Perseverance

Perseverancesteadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.image

Last Sunday, I went on a ride with the Ranch Rider to Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen is a motorsport restaurant located in Lake Elsinore off of Highway 74 also known as Ortega Highway. It has been a biker hangout since 2004 and my late husband and I used to go there all the time to check out the bikes.

Prior to KSU (kick stand up), we were nervously watching the weather since there was High Wind Advisory down the hill as we call it. We live up in the area known as the “High Desert” which differentiates us from the rest of Southern California by elevation (we’re above 3,000 feet), climate and vegetation that are native to this area. For us to get down to the rest of Southern California, we have to travel through the Cajon Pass which is notorious for wind hazard that can produces gust up to 80 mph. However, the Wind Advisory was stating that it was further down the freeway and it should be over by noon. So we proceeded with the ride.

Needless to say, the wind was pretty bad in the corridor and I got blown into another lane. The panic set in and I exited the freeway at the next off ramp to catch my breath. I don’t know why I struggle so much with the street bike than I do with the Tdub. I have ridden in the windy area of New Mexico on the Tdub and I can handle it just fine even if I’m leaning sideways. But on the street bike…I fly all over the place like it’s a sail. While standing at the gas station trying to keep the bike upright and trying to decide whether to keep going or to turn around and head on home.

When I first started learning how to ride six years ago, I have had many “deer in the headlight” moment and my late husband would always patiently wait for it to subsides and quietly give me encouragement. I so wished he was there with me to give the extra push that I so badly needed. Suddenly, another rider pulled up to the pump and so I asked him if he was heading down the hill or coming up the hill. He said that he was going up the hill, so I asked what the wind was like further down the hill and he said it was nothing. The only bad part was right where we were standing. So, I took a deep breath and persevered on to catch up with the Ranch Rider.

Actually, I made it to Hell’s Kitchen before they did. I took a back road that I knew that bypass downtown Lake Elsinore which meant I missed the group at the gas station. The group cheered when they saw me there. After awhile, some of us decided that we should continue onto Cook’s Corners, another motorsport restaurant in Trabuco, CA.

Some of the Ranch Riders at Cook's Corners.

Some of the Ranch Riders at Cook’s Corners.

You betcha, I did joined them for the second part of the ride as well. Only this time on the way home, I took the long way via Sierra Ave and Glen Helen Parkway to avoid the windy corridor.

I’m sure that my late husband is looking down at me with a twinkle in his eye and a nod of approval of atta girl.

The Countdown begins!

The count down has begun…it is now a little over three-month until the start my journey. I still have a lot of things that I need to get done and I’m starting to feel like I’m forgetting something. So, I have started a check list of things that I still need to get done before the big day.

The biggest thing I learned from this check list that I have to learn is being comfortable in asking for help. The one thing that has me worried the most is the damned oil leak that never stop no matter how many time I changed the seal on it. After talking with good friend of my late husband (aka Ronnydog, a fellow TW rider) about the situation, he suggested that I have professional take a look at it. Since I didn’t know of any mechanic that I could trust, I asked him if he knew anyone. Lucky for me hat he did, he is a retired Yamaha mechanic and offered at a reasonable cost to do a complete rebuild of the motor.

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The next biggest thing I need to address is the electrical so I can add accessories to the bike such as heated vest and gloves. These items will be critical during the winter months since I’m such a wimp when it comes to cold. I’m a desert girl, the hotter, the better. So, I will need to keep hands and body warm somehow. One of the solutions that was suggested was to upgrade the stator but no one would touch a TW200. So when I was at the Horizon Unlimited in September, I asked Erik from Twisted Throttle for suggestion and he offered multiple ways such as swapping out the stock headlight for LED one. Also, he suggested to a power hub in so I can control which unit is using the battery. Once again, I know nothing about electrical and I don’t trust myself to try to swap out things out and not mess it up. Luckily, Ronnydog knew someone who can help me with that too. Thanks to Clairemont Cycle Supply, they’re taking on the challenge of doing the re-wiring of the electrical.

Oh, the rack that is on my bike is also custom-built by another fellow TW rider. It’s a two-tier level rack with a storage for the RotopaX in between the two racks. He installed it before the Horizon Unlimited event to give it a test run to see if any changes need to be made. It was beautifully built and only needed a couple more hooks for the bungee cords or straps to hook onto. So I dropped it off on my way to my office in San Luis Obispo, CA so the new hooks can be added and to have it powder coated.

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Ok, now I’m thinking that I should get new gears…all of mine are about 6 years old now and not sure it will last the whole year. I have been reading and researching about all of gears but with my petite frame, not sure what brands or size would fit me. So I visited one of those super motorcycle stores in San Bernardino, CA to try on every piece of gears I could. Patty (the sales lady) was super nice and patience with me. I think I’m going with the Olympia Airglide 4 jacket and pant. It was so much lighter than the current jacket I wear, the TourMaster Flex jacket and pant. So it is on my list of things I still need to buy. I also tried on several boots as well and ended up purchasing the Sidi Livia Rain Boots. It was actually my second choice but for practical reason, I ended up buying that one because it was an all-weather boot.

I still have other loose ends to tie up but I don’t want to bore you to death with all of the nitty-gritty details. Needless to say, I’m getting all excited and jittery at the same time as the draw near for my departure date. Actually, I’m sure that it will be here before I know it.

If any of you fellow RTW travelers have any suggestions or tips for me as I begin the countdown (107 days to be exact) on to my trip, I would welcome any advice!

Hesperia Historical Sites

With the departure date for my trip is getting closer, I decided that I better start getting back in shape. So one of things I started doing is taking a walk every day again. I used to walk a mile every day before he got sick. Since I worked from home, I didn’t want to always to feel coupe up in the house all day so I used to take a walk around the block. Well, I haven’t done that for awhile and actually missed it. However, the temporary home does not have a block so I couldn’t figure how where the mile marker would be. So I used the Google Maps to plot my mile marker to the south and the north so I can change up my walk every other day.

Well on my walk south, I came upon one of 15 historical markers that the City of Hesperia has put up all over the city. I had forgotten about these. The city has put these up to preserve the city’s heritage for the present and future residents to enjoy.

1. Hesperia’s First School 1883-1957 – This one of the oldest existing building here in Hesperia.

2. Walters Store and House built in 1915 – This is also one of the oldest existing business building in Hesperia.

3. Hesperia Hotel and Train Station built in the 1880’s – The first hotel and railroad station was built here.  The buildings no longer exist.

4. John Brown Road Crossing at Main Street built in 1870 – In 1870’s, a road builder John Brown built a 10 mile road running between Cajon’s old summit and the prehistoric Mojave Trail.  In 1913, part of this road became America’s first transcontinental highway.

5. John Brown Road Crossing at the Mojave Trail Crossing built in 1870 – He enlarged a detour over Mojave River which became a major thoroughfare.  Padre Garces, Jed Smith, Kit Carson, and the Mormon Battalion (with the first known vehicle to have crossed the desert) passed this location.

6. Hesperia’s Original water Source – In 1886, a rock monument was placed here by the Hesperia Land and Water Company.  This was required by law to give notice to 5,000 miners that water was to be taken from this point for use in Hesperia.

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7. Atongai Indian Village – oldest known settlement in Hesperia.

8. Summit Train Station built in 1880’s – this was an important railroad center but started to decline in the 60’s and no longer exists.

9. Elliot’s Ranch built in 1927 – This area is famous for where thousands of stolen horses and mules were driven through here en route to Utah for reselling.

10. Miller’s Corner built in 1923 – It was created when State Highway 31-C bypassed downtown Hesperia.  this corner received its name from an auto mechanic name Miller who built a garage here.

11. Hesperia’s First General Store built in 1850 – It was the first commercial building in Topipa, Hesperia’s original Indian name.

12. Original Water Supply Ditch built in 1886 – This was part of our backyard which by 1950’s, it was filled with soil due to new wells.

13. Rolar’s 66 Gas Station built in 1940 – Leroy and Della Rolar opened a service station-cafe to help serve increasing motorists needs along Route 66.  State Highway 31-C became U.S. Route 66 in 1928.

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14. Mojave Indian Trail/Hesperia Lake – Over 12,000 years ago, the Anasazi People originally used the trail.

15. Holcomb Valley Road built in 1861 – A free, graded road crossed here, running from Holcomb Valley to join the Brown Toll Road through the Cajon Pass.

Once you have visited all of the sites then they give you a patch for your accomplishment. My husband and I did this a couple of years ago but we never went to pick up our patches. So I decided it was time to pick up mine so I would have at least a reminder of the things we have done together.

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Have you ever wondered what historical significance your home town has?  If you haven’t, I ask you to look and find out what you have in your own backyard?

Boxing Day Ride

On Boxing Day, I decided to join a group ride that was hosted by Jeff Bowman. This is his third year hosting one and this time he decided to lead us to Salvation Mountain via Box Canyon Road. There were 10 of us, 7 Victory, 2 Harley and one Honda (me). We all met at Morongo Cafe in Morongo Valley at 8 am. imageTo make it on time, I had to leave at 6 am and it was only 24 degree. Sigh, it was going to be a brutal ride. I layered up as much as I could but I still had to stop 3 times to warm up my fingertips. However, with all of my gears, I was still warm enough everywhere else on my body. I need to find a solution for keeping the fingertips warm. I thought that I was furthest rider but I discovered that I was not, one guy has ridden all the way from Culver City, CA.

Salvation Mountain is in Niland, California and reside right in front of Slab City. Slab City is an old WWII Marine barrack of Camp Dunlap which was decommissioned and torn down in 1956. Only the slab of the barrack remained hence the name. Now it is the home of the snow birds and squatters. During the winter times, the population swell up to several thousand residents and during the summer months, it only host about 150 permanent residents.

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Salvation Mountain is hillside attraction about three-story high made out of concrete, straw bale and adobe covered entirely in acrylic paints and bible verses. It was started by Leonard Knights in 1984 after several failed attempt to build a hot air balloon to spread the word about Jesus and Sinner’s prayer. He ended up in Slab City for work on repairing tires. He actually fell in love with the area and decided to transplant to spread his message here. The mountain you see here in this picture is not his first attempt at it. The original mountain collapsed into a heap due to weak concrete structure. However, he was not deterred and began building once again which is still standing today.

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Sadly, Leonard passed away last year at the age of 83 but his legacy still lives on thanks to donation of visitors and volunteers who maintain the place.

All in all, it was a great group ride but one of the down fall of riding with a group, you can’t make random stops. I had made a mental note to come back out this week to do some sight-seeing on my own. Such as the Salton Sea which has a colorful history how the lake came to be. There was also a historical site on the road we turned on to head into Salvation Mountain, I saw a sign about a historical site but I can’t find any information on the internet about it. Hmmm, note to myself, alway be prepared and carry a camera to take a pictures for reference later on. Also further down near Jacumba, there is a Desert View Tower that I want to check out. I’ll add it to my list of places to check out for the next time I’m down there.

Rancho Sordo Mudo

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was getting ready for a trip to Baja. Well, I got to ride down to Valle de Guadalupe to visit Rancho Sordo Mudo. This trip came about after chatting with a fellow TW rider, Jeff, about my trip in May and mentioned that I might go to Baja for a couple of weeks between the Overland Expo and the memorial ride in Santa Margarita, CA. That is when he mentioned that he has a nephew that works at a deaf ranch in Baja. He wanted to go visit him soon and I offered to join him on the trip thinking that it could be my way of giving back during my journey.

Rancho Sordo Mudo is a deaf ranch that provides a school for the poor and a home for homeless deaf children of Mexico. RanchoSordoMudoIt was founded in 1969 by Ed and Margaret Everett. During a missionary trip to Mexico, they discovered that the poor and/or orphaned deaf children were not receiving any educational or spiritual support. They believed that without an education that deaf children will become beggars. With having raised a deaf child themselves, they knew that the deaf children have the capability to learn to read and write and master a trade.

So, they decided to sell their neon manufacturing business in Fayetteville, NC and rented a house in Ensenada as a school for the deaf. However, they quickly outgrew that facility and purchased 500 acres in Guadalupe Valley which is about 30 minutes east of Ensenada. They were able to build a school, dining hall, large dormitory, show building and director’s and worker’s housing. All of the building has been done by volunteer groups.

All of the deaf children receive food, clothing, education and medical care during their stay without any charge. Those who do have families go home for winter and summer breaks and others stay year around.

Now that Ed and Margaret have passed, it is now being run by two of their children and their family.

We left from Desert Hot Springs a couple of days later than planned due to weather. Since he is riding his WR250 and me on the TW200, we took the back road to border. TakeOffMainly, the Palm to Pines road then 74 through Julian to get to the Tecate and then to Guadalupe Valley which is about 46 miles south of the border. The trip was down was a little bit uneventful except when we stopped at Julian to fill up on gas, we discovered that I was missing a bolt on the oil cover. So we hunted down a hardware store and asked for a bolt which he found a perfect match on the first try.MissingBolt

Once, we got to the ranch, we were greeted by Jeff’s nephew, Mark,

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who gave us a tour of the facility. He is the dorm parent for 12 boy’s age ranging 12 to 17. He has been working there for the last eleven years. Jeff was put up in a room near the boy’s dorm and I was put in a room that housed the teachers. We got to eat in dining hall with all of the kids. Since I knew American Sign Language (ASL), I thought I would be able to converse with the kids but they’re using Mexican Sign Language (MSL)

MSLwhich is very different. Luckily for me, they only recently switched to MSL about five years ago so some of the older kids helped me translate. I started to get the hang of MSL by the end of the trip.

Since it was right before the winter break, Mark had Friday off so he took us on a tour of Guadalupe Valley which is becoming the mecca for wineries. This area has over fifty wineries. One of them was right next to the ranch called Encuentro Guadalupe. They specialize in blended wines and we did some wine tasting. Well, they did since I’m more of a beer kind of girl. This winery has its own built in cave to hold the wine which we got a tour of. Also, it has 20 cabins that sit on the hillside that is very chic and unplugged from the world.

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Now that all of kids have gone home, it was also time for us venture on home too. We took the same route back and on the way back I had to stop in Oak Grove to find a sign that my late husband told me about.  Luckily on a slow bike, I was able to notice the odd sign right away which I had to stop to take a picture of.  Only him would notice such a sign about grouches.

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This trip was a humbling experience for me to be immersed in the deaf culture that readily accepted me even though I didn’t know MSL. If I had visited a facility here in the US, I would have been met with cold shoulder because I can communicate orally. The deaf culture in the US firmly believe in only using ASL as the only mean of communication and frown on those who believe in “Total Communication” (use of oral and signed communication together). Therefore, I tend socialize in the hearing world more than the deaf world. While at the ranch, I realized that I missed being among those who are like me who can’t completely hear but willing to communicate one way or another.

I look forward to going back to do some more volunteer work. To learn more about the ranch or the area you may click on the links below:

www.ranchosordomudo.org

http://www.winemag.com/February-2014/10-Best-Wine-Travel-Destinations-2014/index.php/slide/Valle-de-Guadalupe-Baja-California–Mexico/cparticle/3