When the prospect of a winter trip became a possibility, I set a few goals. I wanted to see the Pacific again. I hadn't seen it since I was 11. And of course I wanted to ride the Pacific Coast Highway. An Iron Butt ride (SS2000) was almost a necessity just to get to the west coast in the limited time available but what I really wanted was to earn a Bun Burner Gold. Don't ask me why. I wanted to meet and ride with my friends, Mike & Dan in California and weather and time permitting Tim and the Moto News Ready Go gang in Washington and maybe even do the polar bear ride in Vancouver New Year's Day. It would also be nice to work in a visit with Aunt Peachie who lives in The Sierras close to the Nevada border but I figured everything at that altitude would be impassable on two wheels. The Tigress (my 2006 Honda 919) was ready and eager to stretch her legs. Brake pads, oil change, rear tire and one wheel bearing were all she needed. One by one I scratched the little mods I planned off the list as the holiday season hit at the shop. There was no time. I spent Christmas day packing the bike - no small feat but everything fit. Today's the day, December 26th. I pulled out a little after 9am with a couple of stops to make before the gas stop to start the clock. As I passed by a local bike dealer "The Motorcycle Man" I noticed the open sign then and discovered my friend and icon in the local rider community Revon Craig inside at his desk. He happily agreed to be my start witness. What a great way to start the ride! With my sights on a Bun Burner Gold, I hit the road at 11am. From Houston my route took me north to Waco and back down through San Antonio to ensure the 2000+ miles I needed. I made excellent time until construction and holiday traffic stopped me cold south of Waco. I lost precious time but was determined to make it. Rain in San Antonio reminded me why I replaced my old comfortable gloves. I refused to take time to unpack the "good" gloves and just turned up the heat. My heated insoles however, were readily accessible in the top case and I plugged them in somewhere in west Texas. After a while though, they were at maximum and losing their effectiveness. I could feel the wires burning my wet fingers but my hands were still cold. I stopped in Deming NM at 5am mountain time to layer up and change gloves. It was 20 degrees and I had been running 75mph for several hours. I was asking myself, is wind chill cumulative or exponential? Didn't matter - it was cold. Then to my chagrin the 24hr gas pump I had meticulously mapped out was off. I took more time to find fuel. At Lordsburg I came to the realization I would not capture the gold this time and took a 3 hour nap at the Econo Lodge. Refreshed and with plenty of time to snag the standard Bun Burner 1500 I pressed on. Arizona was sunny and gorgeous with mid-day temps in the high 50's. I encountered some traffic in Phoenix but then enjoyed a particularly spectacular sunset. I rode well past the 1500 mile mark - like 200 miles past and gassed up in Desert Hot Springs California at literally the last minute. I met up with Mike at a burger joint on the east side of LA. We had a great visit and then he led me through the spaghetti bowl - I could see his tail light in the distance. I had never seen anybody drag knee on a Burgman before! With fatigue setting in, I pulled off and let myself doze off for 10 minutes or so with my head on the tank bag. I had made a wrong turn onto Hwy 99 and didn't realize it until after getting gas in Bakersfield and not finding the I-5 ramp. I had to map a back road route west back to I-5. The adrenalin shot from the anger and frustration I felt just may have given me the energy to complete the ride. I made it to the designated end point in Gustine CA at 7am Pacific time and checked in the Motel 6. I fell asleep while texting Dan, my end of ride witness of my arrival. How do I look? The room was tiny with a large window only a few feet from the raging interstate - BUT - I had ear plugs. Deep slumber ensued. When I awoke I called Dan. He had given me the address of The Junction, an eatery and our rendezvous point about 50 miles away. I didn't snap to what was in store for me when he said, "I'll see you in about 3 hours." And then I found out. He led me through more excruciatingly twisty roads up to the Lick Observatory. Then I followed him home. I must add that up until this day I only thought I knew what a twisty road was. Whoa! After a nice dinner we spent the evening trip planning and enjoying some fine Islay single malt. My next treat was breakfast at Alice's with rider friends Ralph and Regina. The place was full of riders - and It was so refreshing to see so much motorcycle gear in one room. I'm usually the lone ATGATT guy in cruiserville. The food and the company were great. Then Dan and Regina led me to a San Francisco beach and pointed me at the bridge. Thanks again for everything CRASH!