Old West survival tip: Never leave a buddy outside with the photographer when you step in
The infamous Mike's Sky Ranch is just about my favorite place on earth. Only trouble is, the magnificently remote mid-'60s motel on the western edge of San Pedro de Martir National Park is maybe 275 miles southeast of my garage door on the wrong side of the Mexican border. When there's no time for a proper Baja expedition, Goat's Sky Ranch in Randsburg is the next best thing, a mere 54 miles northeast of Motorcyclist's Antelope Valley Desk.
Goat's comes up short of the legendary Baja 1000 pit stop in terms of sheer adventure potential, but unlike Mike's, I can be there on pavement in under an hour, or scout the miles of legal high-desert trails in between for days. Clean, comfy rooms mean Mrs. Carrithers can tag along if the route suits her. She's actually pretty keen on the concept since learning that the ranch is named for Goat Breker, enterprising '80s motocross racer, Elsinore Grand Prix promoter and all-around good guy, and not some high-desert ruminant who also answers to Billy.
This little trio of faux period facades on Randsburg's main drag-a.k.a. Butte Avenue-is to
Dubbed "Goat" by his brother at age 4 for reasons that remain unclear even to him, Breker's nickname stuck. Goat's Sky Ranch was so named by off-road racing legend Scott Harden, now president of global marketing at Zero Electric Motorcycles, because it sounds better than Randsburg Cottage Hotel. Especially to dirtbike types. Why does a former factory motocross ace set up a bed-and-breakfast miles from what most people might consider civilization? First, civilization is highly overrated. Especially to dirt-bike types.
Goat enjoys talking about himself as much as a trip to the dentist. But ask him why and his answer is simple: "I just wanted to give people a nice place to stay when they go riding." But how? Goat came across a house for sale while he was in Randsburg on other business back in the early '80s, thinking it might make a nice weekend getaway. Long story short: He never left.
The Whippoorwill is Goat's most spacious cabin. Randsburg's answer to the Ritz lets up to
A guided golf-cart tour with Goat's father, Rich, reveals there's more to the ranch than one tidy B&B. Just up the hill there's the Whippoorwill, a nicely restored cabin on 15 acres complete with generous master bedroom, two bathrooms, modern kitchen, wood-burning stove and a big-screen TV, capable of housing up to eight tired riders after a day in the dirt for $150 per night. Over yonder is the Hill Street Cabin with a king-sized kitchen and epic views of the valley from a deck that was made for post-ride relaxation. This one sleeps five for $125 a night. I'm doing the math and going through my mental Rolodex on the way back to my room at the hotel: queen-sized bed, theme décor any significant other will love plus wireless Internet service, satellite TV and a tasty breakfast for $85. You won't find a more hospitable place to bed down for the night around these parts.
Especially where dirtbikes are involved.
Randsburg Cottage Hotel
130 Butte Ave.
Randsburg, CA 93554