Things we think of while riding down the road

Archive for November, 2005

everything but hail..part two..or…

…the rest of Heathers first big moto tour! So, after a great evening of eating and drinking at Lake Tahoe it was time to head back home. Sunday morning in Tahoe was beautiful..twenty eight degrees beautiful!!!! Getting tired of being cold and Heather is pretty burned out on looking like the Michelin Woman! Ah well..hey wait..theres a Sports Bar up the street..let’s go watch MotoGP have breakfast and let the day warm up!! What an idea. So after a good race (on 3 big screen TV’s!) a great breakfast and a Bloody Mary..anti-freeze ya know!..the day has warmed up just great, as in now it’s twenty nine degrees!! Load the TDM, pile on the electric clothing and the Michelin Woman and I are on the road.
Out towards Truckee Californina and Hiway 89 through Sierraville. High mountain meadows a couple of Sportbike riders at rapid pace..heading for breakfast no doubt..and then onto Hiway 49..one of my all time favorites. South towards Nevada City with a quick stop in Downieville. Riding along the Yuba River is one of the most beautiful rides in all of California, you really must do it sometime. The problem is it’s so beautiful that every now and then it’s “whoa! Where’d that corner come from?” All in all truly wonderful Sierra riding.
Gas stop. Nevada City. A classic old California gold mining town. It’s also eighty seven degrees now..off with warm stuff into the ventilated gear..oh and a beer too! Continuing along Hwy 49 through Grass Valley, Auburn and Placerville then turn east on Ebbits Pass. No Cars, big wide open sweepers and hey..it’s damn cold again!! As we crest the Pacific Summit..another 9000′ plus pass it’s back on with the warmies. In the span of six hours we’ve gone from 29′ to 87′ back down to 30′. All in a days ride in the Sierra’s. Down Monitor Pass to Hwy 395 and look for a campground. Chris Flat along the Walker River. No one there..perfect set up for an axe murderer movie!? Also..really damn cold and windy. Now, where’s that anti freeze??
Monday morning..beyond cold. Water bottles frozen solid and Heathers contact lenses keep sticking to her finger..she can’t get them in her eyes. Oh well, I look better when she can’t see anyway. Even Jeffs BMW GS didn’t want to wake up and go. More great scenery and then the spectacular June Lake Loop. Fall colors like you can’t believe..right out of a Kodak film commercial. Stopping for pictures every fifty yards sure slows down a trip..but well worth it!!
The day is warming up but we can see some not so pretty scenery looming on the horizon..sure enough..a little more than hour later..on with the rain gear!!?? Doesn’t really rain too bad until Red Rock Canyon then the Biblical Forty days and Forty Nights hits us and Hurricane Zelda…all over the road we’re in the left lane..no we’re not..we’re in the right lane..now the left. Sheesh. A quick gas stop in Mojave and we’re on the last leg home. A little detour by Willow Springs Raceway..Heather wanted to see where I used to race..and it’s back onto Hwy 138. I forgot one thing about big rain storms in the desert..FLASH FLOODS!!! We rode through a dozen axel deep washouts over the next 30 miles. A half an hour later that road was closed. Onto I5..people looking at us like we’re nuts!! We are!! Especially because we were going faster than all of them. Once you get used to riding in the rain,it’s pretty fun.
So we made it home and Heathers big tour came to a soggy end. The best part…she was still smiling and wondering when our next one was going to be. Thats my girl.
See you on the road,
Paul

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Everything but hail…or…

…what the hail!
So there we were, girlfriend and I and our best friend ready for ride through the Sierra’s…we on a Yamaha TDM850, an overgrown wannabe dirtbike, and Jeff on a his BMW1200GS…after a tipover in the driveway..don’t ask.. we’re on the way. First stop Lake Isabella at the very south end of the Sierra’s, half the trip is a freeway drone, a quarter of it through the farm lands of the central valley in California ( the countrys bread basket) and the last quarter through a beautiful canyon along the Kern River. Friday morning dawns clear and beautiful. Out to Hwy 395 and north we go..a quick stop for breakfast then onto the Laws Museum in Bishop Callifornia. If you’ve never been or you find yourself in Bishop you gotta go!! A quick stop at the local supermarket for something to cook for dinner and of course some good, cheap wine to go with it.
Continuing up Hwy395 higher into the Sierra’s was truly beautiful, nice weather and spectacular scenery..what more could you possibly ask for?! Head west on the Sonora Pass to the other side of the mountain range. After we crest Sonora Pass ( a little under 10,000 feet ) we found a great campsite next to a stream with fishing and a good place to cool down the beer we’d been carrying all day. After a great supper and campfire it was a wonderful nights sleep. Saturday dawned not quite so clear and beautiful..uh..as we were breaking camp it started to rain..no, it started to snow!!! I’ve ridden in the snow before, but not two up fully loaded with camping gear!! Yikes…Anyway, we made it down to the town of Sonora safe and sound if not wet and cold. Hot coffee and a big breakfast we’re on our way to another Sierra pass! This time it’s Carson Pass heading to the southeast end of the Tahoe Valley. Riding along at pretty good clip ( thats what happens when you ride with ex-roadracers??!! ) we come upon a group of slower riders ( a big group!!) fortunately Jeff knows a little alternate route and we don’t get stuck in the 25mph parade. The road keeps climbing up the pass and there is more and more snow on the road..uh..could there be ice too?? Instant two wheel slide says “yeah baby!!” time to slow down maybe?? Nah…but it is time to stop and put on Pat Widders finest!!! Ah..electric vest and gloves..comfy! The rest of the days ride was pretty uneventfull but riding around Lake Tahoe is always awe inspiring. The fall colors unbelievable!
We arrived at Jeffs condo with enough daylight to check over the motorcycles and enjoy cocktails at sunset. Steak and Shrimp BBQ’d on the deck for supper…does life get any better?? I don’t think so.
The return trip in the next episode..stay tuned. Also be watching for the premier episode of ‘the motoworld’ podcast coming in the next day or so..
See you on the road!
Paul


I’m just getting ready to put up ‘the motoworld’..’the podcast magazine for motorcyclists’..we’ll have interviews, stories and motorcycle reviews..everything from visits with motorcycle racing legends and average riders..travel and touring stories…how to make your travels easier and more fun…what gadgets and doo-dads work and which ones don’t..it’s all about the people that ride motorcycles..”the best thirty minutes you can spend without twisting the throttle”
What do you think??? What would you like to hear???
Oh..and who am I ????
I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 15..I’m 53 now..I started desert racing at 16 and enduros at 18..I’ve ridden the Barstow to Vegas desert race four times..the Greenhorn Enduro twice..along with a whole slew of AMA Disrtict 37 desert races and enduros..after a few years of ski racing I came back to motorcycle racing…this time on the pavement…Roadracing with the Willow Springs Motorcycle Club, AFM, WERA and AMA…I got turned down to ride the Isle of Man because I WAS TOO OLD!!! I had just finished third in the WERA 24 hour endurance race, 600 superstock..and all I wanted to do was race a Single??!! Ah well…I’ve travelled all over the western USA and Canada on a Honda CB350 (all over California, Oregon and Washington on a little 350!!) CB750F, Yamaha FJ1200, Triumph Daytona Super3, Ducati Darmah and a Yamaha TDM850. All in all over a half a million miles…
So, as we put this together we’ll talk with with Bonneville Land Speed record holders, long distance rally riders, dealership owners, club racers, mechanics and anybody else that will spend time with us…
So..pass along your ideas..lets have fun with this!
Paul