Tuesday, November 10, 2009

California 09 - Day six

Me "Ya know, it's really not too bad out there."
Ed "Looks cold."
Me "Nah, it looks worse than it is."

I am a bit optimistic when I've had a good night's sleep, I will admit that. I'd woken up before the alarm feeling rested for once. A quick shower and I was prowling the parking lot in a pair of shorts. Pure momentum on my part as a second trip outdoors revealed a slightly less warm reality. Ok, so it was 35 degrees, at least the winds were gone.

At some point during the very cold and windy night, this bike arrived. Made us laugh imagining the gritty, aged rider in the thin leather jacket he'd been riding in since 1978.

The night prior, our route planning amounted to checking to see if the northern routes through Yosemite were open. We'd hoped to ride north, then west eventually separating with Ed heading back to LA and me to San Francisco. But, since all of those routes were closed due to snow, it was back down 395 and then west on 178 for me and south on 14 for Ed.
Standing in the parking lot, considering the temps for the morning, it was Ed that convinced me to do some parking lot mods and get my Gerbings some reliable power.
Thanks! Oh, the day was so much better with a little heat in my jacket.
While riding south from Lone Pines, we had a chance to indulge our weakness for silly roadside attractions.
Nitro girl score!

Funny little playground out back and two very oversized kids

A few miles down the road and it was time for a goodbyes. Once again, a great ride with a good friend. No effort, no drama just good moto fun. Thanks Ed
Two days of riding had passed quickly, as they always do and I was back on my own.
Riding west on 178, the winds abated, my heated liner heating, I found my pace moving back into the fun zone. I should have stopped to take this picture just a bit further down the road where the Joshua trees completely covered the desert.

They are remarkable in person...
The other remarkable part of this day is how many really great roads I managed to ride. 178 was yet another California roller coaster, elevation changes, switch backs, sweepers...seriously, it's as though the roads were designed by a motorcyclist.

There are not many pictures from the rest of my last day riding. As I left the mountains of behind me and rode into Bakersfield, it looked as though I'd need the slab to make time...6 pm was looming and I had a fair amount of ground to cover. After a quick shopping to secure some fresh boxers and socks, I forged ahead on 99 to 46 to 5. Ugh. The winds found me again as I fought my way north. By mid-day it was starting to feel like the fun was over. My mind drifted back to work and the things I needed to get done and the list of projects unfinished at home... no, no, no, this was not how I wanted to spend my last afternoon on the bike. Remembering that my flight was now less than 24 hours away, I decided to pull off at the next exit and check into my flight. Standing in a wind blown parking lot, laptop open on the seat of the bike, I made the decision to have a little more fun before the day came to an end. Turns out, I had picked exactly the right exit. 198 looked like a good ride towards Coalinga and I could work a nice route from there through Hollister, saving me from more interstate highway pain. I would wind up riding a bit of 25 that I'd ridden earlier in the week but it was a dandy bit of asphalt the first time so no worries there. I just needed to keep the pace up and I felt sure I could make it to Dubbelju by 6.
Oh, am I glad I made the decision to take that route. Riding away from 5 on 198, the winds settled down, the sun shone and I rode. Hard and fast with little traffic, I made time to Coalinga and had a fantastic time doing it. At this point in the ride report, I am out of adjectives to describe the roads. I will simply say the trip from 5 to Hollister was better than I had hoped for. Arriving at the edge of town, I stopped for this pic and then peeked around the downtown area.

Time growing short, I couldn't spend any time playing tourist. Instead, I bought some gas and headed to San Francisco. The Bay Bridge was under repair so naturally, I'd be headed into the city during rush hour with an extra bit o' joy. Good thing lane splitting is so much fun. I pulled into Dubbelju with exactly 8 minutes to spare.

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