Trip to the USA 8… Bodie, California


Bodie California is is known as a ghost town which is 214km south of Reno, Nevada.

In late 19th century, the small town in the middle of nowhere boomed up with gold mining and suddenly the population grew up to 10,000.

But in early 20th century, there was no more gold and that was the time people started leaving the town.

After the big fire in 1932, more and more people left and in the middle of 20th century, it became a ghost town.

I took I395 to go down to south… but it was so windy. In that day, I was not sure if I was going to Bodie or I was also thinking of going to South Lake Tahoe which is only 80km from Reno.

I395 Nevada_Panorama1

I was thinking of deciding depends on the condition… but the wind was getting harder and harder. Then, speed came down to 70km/h… I felt danger and had to stop at the road side.

Then, a police officer came by and told me that it was going to be dangerous to ride sport bike in this area. He also said they always get that kind of wind there and it was safer to take Old I395.

It was so windy and it was not easy just to stand straight. It was as bad as Typhoon…

But Harley Davidson are just going without any problem! That was the time I noticed that the weight of Harley is a part of performance to run in the USA…

Old I395 Nevada_Panorama2

On old I395, it was much easier although it was still quite windy and I decided to go all the way to Bodie.

By the time I got to Carson City, Nevada, there was no more wind.


After that, all I did was ran beside the dynamic Sierra Nevada Range… Further I go, less and less traffic we got. By the time, there was no divider in the middle.


Bridgeport_CANearest Town Bridge Port is still 30km away…

Last 16km was windy mountain road. There were few cars and I just could not believe there was something over the mountains…

mountain road to Bodie

Last 3 miles were rough road… I really wanted to give up when I first saw it. Fully loaded sport bike on rough road… it was a kind of the worst situation…

The rough road is going all the way over the mountains… it would be hard to imagine going that windy mountain road on bike.

Bodie California

Finally, I could see Bodie California…

Over 100 years ago, people came all the way to this place…. What made people do that?

Gold…and desire… Desire made people come to this place and made them to build a town.

Then. when they had no more gold, they just left.

You will see the energy of desire when you visit this place…


Trip to the USA 7… Reno, Nevada

Reno NevadaReno, Nevada is the first City after you cross the border of California and Nevada.

It is known as a Casino city like Las Vegas… but today, more and more place has casinos and that is how Reno is not as popular as it used to be…

I first passed by Reno when I was on Amtrak in 2005. All after the Sierra Nevada, desert and small cowboy towns, Reno was looking totally different… but at the same time, my honest impression was… “Ran down amusement park”.

Reno, Nevada 2005View of Reno From Amtrak in 2005… you can’t see this view from trains anymore…

It was my first time to stop by here and first thing I did was look for the train track. But, I did not find them anywhere.. so, I looked for Amtrak station and found out the train tracks which were running in the middle of city was now underground.

Amtrak in Reno

People think Amtrak is not doing anything… but at least they are trying to improve. At the same time, there is no view of Downtown Reno from trains anymore…

It is a funny city… all they have in town is Casino, Casino and Casino…other things are a bit away from central city.


Even Supermarket near downtown had slot machines in its building!

I would say Reno is “Las Vegas for working Class.”.

In Las Vegas, everything is fancy and so many milliners are around… at least I don’t feel comfortable there… but here, I felt it was welcome to everyone.

To me, I am not interested in gambling at all and did not play anything.

Reno, Street Vibrations 2014

When I was there, they had motorcycle event “Street Vibrations 2014” in the middle of city.

No wonder there was so many motorcycle riders on the way here. In downtown, there were Harley Davidson everywhere. In North America, when they say Motorcycle event, it means Harley event.

Street VibrationsAlthough there are so many Harley, I did not see any classic Harley… why was it?

I guess that is because or the change of freeway max-speed. It used to be 55 to 60 mph on freeway and that was the perfect speed for those vintages… but 70 mph is a bit too fast for them to enjoy the “sweet spot” of its engine.

That is how, I don’t see any classic Harley in the USA and actually there are more in Tokyo.

Reno, Nevada

Also Reno is the Middle of Nowhere. It is surrounded by Sierra Nevada Range and Desert…at least it is better to be newer more reliable bikes.

Downtown Reno Panorama

This is the middle of Reno…everything looks cheap, everything is fake… that is how it looks to me… Symbol of American Dream or illusion…

Trip to the USA Truckee – Donner Lake


In Truckee California, which is 32 miles from Reno, there is a lake called “Donner Lake” which wad named after old pioneer “Donner Party”.

Donner-lakeDonner Lake… formerly called Truckee lake

Donner LakeView of Donner Lake… there is nothing to remind the tragedy….

Donner PartyIn May 1846, Donner party left the frontier town Independence Mi. It was the last group of the year.

They merged with some other families and the party ended up with 87 people and the half was children.

But they took harder “California Trail” instead of easier but longer “Oregon Trail” and also taking “Hastings Cut-Off” was the suicidal decision…

Due to the unknown Hastings Cut-Off, They had to struggle in great salt desert.

It killed so many horses and cows and it dramatically made them slow down.

By the time they arrived to Sierra Nevada Range, it was already in rate October. There was great desert behind and mountains in front… then, they decided to go forward to mountain.

But soon they had snow and was trapped by the Donner lake to pass the winter.
They did not have much experience on this kind of survival and soon the food ran out.

It ended up with cannibalism and only 48 people survived from the camp.

Today, there is a town called Truckee near by, but there was nothing at that time.

When I passed by AMTRAK in 2005, there was an announce about this story.


View of mail street of Truckee.


$5 for Pizza and Beer… not bad at all…

California Zephyr

Amtrak California Zephyr… it is going to San Francisco

California Zepyr 2

This one is going to Chicago.
Truckee California is a small town with railway.

Downtown Truckee

Main street of Truckee… They are preserving old buildings quite well and it even look way better than 10 years ago.

View of Truckee

View of Sierra Nevada on the way back to Reno. It was quite smoky due to the fire in California.




Trip to the USA 5 San Francisco – Reno

San Francisco to Reno

As I get further from San Francisco, the air gets warmer and warmer.

The wind is not as strong as last time when I came to San Francisco and had quite comfortable ride until I got to the toll gate.

San Francisco is charging me when I came and also when I leave… such a rip-off… Funny thing was… here, the toll gate was automatic. When I think the traffic jam when I came, I don’t understand why they are using different system…

Old-SacramentoOld Sacramento

After an hour ride, I got to State Capital, Sacramento. I have passed by so many times, but it was really my first time to stop by.

This is more likely to be political city and the main tourist attraction is the old town “Old Sacramento”.

This area is between Sacramento river and Highway. Due to the poor location, it was left from the development.

It is quite well-preserved old 19 century style.

_1170875$7 for buffet style was quite good…

I had some lunch here and had to harry for Sierra Nevada Range which was the hardest part for early pioneers to come to California.

View of Sierra Nevada Range
Panorama of Sierra Nevada Range

Actually, this part was the main event for me on this trip.

After Sacramento, I could see the change of the plantation. There is more green…
But tell the truth, I did not feel like I am climbing high mountains. I just thought “Well…now there are more trees, more windy road,…” but I really did not feel like I was on mountain although signs are showing the altitude.

But, this kind of landscape is just keep going on… it means I am in a huge mountain range…

At least it is better to pass before the sunset.

It was looking quite misty and it was looking mysterious too. Later on, I heard it was because of fire….

Total distance was 350km…it is long enough even on normal highway,  but it is including Sierra Nevada Range… but partly because of mild weather, It was not bad at all!

Reno, Nevada

Reno is known as Casino city,,, but today, there are casinos everywhere and it seems to be really quiet here today.

At the same time, lots of people from California are moving here for cheaper property…

Trip to the USA4 Red Bluff to San Francisco

Red Bluff to San Francisco

It is the 5th day and it is the day to get to the first destination, San Francisco!

It is just hot around Red Bluff… all I had to do was… just keep riding. After I passed Red Bluff, it seems like there is more farming land there.

But dry is dry… 150 years ago, people crossed the continent to get to the dream land and this was what they saw!


When I turned into I505 from I5, there was much less traffic and still I was in middle of hot dry desert… But this is the typical landscape of California I know.

I was keep riding straight boring road, then I marged into I80. The road was much wider and it showed me I was getting close.

As I ran, colder and windier it got. That reminds me the weather of Bay area.
It was so windy, but there was no space to park my bike anywhere. So, all I could do was just go…

Now I see more buildings and signs are showing more familiar names…at least I was getting close.

Then, what I saw was a heavy traffic jam. It was the worst I experienced in this trip at that time.

Bay Bridge-San Francisco

Simply that was coursed the tall gate to get in to San Francisco. They were still depending on men power there. It was $5 for normal cars.

After that, at least traffic started moving. But it was still had to go on the windy cold Bay Bridge with horribly rough road surface.

The view from Bay Bridge was amazing… but it was the only photo I could take while I was riding my bike.

Then, I finally arrived to San Francisco… it  was my 5th day. But first thing I noticed was it was very hard to drive in Downtown San Francisco.

There is no left turn anywhere, too many one ways or rough road surface and train tracks on road which is extremely dangerous for motorcycle.

Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach

But at the same time, it makes easy to move around.

Castro San Franicsco

For example, this was the first time to be here for many years although I sometimes come to San Francisco.

Without vehicle, I did not feel like coming this far…

Thanks for the motorcycle, San Francisco always makes me tiring by the steep hills, but not this time. At the same time, I did not walk too much this time and that means I did not take that many photos…

fishermans wharf

When you are in San Francisco, it is still the place to stop by.

I know this is touristy and this is not cheap anymore…

crab-fishermans wharf

But I still think the crabs they serve are quite good. Even if you go to Chinatown, still the live crabs are costing over $20… so price here is not too bad…

Trip to the USA 3…Red Bluff, California

Medford OR to Red-Bluff CA

It was such a nice weather since the morning.
I just can’t Believe this is same Oregon.

I checked out at 11AM and had lunch in Downtown Medford.


Actually… this kind of things are way cheaper in Vancouver.

California is not too far… but I just did not see sign of the border which I usually saw at the other borders.

As I go south, warmer and warmer it gets.


Mt.Shasta… it is the tallest mountain in this area.

This is not too far from Redding, which is the biggest city in Northern California, But I went to Red Bluff which is about 50km further south to equalize the daily mirage.

It is just hot… Red Bluff is a small town whose tallest building is an old church…

Red Bluff California

This is the main street of Red Bluff.

When we say California, people think of blue sky and tropical ocean… but not here… or I would say most part of California is something like this little town.

But, I quite liked this place.

It was just hot…partly because this town is located in a valley.  It was the hottest town  I visited in this trip and I had to take off my riding jacket.

When I got town, it was still 5:30PM, but there was nothing open in downtown.

Red-Bluff Downtown

There were 2 bars open in downtown and I went to one of them, ordered a local beer and talked to local people for a while.

Red Bluff California2nd tallest building is… movie theater…

accommodation was a motel again. Today, even dorm bed in HI hostel costs $40/night.
If you think that way, $45/night for motel is quite reasonable.

Only thing is… there is no communication with other tourists.
Red Bluff California 2




Trip to the USA 2


To go to California from Vancouver, taking Interstates 5 is the easiest way.

Seattle and Portland were a bit rainy… as usual, so I had to harry as much as I could.
But after I left Portland, the weather got a bit better.

When we say “Oregon”, we think mountains or beautiful coast line… but absolutely there is nothing around I5. It is just straight freeway.


I guess they just tried to be as straight as possible. On that kind of road, it is very hard to keep me awake… Sometimes, I had to take a brake every 50km. All you see is the flat land and road surface.

Sometimes I had to pull off at any closest exit which had nothing.

But if you see the southern part of Oregon, you can see it is quite hilly and windy.
This meant it was just straight boring drive earlier time and when I got tired, it was windy road everywhere…


This is the view right before I got into the hilly windy area.

By the time it was getting dark and the total distance was over 500km in this day.

It was one of the hardest day in this trip.

But, Medford Oregon was much warmer and drier… it was more likely to be California.

It was the first time to stay in Motel in the United States. When we travel in North America, it is very hard to find reasonable accomodation like backpacker hostel.

But here, I found Motel for $45/night which is quite reasonable.


When I got to Medford, it was already dark and all I could do was have some dinner and have some local beer at a local bar.