family Time

Christmas has always been a special time for my family, but it has always brought with it frustration. My need to always make the holidays perfect enough to be a commercial has left me, in my later adult life, pushing the holidays away. The holiday season is always a very busy time of year with multiple families and work demanding everybody’s very last minute. In my early adult life, family always needed to have holidays on the day and wanted meals to be attended by everybody at, you guessed it, the exact same time. I decided long ago that the point of these holidays is to just be together with family and the exact day and time didn’t really matter.

With that in mind we flew from our temporary home in Southern California to Florida for some early family holiday time in mid December. We left a couple days early for a couple us day on a quick cruise to Bimini but s we got off the plane in Fort Lauderdale heard that the cruise had been canceled, by the Coast Guard, due to bad weather. Keeping with Melanie’s “oh well, what’s next” attitude, we decided to explore the area for a day and headed to the deserted beach. A slight breeze, chilly temps and blue skies above and darkening skies over the Gulf Stream made for a nice walking day on the shore as the waves gently lapped the sand at our feet.

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Our hotel had a nice tropical theme, a heated pool/hot tub and a great tiki bar, so we headed back to relax with the guardian of the Caribbean.

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Irish Kevin’s http://irishkevins.com sounded to us like a great reason to visit the southern most point in the US the next day, Key West. The drive down is always a treat, although we didn’t have our bike, so off we drove. Once south of Miami we could relax.

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Robbie’s http://robbies.com was our first stop to feed a couple tarpon and chase off a few pelicans trying to get a free meal.

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Next stop, Key West. Fresh fish tacos was the special of the day at BO’s Fish Wagon http://www.bosfishwagon.com . The staff will bring you a spray bottle of water to your table to keep the pesky roosters away. Good fun watching them scatter when you just pick up the bottle of water.

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Around the corner and our target is in sight. Entering Irish Kevin’s is always like a homecoming as we have had so many good time in this place with family and friends.
A Guinness was the drink of choice while the entertainer obliged Melanie by playing the Green Alligator song while she acted out the song in Irish Kevin tradition.

Time went too quickly so we headed off the island and headed to Lorelei’s Restaurant and Cabana Bar http://loreleicabanabar.com in Islamorada, for a great sunset pushing our toes in the sand.

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Cheers, 2WANDRRs

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Categories: family, florida | Leave a comment

Another great CA ride

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After a interesting and difficult couple of weeks this statement certainly rang true. Being in the process of learning how 9 hospitals, 16 surgeons and various Perfusionists want the same thing done differently is a daunting task. Add to that, hearing from friends riding in various remote locations around the globe having a great time, I needed a day on the bike exploring a new location.
Pouring over a Butler map http://butlermaps.com of Southern California to find a great route without much traffic that I haven’t ridden in Southern California is a task that I always enjoy. With the route plugged into the Garmin, Gypsy, Melanie and I set out under cloudless blue skies to jump on our first canyon road minutes from our camper.

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Running north on the Bouquet Canyon Road the curves came fast and clean as the left and right leans carved the perfect, carless asphalt. The temperature was a tad chilly keeping most riders huddled around their inside heaters this morning. Passing the Rock Inn http:// http://www.historicrockinn.com along Pine Canyon Road found a couple bikes parked out front warming up with a warm cup of Java.

Our destination today in a road not written about too much but talked about between many bikers, the Maricopa Highway running north to south, ending at Ojai at the southern terminus. We pick it up at the end of the Lockwood Valley Road and head south. The pavement is well maintained with a couple of exciting moments in the corners where recent heavy rains had created mud slides that had almost been cleaned up all the way. A couple front tire slides really got my attention.

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The views were incredible, which kept slowing me down as I didn’t want to miss anything. I may never get out of the alps this summer if I keep this up.

We finally got down to Ojai and headed down to see the Pacific Ocean before heading back east to home. A slight detour for a pastry in Acton finished the ride with a tasty snack

Cheers, 2WANDRRs

Categories: adventure travel, motorcycle travel | Leave a comment

Return

Why is the re entry from holiday always so difficult? I think this time the reason is the new job. Yep, it happened again. The new job was offered and it looks like another good one. I will be moving an hour west, staying north of the San Bernardino mountains and far enough away from LA to be tolerable. Plus, I have to go to Las Vegas to cover several times a year.

First though, a quick trip to Yuma, AZ for a visit with our Canadian friends. Hanging out, a few drinks, golf and happy hours, notice the plural. They just don’t know how to do just one. We had a great time with a visit to Mexico thrown into the mix just because.

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Fish tacos, cervesa and music, it’s really a rough combo to beat.

At the end of our stay we are awakened to gusting winds, clear blue skies right above us and a limited visibility because of the desert and blowing sand. I have to be in Las Vegas the following day, so to get home and repack means we must leave this morning, but the 60mph winds being called for in the passes has me worried. Packing up with Gypsy and Melanie on the back adds to the challenge. As we leave town it doesn’t seem too bad but as we get 20 miles out, it gets bad. The blowing sand from the dunes with 50mph gusting cross winds decreases the visibility to maybe 500 feet. Melanie’s smart thinking out weighs my nonthinking, gotta’ make it attitude and we turn around and head back. It looks like we will have to head directly to Las Vegas tomorrow morning with the clothes we have. Up side is another day with our friends.

The next morning the day breaks with a brilliant sunrise over the peaks east of Yuma followed by deep blue skies, cool temps and a slight north breeze perfect for riding. We gear up and ride north headed for Parker, AZ and a detour around the reservoir created by the Parker dam. The road, Riverside drive, follows the course of the Colorado river toward the dam and reservoir. What a fantastic detour with sweeping roads following the river’s course with elevation changes providing viewpoints of the river below.  There are campsites and restaurants/bars along the narrow, blue river with all kinds of water sports also available. Next time we will have a couple extra days and our camping gear to have a little fun.

We hit Vegas in the early evening and get checked into our hotel for the fun work week ahead.

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Two highlights of our stay in LV are meeting up with a couple friends of ours, Lori and Mike, a Canadian couple we met at Horizons Unlimited, Yosemite.

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They sold everything and took off on their Support Tenere’ a few months ago riding across North America, up to Alaska and were headed south to Central and South America. It was great to spend some time with them during their Vegas break. You can follow them on FB and through their blog, Lifs2short.

The other fun day was our ride up to Mount Charleston north of Vegas. Nice roads climbing and climbing up to the town at about 7600 feet and a little restaurant and bar with great views of the valley and mountains, and a central, circular fireplace inside to sit be warm up doing a cup of coffee while enjoying the views.

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Cheers, 2WANDRRs

Categories: adventure travel, motorcycle travel | Leave a comment

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