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Ride Better Quest: Made it all the way to San Jose...& Back!


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I never know how to start these tales, so I suppose I will just dive in. I am a little excited about this, so forgive me if I ramble on and on.


The Ride:

Take a trip up to San Jose, CA to visit my family. My sister just had a baby, and this was the first visit with the new neice. For those of you interested in the baby pix, see the links below:


Aww... Russell has a soft side!

Sleepy baby

My turn!

A new mascot for me?

Whatcha thinkin' about blue eyes?

"ooh, I like this 'Stich!"


The Mileage:

900 for the weekend; approx: 450 each way.


How I did/What I learned:


Whoah. Distance riding is work! I think I may be a cruiser at heart. I like 100-200 mile days in nice weather, just cruisin' around. Going longer distances is a lot harder! (just hush all you iron-butters out there...450 is a lot for ME!)


Since I had such different riding experiences going up as the trip home, I will split them out.


The trip to San Jose

Can I say? Truthfully, this part of the trip SUCKED. That's right, capital S, capital U...(well you get the idea). We set out right after work. This may not have been the wisest idea for me, being a rookie rider and all, but since I am in severe vacation day shortage, I had no choice. I asked around, and most people's opinions were that we should take the 57 to the 210 to the 5 to avoid hideous Friday LA traffic. The 210 was awesome! The 57 was not. Is the 57 a parking lot or a freeway? It was kind of hard to tell on Friday. Once again, I got to practice lane-splitting. After about an hour of stop and go, I had reached my end. I noticed that on the right side of the carpool lane we were in (which, incidentally was just as slow as the regular lanes) was a white solid line, then a space (just big enough for bikes....looked like they designed it for motorcycles!) then the double yellow lines that block off the carpool lane. It really did look like a specially designed lane-splitting lane. I told Russell I was ready to try lane-splitting again. No need to ask him twice. Off we went. Made it to the first carpool lane exit without incident. At the carpool exit, the "lane-splitting" lane ends for a while, so we merged back in with traffic. Then, when they block off the carpool lanes again, they conveniently put the "lane-splitting" lane back in, so we hopped in there again. No problems again, but I was still nervous. More than any other time riding, I feel like people are so out to get me when I lane-split. Anyway, about this time, traffic starts moving again, as we get past the 60/57 split. Unfortunately, Russell and I didn't notice that the 57 (which we wanted) exits to the right, and if you stay in the carpool lane, you get on the 60. #@#&@! So we turn around and get back to the 57.


Like I said, the 210 was great! Merged into the 5 near Six Flags, Magic Mountain. Had a little traffic there at the merge, but nothing big. Stopped near Magic Mountain for soda and cheetos (you know, travel food!) and gas for Charlie. I thought to myself "this is going to be a long ride. It's already been 2 hours, we're only here, and we have another 350 miles to go!) Oh, and I was forced into a right hand turn into a McDonalds, instead of a lefthand turn into the gas station by some oblivious Uhaul driver. He was in the chicken lane putzing along, and would not let me in there to make the left into the gas station. Instead of stopping in the middle of the road to wait for him to get the blinkety blank out of the way (and getting nailed by the guy riding my butt behind me) I decided it was safer to just turn right and have another go at it when everyone was out of the way. No big deal, but it was par for the course for this ride. What are we up to now, for those keeping track:

1) icky traffic

2) lane-splitting (which for me is particularly unnerving)

3) oblivious driver forcing me to do things I don't want to do

4) ants crawling on me while I was eating my cheetos (haha!):)


Next we go through the Grapevine. This was probably the best part of the trip. It was pretty, and traffic wasn't too bad.


When we hit the valley though, it was WINDY! For those of you who have been around me for more than 5 seconds know, I HATE WIND!!!! I don't even like it when I am walking somewhere, much less riding! Fortunately, it was fairly manageable most of the way up to our turn off. We were taking the 46 across to the 101. About 20 or 30 miles away from our turn off, it really started to pick up. Russell said it was as bad as the wind some of you experienced at Death Valley, only not gusting quite as hard. But still, a steady, ferocious wind. It was so bad, when we got to the cut off and took a break for dinner, the locals were all talking about how bad it was (and it is windy in the valley a lot) I slowed down to about 65-70 through this part. We had been making about 80-85. I got seriously upset. Started the whole bargain with God routine. Then, (for this, I am not proud) I yelled at God a little (i.e., "I know you can stop this wind! Why aren't you stopping it? I asked nicely, didn't I!? Did I make you mad at me or something!? HELLLO? etc. etc.) I think God was teaching me the "whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" lesson! Russell radioed back to me, to ask if I was ok. He got a blubbering "yeaaaah, whine, whine" He slowed way down, thinking I needed to stop. I screamed "NO! KEEP GOING! WE'RE 7 MILES AWAY! GO! GO!"

When we FINALLY got there, we stopped for gas, then went over to Dennys to chill out for a while and get some dinner. We were hoping the wind would die down a bit. It died down a little, but not much. Fortunately, going across the 46, we had a head wind instead of the cross wind we had on the 5. Also, the closer we got to the coast, the more the wind died down. It never was completely calm though; was just a windy day!

So for those keeping track



7) Denny's food tongue.gif

The trip across 46 was kind of annoying. It was dark by now, and this is a two lane road. As I reported from my last ride tale, headlights in your face are truly blinding. We also got behind some mucho annoying traffic, that was very difficult to pass. Every time we would get a passing zone, they went 90, and then dropped back down to 50 when it went back to a no-pass zone. URGH.


We finally made it to the 101 and the rest of the trip was uneventful. It wasn't too cold, traffic was light. Really the only bad thing was the lateness of the hour. It was 9:00 by the time we reached Paso Robles. It's another 3.5 to my sister's house from there. Oh boy...time for more soda! Gave everyone a call to say we'd be a little later than we hoped (we had hoped to get in by 10!)


Made it to her house just fine. She had been worried (she is the only one I told that we'd be riding...why have mom and dad worry about me all day!?) My mom was actually tremendously cool about the whole thing. She said "oh. I wish you had told me you were riding. Then I wouldn't have worried because you guys were taking so long!" (usually we are in a car, stop once or twice max (not 3 times for 20 minutes, and then once for an hour)) She asked why I decided to ride my own bike. I said I needed the practice. "oh. OK, let's go see the baby!" hmm. What did you do with my mom? Who is this lady? A new grandma? Oh. got it. smile.gif


The weekend was fun. Spent the day hanging out with everyone and catching up, and of course holding the baby and gooing and cooing over her.


Sunday, we had brunch with the family and then headed out at 1PM


The Ride Home

Wow. This ride was SOOOOOO much better. It was a GORGEOUS day! The weather was perfect. It was cool enough not to have to wear the summer gear, but not so cold that we were chilly. We decided to skip the 5, and just ride the 101 all the way home and enjoy the coast. We still had a breeze, but nothing big. I rode so much better. I had a zen thing going on with Charlie. We were in the zone. I believe I have finally felt that "oneness" you get with your bike - turns were a nice fluid motion (lean, turn, back up. Repeat as necessary) I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Russell says I should be proud of Friday's ride too - it was a TOUGH ride. The wind was extreme. I did just fine. I had maybe a 12 inch variance in lane position when it wasn't too windy; then when the wind picked up, I had maybe an 18 inch variance. I felt like I was being blown all over the rode, but he said I was fine.


He says he knows my skills are there for me to go to Torrey. However, I need some convincing, y'all. I was exhausted, and Torrey is an additional 200 miles. I can't be sure of the weather (still, have never ridden in rain). I really want to go though. oooooohhhh, decisions, decisions!


Well, I will mull this over this week. I guess you guys will know what I decide when we get to Torrey...is the suspense killing you? (or is it reading this long-a** ride tale!?)


Here are some pictures Russell took (yes, while riding...he's a nut!) of me on the way home on Sunday. Dick, pay close attention to that shot of me in his mirror. This must mean I am in the correct lane position!!! smile.gif


takin' a break!

"head out on the highway, get my motor running, looking for adventure, and whatever comes my way..."

Lean left...looks like I am leaning too far back though.

head shot!

for you, Master Yoda

Cruisin by the ocean

The ocean as we zip by





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Well, that pretty much sums it up.


Friday's ride was really exhausting. The wind in the Valley was pretty extreme and the turbulence from the trucks was really bad.


When we got to Paso Robles, I was really beat. Not a fun ride, but it did it's job (get us there).


Weekend with the little rugrat was fun. She doesn't do much except eat and sleep at this point, but she does all of it so CUTE. smile.gif Of course, I told her all about wearing proper gear, explained how the Telelever works, and warned her to stay away from Wurty. wink.gif With any luck, her first words will be "LETS MOTO!"


The ride home was really great. Perfect weather. Crappy Bay Area traffic getting out, but we expected that. South of Morgan Hill, it was fine.


The best part of the ride was that for the first time, I had a riding partner. Every time I looked back, you were right were you were supposed to be. And we ran a GOOD pace. 85-90mph ALL DAY LONG. Including through the corners, and even all the way down the 405 through traffic.


Overall a great weekend.


Where to next...oh yeah, TORREY!

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Great ride! I'm in Canoga Park (San Fernando Valley) and the freeways you guys took really are a nightmare on Friday nights. I'm very impressed! It sounds like the wind was the worst part, but oh well.. you did good! The grapevine is a freaky place isn't? Either extremly hot, extremely cold, or extremely windy. Always vehicles broken down on that climb.


Maybe soon I can take the 101 north too! Must be a great ride with calm blue ocean the whole way!


Glad it was a safe trip! Congratulations!

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You're doing better, Lisa. Personally, I do worry about the Torrey ride. It's all slab up to St. George. Then it's 5-7 hours (depending on your speed) of varying twisties. Lots of brake work. Lots of shifting. LOTS AND LOTS of leaning. But Lisa, you've been there and seen it, so I figure you've got a good read on it.


Think it through and best of luck. I know that one-up or two-up, we'll see you there.

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He says he knows my skills are there for me to go to Torrey. However, I need some convincing, y'all. I was exhausted, and Torrey is an additional 200 miles. I can't be sure of the weather (still, have never ridden in rain). I really want to go though. oooooohhhh, decisions, decisions!color=blue>


I've enjoyed reading your tales, Lisa. I'm sure other people, who might not be as candid, appreciate your forthrightness, too.


To be honest, I am a little worried about the Torrey trip, though it would sure be fun to do. Here's an idea. Pack as if you are going two-up with Russell, and let him haul everything.


Then both of you go one-up. If you and/or he feel like getthereitis is setting in, stop and rest. If it still doesn't feel right, leave your bike along the way and finish two up.


There are tons of places that'll gladly keep your bike as long as you explain the situation. Most any gas station with a bay would do it.


I just want the trip to Torrey to be fun and safe.



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Fernando and David,

We do have several built-in "outs" along the way, so no pressure there. As you suggest, we'll pack for a 1-up ride. The actual decision doesn't have to be made until just before the departure time, and it will hinge on the weather forecast more than anything else.


As for the ride...there's nothing between St. George and Torrey that we haven't already done. We typically stay close to the speed limits, so none of those roads are dificult. We'll probably go through Zion, then straight up to Panguitch and over. That way, we avoid the Hog's Back. I've been on all of those roads except the short section between the Bryce Canyon turnoff and Panguitch. They're all very manageable 120mph RT roads that we'll take at 85.


To me, the only question mark is the 700-mile trek home in a single day. If that turns out to be too agressive (which, honestly, I think it'll be fine), we'll take an extra day...no big deal.

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As you suggest, we'll pack for a 1-up ride.


Russell and Lisa,


Sounds like a great adventure! I have been following your preparation and am very impressed how you've been training for the trip.


Lisa, speaking of training, when we do our 30 mile kayak races in the ocean, we only do 10 mile training runs. I have no doubt that on "race day" you will be fine for the distance.


One suggestion -- a variation of packing 1-up-- why deprive yourself of extras if you have the room? Just pack the "extras" in Lisa's bags and if for some reason you have to leave the bike, you still have what you need on Russel's bike.


Wish it were a bit closer and I'd join ya.

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Great write up Lisa. It is fun to read.


I've done the run up to San Jose several times. I hate I-5. It's too darn hot and too darn straight. That ends up being really uncomfortable and boring. I also hate the fact that my bike comes back plastered in bug snot. I don't know why it is so much worse on I-5 than 101, but the bugs seem much worse on I-5.


101 is a bit longer, but I'll take that over I-5 any time. For you two, getting across LA is makes it more of an issue, but I'd say it is still worth it. 25 is even better than 101. You can pick it up off 198, and it is still easy riding, but more fun and less traffic than 101.


I take it you both have FRS on your bikes? Very cool.


It sounds like you handled even the tough conditions really well. It'll be good to see you two at Torrey. From your reports it sounds like you'll make it just fine, and you guys have plenty of contingency plans in place.

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In reply to:

Lisa, speaking of training, when we do our 30 mile kayak races in the ocean, we only do 10 mile training runs. I have no doubt that on "race day" you will be fine for the distance.


That's my thought. After our 450-mile ride home, I was pretty tired, but I have done 1200 miles in a day and felt about the same. I can't explain it, but I know that it works. I have zero worries about getting to Torrey as long as the weather isn't too bad. As for the return ride...we did Sunday's ride (450 miles) at a fairly brisk pace with few stops. The stops that we did do were pretty short. When I came back from Torrey with the RT group last May, we rode pretty fast (115mph) most of the way between Torrey and I-15. But we stopped for a long time at Cedar Breaks, and we stopped for more than an hour for breakfast, etc. Once we hit the freeway, we ran 85-95 all the way home. That's pretty much the same pace that Lisa and I did. We did about 120miles per leg with the RT group. Lisa and I did several 115-mile legs, but we prefer the 80-100 mile stints.


Overall, I think if we leave early and maintain a steady, but moderate pace with frequent stops, a 700-mile day is well within reach. If not, no big deal.


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I just LOVE reading your ride reports, Lisa! They really tell it all. I feel like I'm there. You should be proud of yourself for being such a truthful person!


I can't tell you if you should or shouldn't ride to Torrey. I've never ridden with you. I only know what you write. I think you are more than equiped to know in your heart and gut what you should do for this Torrey trip. I will be very happy and proud of you for whichever way you decide.


I just loved the shots of you on the bike! Whatever you decide...the weather in Utah is not expected to be warm or dry...so bundle up! I see I may be able to make a snowman in Vail. YIKES. crazy.gif



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It's been fun reading of your ride better quests and the growth you've experienced as a rider.

From your writings, I'd agree that the skills to make Torrey are there - and that would be a great opportunity to ocntinue to grow and help tie all these quests together.

To mangle Nike's slogan - just ride it! smile.gif

Kathy is right - it's your decision, but you'll never know how far you could have gone if you don't take the first step.

Enjoy the ride and destination - however you decide to go.

Michelle Mathéron

Columbus, Ohio


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Angel, You are the Bomb! 450 miles in gale force winds, 80-95 mph. You and Russell don't fool around. I trust you'll make the right decision for yourself regarding Torrey. While your having fun be safe. smile.gif

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Oh, I don't know if they were gale force! But I'll go with that. In fact, if I keep increasing the amount a little bit every time I tell the story, by the time I get to Torrey, I can tell people I rode through an f5 tornado! laugh.giflaugh.gif


Thanks for the support everyone. I really appreciate the words of encouragement and advice.



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In reply to:

I can tell people I rode through an f5 tornado!


I believe you need khaki slacks and a white tank-top to pull that off. (a la Helen Hunt in the ultra-realistic movie, Twister) laugh.giflaugh.gif

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