Hi advrider folk...it's been a looong time since I posted anything, so I thought I'd come back and say hi (especially since I've been lurking a bunch lately). But coming back and saying hi with nothing to say is cheesy, so here's a ride report from a dual sport ride I did last July. It was the first overnight trip I took on my Yamaha XT225. Hope you enjoy. PS -- I hope the photos aren't too big. Let me know if so and I'll reduce the sizes. --------------- escaping the bay area. What can I say about escaping the Bay Area other than "then we turned right, then we turned onto this road, then that road?" Apparently, not much, because I had a couple of paragraphs already typed up when I realized that this first section was boring as hell. The redeeming factor of the section was a little detour Jim led us through near Henry W. Coe State Park. We didn't actually go into the park; the roads within this largest state park in Northern California are open to hikers, horses, and bicyclists only. We did skirt the park, however, on Canada Road, a fun little narrow and twisty back road. When we stopped along Canada, I parked the XT next to Gary's BMW R1200GS, prompting the guys to laugh and say "the XT is thinking that's what it'll be when it grows up!". Ah, but it was I who had the last laugh once the pavement ended and the road was steep and dusty.... From Canada Road until our lunch in Gonzales, the theme was definitely "farmland". The first bits of road in San Benito County's Highways 152 and 156 are lined with fields; some barren, some fruitful under the July sun. Signs for roadside stands promised fresh apricots and cherries, and the air smelled of strawberries. For lunch, we stopped at my favorite little place in Gonzales: a Beacon gas station that also happens to house an amazingly good Mexican restaurant. Jim, Gary, and I happily chowed down on fresh burritos while Chris and Peter decided to take the gastonomically safer route to a neighboring Subway. Their loss! It is a personal goal of mine to someday speak enough Spanish to order my burrito in Gonzales. I feel like the world's whitest human walking in there, hearing all these locals musically order and chitchat, and I then I say "chicken burrito, please" like the Midwesterner I am. Sigh. A sign next to the Beacon station proclaims Gonzales to be the "wine capital of Monterey County", and we could see why as we headed off towards our first dirt road of the day. Gloria Road follows acre after acre of vineyards as it heads up into the Gabilan mountain range.