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Our Trip to a Mountain Retreat . . .


Les is more

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...or Attending the Arnold, CA Tech Daze.

 

I'll spare you the sordid details of our ride from San Diego up I-5 and 99. I'll just give you these words. Long, boring, traffic, big trucks. You can use your imagination to fill in that part of the trip. At Merced, we abandoned all of that and headed east and into some blessed curvey roads. Highways 49 and 4 made up for all that had gone before as we wound through historic California Gold Country and toward Cheechoo's "cabin".

 

Here's the intersection of the 4 and 49 in Angel's Camp. This is the country Mark Twain wrote about in "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"

 

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As Hwy 4 rose further into the mountains it ribboned through oaks, pines, cedars and coastal redwoods and an olfactory smorgasbord of forest smells.

 

At 6PM we got to Charlie and Kathie's place, pulling in just after their arrival. The term cabin hardly does justice to their spot in the woods.

 

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The outside was peaceful, beautiful and quiet.

 

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Meanwhile, back inside at tech central, Charlie got busy making name tags for everyone,

 

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while the ever smiling Kathie entertained folks and made one of about 4 million meals. Here she tries to ignore Rick (CaliKid) as he gives the evil eye to an innocent piece of statuary. Rick is flanked by Jamie bookends, (2bmwfan and KMG_365)

 

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Charlie, Kathie, Richard (Benecia RT_GT), Matt (bakerzdoson), Jamie (KMG_365) and I had a relaxing evening and sat around too full to move after downing way too many portions of Kathie's homemade Lasagna. She actually made a meat and a vegetarian version! Even in our eating stupor we laughed our heads off and stayed up into the wee hours just plain enjoying each other's company.

 

Richard and Matt slept downstairs and somehow, Jamie and I scored our own room with a supremely comfortable bed that kept us snoozing until 9 AM! blush.gif We finallly dragged our sorry behinds out of our room when the rest of the people arrived.

 

I trotted around trying to get candid shots of folks and did pretty well as Dan (R4NDOM_AX3) and Rick didn't share Richard's unerring instinct for the camera. tongue.gif

 

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The R1200STs were the stars of the day. A trio of silver and blue showed up--one for Matt, one for Phil (1bmwfan) and his wife Jamie (2bmwfan) and one for Dan and his wife Kathleen.

 

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Alan Chan rode his R1200C, Rich (rrrich) came in on his RT, Tom (downwind) rode an R1, Richard was on his GT and Rick, who lives in that beautiful country, had his VFR.

 

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Matt wanted to change fluids and we told him that he had to dip his head in the old gear oil before he could be a real member of the club.

 

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We almost had him too but just before Phil could dunk him he found out it wasn't true tongue.gif

 

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Quite a bit of work was done despite the fact that Phil kept getting distracted by infinitessimal bits of grease on his fingers.

 

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The challenge of the day was changing out the "lifetime" final drive fluid on Matt's '05 bike. Mysteriously, the '07 instructions have changed to include a change at 600 miles. Matt pulls the speed sensor at the fill hole . . .

 

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Could this be the reason for the change in policy?

 

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Turns out it's handy to have oven mitts. The bike has to be warm, of course, and that means that the can (which has to be removed to get to things) is HOT! dopeslap.gif

 

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The drain is conveniently placed in the back eek.gif so you have to take the danged thing apart in order to lower and drain it.

 

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Throw it all back together, fill er up and the mystery is solved.

 

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During all of this, Rich, with Tom's help, opened up a popcorn concession.

 

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I can see it now. Soon Rich will be traveling the country with his popper, oil, salt and paper bags and setting up next to Al and his earplugs.

 

Bob (Shaman97) and his wife Jackie ((UffDa) were an integral part of all this fun but I somehow managed not to get a single picture. frown.gif

 

Interspersed in the wrenching was eating and eating and eating!

 

Some went home, some stayed and one arrived. Our overnight crowd on Saturday included Richard and his wife Cheryl who (we were happy to learn) rearranged her schedule to drive up and join us, Phil and Jamie, Matt, Jamie and me and Charlie and Kathie. Phil seemed particularly happy to see Richard. Richard seemed to enjoy Phil's company as well.

 

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Kathie produced King Salmon and tri-tip for the BBQ and we over-ate once again. I'd have to say that the theme of the evening was laughter--lot's of it! What a witty and wonderful bunch of people.

 

On Sunday, Richard and Cheryl had to head home. The two Firefighters repaired Charlie's toilet and I took advantage of the day spa services. That is to say that Kathie was kind enough to use her professional skills to give me a haircut. Kathie is a hair stylist and salon owner. She gave me a wonderful cut and it's getting rave reviews now that I'm back home. smile.gif

 

After the home repairs and beauty day were done, Phil and Jamie headed home. The rest of us (now down to Charlie, Kathie, Rick, Jamie and I, decided to go for an afternoon ride to see more of this lovely area. GJames, whose sister lives in the area, stopped by just long enough for Jamie to spot the gear oil that had burped out of his final drive and all over his tire. We fixed George up and took our ride under a gentle mountain sun and perfect temperatures.

 

Jamie and I stayed on for Sunday night and were included in a birthday party for one of Charlie and Kathie's neighbors. While taking such good care of all of us, Kathie was also thoughtful enough to pick up a cake for Diane's birthday. Several neighbors dropped by for the donning of party hats, the blowing of horns, extinguishing of candles and devouring of cake. The weekend laughter theme continued. Those mountain folks are darned near as funny as this crew! grin.gif

 

Jamie and I took off at 8 AM on Monday, happy and relaxed and up a few more members in our list of people we wished lived closer.

 

To avoid a repeat of the I-5, 99 yuck, we headed east on the 4 and over Ebbets Pass. I believe it was Matt who designated this route a "goat trail". It does get narrow and windy and therein lay its glory!! Once we hit that narrow portion there was virtually no traffic and the road was almost too fun to be legal. Okay, so maybe it wasn't entirely legal the whole time. crazy.gif We danced and twisted up and over the Sierras and headed down the 89 to get to the 395. I felt as if we owned the road, it was so empty. The 395, snaking along the base of the mountains, over rises and past rivers, is a magnificent route. We followed it South to Mono Lake and Lee Vining and then headed west into Yosemite for another traverse of the Sierras. The trip in was glorious with light traffic and one glacier hewn view after another. It really is breath taking. The trip out was less so--still beautiful but with a long line of cars and trucks headed west. It took a long time to pick our passing spots and make our way down to the (shudder) 99. We went south on the 99, Highway of a million trucks, for about 100 miles and then gratefully headed east again for one last crossing of the mountains. It seemed just a moment until we were completely alone again on the 155, an unbelievably fun stretch of technical road out of Delano. After a couple of hours of that, some of it in the dark, riding past the eerie upraised arms of giant yuccas, we came back to the 395 and the fun was over. The last bit of the 395 has a couple of interesting spots but leads you through a couple of small towns and finally dumps you into Adelanto. I think that this is the secret birthplace of all big rigs as they just seem to rise up from everywhere and go in all directions. It's a slow, noisy haul from there to the I-15. Once on the freeway, the traffic wasn't too bad and we were making good time. We did stop at about 10:30 PM for coffe and a snack. I think my terse replies over the radio clued Jamie in that my blood sugar was flagging. I was pretty barn sour at that point and with 2 hours to go, I was ready to be home. I wasn't sleepy but was physically tired. The stop was just the thing and we polished off the last couple of hours with no problems.

 

We had taken a 750 mile route home a good half of which was twisty, challenging and fun as hell! grin.gif With stops for dinner, gas and our late night snack, the trip took 17 hours. Whew!

 

I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. A day or two with the wonderful people on this board bracketed by hours and hours of perfect riding through magnificent scenery is about as good as it gets.

 

Thanks, Charlie for creating the excuse for this one!

 

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Francois_Dumas

What a wonderful way to start my morning....... so much fun reading this and seeing all those 'names' from the board. Sure looks like you all had a great time. The cabin looks absolutely gorgeous !

 

Thanks for sharing Les ! clap.gif

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Great post. Looks like a blast. That final drive oil change looked rather involved....

 

I loved the spiral staircase in the cabin. That's so cool.

 

Chris

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thumbsup.gif

 

This ride tale was the cherry on top of my ice cream Sunday that was Arnold Tech Daze!

 

Thanks for the wonderful time Charlie, Kathis, Leslie, Jamie, and everyone else! Can't wait to do it all again!

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Great post. Looks like a blast. That final drive oil change looked rather involved....

 

I loved the spiral staircase in the cabin. That's so cool.

 

Chris

The final drive wasn't as bad as you'd think (with Jamie there holding my hand anyway. lmao.gif ) But yes, it's not exactly as easy as swapping the tranny oil. Just a lot of steps.

 

And speaking of steps, that spiral staircase is just a few inches too small. I almost hit my head on it every time... (although our wonderful hostess - Kathie - hates it, I honestly like it.) Although the light above it came on at a quite late hour (on a timer). I'd forgotten about that as I was half asleep when I went to turn it off. eek.gif It's a wonderful cabin (and both showers work equally well. thumbsup.gif )

 

Thanks Leslie for the great ride tale. Although not overly flattering pictures of some of us (Richard being the notable exception) covered in gear oil, I'm grateful you posted them. I didn't take any shots (for obvious reasons) that whole day, so I'm glad to see yours (and the others including Dan and Charlie's).

 

Oh, and Leslie... I'm not sure how the "mountain goat trail" wasn't legal. There were no posted speed limit signs AT ALL through there. So, you just revert to the 75mph rule of thumb - right? smile.gif

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OK, OK, nice ride tale and all.... BUT, what I want to know is whether that hexagonal oil drain pan is an official BMW "HexHead" accessory? grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif Does it have a BMW logo? Does it cost a fortune? I have serious oil pan envy. lmao.gif

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Pretty sure some of the laughing, smiling, sleeping late, etc. might have been aided by the case of Beringer!

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Sounds like a fun time in a great surrounding. thumbsup.gif

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Wanting to be a good guest and not arrive empty handed, we stopped in Arnold to buy a few bottles of wine as a Mitbringsel. Talk about "carrying coals to Newcastle"! dopeslap.gif

 

As we pulled in around 18:00 hours, Charlie and Kathie were unloading the Explorer and the trailer of ALL MANNER of furniture, bedding material, air mattresses, wrenching supplies, enough food for a small army . . .

 

. . . and two CASES of red wine! eek.gif

 

Matt is already there representin' for the Utah Crew, Cali Kid and Benicia show up soon thereafter . . . and more are coming on Saturday? Oooh, man, this is going to be a FUN weekend! And it just got better every day. thumbsup.gif

 

As KathyR would say: "I just LOVE ALL you people!!" clap.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

( . . . not in a "Phil loves Richard" sort of way, but you know what I mean! grin.gif )

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