THE H.O.G. DAM TO DAM TOUR
HOOVER DAM to SHASTA DAM
Boulder City NV to Redding CA
Sept 19 - 25, 1999
Rt to Lft .... Doc Hemp, Our new friendsTammy & Mike Dalton, Becky Hemp, Our old friends Jeannie & Tom Peterson. (Jeannie is a hygienest at our office too), & Our new friend Jim Theobald
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Meet Doc Hemp
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The poor twisted soul that he is!
This is what happens when the class clown becomes a Dentist!
Please sit back & relax & join us ... Dave (doc) and Becky Hemp and the other 600 plus hardy souls that went on this HOG sponsored tour. It was about 1,500 miles not including getting there & getting home. For Becky & myself the getting home part was easy as we live in Redding CA. This is a diary of our daily adventures & hot links or words that you can double click on to go to the relevant photos throughout our trip.
DAY ONE: Thursday Sept 16th ... Leaving home to head down to Boulder City to join up with the other HOG members & the start of the tour.
Becky & I left on Thursday morning at 8:30 AM, Sept 16th. Becky riding her 1997 White & Blue Heritage Springer & me on "CHRISTINE" ... My black hot rod 89 Springer Softail. We went up Hwy 44 by Lassen Park & thru Hat Creek, gassed up in Old Station at the Chevron there. Old Station is a quaint little town with small white wooden cabins from the 40's in a meadow with a small stream through it. This is one of the best trout fly fishing spots in the world.
We continued up Hwy 44 all at about 5,000 foot elevation through wonderful scenery of mountains, steams, large evergreen forests & meadows all way to Susanville. From Susanville we took Hwy 395, still scenic compared to most areas but a heavily traveled thoroughfare, on to Reno where we stopped at Reno Harley Davidson to get Becky's headlight fixed after the plastic plug inside melted & shorted out. The dealership is beautiful, recently enlarged & remodeled. You ride your bike up to electrically operated doors that let you into the shop area. They were very polite & helpful. We met some other riders there too.
Upon leaving, as we approached the stop sign about a block away Becky's front tire fell into a deep sink hole in the asphalt from all the recent rain .... her bike fell over onto the crash bars saving any damage to the bike or herself .. it was very easy to just roll it back up. I can't emphasis enough the need for these on all motorcyles. It was only the second time she had done this, the first being in 1989 on her Sportster which she dumped in mud.
We continued on to Bridgeport CA on hwy 395 .... a beautiful mountain town at 5,000 foot elevation. We stayed at the Silver Maple Leaf motel which has small but clean rooms arranged like small cabins around a park like center with trees, tables, chairs, wishing well, etc. After a great dinner at Pop's Galley we felt just fine ... there are several great places to eat there. After a walk around the stately courthouse with Becky, I had my traditional on the road, Cohiba Cigar & 2 Budweisers out under the trees in a lounge chair at the motel.
DAY 2 FRIDAY - SEPT 17.
We left Bridgeport at 8 AM and headed up through the 8,000 foot pass south of town. On the other side we came down into
Mono Lake It was smokey & overcast ... we stoped & got photos by Jim Stroup for you to enjoy. From Mono Lake we continued on South & did the June Lake Loop off hwy 395. It is gorgeous & only takes about a half hour .... has neat places to eat & the little town of June Lake is old west style.
Heading back South on 395 we took the Mammoth Lakes Loop next .... stop & see the Devils Post Pile.
We then headed back South again on 395 & gassed up in Bishop & hurried on through Lone Pine to Big Pine by 2 pm ... It was here we made our first big mistake ... took a well meaning travelers word that they had just come thru the tail end of the Thunder Storm we could see over the mountains protecting
Death Valley .... It was 2 pm & we chose to go for it in typical Hemp style. It was sunny for the first 20 miles .... the huge black clouds still a ways off ... cruising at about 75 mph we saw a CHP up on a rise ahead with his lights flashing .... we slowed down thanks to him ... we came over this rise in the road & immediately in front of us was a flash flood crossing the road that originated far away in the higher desert. We had time to stop ... little did we know that this was a portend of the rest of the day & Saturday to follow. We forded it ... and headed into the thunderstorm ahead ... knowing we only had 60 more miles to go to reach Stovepipe Wells if things got too bad. ...... Well we rode into the teeth of one of the worst storms I have seen in my 35yrs of riding .... Hail, Blinding Rain, washouts, mud, rocks. We felt fortunate to have made Stovepipe Wells where we snatched up one of the rooms (we had no reservation) ... the gods were with us. Within 15 minutes all roads into & out of Death Valley were closed .... the 19 remaining rooms went in an instant!! A fellow that worked there for over 10 years said he had NEVER seen so much water come down in such a short time. Rooms there were even flooded ... the parking lot washed away in many places, it was a lake! There were huge ... 6 inch long scorpions floating down & crawling on our porch! We pulled the Harleys underneath the porch area & for 3 hours watched the most frightening & wonderful display of lightning we had ever seen! We pulled a chair outside ... with a couple Buds & a Cohiba counted our blessings & watched the show!
DAY 3 .. SATURDAY - SEPT 18
The next morning I got a picture of a most stimulating sunrise ....(red in the morning ... sailors warning!) We were to find that out as we rode right back into the teeth of the storm ... forded about 40 small rivers, etc. at each dip in the road. Even ran into a professional storm chasing crew. We were stranded between 2 rivers ... didn't want to go back through the one we felt lucky to have made it thru .... didn't want to go thru the one in front of us if there were many more ahead. They assured us the next on would be the last, and that it was quite shallow ... Then only lightning & continued rain to deal with on the high desert & then down into Parump NV. Sheeeitt! Now I know why Art Bell is so depressed all the time! This place is the QUICKENING! If God were to give the world an enema ......
We made it finally into sunshine near Las Vegas around 12:30. I called the L.V. Dealership and asked about getting a tire put on Becky's bike right away .... the seceretary said to come on down ... they would work it in as another lady in our group (that was having engine trouble) ... after an hour in the downtown heat we finally found the shop ... were both told by the service dept. that they had a party going on & no way would they work on our bikes that day! Said he didn't care what we were told. We found the L.V. dealership oversized, cold, impersonal, with very poor internal communication! I said ... "So .... we just wasted a hour of our time finding this place" ... He said " No you didn't ... go out front & get a hotdog". After what we had just been through that was not what I wanted to hear.
We continued south 19 miles to the Lighthouse Inn in Boulder City ... A fantastic Best Western with a georgous view of Lake Mead! We found
Boulder City to be one of our favorite cities in the world! Very new, the best planned & laid out city ever! Very wide streets, all the new stores set up like the old town stores of yesteryear! Wouldn't mind retiring here.
DAY 4 - SUNDAY SEPT 19:
We awoke to a beautiful crystal clear sunny day! We registered early (in Boulder City) to beat the crowd, get our Hoover Dam tour bands - everyone got a great breakfast in new town at one of the two 50's style restaurants there. Our Hoover Dam tour started at 11:15. It lasted about 1 & 1/2 hours after which we had lunch back at the registration areas park like setting. That evening Becky & hired a Limo to take us & Tom & Jeannie back into Las Vegas for the next 5 or 6 hours for a great night in a wild & crazy city!
DAY 5 - MONDAY SEPT 20:
We left at 6:30 A.M. for Stove Pipe Wells in Death Valley again .... we had reservations this time & wanted to see it along with the group in the nice sunny weather! The main group was not to leave till tomorrow but we wanted to beat the heat. We met up with Tom & Jeannie (Jeannie had left her jacket in the limo the night before & they detoured to pick it up) at the Mc Donalds in Parump NV. We rode together into Death Valley again. The obvious signs of the wash outs were evedent everywhere .... a few of the deepest washes STILL had a little water over the road. The earley morning temps were fantastic as dropped down into the valley and at the first heat we stopped in Furnace Creek to peel off all our leathers. It was here we met Ralph ... a bellman there for the past 6 years .. a very out going individual ... lots of jokes an anecdotes! ... told us he bent up the sheet metal on his car hitting the water in one of the washes when we had gotten stranded earlier. Ralph likes bikers & Harleys & Indian motorcyles ... be sure to stop in & say Doc & Becky Hemp sentcha! Maybe he can even remember some the new jokes we told him .... Hee-hee! They have a great General Store there .... we then gassed up at the Chevron nearby ... got to talking to the guy there about indian totem poles he carved .... forgot to pay him for the gas .... turned around miles down the road when I remembered. .... He just shook his head, stuck out his hand, vigorously shook mine & said "Only a BIKER would have bothered to do that! And you guys are the ones that always get the bum wrap!"
We continued the short 30 miles to Stove Pipe Wells .... checked in .... the first thing I did was walk over to the pool & fall into it fully clothed! Scared the HELL out of all the English & German tourists in & around the pool who thought the Hell's angels just showed up to rape & pillage! Hee-hee!
DAY 6 - TUESDAY - SEPT 21:
Again, We, Tom & Jeannie left at 6:30 A.M. ... as luck would have it Christine (my Harley remember) back fired loud enough to wake the dead! A nice little fellow from Belgium ( I think we were the only Americans staying there! I'm not kidding! At the bar the waitress even said so! .... pointed us out to all the others as the only Real Americans in the bar the day before!) Any way ... this guys watches us finish loading the bikes ... he says .... wow .... you really look mean when you put all that black leather on ... maybe we will meet up again some day ... I pulled out my knife & sliced all his buttons off ... said I sure hope so! (Just kidding - hee -hee!)
We stopped in at Bishop at about 10:30 for Breakfast .... Jeannie had gotten too cold ridding up &out of Death Valley & she & Tom stopped in Big Pine earlier to eat & warmup .... . We called our son-in-laws folks in Bishop .... they were out. We headed on to Mammoth Lakes It was here we finally got Becky's back tire replaced thanks to Carson City Harley Davidson WHO SO KINDLY went out of their way to bring in their mobile Harley Truck with a fully contained machine shop & bike lift ... wheel balancer & everything! .... They worked on everyone's Harley that needed it ... until at least 12 midnight that I know of. If you are ever in Carson City PLEASE STOP IN AT THEIR DEALERSHIP & SUPPORT THEM. Also ... ask the mechanic Paul Tortorici, service manager Don Gilman or Frank Pizzo ... about the drug crazed old hippy skate boarder that threatened them ... tried to knock Becky's bike off the jack inside the truck .... he even tried to pull a knife on the police officer that finally came just in time to save his miserable hide by arresting him, myself & two REALLY BIG BIKERS (Vietnam Vets) were just ready to give him a big time old fasioned ATTITUDE adjustment! The police were just going to let him sleep it off in the Bridgeport CA Jail .... (this is like the old west here .. drink, fight, sleep it off in the drunk tank .... go to work the next morning)
When the tire was finally finished after all the excitement .... I got back into the motel ... the Swiss Chalet ( a great biker friendly place to stay in Mammoth) it was 9 P.M. .... we called for a pizza delivery & I had an ICE COLD Budwieser.
DAY 7 - WEDNSDAY - SEPT 22
Rain Rain Rain! Lots of it .... was so glad Carson City Harley was there to help so many of us out yesterday! .... We all bundled up & headed out of Mammoth in full hard driving rain till we hit the top of Tioga Pass (9,995 foot elevation) where the rain just stopped! .... the sun was shinning & life was good again as we dropped down into Yosemite Park.
Now what can you say about Yosemite but WOW! .. don't even have many pics since we have all seen them a million times anyway! (send me some to put here) ... We warmed up & Becky had breakfast just shortly after we started down into the park .... her feet were cold, wet & frozen .... I dug out some new dry socks for her. The hot choclate tasted wonderful! ... we continued out of the park to Sonora CA - Jamestown The Jamestown Harley Dealer put on the best dinner along with the Redding French Bakery at the dam at the end of our trip. They were exceedingly helpful! Friendly! Everything one could expect ... we all spent a lot of money there & got our 10% discount too!
DAY 8 - THURSDAY - SEPT 23
We left the Sonora Best Western at 8:30 ... we headed all the way up hwy 49 ... cut over thru Winters on 128 down into Calistoga CA ... one of our favorite towns in the Napa Valley! ... from there we went over the hill into HELL! SANTA ROSA! 10 mile wide city of pure cars & chaos! The worst laid out city in the world!!! Took us 1 hr to even find our hotel ... the Hilton .... at the desk they said .... "don't feel like the lone Ranger! 95% of our guests get lost! Many of our group stayed in Calistoga or pushed on thru over to hwy 1. If it weren't for my room temp I.Q. we would have done the same .... this is the one & only MAJOR mistake for a tour stop for us by H.D. in our book anyway!
DAY 9 - FRIDAY - SEPT 24
We left Santa Rosa & headed up 101 instead of hwy 1 because we will be back over to hwy 1 this next weekend anyway & 101 was wonderfully sunny & hwy 1 was fogged in all the way up to Fort Bragg! 101 is one of the most scenic highways in the world .. the Red Wood Hwy! We went thru the Avenue of the Giants ... Huge Redwoods .... one of the wonders of the world! We rode against a tough head wind all the way into Eureka CA .... to the New Dealership there .... again .... a really great meal! Great folks!! Open only 3 months. Our good friend Kenny Vossen is the head mechanic there. We stayed at the old Best Western ... only 1 block from the Harley shop. In fact we walked down to it for dinner & Party ... One of the best on the trip! This is one great shop. Since the coast was fogged in & we have great pics of all this area anyway on another website when we took a German Dentist on a Pacific NW tour. And since so many of the HOG Dam to Dam riders rode through all of this area as we had no guided tours .... just stayed in the same towns ... most on the tour will find these photos familiar of areas they rode through. Just Click Here For fantastic Coastal Pacific NW tour Photos ... Allow time for download ... take a whizz .... change your oil, clean your dip stick, etc .... as all the photos are on the one page. It is worth it!
Day 10 - SATURDAY - SEPT 25
We headed out early in the morning as usual ... this time riding with Tammy & Mike Dalton ... of the Dalton Gang! .... we met because of our website we do & they like .... they have a great sense of humor & are fun to be around! Mike is a very good & careful rider. We rode over hwy 299 along the
Trinity River for 100 miles, over 4 mountain ranges with the river cutting very deep into the gourges ... Again ... it rivals any road in the world ... Tammy said that was the best motorcyle road she had EVER been on .... including the Redwood hwy.
After we arrived in Redding CA ... There were Shasta Dam tours all day ... a great band ... dinner by the Redding French Bakery out on the dam .... a long walk from the bikes though ... it would have looked sooooo goood to have had all those Harleys parked out there too! ....
Well, that's about it folks ...will be adding all the photos here to click up to during the next couple of months ... still have some in the camera yet too.
Hope you have enjoyed riding with us on this tour .... it will be a great winter thing to do when you can't get out on the real bike, .... again ... Kindest of Regards,
Dave (doc) & Becky Hemp
P.S. send in an S.A.S.E any photos (if you want them back) and we will be happy to add some of them to the appropriate areas of the trip for all to enjoy ... send to Doc Hemp .. 2315 N Bechelli Ln Redding CA 96002.