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First Ride 2007


CoarsegoldKid

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CoarsegoldKid

Since some you riders in the fridge zone can only clean your bikes I decided to get mine all bugged. The Central Valley BMW Riders Club here in good old California has planned a ride for this Saturday. I have a prior commit so I saddled up and took the ride yesterday. All 350 miles were California winter weekday beautiful.

For those of you interested in mapping/dreaming the adventure start in Coarsegold, California on Hwy 41 and head south to Hwy 145 and make a right heading west to Madera, cross Hwy 99 and head due south on Hwy 145 passing the wide spots and small towns of Ripperdan, Kerman, Helm, and Five Points. At Five Points make a left towards Coalinga via Hwy 33. Up till now there have been few cars or trucks on this spur of the moment adventure. The area grows beef, grapes, citrus, almond, orchards of every description and several strange smells that can gag a maggot.

Long straight roads for miles and miles. Cross I5 and motor on to Coalinga. In Coalinga pick up Hwy 198 west. At this point the ride gets very interesting. The valley floor is from about 200 to 400' in elevation and rises slowly to Coalinga. But after leaving Coalinga westbound the elevation quickly goes to between 1500' and 2500 feet. This is cattle country. This is rolling hills. This is a fine road. This is perfect for motorcycles. Once I rode this road from the other direction returning from Laguna Seca on my way to Los Angeles. A cattle drive brought several race fans to a halt. And after that, well let's just say I didn't see the scenery. This time I took in the beauty that abounds. Since California recently underwent winter there were patches of snow along the road and ice on the pavement. California does not salt roads. They drop sand on the road. So it makes for interesting riding. Any shaded corner facing the north could be predicted to have poor traction. So of course they were taken slowly. Anyway I rode Hwy 198 until turning north on Hwy 101. At King City I stopped in for Mexican food. I found a small corner hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint and ate two delicious tacos. Life is hell.

Back on the road through King City I found J13/Bitterwater Road. It begs for more throttle. Some 15 miles later it meets up at Hwy 25. Turn left heading north. This two lane wonder skirts past Hwy 46 which leads to the east side of Pinnacles National Monument. Continuing on Hwy 25 I come to the wide spot called Paicines and turn right onto J1 heading into higher elevation. Ahead is Panoche Pass at 2250 and more snow, ice, and sand. J1 eventually turns left again. This section of J1 was long, straight, fairly smooth, not a car in sight. I didn't think the R12RT could hit the rev limiter in 5th. Click. 6th. Yeah, life is hell. After the adrenalin rush the road heads north past another one of those wide spots called Mercy Hot Springs. After Mercy I begin an easterly heading on J1 crossing I5 and onto Mendota. I think Scott Speed is from Mendota. After the that the ride is boring. Late afternoon traffic is starting to creep in and for all intents the good ride is over. I'm still an hour or so from home.

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After Mercy I begin an easterly heading on J1 crossing I5 and onto Mendota. I think Scott Speed is from Mendota.

Mendota....ugh.

 

All due respect to anyone living there, but that place has got to be the armpit of the San Joaquin Valley.

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