Sept 18th through Sept 24th
We had been planning this ride for a month, going over and over the routes. I made reservations at the Morro Bay State park 3 weeks in advance. We were going to ride down the 101, and possibly over on hwy 1 for a while if all went well.
Packed the bikes up Wednesday, but then it would seem this hurricane had hit the coast and the remnants of it made it up our way. This brought drizzly wet into the equation and I was not happy about it. Bikes were in the trailer until departure time. We rolled them out at the last hour, finished packing them, took care of all the animals, buttoned the place up and rolled out.
I got about half a mile down our road towards the coast and got hit with gusty winds with light rain and decided “oh hell no”. Turned my bike around and headed down the back way towards Hwy 36 and Redbluff.
The ride was decent, not too wet. The air was pretty crisp and for once there wasn't any smoke in it. We stopped in Platina for coffee and a breakfast sandwich, warmed up and continued on. We made it into Redbluff and I was able to take care of the couple of things like the biz bank deposit, and getting the month sticker to go with my tags for Sapphire. We refueled and headed down I5 south. Traffic was ok, we angled off towards the Bay Area since we were still set on camping at Morro Bay.
Now on 'paper' looking at the map
, the ride doesn't seem like it should be very long or arduous, but when you are riding in a straight line with cars and trucks all rocketing along, it does seem to take forever sometimes. I had to stop and rest about 40 miles outside of Morro Bay, we pulled into a little roadside area with an eatery and shops. I was ready to just lay down on the sidewalk next to my ride and close my eyes. Toby spotted a bit of lawn and pulled the bikes next to it, I rolled my jacket up for a pillow and went to sleep for 20 minutes.
Toby played with google maps on his tablet and kept watch over me and the bikes while I slept.
The GPS can sometimes be pretty retarded. This night wasn't the first time it directed me weirdly when trying to find a State Park entrance lol.
We found it, our name was up on the board in our assigned reserved spot, so we found that following the arrows and pitched the tent, made the bed and went to sleep.
Temps were warm and the camp was quiet and we slept pretty well.
We got up the next morning, took our time and packed the bikes. The young lady in the spot next to us was camping with a large parrot and her dog. Pretty bird.
I took a few pics of our campsite and the park, and we headed out to find coffee.
After coffee we headed south on hwy 101. Pretty day, traffic is tolerable. I did start to feel like riding down 101 all the way to San Diego was highly over rated. People who live and drive around the Bay Area and points south of it are just plain crazy and blind to motorcycles and rude for the most part.
Also, there are like, NO rest stops. You never know how much those little oasis' of relative calm mean to you until you go down a highway that simply does not have them.
My bike is running well, she is very smooth at 75 and 80 mph. I am glad she is so easy to handle even loaded down. I am extremely grateful for that small thing later in the day when we get down into rush hour traffic through santa ana. Instead of going down the 405 right to San Diego, I was dumb enough to listen to the GPS and we spent the next 3 hours going 12 miles.
We finally did make it to the 805, traffic was heavy but moving. I saw a sign for a rest stop and pulled in, parked my bike and once again, laid down on one of the picnic benches and closed my eyes. We rested a while. It had been a miserable hot afternoon, and it was dark now and cooling off.
We finally mounted back up and headed the last stretch to our friend's house in Encanto.
As we were exiting the rest stop, this huge black SUV apparently was having fun running people off of the road that were coming onto the freeway, because he literally pushed the cars behind us, including toby, over and barely missed me. He was doing about 100 miles an hour and I was already up to 70 indicated and accelerating.
Toby jumped past me and got on his bumper for a ways honking and trying to get him to pull over. I guess the guy realized he was in for a hiding if he stopped because he kept on going and I backed off which encouraged Toby to leave off (he doesn't like to be any further then about 12 feet from me in traffic)
Toby was pretty pissed though, I wouldn't have given that guy in the SUV much chance for survival if he had stopped.
We made it in finally, got the bikes parked in the back yard and I put our bed and comforts together while Toby visited with Randy. He is very dear to us, and we were glad to see him, and he was glad we made it in safely. He has been bedridden for a while now, and I did my best to encourage him to start getting up a little every day. If he doesn't we are afraid he will just fade away from us.
Finally it was bed time and I was tired and sore, and slept well.
The next couple days I got to be a passenger, and just enjoy myself on the back of my bike, while Toby piloted us around. We went to the American Kenpo Karate studio on El Cajon blvd for the event that went pretty much all day Saturday. Toby's teacher John Zimmer was awarded his 7th degree Black belt, which makes him a Grand Master now. Toby was just tickled to death to see everyone, his Kenpo family. There were other awards, and some demonstrations in Brazillian Jujitsu and Kickboxing.
It was announced that since our Great Grandmaster Dick Willitt had passed away in 2012, and the UKF and AKKA were now joined together, that Bob White would be the new Great Grandmaster for both schools. He is a 10th dan.
We went to the Town and Country after the event with everyone and had dinner. It was fun to visit and catch up, and of course we got teased for being the 'rough biker element, this is a family gathering, behave yourselves' by Herb lol
After dinner, I thought we were just going to head back to Randy's but Toby hadn't forgotten that I had been wishing to see the Sunset Cliffs again. So we rode out that way and walked the staircase again and took pix.
Sunday was spent visiting family, which meant basically being on Sapphire all day. First out towards Lemon Grove to see Mom, then up to Temecula to see Toby's brother Mike and his kids. Then back to Randy's to pick up cold gear, and head to Boulevard to visit more family. We spent quite a bit of time on the freeways around San Diego and saw quite a few nice bikes. We rode along with a couple of Harleys that were cruising really well at 85 to 90 mph and they looked and sounded smooooth. Toby and I were both impressed. I see test rides in the future for Toby when he starts to shop for HIS dream bike. We made it back to Randy's later on that evening and went to bed pretty early for us lol
Too soon it was time to get up again, have coffee, visit a little more, then get the bikes packed and head out north.
THIS time, we headed up 15 to 215 to 395. We missed all the early morning nastiness traffic wise, and once we were past San Bernadino, we relaxed and just enjoyed the ride.
I really enjoy riding up hwy 395. They have been doing some work on it so it was all new asphalt outside Adelento. As the sun got higher, the air got warmer and finally I pulled us over and took my shirt off, and just wore my sports bra with my leather half vest over it. Felt good
We rode all day, stopped in Bishop for a little food, then lit out for Mammoth Lakes. The air temp dropped sharply once the sun started going down and we geared all the way back up. We were climbing in elevation, and the air had a nice nip to it.
We pulled into Mammoth lakes after dark, as we rode by the Ranger kiosk where you usually stop to pay your 10$ to enter the park, the sign on the window said “Pay when you exit” so we rode on in and found our way to Red's Meadow campground and made camp for the night.
We were at about 8,000 ft elevation, and apparently Sapphire didn't appreciate the high dew point, and the cold because she was more then a little cranky about starting the next morning. I had a 12v socket wired to the battery I use to fill the air mattress, charge our phones and so on, and finally I wound up just removing it because we couldn't figure out why the battery didn't seem to want to kick the bike over, and it being brand new etc that was the only thing that was 'different'. We had gone for our walk up to the Devil's Postpile and back, and we had to borrow jumper cables and use Toby's bike to jumpstart mine.
Once we got into town, we bought 10g wire and clips to make a jumper set for future 'just in case'
She ran fine after that, without a hiccup, start stop etc. I will be having Jed install a usb charger socket and 12v socket for the air bed pump when I take her in to be serviced. That way I can have it mounted in a convenient spot for both use with the phone and other stuff.
We rolled out of Mammoth Lakes around noon, weather was nice, road conditions good. My Sapphire thundered along, easily passing slow travelers when possible. I love Hwy 395, never so much traffic that it detracts from the ride.
We stopped to refuel in Carson Valley. Met a nice couple on an old harley. They were having the time of their lives, just wandering around on his bike... riding wherever the whim took them. We would be doing the same if I didn't have to be back on my desk in 16 hours.
We headed up Hwy 50 to Lake Tahoe, there was a massive fire burning around the south end of the lake, the Kings fire, by pollock pines on that end of Hwy 50. We headed north away from it past incline village, stopped for a quick pic of the Ponderosa Ranch Rd sign... the ranch itself is closed to the public.
From there around the north end of the lake, then on to Truckee where we jumped on 80 west to Hwy 20. lots of lanes, no traffic, cool temps and flashing signs that continually said “this freeway will be closed to Hwy 20 after 10:30 pm”
It's getting dark now and Hwy 20 is quiet. We roll along, adjusting to once more being on curvy roads. It's kind of funny how it takes a turn or two to register “oh yeah... pay attention to your line” lol too many miles of straight will do that to you
We link up to Hwy 70 north, that road is a trip... Traffic signals every few miles. It is a tease... the road opens up, you're just getting up to speed then BAM... red light... lol
Finally we are on Hwy 99 for Chico/Redbluff and thankfully through Chico it turns into freeway for a short bit.
There is this one place that was a real piece of work in the dark, seems they took the two lanes both going the same way and had some kind of major divider between them for a short bit. It took me a second to realize there really was something between the lanes...
We pulled into a darkened parking lot in Los Molinos, next to a little store with gas pumps. I was pretty tired and once again, grabbed a 'pillow' and curled up on the ground next to my bike. I have always been pretty good at catching rest where ever I need to.
I really don't care what folks think when they look at us as they go by, if I am tired, I will rest, it only takes 20 to 40 minutes to recharge enough to be able to continue to safely pilot
After resting, we rode on into Redbluff, refueled and drank some coffee. Toby asked me if I was going to be able to keep going. I told him, Platina was my goal, it has a nice big old fashioned redwood slab picnic table that we can throw our bed on for a few hours shut eye.
Platina was 50 miles of fairly twisty road from where we were sitting, so he told me to pull over if I started to get too wobbly.
Well I just rode easy, kept a steady pace, and was thinking, almost there... almost there... when my rear view mirror went dark. It always, and I mean ALWAYS has Toby's headlight in it... suddenly, blink... dark.
I slow down... then I stop... I am thinking... crap... but he is tougher then I am... sooo I get Sapphire turned around, on an incline no less, and head back. We pass each other, and regroup at the wide driveways of the Wild Horse Ranch. He chuckles and apologizes, he figured he could get his business done and be back on the bike and caught up with me before I noticed he had pulled over LOL
Silly man, he shouldn't drink so much coffee if he doesn't want to sit there and pee for 10 minutes.
We made it to Platina, and parked the bikes under the big old shade tree. Folded the sleeping bags so that they provided a decent amount of padding, got the pillows out and pulled the quilt over us and got some sleep. It was cool but not too cold, and we hadn't gone far enough west yet to get caught in the rain.
5:30 am and it is time to roll up the bedding, drink the rest of the jet fuel in the thermos and head for home. We got to the top of the first grade just before the really tight twisties just at the crack of dawn. You can see the Hayfork Valley and part of the town way off in the distance of one of my photos.
You can also see the storm that is getting ready to roll over us...
I say a few prayers and the rain holds off, we get home by 8:30 am and all the critters and our caretaker are glad to see us. He goes for his morning walk while we unpack the bikes and get everything stowed away, and then my work day starts at 10 am and since the company I work for just absorbed the local cable internet infrastructure for the broadband company that went under, it is a very busy day for me.
However in between calls, and checking on the goats etc, I page through all of the pictures we took. Toby is asleep on the bed, well earned, well deserved rest after an awesome 7 days on the road.
Apparently we got home just in time, as this storm rolling over us has deposited snow in all of the high elevations we just rode through. Tonight we will snuggle tight and be happy we aren't out in it lol
Between the to and from, and the around and about to visit, I logged 2,000 miles on my trusty Sapphire. I love my bike more and more each time we go riding.
Here is a link to the photo album
Til next time... keep the shiny side up =)