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For the Love of the Ride


AdventurePoser

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AdventurePoser

Sometimes we ride for a destination. Perhaps it’s for a great meal, or to spend time in the company of like-minded people. Maybe new scenery is on the wish list, or we just need a mental health day! But sometimes we ride just for the sheer joy of going. Of transporting ourselves quickly, smoothly and easily down the road, eager for the adventure that lies around the next bend…

 

And so it was with me on Saturday. Right now, the temps have been staying in the mid seventies with fairly gentle northerly winds. While the high pressure ridge over the Great Basin doesn’t help our drought, it creates fantastic riding opportunities.

Hitting the starter button at 0715, my plan was to have no plan, other than getting out of the LA basin quickly, which I did. Soon I was speeding north on I-5. Few freeway rides can be classified as beautiful, but today, even the I-5 was nice. Crystal blue skies delineated the fire-scarred hill sides where new growth was already bursting forth. I marveled at natures powers of regeneration, but I was momentarily saddened by the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of old-growth oak. I won’t see the hillsides covered with these majestic trees again in my life time!

 

Holding the RT at a steady 75 mph, I crested Tejon pass and began an ear-plugging descent onto the floor of California’s great valley. Now the temps started to drop and soon the seventies were replaced with the forties! Fortunately, my new Olympia AST was equal to the task. I stayed reasonably cozy as I pointed the R12 west on an arrow-straight path to Maricopa and breakfast.

 

Now, if you are hungry, and you just happen to find yourself in Maricopa, CA you are in luck, because said town is the home of “Tina’s Café.” Tina’s is a pretty uninspiring looking café on a street that’s seen its share of hard times, but oh, the food! As I walked in, Tina greeted me with a hearty, “God Bless You,” and a cup of coffee that mysteriously appeared on my table without warning! Soon, eggs, bacon,toast, and hash browns (extra crispy if you will) materialized almost immediately, courtesy of her son, the chef. As I finished my food, Tina came over to ask me where I was heading. I told her I didn’t know. She said, “Well, my sister lives in Salinas. Why don’t you go there and head down the coast when you are done? I haven’t been on the coast in ten years, but I bet it’s beautiful.” I allowed that it was indeed fabulous, and that I’d give a hearty wave to Tina’s sis as I blazed north…

 

Three cups of Tina’s coffee sufficiently charged my batteries, so north I went, pushing through a milky chilly haze that engulfed the valley. I was glad there was no fog, but I wished it was a bit warmer! Wanting to stretch my legs and walk a bit, as I entered McKittrick, I down shifted and came to a stop in front of the hotel. If you haven’t been in the McKittrick Hotel, you should go in and check out the penny bar. A labor of love, the proprietor placed countless pennies all over the walls, bar, etc. Pretty cool! The hotel is also known for its rib eye steak dinner. Oil workers come from all around to eat lunch here, especially on Thursdays, when the chef grills monster steaks. This place is packed on Thursdays, especially when you consider there is nothing out here but oil rigs.

 

While stretching outside the hotel a very old gentleman walked up and said, “Howdy young feller. That’s quite a motorcycle ya got there.” With a smile I agreed with him that it is a great machine. He said, “You know, the Germans could have won the war if it weren’t for some lucky breaks on our side.” He continued, “They also had the best technology, but they didn’t have the resolve we did.”

He seemed to stand a bit taller, and there was a gleam in his eye when he said this. I asked, “Were you there?” He said, “I was-fought all the way across Europe.” I asked him if I could shake his hand. He smiled and held out a quivering hand that still had some strength. After we said our goodbyes I ducked into the restaurant and asked the cashier if I could pick up his check. “Why that’s might nice of you, but ol’ Joe hasn’t paid for a meal in years!” Well, at least I tried!

 

I delve deeper into the oil fields. I really enjoy riding here. It’s not pretty at all-just low, burnt brown hills covered with oil machinery and dirt roads, but there is something about it. Perhaps I feel the spirit of my cousin Lonny when I ride up CA 33. He was an oil field worker up here his entire life until a melanoma on his ankle spread and ended his life at 34 years. I think of him often as I continue north.

 

The scenery begins to change imperceptibly. The hills become more jagged. The oil fields are replaced by farm fields, and before I realize it, I am in Coalinga. At a gas stop I meet up with several BMW riders from the Bay area who are making a two day ride down to Ojai. After pleasantries, we ride off, each of us content to follow our own motorcycling dreams.

 

I turn onto CA 198 westbound. This is a pretty good stretch of road with more than a few technical spots to keep a rider engaged. Twisties galore, and the RT sings happily as I snick through the gears, just content to be going, not going some PLACE. Soon I descend into the radar trap also known as King City. Minding my Ps and Qs, I decelerate to the posted speed limits. There appears to be some kind of law enforcement feeding frenzy going on, with city, sheriff’s office, and CHP handing tickets out like candy. My plan definitely did not include a citation, so low and slow to US 101!

 

Letting my GPS do the work, it found a “shortcut” through the town of Spreckels (pop.60) to CA 68, which leads me to Monterey. Monterey is a gorgeous town, hugging a huge bay for miles. It is a premier destination for riders, classic car buffs, and other fans of motorized travel. Fortunately, no special events going on today, so I am able to continue south onto CA 1 with a minimum of fuss.

 

The Big Sur highway can be heaven or hell. Heaven if there is no RV/charter bus traffic, hell if there is. Today it was heaven. Pure, unadulterated motorcycle bliss. The big RT and I danced through miles of twisties with each apex delivering a 500’ drop down into the bluest Pacific Ocean I’ve seen. Occasionally I’d wave at another biker coming my way, but traffic was as light as I’ve ever seen it. Mental note: ride next Super Bowl weekend as well!

 

All too soon, the majestic cliffs of the Big Sur turn to coastal plain, and the curves straighten out. I decided to stop at the elephant seal viewing area near Hearst Castle, San Simeon. What a spectacle! Hundred of bull elephant seals were on the beach hoping to claim a female. If you’ve not seen one of these animals, come to CA and check them out. Visualize a gigantic seal, maybe 1-2 tons, belching fish and smelling like the biggest wet dog you’ve ever owned. That’s an elephant seal. :eek:

 

As I headed south, the sun began to sink in the western Pacific, throwing a gorgeous pink haze across the horizon. The perfect end, to a perfect riding day, I thought, as I found my motel room for the evening. Sometimes the ride is what it is. And for me, today, the ride was everything I wanted!

 

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AdventurePoser

Thanks, Wade. It was probably one of the best rides I've had in a long time. Very spontaneous-I did not even bring a camera...

 

Cheers,

Steve

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Thanks, Wade. It was probably one of the best rides I've had in a long time. Very spontaneous-I did not even bring a camera...

 

Cheers,

Steve

 

Yeah, we noticed.

 

Good ride, thanks!

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Steve,

Your tale reminds me of that day ride you lead with a stop at "Tina's" en route the long way to Cambria for tasty BBQ. Indeed, the hills are alive and turning green (even if mostly field grass which will quickly pale in the heat of late Springtime sun). Thanks for taking us along...

 

Jeff

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AdventurePoser

Definitely old school and so much better if I could have taken about three days off mid week to do it! :dopeslap:

 

Maybe in six years...

 

Steve

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Nice Ride Tale Steve, you are often times at your best when there is no plan except to ride and then finish your day where ever you stop. Often times Lynda and I, while on vacation, will head in a direction and see what ever there is that catches our eyes and when we feel we have gone far enough, that is where we set up camp or get a hotel.

Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

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AdventurePoser
No photos. It didn't happen. :grin:

 

Hmmm...maybe you are right, and I imagined the entire thing in a dream. If it was, it was the best motorcycle dreams I've ever had!

 

Next time, I'll make sure I bring a camera. My little Canon 720IS has a problem in that the batts will not hold a charge. I've tried different batteries and chargers, but I am lucky to get 25-50 shots...

 

Go figure...

 

Steve in So Cal

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Lithium too?

I had that problem and Lithium fixed it.

Then it reverted to short life again.

Was still under extended warranty and sent back where they "fixed" what the problem was.

Now I get hundreds of photos again w/lithium.

Good luck.

PS, you may just have been sleep riding. :grin:

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It sounds like there is a problem with the batteries draining as a result of a loose wire os something inside that does not turn off when it suppose to.

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AdventurePoser

Hey Paul,

 

Yeah, I am inclined to believe there is a short in the camera. This is the only Canon digital camera I have owned that does not have great battery life.

 

Ride safe,

 

Steve

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