Setting the stage... 1) I spent 5 years in Davis as an undergraduate. Later, I spent another 2 years in nearby Sacramento, with plenty of evening trips to Davis to drink with old friends. After that, I moved into a shared house in Davis. We called ourselves the Retarded Bees ("Dude, we're like some sort of sick and broken hive mind!") I spent a lot of time in this weird little town, made a lot of great friends, and drank an unholy amount of booze. I left a bit of my soul in this place, and going back is always a weird mix of nostalgia and excitement for the new. 2) Somewhere out near Davis is the infamous Graffiti Bridge, a 1923 overhead tie span bridge (one of 3 in California, I'm told). It's been entirely covered in layers and layers of graffiti, courtesy of Davis undergrads, highschool students, locals memorializing dead people, love and those in the doghouse, and just about anyone who needs a place to splash some paint, smoke a spliff and hide out from the Man for a while. I've never seen it, despite having spent 5 years in the area and knowing about it for 10. A monstrous failure for anyone into weird and obscure places. It was time to pay penance. 3) My sweety and I recently moved into our first shared house (after 5 years together! ), and I desperately needed to blow off some steam. So when word came that the Retarded Bees were getting back together for one last blow-out as another Bee flew the hive, my only thought was to hope and pray for good weather. I told my sweety I'd be heading out for a bit of a ride to see old friends and wouldn't be back that night, greased my chain and hit the road. Well, almost. There were some morning errands before that, including a trip to OSH to try and find a shower curtain rod after yours truly made a boo-boo and utterly destroyed the old one, but by 4:30 or so on a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon I finally cranked up the bike and hit the road. Here's the offending beast, warming up under the blooming plum tree out front, a 2005 Vulcan 500. My original plan had been to ride Highway 4 our to Antioch and then Highway 113 through the delta and over the fields to the Graffiti Bridge, but things started late and I had friends and booze waiting for me. I rode the slab instead. The first 30 miles or so were pretty dull (except for a spectacular view of Mt. Diablo coming down the Highway 24 grade, but I wasn't about to take a pic at those speeds). A bit after Martinez I hopped off the freeway and rode the frontage road. If you're ever stuck riding Highway 680, I highly recommend it. The highway in general skirts the marsh, first along the mothball fleet in Suisun Bay, and then further in to the Delta. Shortly after the bay crossing, the frontage road parallels the highway and you can get a spectacular view of the marshes. Ducks, egrets, jack rabbits, rednecks, geese, crows, ravens, rusting trucks, deer, raccoons, and all sorts of other wildlife inhabit the endless reeds cut by sinuous, brackish channels. It's also a 50 MPH speed limit. While the 500 will do 80, it buzzes like a Hitachi past about 76 or so- better to be on the frontage road and break the speed limit than on the highway and be passed by idiots. Also, fewer cops. The frontage road ended, and blah blah, blah, boring straight bit of 680, and then I hit Highway 80 and things got exciting. This is the same Highway 80 that goes from San Francisco, CA, to Ocean City, MD. It's called Highway 80 because that's the minimum speed, and boy howdy was it busy! The only nice bit were the hills between Fairfield and Vacaville- lush, green, a bit craggy, like Scotland in the summer, but with cherry trees along the roads, all in crazy bloom in a wild attempt to mate with any and all other cherry trees doing the same thing. There's even a road called Cherry Glen Road that I really need to go investigate now. Just gorgeous. My little bike was being blown all over the place by passing semis and idiots in jacked up Fords. For a bit, I seriously regretted not taking 113, but then the light began to fade and I knew I'd made the right call. 113 in the dark is unlight, through farmland, rolling hills and straight as a ruler. No turns to speak of, but full of nasty hillocks that limit visibility to about 60 yards. Death or boredom, take your pick. You might get both. Anyhow, 80 mostly stunk, and I lost the light about Dixon (10 minutes before Davis) so I had to stop and take my shades off and screw around with frontage roads before I got back on the slab, but finally got there. Boom, welcome, people, food (food! Oh, god, food! I was starving!) and booze. I got reacquainted with a number of good friends, including my old friend Cheap Whiskey, talked a lot of smack, lit a fire out back (I dimly recall chanting "whiskey! Whiskey! Whiskey!" in a voice wrecked from diesel fumes), caught up on the latest gossip from back home and finally passed out in the wee hours between midnight and when normal people get up. I left a bit of soul in the place, and it's always wonderful go back and visit it. Day two in a bit.