Not Ready for the Pipe and Slippers yet..... A journey by Motorcycle through the Americas
Not Ready for the Pipe and Slippers yet..... A journey by Motorcycle through the Americas
Beautiful mid century modern house, Palm Springs
Sunset in Sedona
Palm Springs, CA




Weeks 7 and 8 – holiday time


The last couple of weeks have been spent with Judith in Arizona and Southern California.

We had planned for us to meet up twice during my travels south, and this was the first of these. The logistics were a little fraught to say the least at the beginning. We were going to finish Judith’s trip with a week at the end in San Diego, a city neither of us had visited before. So, as the bike needed a major service after racking up 5,500 fairly intense miles in just 6 weeks, I’d arranged to have this done during this week. Tuesday July 16th in the morning saw me leaving the bike with Alex and the guys at Kontiki Motorcycles in Pacific Beach, about 15 miles from downtown San Diego; taking off the boxes and other kit; taking clothes and other essentials that I’d need for the two weeks with Judith; taking a bus back into downtown to catch the train to Los Angeles Union Station; from there the shuttle bus to LA International Airport; to meet Judith off the Virgin flight from London and check into an airport hotel.

Thanks to a couple of hours delay on her flight I was able to be there to meet her in the arrivals hall.


We had a great couple of weeks including:

  • Meeting up with Elaine, who we’d met whilst trekking in Nepal last year. Her daughter and Son-in-Law very kindly invited us to their house in Fallbrook, CA; Avocado capital of the world, and hometown of amongst others Frank Capra. They have a gorgeous house in a lovely position.  We had a great afternoon with Elaine; and Tatyana and Bill and their delightful children. Bill traces his ancestors back to Leslie, Scotland and I think could be tempted to visit the ‘homeland’.
  • Two days in Palm Springs, CA. Traditionally more of a winter resort, I was keen for Judith to get a taste of the 100+ degrees of heat I’d been riding through for the last couple of weeks. For anyone with an interest in Americana, and a love of mid-century modern American architecture this was a complete dream. Too hot (and frankly, too big) to walk around we spent time touring the fabulous houses and public buildings in this great desert city
  • Sedona, CA. Stunning countryside.
  • A taste of Route 66; backtracking  some of the places I’d visited navigating West on Route 66
  • A thousand miles of driving through some of the most extraordinary desert landscapes
  • And finally a week in San Diego, described by a friend as the one city in the USA he'd like to live in, we had a lovely week eating, drinking and enjoying each other’s company and this really lovely place.

But now, I’ve collected the bike from Alex at Kontiki – and he and the guys have done a great job doing a big service  on it, including supplying  and fitting two new tyres, replacing all the fluids and adjusting the valve clearances. I recommend them unreservedly for their friendliness and quality of service. Oh, he also got it looking cleaner than it has been in a long time….



So, late on Friday night in Tucson, AZ I’m contemplating crossing the border in to Mexico tomorrow AM and starting the slightly more challenging part of the trip. Reactions from people I’ve mentioned my route to have ranged from ‘I will pray for him, try to persuade him not to go’ to ‘The world is full of mostly good people, be careful and you’ll have a great time.’ I guess the truth is probably somewhere between the two extremes, so I’m excited and apprehensive in equal measure. I know I’m going to face challenges with bureaucracy, language, poor conditions on the roads, and managing a lot of uncertainty and ambiguity – but I guess that’s what an adventure is, no?

Alex @ Kontiki
Horizon Hotel, Palm Springs
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© Kevin Ford