Highway 6 2021
 
 

Day 10

June 30

 
     
   
  Today I will attempt to make it to the historical end of Highway 6 in Long Beach and snag a picture of the plaque placed there by the GAR Association back on May 3, 1953 when I was less than one year old. The problem is that the plaque is located on a wall and the only access to it is the sidewalk - a bit of a challenge for a ST1100. I partake of what Jack N Box has for breakfast since it is close by and opens early.  
   
  Well, it is pretty decent going down but about 30 miles or so down the road it is not so decent. Fortunately there is a rest stop and I just make it into a bathroom stall before it gets really ugly. I make a mental note to avoid their breakfast offerings in the future. With that taken care of, I can get back to enjoying the scenery as the sun paints shadows on the mountains.  
   
  Once again it doesn't look promising up ahead but I decide to take my chances and press on without baking in the bag.  
   
  The storm clouds cast dark shadows on the rugged mountains and I hope that they will stay all over there til I get by them.  
   
  This is Highway 395 and it is the only highway that heads in this direction. So I know that at one time it was part of the Highway 6 route.  
   
  I find this sign on the outskirts of Lone Pine of particular interest as I have been in the Sherwood Forest in England on my trips over there and even met a lady from Nottingham located there. That was the legendary home of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  
   
  But pretty soon I'm back out in the desolation of sand and sagebrush.  
   
  But every now and then you come across some of these that sort of break up the monotony of the landscape.  
   
  Just before you get to Indian Wells, Highway 14 splits off and it will take me to the Sierra Highway which is labeled as the 'historical' Highway 6.  
   
  Along the way I see this immense solar array - so large that I cannot 'fit' the whole thing into one picture.  
   
 

At my first gas stop I see this rig and I am curious as it is obviously constructed for a purpose. The gentleman it belongs to tells me -

"Semper Fi my friend."

As it turns out, he was in the USMC close to the same time I was. But he stayed mostly on the west coast while I stayed on the east coast. He adds

"I never went to Nam, but my brother did, And he is still messed up today from it."

It's a sad reality that is the case for many folks who served a tour over there. He also explains that the rig is for filming action shots for television and movies. He mentions the one that he is currently working on, but with me not having a television it does not register. He's ready to retire and he plans to move to Murfreesboro, Tennessee less than 30 miles from where I live. His reason is simple - get out of the madness here, the high cost of living and get to some better health care as his wife is not doing well.

I wish him the best and we both head out to do what we have to do today.

 
   
  I find this interesting that Los Angeles County (not the city) stretches this far north. But it is one of the largest counties in the USA, covering over 4,000 square miles.  
   
  Soon I see a somewhat familiar sign and I know that I am 'on the hunt'.  
   
  The Sierra Highway pretty much parallels the newer Highway 14 but it was originally Highway 6 before the government 'terminated' it back in Bishop.  
   
  I enjoy it because I know far too soon I will be off the peaceful two lanes and into the multi-lane madness of Los Angeles - and so I am.  
   
  Having studied this part of the route intensely, I know I am getting close to the plaque as I pass the container shipyards.  
   
  Soon I see my 'prey' - the Grand Army of the Republic Highway plaque but as I know there is no convenient place to park or easy way to get SweetTreat in front of it.  
   
  I have studied this location on Google Earth for a while and there is a handicap ramp near by that I avail myself of to get up on the sidewalk. Fortunately there is a lot of construction in the area and things are a bit crazy to say the least. I managed to get my shot 'unnoticed' by the local constabulary. I quickly ride off the handicapped ramp at the other end and I'm out of there and on my way to lunch with some friends.  
   
  I am supposed to meet some 'electronic' riding friends I have never met in person out on one of the points. I finally negotiate the traffic and make it to where I am supposed to be. I had messaged Doug, one of the riders, earlier that I should be there between 12 and 1 PM if all goes like I am hoping. My clock tells me it is 12:45 PM so I reckon I am doing pretty good - especially considering the LA traffic madness and all the construction around the GAR plaque. These are folks that I have communicated with for several years on ST-Owners.com so it will be great to finally put a face with a name and screen handle.  
   
 

Doug got his ST1100 in 97 about the same time I got Redbird my first one and we communicated on an earlier board. Paul is an electrical engineer that has been knee deep in sorting out what kind of LED headlights will work for both ST1100s and the ST1300 that he rides. They both get big 'Uncle Phil' Hugs and I thank them for showing up. I tell Paul -

"Thank you so very much for all of the work that you've done on that LED business. I really do appreciate it".

I've got the LED headlights that he had a major hand in improving in all four of my ST1100s. It turns out that Doug has a connection with the owners of this place from a previous time in his life. He rides 97 red ST1100 just like my Redbird and Frost. We have a great time sharing our various life experiences. I thank them both for braving the crazy LA traffic just to do lunch with this old hillbilly.

 
   
  And it is a great lunch and our server manages to keep my ever emptying water glass plumb full. Paul has to get back to work, but before he leaves, he and Doug pay for my absolutely scrumptious lunch. I don't know what to say except 'Thank you' to both of them. Doug and I sit around shooting the breeze a bit, but we both have to get on our ways before long.  
   
  I've got to get to Barstow tonight which means back in the crazy LA traffic but a feller has to do what he has do.  
   
  I find that as I practice my filtering skills - or lane splitting as some call it - that some drivers are fine with it and some are not. But I finally get clear of the mess and arrive at my other desired destination for today - the Angeles Crest Highway. It is one of fifteen roads listed by the AMA recently as the 'best' and the only one on the list that I have not ridden.  
   
  It is really twisty but the pavement leaves a little bit to be desired as I am spoiled by the usual good quality of Tennessee roads.  
   
  As I ride along, I keep seeing these 'closed' signs for a particular area and I am struggling with whether I should continue or turn back. I don't know if the sign is an indication that just an area is not open or the entire highway is shut down. I finally decide that I will pull off and try to locate the mentioned place on my laptop maps. I'd like to have some idea if it's going to be a bunch miles out and then a bunch miles back because the road is closed. The idea of running out of fuel is not a pleasant prospect, having faced that far too many times already on this trip. But the sun is so bright it proves to be a futile effort. I hate the thought of having to back track all the way - especially in view of the Colorado 'train wreck' and the time that adventure consumed. But some days you just have to press on and take your chances - so I do.  
   
  There are a few tunnels along the way which I always like.  
   
  When I come across this section it appears that the fire was pretty recent. Scenes like this always trouble me when I think of the innocent animals that were caught up in it and the sheer terror they must have experienced.  
   
  Fortunately, it turns out to be just an area closed and not the entire highway so I make it to my motel for the evening at a reasonable hour.  
   
  There are a couple of fast food joints in walkable distance so I decide I will try Carl Jrs which we really don't have back home. If I understand it correctly, they are sort of connected to the Hardees chain that we do have.  
   
  This is a nice one and you can tell that the people here really enjoy working together. It shows in their attitudes, their service and the quality of the food. They have 'sit down' area so I figure I'll take advantage of their nicely working air conditioning and sit for a while as I enjoy my vittles. After the long heat of the day and all the crazy traffic, I treat myself to a delicious chocolate shake. Did I tell you that I like chocolate?  
   
  Tomorrow starts the long ride home, but I have accomplished all that I set out to do on this trip. With a full belly and full heart, I waddle back to my room and it is lights out in quick order.