Going all CMG: Our 2019 fails and recoveries

Doesn’t this look nice? The Western Sands Motel in Indio, California.

JEFF: The cheap motel

I’ve ridden with my brother, Scott, more than anyone else.  Our ability to anticipate each other’s moves on the road, and to react to situations as a unit is one of the joys of riding for me.  I imagine fellow motorists watch our collective shifts from lane to lane in a smooth, linear flow, and presume we’re highly-skilled, off-duty fighter pilots instead of a pair of middle-aged dads.  I have a rich imagination.

It’s this synchronicity that has made us – and a few of our other riding buddies – such great travel partners, too.  This year, however, I logged more miles riding with CMG’s Editor Mark, and learned not to take for granted the small nuances of riding with my brother.

Mark and I were in southern California this month with a pair of Indian motorcycles, and it seemed at first that we were well-aligned in what we wanted out of our trip.  We both sought to hit the road under sunny skies and explore the weird and wonderful California desert.  We quickly settled into a highway pace that suited us both.  And we both agreed to the “no chain restaurants” road trip mantra, until the first fuel stop when Mark refused to get back on his bike until we found a Starbucks.

Jeff attempts to appreciate a cup of coffee from a non-chain restaurant.

Being producers of travel TV shows, my brother and I have stayed in accommodations that range from 5-star-rated, to places with a 5-inch hole in the floor for a commode.  We agree that when travelling by bike, it’s important to find a place where there’s a nice, hot shower and a comfortable, clean bed.  Being well rested and recovered after a long day’s ride means starting out the next day in better shape to log more distance.

It’s also important to find accommodations that are safe for the bikes.  Holiday Inn Express, for instance, is good value and usually lets us park our bikes beneath the well-lit, front reception covering, under the watchful eye of the desk clerk.

On our desert adventure, Editor Mark picked our first night’s accommodations based solely on the ability to park the bikes near our rooms, ignoring every other quality that makes an accommodation livable.

Super-handy parking for Mark’s Indian Chieftain, and Jeff waves from the other end of the block.

In fairness, Masochist Mark might’ve been lured in by the Western Sands Motel’s sign that promised the luxuries of a “Phone” and “Luandry”.  Or maybe it was the $65-a-night price tag. Or maybe it was his dream of whipping up some omelettes for us in the “Full Kitchens” which, in my room, consisted of a microwave and a bar fridge.  At least his room had a countertop, too, though it was cracked.

What’s wrong with this then? Jeff didn’t trust the sheets under the bed cover.

The pre-stained towels ensured I left the Western Sands as covered in road grime as I was upon my arrival, and no matter how strong the smell of bleach in the room, I found myself most comfortable sleeping in my riding gear atop the bed sheets.  The pool rules suggested that the caretakers held the sanitation of said facility in high regard, but alas the weather was too chilly to enjoy it.

Neither of them quite trusted the swimming pool either, nor the frigid “hot tub”.

The moral here is that picking the right accommodations for a bike trip is as important as picking the right travel companion. [Hey – be thankful you weren’t riding through Labrador with Zac! – Ed.]

Click Page 6 to read about CMG’s biggest fail, and success, of the year


  1. Bring back the Forum !
    The website glitches this year were awful – archived articles disappeared too.
    CMG, get some website people that can fix this stuff – PLEASE !

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