Labor Day Dash To Rock
By Matthew Montoya
It’s always nice when your day starts out stressed then turns great, all because of some music and two wheeled adventure. Labor day 2018 started with a quick skoot to the auto shop I work at in Huntington Beach. I love my short ride to work, the cool beach air against my face waking me up if only for a few miles. As it was a slow morning so I was able to do a quick oil change and safety inspection on my 2012 Harley Dyna, all looked good. This must be done this morning because as soon as 2 pm rolls around I’m hitting the open road for a ride out to the desert and Pioneertown where my band Jarvis Brown is playing.
As I dump the last quart of oil in my Dyna the shop phone starts ringing and customers start rolling in. Not to bore you with my shop life but Murphy’s Law took over as 2pm fly’s by as I was overwhelmed with work and stressed knowing I gotta get outta town and fast.
Ahhh, finally 3:30, I strap my helmet on to head home for a quick change of clothes. Just before I pull down my street, I downshift start to decelerate, my exhaust starts popping and hissing almost as though it is misfiring. I pull into my driveway and realize a nut on my front cylinder exhaust flange has decided it no longer wanted to ride with me. I dig through my tool box looking for a nut that will work, of course nothing does. Sweating buckets from the heat of my garage, the hot exhaust in my hands and the slight panic of knowing I have a show to play 120 miles away my hot fiance pulls up. As she brings me a glass of cold iced tea as I have a brilliant idea. Quickly grabbing her keys, I pop the hood of her car. Yep, that’s what I need. With quick work I pull an exhaust stud of her manifold. Vice grips and a 12mm gets the nut off, grab a washer and screw the nut tight on my exhaust. Sweet no more leaks, time to hit the road.
Now with time running short, I check my GPS, 2hrs 15min, there is time to beat. My route will be the 405, 55, 91, 60, 10, to the 62, heading east. With it being a holiday weekend, traffic should be going against me and in my favor. I make great time with the familiar trek through Orange county into Riverside. As usual, I stay away from riding in the carpool lane on the 91 as Pierce street will rattle your brain and every bolt it can. Through Moreno Valley I’m reminded it has been a good year since on this road that goes through the Badlands. Last time I was a little nervous riding here while chasing Bob Marshall through the windy, winding pass before Beaumont and the 10 freeway. Not this time, without hesitation I stay in the throttle smoothly cruising along at 80 mph.
After the interchange traffic seemed to melt away behind me I glance down, 95 mph is to blame for these cars only in my mirror. The road is clear for me now, as I always like to say, “No cops no stops.” I decide to throttle back a tad to help conserve fuel. 85 mph at 3300 rpm seem to be the perfect cruising speed as I set my sights on the turning wind gens of Palm Springs ahead. Blasting across the desert, I’m thankful for my full face helmet, unable to contain my ear to ear grin as I sing along to the tunes in my earbuds. I would have definitely had more bugs in my teeth then 4 out of 5 dentist recommend without my big lid.
The 62 north and I’m almost there. What are these stop lights doing out here? Damn, I catch one, and utilize the time to put my feet down and have a quick stretch. Back up to cruising speed I take in the beautiful sunset over the hills to my left. At 90 mph I can’t help but think and ponder on how terrible it would have been to cross this desert by wagon train back in the day, thank the heavens for motorcycles and V twin power.
I see my turn onto Pioneertown road and take it. This last stretch isn’t the best, but the winding flat curves are fun as long as I stay clear of the ruts and patches of sand blown onto the road. I see my destination, Pappy and Harriets Bar and Grill. Pulling into the gravel parking lot, It’s like they knew I was coming and left me a spot right in front of the door, kickstand down, 1 hour and 34 minutes, take that GPS. I walk inside greeted with hugs and high fives from my band mates as a nice cold beer slid in front of me with plenty of time to consume before I have to take the stage. The ride home was some well deserved personal time, hauling ass through the beautiful California Desert after a great set on stage, and loving this great ride, all making for a great labor day.