About Me

My photo
Hello, I'm Bearnard (a.k.a. Bernie) B. Behr. I travel around the United States with my human Gary, who is a professional tour guide for California Sunriders motorcycle tours. We both come from Conifer, Colorado, a nice little town in the Rocky Mountains. We travel all over the country finding beautiful places and meeting all sorts of people from around the world. I keep Gary from getting in trouble and help him keep the guests on his tours happy, not an easy job! We have a lot of fun together and see a lot of really great places, and since Gary is a professional photographer too, we have some great pictures too (usually starring yours truly). Gary also likes to write a lot, (he's a little long-winded but tells a good story) so there's usually a lot to read. It's a good thing too, I can't type very well with these paws, so I'll have Gary do most of the writing. Keep coming back and enjoy the blog. Feel free to post a comment or make suggestions (like how to keep these crazy humans in line!) and we look forward to reading them. Sincerely, Bearnard B. Behr And Gary Fleshman
Loading...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It’s HOT,HOT,HOT!


Today we drive through one of the hottest areas of the United States. The Mojave desert is a beautiful but unforgiving environment, not a place to break down on a bike and not have support. In the hottest months (July and August) the temperature can go as high as 128˚ f (53.3˚C) and riding on a motorcycle is like riding a giant electric hair dryer. It’s very easy to get overheated quickly, and heatstroke can be a life-threatening reality. Keeping from getting dehydrated is one of the challenges on a long motorcycle trip. While riding it’s easy to get dehydrated, the problem is that when you sweat, it evaporates almost immediately and you don’t realize it. Getting dehydrated can be dangerous for a rider’s health, and make what should be a enjoyable experience a miserable one. I keep a cooler in the van well-stocked with bottles of ice-cold water, and at every rest-stop check to make sure everyone has adequate water. I also have a supply of Gatoraid powder on hand to mix with the water to keep everyone’s electrolytes balanced. I also encourage everyone to wear a bandanna and dip it in the ice-water in the cooler and wear it while riding. Keeping hydrated is even more essential in the deserts of the southwest, where heatstroke (hyperthermia) can even kill an unwary biker. It usually only takes one really hot day for everyone to realize how important staying cool is.
I also keep a special tool handy for when it is un-bearably hot, a high capacity supersoaker water gun. I drain the water from the melted ice in the cooler to fill it, and hose down anyone that wants it. When it’s 120f+ and the water is 33f it feels great and is so cold, it’s enough to make a big strong man scream like a little girl!
We start our day early to get moving before it gets too horribly hot. We leave the hotel and start over the mountains, stopping for a quick photograph of the desert below. Then it’s back on the bikes for a long ride leaving Nevada behind us and going into our last state on route 66, California. We continue down the route until we come to the small town of Amboy. Not much of a town, it primarialy cosists of a post office, chloride mine, a few small houses and hotel/gas station. The entire town was for sale on ebay last year, and was sold to Albert Okura who is currently attempting to restore it to it’s former glory.Here we stop for a rest break and some water and a quick spray from the water gun. It’s so hot by this time almost everyone opts for the watergun soaking, it’s so hot and dry that after 15 minutes on the bike you’re bone-dry again (now that’s hot)!
Then we get back on the road, passing the extinct volcano, the Amboy crater. Then it’s only about 70 miles for our lunch stop in Barstow. Depending on how hot it is, we either try to make it into town right away, or if it’s just too hot we stop about halfway at the highway rest-area for some more water (drinking and soaking) before we get to town. Once there we have a leisurely lunch because our hotel is only about 40 miles.
After lunch and everyone has had some food, water and air conditioning we get back on the bikes and ride the last 40 miles to our hotel in Victorville.
Once we get to the hotel it’s time to unpack the van, change into our swimwear and hit the cool water of the pool. We usually get in early because of the early start time and short distance, so we have plenty of time to enjoy the pool. This is also where we have our farewell dinner in the hotel resturaunt. During dinner we have a great time discussing our favorite parts of the route, things we’ve seen and just generally have a good time. After we eat it’s time for Stuart and Gary to give a brief speech about the tour, go over some of the best (and worst) parts of the trip and thank everyone for coming along.
After dinner we got to the hotel bar for a few drinks and conversation before we go to bed, to get rested and ready for the ride into the worst traffic nightmare in the United States, Los Angeles.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saligman, Angel and the Old West


A beautiful day for a ride through the desert. This morning we start with a nice breakfast in the hotel, go to our rooms and bring the bags to the van for loading. After loading we head off into the beautiful
southwestern deserts. The morning begins with a ride down the Kaibab Plateau toward the first stop of the day, Saligman, Az.

This is the home of the world famous Snow Cap diner, one of the most popular stops along the entire route. To travel route 66 and not stop in the Snow-cap for some food or a drink should be considered a crime.
The Snow Cap diner has been in business since 1953, started by propritor Juan Delgadillo, and staffed by his family. Juan was world famous for his comic antics and eccentric menu (and behavior) including cheeseburgers with cheese, dead chicken sandwiches hamburgers without ham, hazzardous mustard and ketchup bottles, rubber chickens, “Straws” , napkins, and many others. When you go into the snow cap, be extremely careful of what and how you say things, as they are experts at having fun at your expense.



To the dismay of millions Juan Delgadillo passed away on June 2nd, 2004, and with him went a small piece of Route 66. However his children are still running the Snow-cap and doing an excellent job, keeping alive the memory and spirit (and sense of humor) of thier father. Juan kept the travelers of Route 66 well-fed and amused for 52 years, and his family will continue to do so for another 52 years, hopefully longer. As long as the Snow-cap still stands, Juan will be remembered and admired.
























His brother Angel, is also a well known figure in town. Angel Delgadillo has been only a block away from the snow cap in his barber shop since he first started in 1950. He continued to be the town’s barber until he semi-retired in 1996. He still comes to his barber shop almost every day (usually by bicycle), not to work as a barber but to indulge in his other passion, the preservation of historic Route 66. He is considered the driving force behind keeping route 66 in Arizona alive and well. He’s considered Route 66’s “Guardian
Angel” for his devotion to the road he and his family have called home. He and his wife Vilma still run the Route 66 Gift shop, and greet travelers and tourists with a broad smile and hearty welcome. If you have the time, take a moment to sit and talk with Angel, you just may learn something. Angel was even nice to give me a quick trim (a bear’s gotta look his best you know!), thanks Angel! I was also able to takl him into giving Gary a shave, (he was starting to look a bit un-bearable) and badly needed to be cleaned up a bit. Angel did an excellent job, a true professional, he made even Gary look presentable.











































After a rest-break in Saligman we continue on our way down the road through some beautiful scenery until
our next rest break in Hackberry. Here
we stop for a break, and enjoy looking around another historic gas station and general store along the route.


This place has the best men’s room on the entire trip and is not to be missed. Covered with pin-ups of beautiful women mostly scantily clad or not wearing anything at all, true Americana.



The station in interesting enough, but the exterior is also just as appealing with it’s 1956 Corvette, loving restored, and other classic cars strewn about in various states of disrepair and decay. After we’re rested and watered up, we get back on the road.


We continue on into Kingman, where we stop at the local Harley-Davidson dealership for our final visit to a dealership. This our last opportunity to buy whatever Harley merchandise we want for the tour. Afterwards we gas up and go, heading off into the desert toward our next stop, Oatman. A true relic of the old west, Oatman was a former gold and silver mining town of the old west, even though the gold is still there it isn’t profitable to mine anymore. Now the town survives on it’s reputation and history alone. A tourist town which has kept alive the feel f the old west.
One of the many reasons it’s still around is because of it’s non-human residents, the wild burros which freely roam the town streets. These animals anr the decendants of the miner’s best friend and work animal. Once the mines stopped operating the miners just set thier burros free to roam the mountains. Just be careful, they do bite and kick though! They will also follow you around town looking for handouts from the tourists, and many of the local shops sell bags of carrots so you can feed them.

Another place of note is the Oatman hotel, or as we have come to call it, “The Million Dollar” hotel. Not because of it’s ammenities, but more because of its interior bar and resturaunt, where the walls are covered in dollar bills with peoples’ names and home countries stapled to every available surface. If you’re ever in town, just ask the bartender for the marker and staple gun and put a bill up yourself! After we stop for lunch we continue on to our hotel/casino, the Flamingo in Laughlin, Nevada. Only about 40 miles away it’s just across the Colorado river. Once we arrive we unload the bags and go into the hotel/casino to relax, an
d loose some money! After dinner in the hotel buffet it’s off to our rooms for some rest because tomorrow we ride through the extremely hot Mojave desert!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hey! There's a really big hole in the ground…oh…wait…it's just the Grand Canyon!


This morning we have time to sleep in. We spend today in Williams to take time to go see the Grand Canyon. No rushing around for breakfast and to get the luggage loaded, just a day to relax and see the beauty of Arizona. After a leisurely breakfast we get on the bikes and head up to Grand Canyon National Park. It’s only about 70 Miles from the hotel, and a beautiful ride to the park. Once we arrive and spend our time in line at the park entrance, we make our way to the edge of the canyon. Here we get off our bikes and have a couple of hours to hike the rim trail, take photographs and admire the gigantic hole in the ground.


The Grand Canyon has taken millions of years to form, a result of the meandering course of the mighty, turbulent Colorado river, wind, rain and erosion. It still is forming today, as rainstorms, spring runoff, streams and the Colorado river sculpt it’s continually changing contours. One cannot really appreciate it’s immense scale from just the rim, to really understand how large it really is requires that you actually go into the canyon itself. This is harder than it sounds, the national park service strongly discourages anyone from attempting to go to the bottom and back to the rim in the same day.
They even consider this activity to be dangerous and irresponsible. Even if you are in the best physical shape and avaraged a good pace the round-trip would take at least sixteen hours. Of those who have attempted to do it, only a few have ever accomplished it, most falling victim to dehydration, sunstroke, extreme exhaustion, and in some cases even death. Since we are only at the Grand canyon for a short period of time we take the easiest option to go into the canyon…helicopter rides!


We continue to enjoy our surroundings until it’s time to go to the Grand Canyon airport to take our helicopter ride. Depending on our flight time we either go directly to the airport or to a local pizza place for lunch. Either way we go on the helicopter ride into the canyon (booked well ahead of time, being immensely popular the flights fill up quickly…especially in the busy summer tour months) to get a true apperciation on the size and scope of the canyon.



In all our tours I have never had anyone complain about the flight, and most are at a loss for words to describe it when they are finished. Gary and I have been on the helicopter tours so many times, the last one my silly human (Gary) fell asleep midway through th flight.





After lunch and the flight, everyone finds thier own way to enjoy the canyon, be it going back to the rim, hiking the trails, or just going to the IMAX theatre to see the Grand Canyon experience movie.









Another great way to learn about the canyon, it’s peoples, history and those who explored it (i.e. John Wesley Powell, a one–armed civil war veteran who first boated the Colorado river).







Now everyone splits up and goes thier own way, having a great time.

We all meet back at the hotel that night for dinner and to share our experiences of the canyon with one another over a well deserved drink in the hotel bar. Still in awe of the days events we retire to our rooms for a good night’s rest in preparation for the next day’s riding through the desert.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Standin' on a corner! Arizona Awaits!


Welcome to Arizona!
Today is another day on the old route. We wake up in Gallup and after a nice breakfast in the hotel, we load up the van and head off into the deserts of the southwest. Today is a hot one, as it will be for the remainder of the trip. If you like hot sunny days, this is the portion of the trip for you! We leave New mexico behind us and pass into Arizona, argueably one of most beautiful states in the nation.
Our first stop of the day is at Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. After an hour and a half we stop at the entrance to the park, get something to drink, use the restroom and enter the park. Here we take at least two hours to ride through the 25 miles of the park with ample time to stop, take photographs and enjoy the natural splendor surrounding us. One of the nost intriguing things are all of the petrified treek scattered throughout the park. Once a teeming forest full of life it was covered by tons of volcanic ash and buried for millions of years. Over this time the minerals replaced the decaying wood fossilizing it for us to uncover and wonder at millions of years later. If you’re lucky and observant enough you also may come across local wildlife, including raptors, lots of lizards, and the desert pronghorn antelope.



















































After a beautiful ride through the park we continue on toward our lunch stop. On the way we stop at a route 66 icon, the teepee hotel. Made of cement they are still used and if you want to spend the $$ they are still being used as a hotel. We stop for some quick photos and then back on the bikes to Winslow.





Here we stop for a quick lunch and then it’s off to downtown to stand on a corner. Doesn’t sound like much until you remember the song Take it easy,(Standin’ on a corner in Winslow Arizona, such a fine sight to see). Here we stop for some more pictures and then it’s back on the road.



We stop only one more time at Grand Canyon Harley Davidson for a rest break and shopping in Flagstaff, before we get to our hotel in Williams. After retreiving our bags from the van we go clean off the road dust and meet for dinner. We have a nice dinner at one of the local resturaunts and then enjoy an evening at the bar in the hotel. Once again a great way to end the day.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

New Mexico, The Rio Grande and The Navajo Nation


After a day of rest we’re ready to hit the open road again, back on old route 66 through New Mexico. Today we start out from the hotel before breakfast and ride hungry for a hour down to Albuquerque, to Church St. Cafe. Here we sit in their beautiful patio out back and enjoy a wonderful breakfast. One of our favorite cafes along the route they offer both a typical breakfast, and a good selection of southwestern influenced breakfast items (I strongly suggest the breakfast burrito with green chili, It’s so big that even Gary has a hard time finishing it!).After we eat the group has some time to do a little shopping in old town before we hit the road again.

Before we leave Albuquerque however, we stop at a local park and walk down to the Rio Grande river. This is the only opportunity we’ll get to see it up close before we leave the state. Starting in central southern Colorado it stretches south, forming the border between Mecico and the United States. An important waterway in this parched high desert environment and the only source of water for both agriculture and people all the way until it empties in the Gulf of Mexico.




Back on the road we continue on down the old route leaving Albuquerque behind us for the wild west, former stomping grounds of Billy the Kid, Pancho Villa, real cowboys, and spanish conquistadors.

Looking across the land it’s very easy to imagine a cattle drive stretching across the sagebrush, cowboys riding alongside with the chuckwagon bringing up the rear. Moving down the old pecos trail to the stockyards of Dodge city Kansas.
As we move further west we begin to see large fields of black stone, lava flows from volcanoes from millions of years ago, interrupting the red color of the Navajo sandstone so common in the southwest.

After a brief rest stop in Grants for an ice cream to take the heat off, it’s back on the bikes to our destination, Gallup. A nice town with even better people. Before we get to our hotel we stop in downtown for one more shopping trip. Gallup is the center of trade in New Mexico for Native American jewelry, rugs and art. The main street in town is the place to shop and the many trading posts and pawnshops are the best sources of affordable Navajo jewelry. A $1200 piece of jewelry in Santa Fe and Taos will only cost you about $600-$700 here at the source for the exact same piece.
After shopping we then go to the local plaza for a demonstration of traditional tribal dances put on by the locals as a way of sharing their rich cultural heritage with the rest of the world. Afterwards it’s just a couple of miles down the road to our hotel.







After we all have an opportunity to wash the road dust off and get revived it’s time for dinner. We always eat at the historic El Rancho Hotel, a landmark frequented by movie stars, and former presidents. Many fims produced in the area called the El Rancho home while shooting the movie and housed many famous actors including Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, Roy Rodgers, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Ronald Regan, and many, many more. One of our motorcycle guides, Don, is the President of the local Wind & Fire motorcycle chapter had arranged for the local chapter members to escort us through town to dinner. During dinner the Wind & Fire members welcome us to New Mexico and keep us company, and give everyone the chance to meet real American bikers! A really great group of active and retired firemen who love the motorcycle and the freedom associated with it.
On our most recent tour we had several firefighters from England with us, and the Wind & Fire chapter members were nice enough to give us all a guided tour of the Gallup Fire Department's main station. They went above and beyond the call of duty and everyone really appreciated the chance to see how things are done in the United States. Thanks a lot guys, we really enjoyed it.






















After a good dinner and even better company we are escorted back to our hotel for another good night’s rest. Tomorrow is another great day on old route 66!