I had time yesterday to get out in the afternoon for a nice 70 mile ride on the new bike. I don't know quite what to call him yet -- I'm still leaning towards Angus II or Junior, since so much of the old bike is on this one and it is the exact same make/model/color as the old one, albeit with a bigger motor. It was a chance to explore some of this side of the Coachella Valley, where I've spent very little time. So I headed out of my subdivision and turned East onto Dillon Road, figuring I'd ride out to see where it went.
This was not only a good opportunity to get the lay of the land and get oriented to a new area, but also a good chance to test out the new bike. It's really the first long ride I've done on him since I bought him in Seattle in November. I love the power and torque of the bigger engine, and it handles just like the old bike did if not better. There are some adjustments that need to be made to it, but there is plenty of time for that as the Palm Springs Harley dealer is actually in this part of town. I'm gonna want some new exhaust pipes though, I'm not happy with the sound of these (and we all know how important a bike's sound is). The biggest problem is that will likely have to wait for a visit to friends in Phoenix later this winter, or when I get home to Seattle since California prohibits dealers here from modifying bike exhausts, and no after-market exhaust systems meet CARB (California Air Resources Board) regulations. The nanny state exists here as well (although we aren't separating our trash to the N-th degree like back home -- yet).
The sun started to set as I headed West back to the house. I love the light in the desert, especially at that time of day, with the sky turning a deeper blue and the rest of the land becoming bathed in a golden light. As I was riding I came across a couple of roadside memorials -- you know the cross/candle/flower displays marking where someone lost their life in an accident. The deeply Catholic and Latino population in the region tends to make shrines here -- some that will break your heart. I paused to take a few pictures in the late afternoon light -- I'm thinking this might make a good photo project for me as well.