In the end, there wasn’t enough saddle time to justify calling last week’s ride a gypsy tour. It was meant to be, but as the date approached, plans changed.
Originally I was going to ride from Tucson to Las Vegas, then hook up with my son and a hashing buddy for a three-day ride through Nevada and parts of northern California. Jim, the hasher, rides a Harley. Greg, my son, was going to rent a Goldwing. We planned to spend a night in Carson City, get up the next day for a ride around Lake Tahoe and down the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas to Lone Pine, and on the last day putt back to Vegas through Death Valley.
Then, the week before our trip, Greg found the proverbial motorcycle of his dreams on Cycle Trader. The mission changed from motorcycle riding to motorcycle purchasing and fetching. I put my Goldwing on the trailer, hitched it to the truck, and drove to Las Vegas on Sunday, May 21st. Monday Greg and I drove the truck and empty trailer to San Luis Obispo. We arrived in mid-afternoon, checked into a hotel, and headed north to Templeton, where the seller lives. We checked out the bike, a 2014 BMW K1600GT. It was everything the seller promised and more, and Greg closed the deal. I drove back to the hotel on Highway 101 while Greg rode the BMW down Highway 1 to Morro Bay and eventually back inland to San Luis Obispo and the hotel. The next morning, Tuesday the 23rd, we loaded Greg’s new ride on the trailer and hauled it back to Vegas.
We weren’t sure if Greg would have a license plate on the bike, but as it turns out, when you buy a used vehicle in California the tag stays with it (it’s different in Arizona, and maybe Nevada too), so Greg and I were able to go riding after all. We headed to Utah and Zion National park on Wednesday and overnighted at an old-school roadside motel in Hatch. Thursday it was twisty mountain roads to Cedar Breaks National Monument and over the still-snowy summit to Brian Head, then back to Cedar City and finally down into the heat and home to Vegas. Friday we hooked up with Jim and his Harley for a ride to Goodsprings and the infamous Pioneer Saloon (while the three of us were together we decided to take another stab at the Carson City/Lake Tahoe/Lone Pine/Death Valley ride in September). Yesterday, Saturday the 27th, I trailered my bike home to Tucson.
Greg’s first motorcycle was a 500cc Honda Ascot he bought in Tampa, Florida in the late 1980s. More recently, whenever he and I went riding, he’d be on a rental Harley, Indian, or BMW. Of all the big bikes he’s rented, the BMW six-cylinder models have been the most impressive (to me too), but he didn’t think he could ever afford one (I know I can’t). This bike was a smoking deal, and I’m hopeful that in a year or two I’ll find a smoking deal on a newer Goldwing, and maybe Greg and come with me to trailer it back to Tucson.
A BMW, wow. Greg asked me if he was supposed to wave to other riders. I said no, when you’re on a Beemer you sneer. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a full-face helmet. Other riders will get the message.
Click on any of the thumbnails in this photoblog to see the full-size originals on Flickr. Click here to see the entire Gypsy Tour May 2017 Flickr photo album.
© 2017, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.