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A Week of Exploring California Two-Up (Lots of Pix)


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Time to get out of town. I'd been working too hard and we thought a week long ride in warm and sunny California was just what the doctor ordered. It did turn out to be California, but somehow they messed up our order on the "warm and sunny" part. smile.gif


Jamie picked us up at the airport after which we promptly chased a pickup truck shooting paintballs at signs and into a military base.




After calling in their location several times, we finally peeled off to pick up a bag we needed where Jamie works.






The ironic thing was finding a pan nearly on fire as we toured the deserted fire station since they were out on a call. smile.gif Jamie turned the burner off and mumbled something under his breath about always "carrying" people.


Here are the only two patients they'll let Jamie work on as an EMT.




We then made our way to Jamie and Leslie Edmonds' home, where Maggie was awaiting her next licking victim.




The one trick she loves is to "put your head down," the point being that her butt stays up where you can scratch it. smile.gif




We went to dinner at a great Thai place nearby.




...and then started packing in preparation for tomorrow.




We had the honor of staying in the "Bob Palin Suite"--though the *cough* permanence of the memorial sign seems to suggest that he could easily be supplanted and relegated to the couch.




Before continuing this ride tale, Julie and I want to offer a hearty thank you to some really great people. Jamie and Leslie are such great hosts and about as generous as you can be. I know many of you have benefitted from their kindness, and now we are in those ranks. So, thanks! Letting us use your RT for a week was a really generous thing to do. thumbsup.gif




I checked the weather and wondered if maybe something was wrong in the database, because Nashville was warm and sunny and San Diego was cold and rainy! tongue.gif We got ready anyway, anxious to start the week.




About 20 miles north of San Diego, though, it started to pour. Like good motorcyclists, we pulled into a donut shop and "ate it out." Eventually the rain slackened and we headed further north. The goal was a modest 260 miles to Fillmore, skirting Los Angeles. We headed north on I-15 and then west on 138, since Michael had reported earlier that Angles Crest was closed.


When we hit the mountains on 138, it started raining heavily and we pulled into a little cafe since it was time for lunch, anyway. We parked in an unused carport where they had conveniently thought to even place a bench for us as we tightened up the gear! smile.gif




The rest of the day was fairly uneventful (west on 14 and then west on 126) as we plodded along in the cold rain, wondering why we hadn't just ridden in warm and sunny Nashville! grin.gif I did enjoy lane splitting two-up on our borrowed RT. This was my fifth riding trip to California, but the first time two-up. Julie's a great passenger with only rare flinches. smile.gif




Tuesday promised better roads and better weather, though just barely. We'd let the bike dry out just outside the hotel room, since we really had the run of the place.




We headed west out of Fillmore on 126, then north on 150 to Ojai and further north on 33 to Cuyama, turning westward on 166 to Santa Maria. All those roads were wonderful.






Two-thirds of the way to Santa Maria, on that lonely, deserted road, we came across a pistachio farm. They conveniently provided covered, "bike only" parking, and we were just able to squeeze in among the crowd of riders! :P




The farm's 40 acres produces about 200,000 lbs of pistachios every year.






From there we made a much needed stop in San Luis Obispo to pick up some warmer jackets for each of us to wear under our riding gear. I underestimated how cold it could get at altitude on cloud-covered days in the 50s and 60s at speed.


Eventually we made our way to the Pacific Coast Highway and headed north. As the sun set that night, we pulled into Big Sur, weary and a little wet, but enriched from having tasted some spectacular parts of our earth, albeit only 285 miles of it.






















We splurged the night before and stayed at the Ventana Inn in Big Sur. I'd held several conferences at the Highlands Inn in Carmel Valley, but had heard about this place from many sources. It really is spectacular. So spectacular that we decided to enjoy every minute of the views and fireplace until our 1:00p checkout! That meant a shorter day, but the weather was iffy again, anyway, and we felt like it might dry out a bit by the afternoon.


We filled up, getting a little taste of what you Europeans must enjoy paying for gas. Gulp.




Then we headed south on PCH again, stopping in Lucia for an excellent lunch (BLT and fresh snapper).




A few miles further south we decided to get adventurous and tackle Nacimiento-Ferguson road. It's a very steep, 1st and 2nd gear climb on a very narrow road with no guardrails, long drops, and lots of gravel and mud--not to mention the visibility given the rain and cloud cover. But what a treat it was. (Thanks to Denny for this suggestion; thanks to Dick, Russell, and Jamie/Leslie for some other great suggestions along our routes).








It was probably our favorite part of the five days. We had the entire road to ourselves, and didn't pass another car for an hour and a half. As we climbed out, I looked at my GPS and noted that we'd gone 8.5 miles on the climb--though it was only 2.5 miles as the crow flies!






Coming down one steep section, thick mist all around, we saw another of several mule deer. I quickly shut off the engine, hoping to sneak up and get a picture. I had to leave the ignition on, of course, to maintain any braking ability. It was misting and foggy--thus the nature of these two pictures.




Unfortunately the dang servos made so much noise that eventually the deer looked our way with those big ears.




Finally we made it all the way up, across, and down the mountain range, emerging on the other side of Fort Hunter Liggett (after completing the requisite paperwork). Then southeast on G14 and 58 through McKittrick into Bakersfield for the night. It was only 215 miles, but what great sights they brought.






Time to buckle up for a longer day. Death Valley was next on the list, but it's an expansive place (we went 170 miles without seeing a gas station). So east on 178 from Bakersfield through the Greenhorn Mountains and down Walker Pass we go.






We stopped for a remarkably tasty lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Inyokern, just west of Ridgecrest. Highly recommended. thumbsup.gif




Then the back way into Death Valley, still on 178, through Trona.




Somewhere south of Wildrose we took a little "path" that appeared to lead somewhere on the GPS. Turns out that road probably should have been closed. The flooding tore the road up and left mud and gravel and huge holes. We picked out way through it gingerly and emerged somewhere--still not sure where! smile.gif After a bunch of ambling, and some very straight sections...




...we saw too much to capture with a camera, though there was more life in the desert than we expected.






After several hours we made it all the way back west to Panamint Springs, where we met a two-up couple on a GS. Unfortunately they'd just gone down on that little detour we'd just experienced ourselves, though they were unhurt. Neither was the bike. Jesse bags are tough, I guess.


We exited the park to the west, enjoying those great downhill sweepers and fresh pavement, where a two-up, loaded RT will do in excess of 120 mph by GPS. grin.gif


Then south on 395 all the way to 58 again, which we took eastward to Barstow as the sun set behind us. This was shot as we were moving. I couldn't resist--even in the mirrors the sunset was to be remembered, and thus ended a full 405 day of amazing variety.






Dick Frantz rode down early and met us for breakfast and then led us from Barstow to Idyllwild. The last section was beautiful, if not cold, through the high mountain pass. We met about a dozen riders Denny corralled around the center of town.




Here's Dick's new FJR, one of my favorite bikes.




And here's Denny on his new R1100S, taking a much needed nap as Russell quietly puts his cap on to keep from disturbing his repose.




We had a quick lunch, where Jamie asks Julie how I've been piloting his bike as Mike (SDMike) projects back to grade school while Dick scowls at these youthful antics.




Denny put together a great ride to finish out a nice 300 mile day, and then several dozen of us met at Denny and Kris' house for a great party.






A great time was had by all. smile.gif

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Superb pictures! I loved that 'shadow' one that Julie took! Mule deer?! I have just learned something new and that road looked way cool. Thanks for posting! Hope you didn't ruin any future relationships with Maynard (running at 120 gps/mph!)

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Thanks. Glad you enjoyed them! We took them all with that cheap Konica/Minolta camera just because it was so easy to hold and slip in a pocket.


And "mule deer"? We thought they were just "deer" until Dick Frantz corrected us. smile.gif

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Dennis Andress

Sorry I missed ya'll. I'd planned on makeing the ride when Denny first announced it. In the end money called....


Thanks for all the pictures.

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Wonderful pictures. California is a fantastic motorcycle state---although on my three trips to San Diego I found it overcast and rainy as well. They must have a great municipal P.R. department to make it seem as if it's always sunny there. grin.gif Hope you and Julie return home well rested.

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Absolutely wonderful, David. Thanks for your story and the beautiful pictures.


We filled up, getting a little taste of what you Europeans must enjoy paying for gas. Gulp.
That's a VERY little taste, David. By now, we're paying well over 6 dollars a gallon. bncry.gif

You lucky bastards! smile.gif

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What a great story, David - and wonderful pictures. Sorry we missed you - but neither of us were able to get time off Friday frown.gif


You hit just about all of our personal favorite spots / roads and routes. Those sunsets... even on a rainy day... are something else.


Glad you had a great trip!

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Some og those pictures are 'wallpaper material' David, wonderful! Also very interesting tale and description of that trip, thank you for sharing !! thumbsup.gif


Kind regards,


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What a great story, David - and wonderful pictures. Sorry we missed you - but neither of us were able to get time off Friday frown.gif


No problem. It was actually pretty weird going through all those towns. I'd get on the radio and say: "Julie, ____ lives here." But we figured if we started to stop, we'd never make it anywhere! smile.gif

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We had the honor of staying in the "Bob Palin Suite"--though the *cough* permanence of the memorial sign seems to suggest that he could easily be supplanted and relegated to the couch.
Oh oh, looks like I may need to pay a visit soon to secure my place. The Edmonds have hi speed net access, I could actually go there and work for a while...
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The Edmonds have hi speed net access, I could actually go there and work for a while...


Yes, you are correct. But it's set up for laptops with RJ-45 connections on the left. If yours is on the right, you'll need to bring an extension. Just a little tip. smile.gif

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Glad you had nice time in CA! Just sorry things didn't work out on the

dinner end for me frown.gif


I was looking forward to meeting you, Ian! smile.gif

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I enjoyed your photo spread. I agree with you about the Nacimiento Road--it's one of my favorites as well, and your pictures did it justice.

Thanks for putting them on the board for us.


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David, a wonderful tripreport & very nice pictures. Thx for sharing it with us. I had the chance to ride the pacific coastroad from SF to Big Sur (by car frown.gif ). Seeing the ocean and the mountains brought back some memories of a great trip in the US.

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Nice pictures and write-up, David. (And I'm guessing Julie took some of those pictures over your shoulder thumbsup.gif )



BTW- what was it like being back on an RT? You've been through a few bikes since your own RT ...



Chris (aka Tender Vittles )

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as ...


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Nice pictures and write-up, David. (And I'm guessing Julie took some of those pictures over your shoulder thumbsup.gif )


Yep! smile.gif



BTW- what was it like being back on an RT? You've been through a few bikes since your own RT ...


For context, I was on an '03 with 70k miles (yes, Jamie rides a lot). And it needed a TB synchronization. But it's the fourth 1150 I've ridden, so I do understand the bike and can make allowances between specific vehicles.


Also, I put 52k miles on my 1100 RT in two years, but have been away from the RT for 1.5 years, essentially, riding the ST4s and now the 12GS.


All that to say:


  • The weather protection is great, but I don't like weather protection. smile.gif
  • It's very comfortable, especially the way Jamie has it set up, though I wouldn't have barbacks.
  • It's definitely a "touring" machine: great saddle bags, nice glove compartment, easy gauges, creature comforts galore.
  • Handles well in terms of holding a line.
  • Dislike the brakes immensely.
  • The engine is a reliable but crude instrument.
  • The transmisssion is just a crude instrument. Really don't like the spacing of 6th gear, either.
  • Cornering clearance really is limiting, especially two up. Keep in mind that Jamie has the floorboards, which exacerbate the problem, but it would be an issue without them.
  • Top heavy beast of a bike.
  • You must call in a reservation ahead of time to pass loaded, two-up. tongue.gif
  • Very nice clutch action.
  • Excellent suspension.
  • Really good lighting.


Overall I think the 1100 is a markedly better bike, even with the pros/cons of that model. But the 12GS leaps both of them. Better engine, tranny, suspension, and features. Less weight. Better stock seat. Yada yada.


I very much appreciate Jamie's incredibly kind offer to let us use it, but it just reaffirmed that I'd never buy another one. I might buy a 12RT some day, though.

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The Flame and I were happy to see you enjoyed your visit. It's a shame the weather wasn't a bit better for you, though.


Loved your pix-great depth of field and clarity!


We hope we can see you NEXT time you come to California!


Steve and J

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