Thursday, July 17, 2014

Murphys, CA July 14-17

la grange road j59
La Grange Rd (County Road J59), Stanislaus County, CA
Temperatures reached as high as 105 degrees F (40.5 C) along La Grange Rd, as we passed the western side of Don Pedro Reservoir, Monday July 14.

Golden grasses carpeted the Sierra Foothills with dots of dark green oaks and the occasional windmill.

While seated on my Honda ST1300, slaloming through wide curves one after another, I was busy holding my arm out with camera in hand, snapping scene after scene of what looked to be pristine hillside. Sash, on the other hand, was sucking up the last drops of water from her bottle while riding her Yamaha V-Star 650

Officially starting the first leg of our journey along the Great Sturgis Road Trip, we left Bakersfield, CA, Monday on our way to Murphys, a tiny little wine-tasting town about 15 minutes east of Angels Camp.

Sash pulled up next to me, making a motion with her hand, suggesting that she needed a drink. At first I thought she needed to pull over, but then I realized that she was out of water.

It still took another 15 miles of blazing heat before we found our first water source, a gas station just outside of Jamestown along CA-108. Sash bought a big bottle of water and another bottle of Gatorade. We chugged them down with efficiency.

"It wasn't until I stopped sweating that I became really concerned", she said, referring to our ride up.

I thought about it for a moment, and then realized the whole time I was riding I hadn't sweated at all. But I was still too busy drinking down water to offer a good response.

"Where's the restroom?" I asked her.

"It's outside", she said.

"Fuck it. I don't want to get up." I replied.

Besides, it was hot enough that I actually didn't have to pee that bad.

A few weeks ago, I published an article entitled, "The Reality Tunnel: Our Filtered World", where I explained that our brain filters out redundant information, which is actually a survival tool. It helps us focus on what's new and unusual.

Being an introvert, I tend to filter out lots of this data.  After 15 minutes of riding in the heat, my brain tunes out the hot air hitting my body.  I don't feel the heat anymore, and am content to joy ride through the foothills without thinking about how vulnerable I am.  My body tries to tell me I need water, but my brain also sees that as redundant.  I filter out too much information, and rely on my cognition to keep me safe.

I don't realize how thirsty I might be, and the aches and pains often get pushed to the side and forgotten about. It has its good side and bad.

We checked into our room at Murphys Historic Hotel, supposedly in continuous operation since 1856. Sash is kind of a big deal here at the hotel. We actually stayed here a couple years ago, and she wrote an article about them for California Road Trip. The hotel sent a copy of the article to Gordon Ramsay, star of the show "Hotel Hell", and he ended up coming here to do a show.

Murphys is a charming little mining town, full of wine tasting rooms, curio shops, and cafes for the bourgeoisie.  It's the kind of tourist trap that closes down by 8:00pm on a Saturday night so that 40-something year olds can get back to their hotel rooms for the latest rerun of Sex in the City. For a craft beer snob like me, who'd rather savor an imperial stout than listen to Sarah Jessica Parker whine about her sensitivities, there isn't much pickings. But there actually is one brewery in town, and that's been my saving grace.

But all in all, Sash and I had a good time over the 3 days in Murphys.  She got to do some shopping, get a massage, and I was able to get some quiet time to work.

So Thursday (July 17), we're checking out of our hotel and headed to Fernley, NV for the second leg of the Great Sturgis Road Trip.

Leaving our hotel in
Bakersfield, this all our stuff
And here's all our stuff packed
on our bikes
Sash riding north along CA-99
through Fresno
Windmill, La Grange Road,
Stanislaus County
Temperatures reached 105
degrees F around here
Through Sash's windshield
CA-99 northbound
More windmill madness along
La Grange Road
Even on a hot day like this,
it's still good to ride
Murphys Historic Hotel,
Murphys, CA
8:00 PM on a Saturday night
is considered after-hours here
I found Sash exceptionally
beautiful in this photo
Grounds Cafe has the best
breakfasts in Murphys
Rusted bicycles used as
decorations for this wine bar
Sash bought me a jar of
habanero stuffed olives
Asphalt Annie at Prospector's
Looking down Main Street
Cupcake at Lila & Sage
The Nugget is the local dive
bar in Murphys
Murphys Motorcycle
Company sells only accessories
This little creekside patio is
part of a vacation rental
The greeter at Murphys
Motorcycle Company


  1. It sounds as though you enjoyed your time in Murphys, but man the heat to get there. Kudos to you two.

  2. Nothing better than a ice cold beer served by a topless waitress.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)