I’m a photographer, and these are my photos. Oh an Trish’s Donuts, yeah, I’d been waiting to come back since 2006
I’m a photographer, and these are my photos. Oh an Trish’s Donuts, yeah, I’d been waiting to come back since 2006
So you’ve been to Napa Valley have you? Well not with Lena and Ron. You see, they live in Fairfield, CA which is a stone throws away. Not only the most gracious hosts, but what a fabulous day touring wine country with the two of them. You see, only locals know that Napa (at least the city) really isn’t that pretty of a place. The drive there via the commercial route (29) goes along the edge of town which just looks like any other small town but without the really cute old downtown. Not too pretty…
Anyway, we went the back way into Napa Valley via Wooden Valley which takes you thru some of the most scenic country around. The roads wound thru hills, valleys and mountain sides. Along the way we stopped and knocked out some shots overlooking the valley and other scenic spots. I can type for hours about all the things we saw and did but I figure I’d let the photos do the talking. I do want to mention one detail which was way cool. Along one of the roads we were taking in route to Napa, we were driving alongside a vineyard. This vineyard was located in Solano County. As we’re driving Ron says “you see that vineyard to our right, it’s located in Solano County”. We then went around a right hand turn and crested over a little hill still following the same vineyard. Ron then said as he slowed the vehicle down “now this is the same vineyard that we’ve been following but are now in Napa County, the grapes on this side of the hill are 3 times the cost of the ones on the other side of the county line. Things like this made the entire afternoon, way pleasurable.
Day 13 & 14 consisted of us getting to NorCal from Bakersfield. Day 13 had us stopping in Morro Bay which was a foggy little place on the Pacific with us waking on Day 14 to make our trek into San Francisco and then on over to Craig’s cousin Lena’s house in Fairfield a bit North of San Fran.
Unfortunately, I’m not in the best of writing moods as allergies are kicking my ass once again. I suggest hitting up Craig’s entry on motophotoadventure.com for all the details and some excellent photos. I did snap a few shots along the way, wheezy and watery eyes weren’t going to stop me from doing that!
Photo List –
Day 15’s blog will have a ton of pics from Napa Valley so stay tuned…
May 11, 2011 – Yesterday we met Death and her Valley (Death Valley in California). It’s Day 12 of MotoPhoto Adventure, we’ve hit the Pacific coast and it’s time to update the blog!
Day 11 started off early in the city of Pahrump, NV which lays on the edge of Death Valley. We wanted to get off to an early start so that we wouldn’t be riding thru Death Valley in the heat. As things would have it, we once again we would be surprised with an epic journey and opportunities for magnificent photos that only Mother Nature could provide.
In route to Death Valley I guess you could say we (or surely I) had a preconceived notion that Death Valley (lowest, driest, and hottest locations in North America) was just that, a big hot Valley. Of course being a Valley there had to be a change of elevation but never expected the vast amount of Mountain ranges that run thru it. With the busy riding schedule I keep telling myself that my blog entries will be short and really just the photos from the journey. But then again, would it be a blog if I didn’t let you know any of the details or cool experiences we’ve had along the way. As we made our way into Death Valley National Park the first big difference I noticed was that there wasn’t the typical park entrance with a Park Ranger collecting the entry fee, instead there was a box where one was to pay the necessary park entrance fee. We luckily have a year long National Parks pass so we could forgo this stop. I do wonder how many other people actually pay the fee. Reminds me of how the Houston Metro Light Rail works, you can just get on it and only get fined of a Metro Police ask you for a receipt.
Anyway. a few miles into the park I pull into one of the first view points, Mooty, turns around as he notices I’ve stopped. We hike up to the view point, see a kickass view and it’s photo snapping time. Badass, I’m starting to like this park already. Who would have thought it would be so cool. Guess that’s why it’s a National Park. Once we hike back down to the parking area where our motos are parked, we see a few Harley riders and greeted them. Craig starts up a convo and somewhere in the middle of all that I hear “We’ve been riding for 10 days and have not had a single day with Rain”, famous last words, haha. We get back on the bikes and start heading West. We next stopped at a Dune section which was way cool and by this time I’m burning up. I had my jeans on underneath my riding pants and it’s time to start shedding some layers. Back on the bike and the journey continues. One of the nice things about the day was that it was overcast the whole morning which makes taking photos really nice with the great light. As we’re crossing a really flat section you could see the grey skies over the mountains and what looked like rain. We pulled over to get some more photos (I also dropped the bike making a u-turning because of a soft sandy shoulder that made the front end wash away). Craig rides back to me bust out his trusty Nikon pocket camera and takes a photo. I made light of the situation, no harm done and we pick up the bike. I’m sure the photo is on his blog so make sure to hit up www.motophotoadventure.com. Guess snapping a photo of me with dropped bike wasn’t a good idea because Karma has a way as Craig said it later on the edge of he Kern river (another photo there :p)
Remember that quote of “We’ve been riding 10 days with no rain!” earlier? Sure enough, in the middle of Death Valley (driest and hottest place in North America) it starts raining and the temp drops to 43 degrees. Talk about cold!! No heated seat or grips on the VFR like Mr. Goldwing man, haha. I can honestly say that I really loved Death Valley and rank it #2 so far behind Zion National Park. The mountains and overlooks into the valley were incredible and the diversity was awesome. I really hope the photos can give you an idea of how pretty and amazing the place is. Another one of my favorite photos was taken outside of Death Valley and was an overlook of Owens Dry Lake. This was right after a turn-off to head to Olancha, CA which would have us headed South on 395 towards 178 into Bakersfield.
So now we’ve had desert heat, freezing rain and wet mountain passes in Death Valley. The rest of the ride should be cake. Of course that wasn’t the case. Soon as we’re on 395 we’re hit by high winds again. Let me tell you, if there is one thing that sucks when riding a bike, it’s high winds. Well on the VFR and it’s side cases loaded down, it really makes things tricky. A lot of weight on the back, a light front end and it’s not easy keeping it pointed straight. Heck nail it 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and the front end is off the ground. Well we managed to make it down 395 and hit the 178. Another great road which was twisty and scenic all the way to Bakersfield. Closer to Bakersfield it ran right next to the Kern River and was super technical requiring flicking of the bike on many stretches. What a way to end the ride. Check out THIS MAP to see the great route which is the Kern Canyon Rd.
If Day 12’s update is short, it’s because it really is. Seems like fighting high winds and the adverse Death Valley conditions had us a bit more tired than normal so we decided Day 12 would be a chill day. Try and make it to the coast. We wake in Bakersfield, CA and our definitely staying in the Mexican part of town, I felt right at home! We decided to go grab some breakfast and we hit up a place down the street from our hotel called Super Taco which was very tasty. I had a chorizo con huevo, tripas and carnitas taco…all very good. We next hit up a camera store with me needing to pick up some sensor cleaning solution and swabs which they didn’t have. The girl working the counter (Lisa) was super helpful and nice even though they didn’t have what I needed.
Morning complete and now it’s time to hit the coast. We took 58 (recommended by Craig’s friend Mike) out of Bakersfield thru Button Willow and ending up in Morro Bay, CA. Another great windy road in the mountains that even had me chasing a green 911 which passed us. Heck took me about 20 minutes to catch up to him once he blew by us but I was feeling a little racy. It’s hard not too when you have a sweet bike like the tuned VFR. A quick stop for lunch in Santa Margarita, then a 30 minute drive down the 101 and here we are 🙂 Right around lunch time I was hit with crazy allergies with all the pollen from the early spring here and feeling like crap now. Arrived in the room and crashed out till just now. So those of you who have emailed or texted, I’ll hit you back tomorrow.
Oh yeah, did I mention the perks of having one of the only gas stations in Death Valley?
So it’s “Day 10” and we’re waking early to hit up Zion National Park. Day 8 was a long 12 hour day on the bikes hitting both Archer and Capital Reef National Parks. Not only that but the ride into Escalante, UT was technical, way fun and we stopped atop a mountain pass to take some sunset photos. Waking on Day 9 still had us feeling beat so decided to cut it short. Woke later than usual and stopped riding earlier in the day. The plan was to make it to Zion National Park then call it a day in Mesquite.
Well that didn’t happen and we wound up getting a hotel about 15 miles from Zion. We figured we’d hit the park first thing in the morning and start fresh. So here we are to Day 10. We wake early and are having breakfast right at 7am when the restaurant opens. We finish that up, load the bikes and I think we’re off right after 8am.
About 25 minutes or so later we arrive at Zion National Park, one word – AMAZING. By far my favorite National Park so far. When you enter the park you see the expected sights, nice cliffs, rock walls, etc… We even stopped for a bit to get some shots of this nice little canyon with a stream. As we came up we noticed a couple (some climbers) putting all their gear on. Craig had already stricken up a conversation and they asked if it was our first time to Zion. We said yes and how pretty it was. They asked us if we had been on the other side of the long tunnel to which we replied no. They quickly informed us that this was nothing and that we would be awestruck when we came out on the other side of the tunnel.
Sure enough we got back on our bikes and headed down the road. We went thru a short tunnel and then came up to the long tunnel. Park Rangers had vehicles stopped and only let a few go at a time. By the time you know it we’re rolling. When I say long tunnel, I mean long. I’m thinking a mile or two thru this mountain. Well in this tunnel they have a few windows cut out so you can catch a glimpse or peak of what’s to come off to the right. What a breathtaking view. Unfortunately, stopping in the tunnel is no longer allowed which I wish it was because there is a view out of this world. Once we exited the tunnel, it was something straight out of the movies, Jurassic Park to be exact. There wasn’t an area to pull over and take a photo of at the top which I regret because that was the best view in the house and especially with the morning light still being good. Of course we did pull over a few times and took some photos which really don’t do the park justice.
Anyway, after Zion it was now time to light the afterburners and get going. Destination, Beatty…a town on the edge of Death Valley which would be perfect for an early morning crossing. About a 3 hour ride which would take us thru Arizona, into Nevada and to the edge of Las Vegas. From there we would head West to a town called Beatty. Of course after a magical morning of riding thru Zion, things couldn’t stay the same. Soon as we got out of Zion and close to a town called Hurricane (but pronounced Hurricon) we’re hit with 50mph gust from all different directions and various small dust storms along the way. Makes you think back to that town name. Well this didn’t let up at all for the next hour or two and I was pretty happy when we finally pulled over for lunch and fuel outside of Las Vegas (check out the YouTube vid to get an idea of how windy it was). Trying to keep a bike upright (shiny side up) with loaded cases in those conditions is a challenge. One minute you’re leaning full left as that’s the direction the wind is hitting you, to then have the wind switch on you and come from the right catching you off guard and requiring a weight shift right. Cruising at 80-85mph with a 40+ mph headwind makes it feel like you’re doing 130.
As we’re finally getting close to Beatty we decide to hit another small town (Pahrump, NV) that also offers a close stop on the edge of Death Valley. So here we are. Craig is napping and I’m blogging. In a bit we’ll grab some grub, get some good rest and be ready for tomorrow’s adventure. Tomorrow we’ll be crossing Death Valley, going thru the mountains and ending up in Bakersfield, California. Check out the Google Map because it looks like it’s going to be a fun ride!
The one and only Zion National Park
On the road again.
2 Days, the continuation of a MotoPhoto Adventure and the Euphoria one can only get in such scenic places. Now I’m just going to start off by saying I’m still pretty tired. Not only editing photos from this trip but also some of my Fashion work.
My blog post will be short and sweet and really just showcasing my photos and a few vids. Make sure to click on the SlideShow link below because we took a lot of shots
Oh yeah and a cool little vid of me getting on it on the VFR in Moab…man I love that bike. Now for all the skinny on Day 8 & 9 hit up my boy Craig’s blog post on MotoPhoto Adventure. I’m sure he’s not going to leave out any of the details and well it’s always funny reading his stuff 🙂
Day 8 (Archer & Capital Reef National Parks)
Day 9 (Bryce Canyon National Park)
Mooty coming to you from Arches National Park
Day 7 and we’re off! Well not really but we’re chilling in Moab, Utah and it’s Cinco de Mayo!!
So I don’t know exactly when we got this idea for a Cinco de Mayo shoot or video in our head but sure enough we did. I think Craig made a mention of it being Cinco de Mayo in a few days while on the road and the wheels started churning. I figured it would be pretty epic to get some sombreros and do a Cinco de Mayo shoot. Well from there it transpired into something a bit more than that. You know, Craig and me with a crazy idea can’t possibly be a good thing.
So yesterday morning while having breakfast at our hotel, I asked one of the front desk agents where we could score some sombreros. He didn’t know but did say a co-worker of his probably would. Sure enough, a few minutes later a guy came up to us and mentioned there was a costume shop a few blocks down where he had seen some….perfect. Well now it was back to the room to write-up the Day 6 blog since we were too tired to do it last night. After that was done we decided to head out and grab some lunch. Figured we’d grab lunch, get some sombreros and hit up a few National Parks to find a place to shoot. By this time it was already 1:30 PM with a high noon sun so we decided to just scout a few areas nearby for the photoshoot/video. Well it really turned out to be just a video greeting card type shoot so we were off.
After hitting up The Mad Hatter Costume Shoppe, LLC and getting the hook up by Carrie (store owner), we now had sombreros in hand. Not only that but she also provided some nice ponchos. With sombreros securely strapped on Craig’s bike and it was time to head North. Craig took the lead for a while, then I did. To our right and left there were some great cliff walls that would make a perfect location for a video shoot but sure enough, they were fenced off since they were National Parks, so no access. We continued down the road and after a few miles of nothing interesting I pulled over in a pretty deserted area. Well sure enough, off in the distance I noticed a tree. For some reason or another the theme music to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” kicked in and I knew we found our spot. Well mainly because I was looking for some shade so I told Mooty, this would be perfect. He immediately said “There is no way in hell I’m walking all that way, it must be like a half mile”. I secured him it was not that far and if he trusted me as artistic director for this shoot which he replied “alright, let’s do this”. With sombreros, ponchos and a six pack of Dos Equis (oh yeah, we also picked that up in town for our vid) in hand we start walking in the direction of the tree. The reddish clay ground was very soft and foot imprints could be seen…
As soon as we arrive to the tree we immediately noticed tons of little (or large) gifts left around by cows. Craig mentioning he grew up in Pasadena, TX and had no problem kicking them out of the way started doing so. I assisted a bit and in no time we had a decent little area under the tree cleared out so I could setup. Craig got in position and I setup the camera on tripod to start shooting our “Feliz Cinco de Mayo” greeting video. While I was setting up I could hear Craig complaining (or talking to himself) about his Leatherman all-in-one tool not having a bottle opener. “I will NEVER purchase a leatherman that doesn’t even come with a bottle opener” was echoing thru the desert. Using the pliers portion of the tool, Craig got a bottle opened (well if a broken bottle is considered open) and we were ready to shoot. A few takes later I was happy with the vid we got of Craig and it was now my turn.
We basically did the same thing when it was my turn. I asked Craig if he had taken a sip of the beer and he said yes, that it was a clean break and the cap had the remaining bottle pieces. While shooting I took a swig and let me tell you…some cold XX in the middle of some hot desert in the shade of a treee with a sombrero is pretty dang good. I suggest you try it sometime. During the 2nd take I dropped the bottle in the dirt and sure enough while cleaning it I managed to cut my hand. Not a bad good but it was bleeding. At this moment we realized the first aid kit was back in the hotel and our SPOT GPS was on the bike which was parked 1/4 to 1/2 mile back. This being the thing we’re supposed to have on us at all times in case we need to use the SOS feature to save us should we have an unfortunate accident. We laughed about this, wrapped up the things, packed our gear and started our hike back to our bikes.
a shot of Mooty
Below you’ll see the two videos we both chose to share on Facebook. Then you’ll see some “behind the scenes” and the alternate take vids, enjoy…
Vids we shared on Facebook
So it’s about 9:07 AM here in lovely Moab, UT and it’s Cinco de Mayo!! Rode in yesterday from Taos, New Mexico and are planning to stay the day to find some stuff to get into. Well it was agreed that we were going to sleep in today seeing that I’m totally a night owl but Craig rises earlier than most roosters. So while enjoying breakfast a few minutes ago I hear him tell Cindy (his beautiful redhead wife) that he’s been awake since about 6:30 AM typing on his blog, I made the comment “I’ve been up since 6:30 AM listening to Craig type on his blog”, haha. Anyway, I think Craig (who calls himself Tech Tard) has picked up blogging quite well. That after all was the goal. To have Guru (me) get him up and going with the best of the blogging nerds. This right about now reminds me of Mike who I met in Ruidoso. He would be having a blast right now hazing us about our blogging. Guess this is a good moment to reflect on the ride so far.
The funny and cool things that have happened so far…
– We’ve ridden 1450 miles since we departed Wimberley, TX which is outside of TX.
– Riding temperature has varied from 22 degrees in Ruidoso, NM to over 106 through the Chihuahuan Desert outside of Ft. Stockton in route to Carlsbad, NM.
– There is no explanation for the feeling one has when riding a motorcycle through all these National Forest/Parks and scenic places.
– There IS an explanation for the feeling one gets when opening up a Honda VFR with a power commander, Erion racing exhaust on a nice long straight in full tuck but we’re not going into details. Wait…you do know I used to race cars professionally? 🙂
– I am now doing TSA type pat downs of Craig at every fuel stop seeing that he left a credit card in Ft. Stockton, lost the Goldwing key in Ruidoso (luckily he had me stash away the spare on my bike) and almost left his wallet in Durango, CO. I’ll let you read about it on his blog www.motophotoadventure.com
– Outside of Taos, NM we passed this Earthship home community. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen with houses looking like they’re straight out of Mad Max or Road Warrior. Check out these links for some info and Google images – http://www.earthship.org/, About – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship, Google Images
– We crossed the Continental Divide of the Americas at an elevation of about 11,000 ft.
– I’m thoroughly enjoying Craig and myself being retards on camera, video then deciding what you guys (the reading audience) get to see. Of course I try to keep the cool rockstar photographer perception going on in my blog and then have Craig post all the behind the scenes stuff like me rocking blue camo PJ’s.
– Bugs REALLY like my face shield.
Back to the blog and more importantly, photos and videos!
Photo List –
Alright, it’s Day 5 and we’re back on the road. Started off in Ruidoso, NM at 22 degress (pretty damn chilly) with Taos, NM as the destination (total of 339 miles). After I defrosted on descent of the mountain we decided to make a stop in Albuquerque and have lunch with my friend QiaoQiao. Well lunch was at this pretty sweet place called Frontier Restaurant. The food was great and the atmosphere even better. QiaoQiao had about an hour or so to kill, so after lunch we crossed the street and headed to the University of New Mexico campus to take a few impromptu shots. Of course I knew this was going to be fun because Craig was with us and well, I credit him with getting me back into photographer and he’s a pretty damn talented photographer.
Well funny thing is that in the last 5+ years or so that I’ve known Craig and have done a few shoots around him, I’ve never really gotten to much advice from him. You know a bit here and there about composition, colors, what to look for etc… But now that we’re taking a few shots of QiaoQiao (pronounced ChowChow) and her being a fine arts major/fellow photog, the advice and wisdom was flowing like Niagara Falls. Hell, he transformed into this philosophical photography guru and explained how the light bounced from one object to another, picked up some color along the way etc.. The guy was on a roll. Hell I should have had a note pad with me. Note to self – bring a beautiful girl around Craig and the knowledge will flow.
After lunch it was back on the road. A few stops along the way bring you the below photos and videos including a nice view from a gas station, the incredibly cool Valley of Fire (can you say lava!) and rounded out with a shot of the Rio Grande Gorge. Tomorrow we’re going to head towards Utah and guess we’ll see how far we get.
Photo List –
So it’s Day’s 4 and we’re still hanging here in Ruidoso, NM. It’s been a few chill days and allowed us to do some laundry and for me to get some much needed photo editing done. So you’ll also see a few new blog post of some shoots I did in West Texas last month.
Mike the guy we’re staying with is funny as hell. He’s an old school cat. A total gear head, knows a ton about bikes and just way cool. Hell he just got a cell phone like 4 years ago. Most of the fun has been the hazing Craig and me receive from him about blogging, Facebook, etc… haha. Some memorable quotes are “I woke and I saw pretty snow flurries, let me put it on the blog”, “we just had a divine lunch”, “have you two heard yourselves, all you need is the lisp”, ahh…good times indeed.
Tomorrow we head out to Taos, New Mexico and will make a stop in Alberguerque for lunch. Maybe I can meet up with my friend QiaoQiao 🙂 Anyway, how about a little vid I shot at lunch today. Had to catch the snow flurries on vid you know!
Jay Marroquin is an American-born, creative director and award-winning fashion photographer. He has recently been named one of the 10 Best Fashion and Lifestyle Photographers in Houston 2019, and one of the Best Analog Photographers in the World in 2018.