“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.”
Our version of the west stretches from the Grand Canyon in Arizona to the Pacific Coast and South from the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts and rimmed by two of the tallest mountain ranges in the continental United States: The Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountain Range. Visitors are awe-struck by the expansive beauty and diversity of the land. The natural beauty of the land is unmistakeable as is the attraction for adventure and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle rental.
What has always impressed me is how inhospitable the geography really is. Furious, deep rivers honeycomb the state until each reach their terminus at the edge of the world and into the Pacific Ocean. Seasonal snows, rain, fire, drought, flooding and earthquakes are part of the California experience which cause a variety of misery for all Californians.
Even natural disasters which do not originate within our borders will impact all who visit the Golden State. Tsunami warnings are infrequent on the west coast but Californians interpret such threats as invitations rather than a caution. Leaving the sunblock at home was not the biggest problem of this day.
Crossing Death Valley takes three hours, a full tank of gas and an active sense of adventure.
The real draw for anyone who has traveled or even dreamed of coming west is the emotional attraction of opportunity, acceptance and the vast natural beauty of the land. Social acceptance, religious freedom, artistic creativity, economic, ecological and emotional prosperity continue to permeate the souls of all who live and visit the Golden State.
On every path success and disappointment are found in equal measure but the promise of, “Something better” is what inspires us to push past the next mountain, river or lake. I have always been moved by the inscription on that famous “East Coast” statue that extends an invitation, no matter one’s status or motivation, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore…”
We have no fancy statue as most Californian’s prefer a more modest approach (except for residents of Los Angeles).
In contrast our simple message for the rest of the world is found in the classroom song we learned as children;
“…Open up that Golden Gate! California, here I come!”
Life is different in the saddle of a Harley-0avidson motorcycle. Miles of twisties, scenic roads and expanded consaciousness await. Life is good.
Need more ideas on where to go riding in the Bay Area? Click here.