Monday, April 11, 2016

~ Willow Creek Cemetery ~

“I went to the wilderness to confront the basic of life to be sure that when I died I would not regret living” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

This old cemetery was established in 1877.

It has such a western sound to its name, a fitting resting place for a good friend.

The historic, Willow Creek Cemetery is located a hundred yards off the Airline Highway, route 25.  I must have gone by the Willow Creek Road a thousand times and never knew the cemetery existed until today.  The cemetery, established in 1877, is about 5 miles south of Paicines, California.

The weather lately has been spring-like and perfect for riding a motorcycle.  But today, the rain clouds have moved back into California and my rain gear is on me even before I leave the house. 

The ceremonies start at 1 p.m. and the Pinnacles are a good 4 hours from Three Rivers.  Normally, my ride takes me on scenic Highway 198, past Coalinga, and then north on Highway 25 to the Pinnacles.  I stop for gas at Harris Ranch and because of the steady rain, decide to take interstate 5 heading north.  "It will save you some time," I tell himself.  Years ago, I left Paicines on an off beaten country road called Little Panoche Road that ties into Interstate 5.  Yep, this is the route I'll take.  It will save me 30 minutes and I must arrive at the cemetery by 1 p.m.

The rain is fierce and the traffic seems to be going 100 mph despite the downpour.  There ahead of me is a motor home going slower.  I figure it is safer behind a slower vehicle even if I catch more rain.  A few times, my bike hydroplanes and it is nerve-wracking.  Finally, the off-ramp for Little Panoche Road is up ahead.  It will take me to Paicines.  The rain is still coming down but this country road is heaven in comparison to the insane interstate.  The cows are everywhere, eating tall green grass.  I do not see another vehicle on this isolated road.

The rain has stopped.  I'm about two miles from Paicines and the brief sun will help dry me out.  The Willow Creek Cemetery isn't far, a bit further south and I'll be there in time.  The easy-going woodland hillsides, cows, and open land agrees with me. 

A bit more relaxed, I reminisce.

We both worked early in our careers for the National Park Service at a little place called Pinnacles National Monument.  He was in Maintenance and I was in Administration but at a little place like Pinnacles, organizational lines are easily blurred.  Everyone did everything.  Your first job is always important, memory-wise.  But the group of people there become lifelong friends. 

When I first met him, I liked him.  He was a cowboy at heart, a hard worker, a excellent hunter, and loved to barbeque.  "Bob, have you ever eaten wild boar?" he asked.  "Come by the house and have some."  He lived in a small house, just off San Benito Lateral.  It was a beautiful area and just a bit further down the road was the Bar SZ Ranch where hundreds of horses grazed.  His good friend Jim Shields lived nearby on his ranch.  "I got this pig, just up that canyon," he points with his hand.  Denise and I loved the meal, the setting, and his company.  Later, he would invite me to a cattle branding on John Shields ranch; a neighbor, and Jim's dad.  He was very good on a horse and I helped them where I could.

His career with the National Park Service would take him to Everglades National Park where I heard he did a great job.  "The mosquitoes were unreal," he once told me "so I had to look elsewhere for work."  That elsewhere became Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks where we met up again.  Now, he wasn't riding horses much but Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  Eventually, he bought a house in Three Rivers and lived less than 1/2 mile from us.

"Retirement is great Bob, you're going to love it."  Although we never did ride motorcycles together, he was one of the first to see my new Yamaha Road Star.  He rode his bike to Sturgis one year and with some help, he pointed me there well.  Oh yes, a cowboy, a hard worker, a hunter, a great cook, and a biker.  There is one more thing to add, a rock climber.  You'd never know but he helped our Mountain Climbing Search and Rescue Team at Pinnacles and successfully climbed the Elephant.

That's what I'm thinking about as I approach the Willow Creek Cemetery. 

His daughter Mary welcomes me.  I tell her that your mom and dad took us to dinner in Tres Pinos when we first got to Pinnacles in 1971.  She was about 1 year old at the time.  It is 12:30 p.m. so my decision to take the Panoche Road worked.

Friends, Willow Creek Cemetery.

There are many local people here today, as well as some retired National Park Service employees.  Many wear cowboy hats, boots looking like they had just come from working in the fields.  

I am impressed with the words spoken, first by his daughter Mary and then his younger brother Richard, and then older brother Ken. 

Mary was emotional but her words came out nonetheless.  "In the final days of his life, he requested two things," she said tearfully.  

"Bury me next to my friend, Jim Shields."

"First, he wanted me to see if he could be buried at the Willow Creek Cemetery.  And second, if permission was granted, he asked to be buried next to his friend, Jim Shields."  

Mary approached the Willow Creek Cemetery Caretaker with his sincere request.  


She then told her dad that his requests had been granted.  "That put a big simile on his face," Mary said. 

The ceremony was simple, yet, powerful.

Mary continued.  "Once he knew where he would rest," he said:  "Have several bottles of my fine whiskey, pour everyone a shot, and have a toast."

With our shots in hand, one cowboy asked if he could make the toast and his words tearfully faded ... 

"To our good friend Gary Bornholdt"

Gary J. Bornholdt 
July 29, 1942 - May 28, 2015.

Peaceful, Willow Creek Cemetery in the foothills.

My iron horse approaching the Willow Creek Cemetery.
I stop to say a silent prayer.

Pinnacles National Park.
When we worked there, it was Pinnacles National Monument.

High Peaks Trail ~ Pinnacles National Park.
Gary hiked these trails frequently.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

~ 50th Commemoration of Vietnam ~

“Look deep into Nature, then you will understand everything better." ~ Albert Einstein.

Even Einstein knew, at the speed of light, you could only be in one place at one time.

My bike did not break the sound barrier but it sure came close as I tried to make the opening ceremonies at Fort Irwin, some three hundred miles from my home in Three Rivers.  These were not just any military ceremonies, but the 50th Commemoration of Vietnam. 

After 300 miles, I came up short.  I missed the opening ceremonies by 30 minutes.  Last November, I attended the Veterans Day celebrations in my hometown in Barstow.

That November 11th, I listened to outstanding military speakers.  The Commander from Fort Irwin was impressive.  He ended his speech by saying, "We intend to honor and welcome home our Vietnam Veterans in March next year, so stay tuned."  At the time, I wondered just what he meant, so I made a mental note to later find out.  It had to be important.

It turns out that Fort Irwin was going all out to honor and welcome our Vietnam Veterans.   It's been 50 years since I had been to Fort Irwin while attending John F. Kennedy High School in Barstow.

As I rode onto the base, there were American Flags everywhere.  It was not hard to follow them to the heart of the celebrations.  

There were thousands of bikes all around me.

There were thousands of bikes in the specially designated parking so parking is easy.  There is a professional photographer taking pictures, so I ask him if he could take a picture of me with my cell phone, seconds after arriving at Fort Irwin.  The wind, I felt, was still blowing in my face after 300 miles.  "I did not break the sound barrier getting here but came close," I say as he gets takes the picture.   After he took the picture, he looked at me a bit funny. 

One can only imagine what the keynote speaker had to say about Vietnam.  He was a photojournalist in Vietnam and the author of We Were Soldiers Once.  His name is Joe Galloway.  Perhaps, I'll see him another time.  I once saw him in a video interview and he had a certain way of telling the Vietnam story that made you want to listen.

There are thousands of people here and I do get to hear a few other speakers.  They are dynamic, and their words are full of emotion.  At times, a bit hard to hear but hear I do never-the-less.  One speaker talks about the empty table at the head of the room and he describes in detail why it is empty and how it represents those Vietnam soldiers who did not come back.  A real tear-jerker.

I was there to support my two close high school friends who served in Vietnam and are now deceased ~  *Gene Christiansen and *John Lopez.  They will never be forgotten, the Commander of Fort Irwin saw to that.

My brother Leo was also in Vietnam and he served with the 82nd Airborne but he was not able to attend.  There are other Vietnam Veterans from Barstow, like Robert Esquibel and Mike Ulibarri.  Mike and I were on the John F. Kennedy High School cross-country team.  Mike was one of the best cross-country runners in Southern California.

Robert Griego and Mike Ulibarri, class of 1967 at John F. Kennedy High School.

Just when I thought I would not see anyone I knew among the thousands of people, there was Mike Ulibarri walking towards me.  Seeing someone you have not seen in years, is special.  Mike is iconic and I see that many of the younger soldiers sense that and "thank him" for his service.  They are passing out gifts to the Vietnam Vets and I wait in line with Mike catching up on things.  

Thank you, Mike Ulibarri, for your service.

He did not register in advance and now must go to a second line to register.  There is a young lady with a pen in hand who looks up at Mike.  "What branch of the service were you in?... What years of service?... What company?"  Then her final question, "Did you receive any citations, and if so, what were they."  All this time I'm standing next to Mike and his answers come without effort.  But his last answer surprised me.  He could have been asked "would you like sugar or cream with your coffee" and he casually said "Silver Star."  All this time, she has kept her head pointing to her notepad.  But now, she raises her head and looks directly at Mike.  Then she pauses, and writes on her notepad next to Silver Star, the word (Valor); and I saw her underline the word.  I never knew that about Mike.

Later, I would find out that the Silver Star is the third highest military decoration awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. 

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.

There is another reason to be here at Fort Irwin.  Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band are scheduled to perform at 2pm.  I was not going to miss this.  The young soldier next to me asks, "How did you hear about this event?"  He heard my story about Veterans Day in Barstow and thanked me.  I did not have any words for him, so I shook and nodded my head.  "Why are you here?" I ask.  "Gary Sinise, he rocks."

The music is very good and the crowd loves him.  "Ok, how many of you have seen Forrest Gump?" Sinise asks the crowd.  Nothing but cheers.  "Ok, how many of you have seen Forrest Gump, more than once?"  More thunderous applause.  "How about more than three times," and the crowd responds in kind.  Their music is very good but I listen closely to the words he speaks.

He is a true blue American who is here to honor and thank all the veterans, especially, as he said, the Vietnam Veterans.  He plays to the audience and they love him.  Finally, he walks into the crowd and people are taking pictures like crazy.  Mostly, selfies.

He ends his performance, by thanking the Vietnam Veterans..."...thank you, stand tall, we love you."  I was so impressed with him.  I love him as an actor, but today, I love him for being an outstanding ambassador for the Vietnam Veterans.

The Company Commander was true to his words that November 11th day at the Barstow Cemetery... "We intend to honor and welcome home our Vietnam Veterans in March next year, so stay tuned."

Three hundred miles back, but this time, I camped near Lake Isabella Lake to shorten my trip, and over my campfire, reflect on the day.

It was perhaps my best 600 miles, such a small price in exchange for remembering and honoring my two high school friends, *Gene Christiansen and *John Lopez who both rode Yamaha 305cc's in our younger days.

We were fondly called the infamousYamaha Gang.

The Infamous Yamaha Gang 1967 ~ Robert Griego, Gene Christiansen, John Lopez.

Mike Ulibarri on the Wall That Heals.

The Wall That Heals - Leo Griego, Gene Christiansen, John Lopez, Mike Ulibarri, Robert Esquibel.

My brother, Leo served in the 82nd Airborne.

A special tribute to *Gene Christensen in Barstow, CA.

Monday, April 4, 2016

~ 8th Annual John Paul Magao Motorcycle Ride ~

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe" ~ John Muir

Bikers ride in the 8th Annual John Paul Magao Motorcycle Ride

Just last week the sun was out and Denise and I were were on a bike ride on the Dry Creek Road taking pictures of the poppies.

Today, the rain is back and I am on another bike ride.  A few years ago my friend Dennis Reneau invited me to ride for a special cause.  He said it was called the Annual John Magao Motorcycle Ride.  Its purpose was to honor a Redwood grad who lost his life in a motorcycle accident and to raise scholarships funds for Redwood High School and College of the Sequoias students in Visalia, California [ ]. 

I did not know John Paul but this is now my second Annual John Paul Magao Motorcycle Ride in his honor, and to support his family and friends.  Their love and pride is evident with his family. 

The local paper, Times-Delta, carried his story:  "...Money raised goes to COS students pursuing a career in pharmacy or medicine, said James Phillip Wilfong...The focus on a profession in medicine reflects John's original professional focus...Instead of leaving to pursue his dream of going to University of Pacific School of Pharmacy in Stockton, he instead chose to stay in Visalia with this mother while his stepfather was deployed to Iraq...we decided to start this nonprofit in honor of what he really enjoyed, and in what he loved...we wanted to continue to give that opportunity to others since he wasn't able to make it..."

I've heard James Phillip Wilfong speak before and I again listen to his sincere words before this ride.   He thanks us for coming out in support of his son and the purpose of this Annual memorial ride.  He reminds of us all about safety on the road, especially with the wet roads.  His words are simple and true to his purpose. 

He ends by inviting us to his house for lunch at the end of the ride. 

In terms of distance, this is a short ride, just under 100 miles.  But I feel the bond of the other riders who are here to support, honor, and remember a fellow biker.  Our ride takes us on the back roads towards Rocky Hill, out past Woodlake, and some parts of northern Visalia that are new to me.

The rain has reduced the number of bikers today but not the enthusiasm on this, the 8th Annual John Paul Magao Motorcycle Ride. 

As always, we ride in a safe staggered formation.  

I rode behind this biker [Bladimir], who's daughter took these "amazing" pictures of our ride ~ thanks!

The ride leaving Plaza Park 

Riders ride in a safe, staggered formation

Our ride touches the wildflowers

The road bends in front of this biker

Riding up towards Rocky Hill, Sequoia National Park in the distance ~ We Honor John Paul Magao ~

~ Sturgis, One Bikers View ~

"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth" ~ Steve McQueen

This was to be a solo ride to Sturgis, but lucky for me, Ruben decided to join me at the last minute.  Ruben works in fire management for the Dixie National Forest and is Leo's son and my nephew.  He lives in Enoch, Utah so we decided to rendezvous in Ely, Nevada where we will point our ponies north to that Montana country.

The day before me is going to be a very long one by the odometer that is counting each mile.  We had planned to meet at the Shell gas station in Ely but when I arrived Ruben not there.  I was sure that he would arrive well before me.  The clerk lets me know that there are three Shell gas stations in Ely so I move onto the next one.  He is not there and that bad feeling begins in my mind.  The last Shell station is up the hill and Ruben is there looking very relaxed; I can't say that for myself but I am relieved.  

Pony Express Trail
Our plan is to camp another thirty miles further, along the Pony Express Trail.  It may be called a wasteland to some but its colorful history is perfect for us.  We quickly set up camp along a rock out-cropping and reminisce about the bold riders of that day.  They were young, expert horse riders, tough, and usually orphans eager to earn a few dollars.  Some say that they carried Lincoln's inaugural address across country.  Sleep comes easily after 652 miles for my first day.  We have our traditional cowboy breakfast at morning -- Spam, New Mexico green chili, tortillas, and coffee.  The days are warm and it is short sleeve riding. 

Because the Yellowstone ranger said earlier that they have had heavy rain storms lately, the two man tent is strapped on my bike as a back up.

Refreshed, we ride on pass Pocatello, Idaho.  There is a USFS campground that I've seen before after Swan Valley and we hope to make it there before dark.  We arrive shortly before dark and find out that they do not have water nor is the nearby stream running.  Our water bottles will have to do for tonight and we get busy gathering fire wood.  Ruben sleeps in his hammock between two large trees and I lay my gear on my usual spot on the ground.  Tomorrow we ride into Jackson Hole in Wyoming.

At the top of  Teton Pass, we begin to see hundreds of bikers, so we stop.  There are twenty-two bikers there from New Zealand.  We talk and take a few pictures.  We learn that they did not know each other before in New Zealand but organized this trip using their own bikes.  They rented a cargo container and had their bikes shipped to San Francisco where their trip began.  They are happy, enthusiastic, and heading for Sturgis.  They are more than happy for a picture when I call them "Kiwis".  We did not have breakfast so we are looking forward to a hot meal in Victor, Idaho.  It is a very small cafe that is playing some very old country western music.  They also have a TV and the movie, minus the sound, is playing 'The Good, Bad, and Ugly.'  I couldn't image a better setting for our first paid breakfast.  We are content, watching the silent movie.

Easy Rider - Grand Teton National Park
Jackson Hole is a tourist town but is very laid back and we stroll the streets taking pictures along with everyone else.  There are now more and more bikers everywhere, you feel the energy building.  It is hard to ride pass the Grand Tetons without stopping at every pull out.  The mountains are breathtaking.  At one pull out, there is a guy riding a bicycle and I ask if he can take our picture.  I call him "Easy Rider" as he reminisces about the 60's when he rode a motorcycle.  He looks like he has been on the trail a long time so I ask, "how long Easy Rider?" 

"I've traveled 6,600 miles so far" he says without much fanfare. 

Impressive Easy Rider. 

We ride on with a new sense of energy and purpose.  We hope to camp in Yellowstone National Park and know that the campgrounds fill up quickly by 11am so we are cautiously optimistic about a camp site.  We pull into Lewis Lake Campground well after 11am and most sites are taken.  There is a loop that is strictly for walk-in sites and we find an empty spot.  We claim it quickly and discover that it sets high on a hill with plenty of privacy and we like it.  In less than 10 minutes, the entire campground is full.  We take a short excursion riding to the general store and visitor center. 

Our neighbor below us walks up to our site and we talk.  I call him "Bear Man" as he is doing some very extensive solo hikes in Yellowstone where grizzly bears thrive.  He is very fit and offers us some fire wood.  He did not see any grizzly bears but seemed to be an extremist living on the edge.  He ends the conversation by saying, "if the grizzly bears ate me, it would have been worth the journey to see them."  We are not so agreeable but admire his courage.  His fire wood burns will into the night.  We are thankful to "Bear Man."

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Yellowstone is breath taking and we make frequent stops.  The fly fishermen are busy working the rivers and the scene is peaceful.  As we ride through the park, I reminisce about an earlier journey.  In 1973, Denise, Keith and I moved from Pinnacles National Monument in California to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Montana.  We packed up all of our belongings in a U-Hall truck and towed our Dodge van behind.  The memory of Bear Tooth Pass is still there.  I'm not sure that I would do that trip down this steep winding road again with the U-Hall.  Honestly, looking into the past, I do not remember the beautiful surrounding.  I must have been so scared of going off the cliffs that I rarely took my eyes of the road.  Today is different.  We love this pass.  The vistas are endless and the road drops straight down for miles and miles.  It is cold on top and the clouds are dropping rain further away and the curtain of rains are bending towards us.  Snow is possible.  We stay alert.  We push on towards Montana in hopes of staying ahead of the rain but it will catch us.

Big Horn River
Our camp along the Bighorn River is perfect.  We decide to spend two nights here and the layover helps us considerably.  We fish but no luck.  Our neighbors offer us some freshly caught brown trout and we cook them over our open fire.  Across the river, Ruben spots three black bear cubs, their little legs running fast.  We can not tell if something is chasing them but they are going at full speed.  We then spot the mother about 200 yards further ahead and she is also running.  She stops, looks back, and continues running.  A beautiful sight from across the Bighorn River.  We do not know why she was running her cubs but all seems well.  We are on the Crow Reservation and they do not sell beer.  Our neighbor, Jeff offers to get us some as they are driving into Billings in the morning to get more fishing gear.  When they return from Billings, Jeff joins us in camp for a beer, and we immediately like him.  We call him the "Corn Husker" as he grows corn on his 3,000 acre farm in Minnesota.  "You sure have good country western music playing" the Corn Husker says.  "Is it coming from your bikes?"  He is surprised to hear that it is coming from my little transistor radio.  We explore Bighorn Canyon and fish along one of the most beautiful rivers in Montana.

The Battle of the Little Big Horn
The Battle of the Little Big Horn is historical and a real pride for the Native American Indians.  The artist renditions of the battles are real, yet painful to see but this is what happened a long time ago.  The rolling hills are now peaceful and you can see for hundreds of miles.  We ride on towards Devils TowerNational Monument with the lingering thoughts of the battles fought at the Little Bighorn.  It is easy riding and it is always pleasant to see new country.

Ruben rides a 2000 Yamaha Road Star and mine is a 2007 Yamaha Road Star; our bikes prove to be dependable and run tirelessly.  There are maybe 5,000 bikers heading towards Devils Tower and I am very worried that we will not find a spot at the campground. With that many bikes on the road, we are on high safety alert.  I look over the bikes and see that they do not have any gear and realize that they must be on a day ride.  Our bikes are loaded and carry plenty of highway dirt.  We find a camp site.  The campground sits at the base of Devils Tower and we are surprised to find that they have 'free' firewood. 

We take a short 1.3 mile walk around the Tower and it feels good to walk.  That night our sleep is disturbed by the rain on our faces and we quickly toss our sleeping bags into the tent.  We set the tent up as a back-up when we have 'that' feeling.  Our fire burns well into the darkness despite the rain.

"See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence-see the stars, the moon, the sun, how they move in silence" ~  Mother Teresa
Sturgis.  We are here and so are thousands of other bikers.  Sturgis.  We hear that they have estimated 200,000 bikers within a 50 mile radius of Sturgis.  The roar is overwhelming at times.  This is one bike ride that you MUST travel to and get your own T-shirt.  You can't buy it on EBay.  The ride is worth it and we absorb the energy of this town.  As I rest on a balcony having a beer, you can see thousands and thousands of bikers rolling into town.  Melissa and Darin may be down there as well; they rode to Sturgis from Barstow.  Those unlucky tourist in cars or RV's who ventured into Sturgis are trapped.   

We are not staying in Sturgis long but heading for Badlands NationalPark where we hope to camp at a primitive site called Sage Creek Campground where the buffalo roam. 

It is late when we arrive in Wall, South Dakota.  We ask for directions to this primitive campsite and quickly head out to find this spot.  It is along a 15 mile dirt road crossing the prairie.  We come across a heard of buffalo that do not want to move off this isolated dirt road, so we rev-up our bikes and they begin to run.  Exciting.  "Dances with Wolves" was filmed here and I feel that I have gone back 100 years in time.  The buffalo explode in a wild stampede.  We arrive at the primitive campground and quickly set up camp.  Fires are not permitted so we light a candle.  The skies are clear but the lightning in the distance persuades us to set up the tent as a back-up.  The rain drops on our faces during the night again move us into the tent.  Neither of us likes to sleep in the tent but we are glad to have cover when rain pours down.  Ruben sleeps on the high side of the tent and though I'm just a bit lower, all my stuff is wet in the morning.  We hang our stuff to dry on the nearby corral.  The view in the morning is everything I would hope them to be.  Wild.  Open Range.  "Dances with Wolves" all over again.   I feel very free and in touch with nature, I think about the words of Mother Teresa that I saw earlier on the Devils Tower nature walk.

Mount Rushmore is truly a work of art.  We stop shortly as the clouds are getting darker and head off to Crazy Horse.  They have a great film about this 'work in progress' but the weather is changing quickly for the worst.  We leave and within minutes the temperature drops dramatically and the skies are dark, dark.  We ride on but soon the rain hits us head-on from the South.  We are now in Wyoming and heading towards a town called Lusk.  The lighting bolts are fierce and worrisome, the rain is heavy.  I think the sign read 20 miles to Lusk but I'm not sure.  We push on and our boots are quickly collecting water.  There are three motels in Lusk and we find out that there are 4 rooms left in town.  We get one of them and we feel lucky, though costly.  This unexpected stop will push us back some three hundred miles that we will have to make up somewhere along the trail but tonight we can dry out here in Lusk.

Lusk, Wyoming to Colorado National Monument is 606 miles long.  We are tired and it is dark when we arrive at the park's campground.  We talk some and it is not long before we both are asleep.  There is no rain.  In the morning, we see where we are at and it is beautiful.  Large canyons, sweeping views.  This is a great spot.  We made up our 300 miles from Lusk and will head for Cedar City, Utah soon.  Ruben has work tomorrow.

Ruben's house is set in the country side and the views of the nearby mountains agrees with me.  We change out my headlight bulb that went out and he surprises me with a gift.  It is a wooden carved road runner and it brings a smile to my face - "Thanks Ruben."

Miles still to go.  I point my pony towards Las Vegas and this will be another long day.  Seventy miles outside of Las Vegas I run out of gas.  Not fuel for my bike, but my body is strongly objecting to the ride and the 'tired' hits me.  Motel 6 is my goal in Las Vegas and I crash quickly on my bed.  

In the morning, I meet another biker who is off to California and just returned from a solo ride to Sturgis. 

I call him "Smokin' Gary" as he is constantly smoking. 
"So you want to run together," he asked.  "Sure," I reply.  From Las Vegas to Barstow, some 160 miles, we share the road.  I can tell by the way he moves his bike, that he is a veteran biker.  I lead him over to highway 58 on the back roads once we hit Barstow.  He will continue on to San Luis Obispo.  We shake hands and he is off.  

I stop by to see Gilbert but he is not home.  Paula is not home either, but Leo is at work but will meet me at his house where I have lunch.  Irma joins us a bit later and they see pictures of our trip.  They focus on pictures of their son, Ruben.

"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth" ~ Steve McQueen

The ride from Barstow to Three Rivers is only 225 miles but to me it feels like 525 miles.  I am bone tired.  The sun is directly into my face and staying hydrated is hard to do but I down the water during my frequent stops.

I arrive home in Three Rivers about 9:30pm and Denise is there to greet me.  

It feels good to be home but the miles are still rolling across my mind after eleven days on the trail.  I sleep well into the next morning until 11:30am.  

The odometer records 3,904 miles . . . . .

Ruben Griego, Pony Express Trail

Our Pony Express campsite
Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Beartooth Pass, Montana
Ruben Griego, Campsite on the Bighorn River in Montana
Bighorn River, Montana
Robert Griego, the Battle of the Little Bighorn can not be forgotten

H-D 110th Anniversary, Sturgis

Testing a H-D in Sturgis

Robert Griego, Sturgis
Ruben Griego, Mount Rushmore National Park
Our bikes, Mount Rushmore National Park
Campsite, Badlands National Park
Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse

Robert Griego, I once worked here

Ruben Griego, Colorado National Monument