Monday, January 19, 2009

I have been looking back at the year 2008 and my motorcycle adventures. I have really been lazy the last half of the year and even though I took a couple of nice trips I failed to document them very well. Well I guess it is better late than never so here we go.

In the spring I took a riding class with the Sheriffs Department and the next day I went on a group ride with some riders from South Bay Riders a local internet rider fourm. I had a great time although even in the next to slowest group I felt like I was riding a bit faster than I wanted to.

This is a nice shot on a local ride in July. It is just the beginning of a forest fire that would burn many thousands of acres of forest in the Big Sur area.
In July I took a wonderful ride through the mountains to Crater Lake Oregon. Iwent over a number of high sierra passes. This is Sonora Pass.

This is Monitor Pass.

At the end of this day I was in beautiful Lake Tahoe. I took this at sunset.

The next day I continued riding north through the mountains. I saw a lot of nice country along the way. This was taken at a place called Childs Meadow. It was one of my mothers favorite places.

The highlight of this day was a ride over Mount Lassen an active volcano. The road here was awesome.

Here at the top of the park is the volcano itself. The nicely paved road had changed into a 9 mile stretch of gravel and dirt that the construction crews were watering constantly to keep the dust down. It was a kind of nerve racking for a while but I made it through ok.

I spent the night in Burney. Here is a nice little place called Baum Lake. I have spent many an hour fishing there with my family over the years.

Near Baum Lake is a place I found where someone has built these metal sculptures out of various kinds of discarded tanks and such. I really like the one with the wiener dog.

On the way back to my motel from Baum Lake I saw this buck. I am glad he didn't run out in front of me on the road.
I finally made my way to the meet up with the folks from motorcycle forum.

Crater Lake was awesome and so were the folks from

After the ride around Crater Lake it was time to head for home. I spent the night in Medford where I took this picture of a C-97 and my V-strom.

A last stop along the way home. What a great trip.

In the fall I was able to take one last trip before years end. This was a 2 day trip over Ebbits Pass to Lake Tahoe. I didn't get any pictures of the pass but I would have to say that this is the most intense and technical road I have ever ridden on. It was great. The next day I went to check out the old Donner Pass area. I wanted to ride through the abandoned train runnels that were built by the Chinese in the 1800's.

The train still goes over the pass but now they use a much longer tunnel that was built in the 1900's.
Hear is a nice shot of the old Lincoln Highway Rainbow Bridge on Donner Pass.

Well that's about it for 2008. I hope to take a lot of nice trips in 2009. Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bikes on the Bay

I took a ride up the coast today and in the little town of Soquel I happened upon a vintage motorcycle show. It was kind of a small affair but there were quite a few cool bikes there. While I was checking out the old bikes it occurred to me that most of these "vintage bikes" are from the 1960's and 1970's. I was born in 1950 so I guess that makes me vintage too! Most of the bikes were from Europe, Japan or England with a few US made bikes. There were even some very unusual bikes like a diesel powered salt flats racer with a BMW engine in it and a V-8 powered trike!

This Kawasaki ZX-14 is said (by its owner) to be the fastest street legal bike in the world. It did 189mph at the Bonneville salt flats but it would be over 200mph at sea level. They are going to try again at the next meet for 200 mph at Bonneville.

The USA is well represented here by some classic Harleys and choppers.

This classic head gear and eye protection probably would not be approved by the CHP but back in the day this was ATGATT!!

I really took a liking to this 1970's Honda 750, I always liked the shape and size of this bike plus the 4 exhaust pipes are just to cool. This was one of the very first "super bikes". This bike has been restored to original condition and looks like it just came off of the show room.

This Honda 750 has been set up as a cafe racer.

This is a Honda CB77 which was a 350cc bike I believe. I like the chrome tank and the black rubber knee grips.

This all chrome pan-head Harley was very cool, snake skin hand grips and check out the speedometer face.

There was a lot more there to see but even those who don't want to ride on 2 wheels anymore have options like this Moto-Guzzi.

It was a great event and I hope I can attend again next year.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A ride to motorcycle mecca

On Saturday April 12, 2008 the weather here on the coast was warm, dry and perfect for a motorcycle ride. I decided to ride up to a place called Alices Restaurant which is in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the intersection of highways 84 and 35. It is a Mecca for riders in this part of California. Here are some pictures of my ride:

My first stop was in the town of Santa Cruz where I saw some of the local characters

Here is a shot of the lighthouse and the world famous Steamers Lane surf break. Inside the lighthouse is a surfing museum.

I bought some lunch here on the wharf before riding up the coast.

After a short ride up the coast I took this shot of Natural Bridges State beach. This beach used to be famous for an arch in the rocks but this natural bridge fell down several years ago. The Monarch butterflies don't seem to mind though, they still spend their winters here.

I continued up the coast in until I reached the turn off for the town of Pescadero. The name of this town means "fisherman" in Spanish. After leaving the coast I start to climb into the mountains and the redwood trees. Here is a shot of a short rest I took on highway 84.

I continued up the hill and when I reached highway 35 I arrived at Alices. It is a restaurant that is a gathering place for motorcyclists. I saw all kinds of bikes there from Harleys to sport bikes. After checking out the bikes and visiting with a few people it was time to head south on 35 and then down the hill to home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A wasted life....

Hi everyone,

I hope the thread title might have piqued your interest a bit and led you here to hear this story about a wasted life.

Yesterday after church I got to talking with an older gentleman about motorcycles. He told me that back in 1982 he bought a brand new Honda CM 250 C street bike. He rode it home from the dealer and parked it in his garage. He found out that he needed a special license to ride a bike on the street and since he didn't have one he just parked the bike in his garage untill he got his motorcycle license.

Well he just never got around to it and the bike just stayed in his garage. So I asked him "what ever happened to the bike?" He said "its still in the garage right now. How many miles does it have on it?" I asked. "6" (you heard me 6 as in six!!!). I said "do you want to sell it and he said sure, give me $200 and it is yours." I called him tonight and left him a message saying I would take it if he had the title and the registration could be worked out. I looked at it last night and all I could see was the front wheel, forks, gauges and a bit of the seat (to much other junk was around it). Except for some light rust in spots it looks prety good and also very dirty!!

I feel sorry for this poor little bike, just born and never had a chance yet to be a real motorcycle!! A wasted life for sure. What do you all think about this? I will follow up with some pictures if we are able to work out a deal.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kickstand up for Tillamook Day 7

Day 7 September 14, 2007

I wake up pretty early about 6 am. I can't get back to sleep so I decide to head over to the lobby and get a cup of coffee. I open the door to go outside and it is pitch dark outside. What the heck? I look at my clock and it is really only 5 am. I guess I must of misread it when I first woke up. I didn't have my wrist watch with me because I took the advice of Peter Fonda and I "Lost my Watch" before I started on this trip, well actually I just left it home instead of throwing it away like in "Easy Rider". I decide to go ahead and leave early so after I pack up I hit the road. In case you haven't noticed by now I have avoided I-5 and tried to stick with the back roads on this trip. This morning though I decide to go ahead and head out on I-5 towards Sacramento. The miles go by pretty fast and by 10:30 I am pulling into Old Town Sacramento. This is a great place to visit and I spend a while there walking around and making some phone calls. After that I head out and follow the Sacramento River Levee roads west. This is a great ride and worthy of a complete ride report about the levee roads alone. I didn't stop much to take pictures I just rode and enjoyed the scenery as it unfolded. I made a stop for lunch along the way and then continued over the hills to the town of Livermore and then to my last stop before home, Sunol. I stopped at a place I had wanted to see but it was usually closed. It has been restored and re-opened on work days to the public. It is called the Sunol Water Temple.
It seems kind of strange today with the technological advances of the modern age but back in 1910 the idea of bringing pure drinking water all the way from Sunol to San Francisco was a major accomplishment. The temple was built to allow the public to come and see the wonder of pure water cascading over the 40 foot high waterfall inside of the temple. Today only a small amount of water cascades over the falls and it is just for effect only it really does not connect with the water system of San Francisco. Our expectations today are for bigger and better things and ever more complicated technology so it is nice to see a monument to something we all take for granted today, pure drinking water, right out of the tap! Amazing isn't it?

After my visit to Sunol I hit the freeway and headed home to Salinas. I was glad to be home.
357 miles.
So, why does a guy in his mid-fifties go alone on a 2000 mile motorcycle trip? When I tell others about my journey even if they don't ask the same question I can still see it in their eyes. The only answer I can come up with is about the same as the mountain climber who was asked why he climbs mountains. He said because they are there. Its really the same reason John Muir filled his pockets full of biscuits and headed to the High Sierras for weeks at a time. Humans seem to have a desire to go into the unknown, to find out what is over the next mountain, to explore and to travel, and to eventually return home. After some time on my own on my motorcycle the return home was just as pleasurable as the trip itself. Maybe that is why I went in the first place. Will I ever take a trip like this again? Hum, lets see now where is my map of the southwest? I wonder how long it would take to ride to Durango Colorado? They have a great train ride there I would like to go on again someday........

Trip total miles: About 2000.

Kickstand up for Tillamook Day 6

Day 6 September 13, 2007

The day dawns and I decide to do a little motorcycle maintenance before hitting the road. I had noticed that my chain seemed a little loose so I got out my tool kit and adjusted it in the parking lot of the motel. I lubed my chain and in general gave the bike's running gear a quick inspection. I check the tire pressures and then pack up the bike and head out east on 58 towards Willamette Pass. It was a beautiful morning and the road was in great shape with lots of nice curves. It must be a main route between Klamath Falls and Eugene because there is a lot of truck traffic on the road. There are lots of nice places to take pictures of the scenery along the way. After I make it over the top of the pass the road intersects highway 97 and I head south on 97 towards Klamath Falls. I stop there at the Black Bear Dinner and have a nice big lunch and then I head for Lava Beds National Monument. This area was the location of a war between the Modoc Indians and the US government in 1872 to 1873. The Modocs eventually lost and went to the reservation like all of the rest of the tribes eventually would. To bad they hadn't invented Indian Casinos yet, if so the whole war may have been averted. I took this picture at the monument.The road south from the monument was the most "interesting" road encountered on the trip. The Federal Governments idea of repairing pot holes is to simply fill them up with loose gravel. It maded for 15 miles or so of dodging and careful maneuvering to avoid slipping and sliding. Eventually I make it to a county highway and then back to highway 139 south towards Canby. I take the Lookout Road as a shortcut to 299. Just after turn off on this road I think to myself "I better watch out for animals on the road." Right after this thought I come around a corner and up ahead is a small herd of cows on the road! I slow way down and pass by them without any problem. A little while later I see two young deer right next to the road up ahead. I do my best high performance slow down so if they head across the road or if mom is nearby I can stop in time. I get past them with no problems. A little later I see a buck well off of the road and pass by him too. Wow in this one stretch of road I have encountered more wildlife than the whole trip up to this point. I make it to highway 299 and head west through Macarther and Fall River. I make a stop at the Pit One powerhouse.

This powerhouse is one of eight built in this area by the company I work for, Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Pit One was a headquarters with housing for workers, a cookhouse and even a swimming pool! I was built in a time when even a powerhouse was designed to be an interesting building to look at. I always liked the way it resembled a castle. Oh well those times are gone and today if PG&E was building a powerhouse they would not spend a dime on non-functional elements like how pleasing it would look in 50 years from now. I think we have lost something in the modern corporate goals of maximizing profits to the exclusion of all else. I continue on west 299 through Burney then over Hatchet Pass and down to Redding for a nights stay a motel 6. Tomorrow will be my last day on the road.
318 miles.