Another Day, Another Glorious Failure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by DesertPilot, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    I doubt that I know the mountains better. I may just be enjoying my ignorance :D I need to finish the running-in period on the Guzzi befoe I condemn someone to accompanying me as a I pootle along at less than 4500 RPM, taking care to vary the throttle openning, not use excessive brakes, etc. 664 more miles to that first service! I may try a long loop this weekend to get a few hundred miles closer. Or I may just oversleep...
    #21
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  2. Sibhod

    Sibhod Adventurer Supporter

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    All the same, I don't care if the pace is fast or poodle along, I enjoy meeting new inmates and any ride on a motorcycle. The offer stands....
    #22
  3. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Il Grande Pootle ('The Grand Pootle'), Part I

    Running in a new moto would be endless fun were it not for all those tedious restrictions they list in the owner’s manual. For hundreds of miles, you’re supposed to keep the RPMs down, avoid running for long periods at high speed, excessive use of the throttle or brake –- avoid, in short, everything you buy a moto for. You’re also supposed to eat your greens, include plenty of fiber, and brush your teeth and floss regularly. Dull dull dull.

    This regimen condemned me to pootling around on some unambitious ride at a pace guaranteed to drive any potential riding partner mad with boredom. Remembering that old Italian saying, attributed to Machiavelli, “Se la vita ti offre un limone, prepara la limonata,” I decided on a ride for which pootling would be a virtue: Highway 1 down to Big Sur. It’s the very poster child for ‘scenic’ – so scenic that the road is guaranteed to be filled with swarms of sightseeers, tediums of minivans, and lethargies of RVs (these are the appropriate terms of venery) , forcing one to keep the RPMs down, avoid running for long periods at high speed, excessive use of the throttle or brake, varying the engine speed, and doing all the things they tell you to do in the running-in instructions. As an additional benefit, it’s long. And did I mention it’s the very poster child for ‘scenic’ ?

    Big Sur is more than just a destination, it’[s a cliche. As such, iIt demands certain traditions. One of mine is stopping at the hang gliding site at Marina Beach. Note the windsock… pointing in exactly the wrong direction, darn it. It’s been decades since I flew there, and there are many sites I like better, but it’s the place I learned how to alnd crosswind… very quickly… to avoid landing on top of a marine and his girlfriend who’d chosen my intended LZ to lay out their beach towel. But you don't need to hear the rest of that story :D

    IMG_2727.x25r60.jpg

    Every route begins with its traditonal fuel stop. For Highway 1 south, it’s the ‘that-Chevron-you-know-which-Chevron-I-mean’ near Carmel. Thousands of rides must start from this station every month. Oddly enough, there were only two other motos there, and they nipped off before I could grab my camera.

    IMG_2731.x25r60.jpg

    It’s impossible to ride Highway 1 south after a long absence without have to stop every few miles to take another picture. This reduced my already slow pace to a crawl. And this is one of the boring stretches.

    IMG_2737.a018x28r60.jpg

    It’s also impossible to Highway 1 south under any conditions without thinking, “Must photograph bridge! Must photograph bridge!” I gave in at Rocky Creek, weak-willed wuss that I am. In my defence, note that I resisted the temptation to do the Bixby Creek Bridge -- background to roughly a zillion car commercials –- again. I volunteered to take a photograph for a young Indian family on their first drive down the coast and they took this photo for me in return. Their very obvious joy and enthusiasm still brings a smile to my face. And little did they know that the best bits lay ahead.

    IMG_2743.x25r60.jpg

    A mandatory stop for airship enthusiasts is the vicinty of Point Sur, where the USS Macon, a naval reconnaisance zeppelin and flying aircraft carrier, went down in 1935. Fortunately, almost all the crew were saved, but the ship’s remains are still out there. There’s a neat little naval installation on that almost-island I keep promising myself I take the tour of… someday…

    IMG_2747.x25r60.jpg

    Another stop for a photo op. At least it doesn’t include a bridge :D Yes, it does look like there’s a road up there. Yes, it must be an incredible ride. And no, I’m never going to find it.

    IMG_2756.x25r60.jpg

    (continued...)
    #23
  4. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Il Grande Pootle ('The Grand Pootle'), Part II

    There was quite the inversion layer today, with three distinct levels of fog. I could have looked at it for hours… but I took this photograph so that you won’t have to :D

    IMG_2764.x25r60.jpg

    Another aviation-related stop to check out the hang glider landing area across from the Plasket Creek Rnager Station. No one was flying today, but it was still gorgeous.

    IMG_2769.x25r60.jpg

    In accordance wth tradition, I turned around just short of Gordo, near the scene of one of my more remarkable failures many years ago (http://paulgazis.com/Borderlands/Borderlands.htm). I still have mixed feeling about that road. Like all to many things in life, the beginning look tempting, doesn’t it? I was tempted to give it a go for old times sake, and see if I could ride up to the old crash site. But memory of the hike down back in 1990, common sense, and keen appreciation of my very profound lomitations as a rider, prevailed.

    IMG_2771.x25r60.jpg

    The warning posted by the entrance may not be entirely unjustified..

    IMG_2775.x25r60.jpg

    Since I’d taken several zillion pictures on the way down –- many of which did not inolve bridges –- I felt no need to take any on the way back. Instead, I enjoyed the ride, while taking advantage of the swarms of sightseeers, tediums of minivans, and lethargies of RVs to keep the RPMs down, avoid running for long periods at high speed, excessive use of the throttle or brake, varying the engine speed, etc. I wasn't the only one having fun. A Morgan three-wheeler (!!!) passed heading the other way near Andrew Molera State Park. By the time I reached Pescadero, the onset of some very substantial fog (not pictured!) put paid to any attempt at photography along the coast, but this cleared when I turned inland. I stopped at STP enjoy the One True Soft Drink Of Which All Others Are But Imperfect limitations.

    IMG_2777.x25r60.jpg

    And in keeping with the ’It’s Italian’ theme, this report’s Mandatory Photograph oF Food is some very good fresh-made ravioli at one of my favorite cafe. The Scotch ale after I got home was good too :D

    IMG_2780.x25r60.jpg

    Thats was it for the day. 350 miles of pootling. I now have 550 miles on the bike, with 350 more miles of running in to go...
    #24
  5. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    The Perils of Overthinking It, Part I

    I needed to pick up another 300 miles at low RPM and an easy pace to finish running in the Guzzi. The Highway 25/Bitterwater/Carmel Valley Road loop can be an enjoyable 300 miles, even at low RPM and an easy pace. Surely this was a perfect match. What could go wrong?

    The problem lay with that ‘low RPM and an easy pace’ bit. This demanded an early start. This might have been fine, were it not for the fog. And the cold. Which the thermometer on the instrument display made it harder to ignore. One has to wonder about the people who include thermometers on instrument displays. Surely they are not our friends :D By the time I reached Hollister, I was ready to pack it in . The only consolation was that I hadn’t invited anyone to join me on what was turning into an even more magnificent failure than my norm. The plan was to stop at the Starbucks (Stopbucks?), warm up, then turn around and scamper back home. It was so foggy I overshot the end of town and ended up at the Last Gas Station On Earth in Tres Pinos. “I’ll top off the tank, warm up here, then I’ll scamper. But… hmmm… is that a trace of sunlight ahead?

    Indeed it was

    fig01_IMG_2788.x20r60.jpg

    So much for that bit about turning back! I pressed on, the day continued to clear, and by the time I reached the Traditional Place I Always Stop, I was feeling quite smug.

    fig02_IMG_2789.x20r60.jpg

    Highway 25, a.k.a the Airline Highway, may be one of the ultimate minimal demands maximum scenery routes. Yes, you could blast along at close to the speed of sound on something like an R1, but that seems rather silly when you have landscape like this to enjoy. It never ceases to amaze me that you can find somthing like this just an hour and a half from the city – or 9 minutes if you’re blasting along at close to the speed of sound on something like an R1

    fig03_IMG_2790.x20r60.jpg

    I always head down to Bitterwater and to pick up the road to Kibg City because who can resist a name like Bitterwater? The climb up the east side was beautiful, winding past hills covered with the green of winter. Then I reached the crest and spotted this on the west side.

    fig04_IMG_2796.x20r60.jpg

    More fog and cold. Ptui. Yes, it was majestic, beautiful, and all that, but my distant ancestors did n't move to California to do fog and cold! Well, perhaps they did – you never can tell with distant ancestors – but that was their problem, not mine. It was scamper time! Back I turned. This route was much warmer. And don’t you agree that if you had to noodle along at low RPM and an easy pace while running in a new bike, this would be the perfect place to do it?

    fig05_IMG_2799.x20r60..jpg

    Maintenance on these roads during rainy season can be a hit or miss proposition. This particular slide has been around for at least a year.

    fig06_IMG_2803.x20r60.jpg

    Admit it, if you’d been on WR250, you’d have been tempted :D

    fig07_IMG_2807.x20r60.jpg

    And in case you were wondering what was on the other side.

    fig08_IMG_2808.x20r60.jpg

    And no, I did this on foot, not on the Guzzi. There are limits even to my foolishness.

    fig09_IMG_2810.x20r60.jpg

    continued...
    #25
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  6. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    The Perils of Overthinking It, Part II

    Since I had no desire to putz along the right hand lane of the freeway now that traffic was out, I bailed at Gilroy and took the Watsonville Road/various-roads- whose-names-I forget/Uvas/Hicks route home. This is one of those sweeping-turns-through-beautiful-countryside deals where you never quite manage to stop and take a pic-ure. Unless you take the same wrong turn you always end up taking while ong this route. That must be three times in a row for me by now?

    fig10_IMG_2813.x20r60..jpg

    But you have to admit, as wrong turns go, this one has a lot going for it. In case you’re wondering, it’s dead end a mile past this point.

    fig11_IMG_2811.x20r60.jpg

    That was pretty much it for the day's adventures. A few more miles brought me back to a cafe where I stopped for lunch (not pictured), then pressed on for home. I finished up after 280 miles with 20 miles left to go before that first service. I figure 20 miles of grocery shopping tomorrow should just about do it...
    #26
  7. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    Nice write ups! :thumbup

    Haven't drank a soda in over ten years now; but, next time out west I'll trust a Moxie.

    Guess there is not a logical scenario for a V85TT and an Africa Twin. Or, could there be one? I would role the V85TT as a durable road bike for long mile days. Coming from a Tiger 800, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. I still have eyes for an R12000/1250RS to stable with the AT.
    #27
  8. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    I took my V85 on its first gravel run yesterday and it is quite different to the Africa Twin, in my view.

    I previously owned a 2016 Africa Twin, DCT version which I also modified with rear Ohlins suspension. The AT is more sure footed in the gravel compared to the V85, it is a lot to do with gearing ratio's, engine and geometry. The AT has a lot of engine breaking which helps keep the rear connected. The V85 does not, not as much as the AT anyway by any stretch of the imagination.

    The geometry of the two bikes is different. The AT is more dirt/off road oriented, the V85 is really a road touring bike with some gravel capability.

    The V85 is OK on gravel, I found I just have to keep my speeds down a bit more, use the rear break more than I am used to and sit as forward as possible. First gear on the V85 is too tall for any serious slow gravel/off road work.
    #28
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  9. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    Thanks @MrKiwi for the comments. From other threads, I am aware you recently sold your AT and bought the V85 TT and this provides validity. I really don't want another adventure bike, but 700lb bikes with 4 inches of suspension travel are not what I would want anymore. So, I keep monitoring because there is time.
    #29
  10. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    I was in the same situation. At 46,000 miles, the Tiger was reaching the replace-it-or-keep-it-forever stage, but the AT seemed like almost the same thing. Why not just keep the Tiger forever or get a new one so I could continue to delight in the Triumph triple's ability to set every small urban toy dog in a 3 mile radius yapping hysterically? It was also clear I wasn't going to be doing the full-on Baja/Dakar/Mars-Rover-Hey-A-Man-Can-Dream thing. Instead of a bike someone else could ride around the world, I wanted a bike that could go anywhere I might plausibly want to go. It also seemed like time for something completely different.

    It's stil too soon to know about the 'go anywhere I might plausibly want to go' bit, but I'd say we've got 'something completely different' nailed :D
    #30
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  11. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    I'd be interested once you ride a bit of gravel on it.

    In terms of 'might plausibly want to go' I think the V85 is almost there. Especially with the right tires on it. It's only a matter of speed. I just go slower on the goose compared to the AT. But slow is good. I can spend time smelling the roses along the way.
    #31
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  12. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    The plan is to recreate that avatar picture... if I can remember where on that (very easy) bit of gravel I took it.
    #32
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  13. OtterChaos

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

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    I have yet to get a good setup for my controls when standing up riding on gravel/dirt. I would like the clutch lever to be closer to the handlebar but I've adjusted it as close as it allows and it still seems a reach. I removed the rubbers from the footpegs but would like a bigger platform to stand on so I may check into some pivot pegs (I hear the Stelvio ones will fit on the V85). I need more time to get used to using the rear brake pedal while standing up, during my Death Valley trip I mostly just sat down when I needed to slow down but that isn't a good or quick solution if I need to brake quickly.
    #33
  14. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Potholes and Patches, Part I

    Surely we all remember Potholes and Patches (P&P) : that motorcycle fantasy role playing game from the 70s . Players could chose from a variety of character types – sport bike, enduro, supetmoto, touring, cruisser, or dirt – and go on adventures in search of experience and treasure. Along the way, they might face monsters such as Minvans, RVs, Tailgaters, the dread People Who Drive 10 MPH Below The Speed Limit In The Left-Hand Lane, as well as… Potholes and Patches.

    Well, maybe not.

    Be this as it may, imperfect road surfaces were the goal of today’s expedition. The plan was to take the Guzzi, newly freed from the Tedium Of Low RPM after its first service, down the Panoche/New Idria route as far as the ‘End of County Maintained Road. If You Go Any Farther, They’ll Never Even Find Your Bones’ sign I’d so foolishly ignored several years ago in a story that will never be told. This was going to be the moment of truth – the big test that determined if the decision to trade the Tiger for the V85 had been a) an act of brilliance, b) a dismal mistake, or c) none of the above.

    The Panoche road starts out innocently enough. This might be the very poster child for ‘long straight road into the middle of nowhere’.

    fig01_IMG_2819.x20r60.jpg

    A dozen miles in, it picks up some turns, altitude, and would be magnificent fun on a sportbike were it not for the way the road surface begins to deteriorate. When I took the Ducati here last fall, I had to stop at this turnoff to replace my kidneys. The Guzzi handed the challenge in much the way Roman legions handled the Gauls. It may not have been quite as polished as the Tiger - nothing is as polished as a Tiger – but it came, it saw, and it conquered. I’d count this as a win

    fig02_IMG_2828.x20r60.jpg

    ...and at this pointm, the route has only begun...

    fig03_IMG_2829.x20r60.jpg

    'Road leading into what appears to be the middle of nowhere’ is a recurring theme on the New Idria route. This time of year, with everything covered in a fleeting shade of green, it can be quite beautiful. This is actually one of the smoother stretches of road, with traces of the original surface visible between the patches. Other stretches have more ‘character’.

    fig04_IMG_2823.x20r60.jpg

    More green – a memory to treasure during the long brown months to come. And yes, someone does seem to have a thing about arrows

    fig05_IMG_2833.x20r60.jpg

    I stopped at the Griswold Day Use Area (not shown yet) because I’d been too impatient to wait for the restroom at the gas station Surely the use to which I put its facility constitutes a form of ‘day use’ :D Then I pressed onward. On the Ducati, I had to call it quits before I got through the first rage of hills because I was down to half a tank of fuel. With the Guzzi’s vastly greater range (250 miles? 300? 3 million?) it was an easy matter to reach… more road apparently leading to nowhere.

    fig06_IMG_2840.x20r60.jpg
    continued…
    #34
  15. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Potholes and Patches, Part II

    This last dozen or so miles of road run past fields where ranchers were grazing cattle that quite obviously didn’t see many motos – more in that later – to a range of hills. From there, it winds south toward its rendezvous with the ‘You Really Might Want To Think About Turning Around Sign’, getting more rustic with every passing mile.

    fig07_IMG_2845.x20r60.jpg

    I’d intended to push on all the way to the sign, but I turned around a mile or two earlier at what may well be the World’s Easiest Water Crossing because I didn’t want to get my bike too dirty. It was one of those cost-benefit-analysis things – would the fun of completing an entirely senseless mission today outweigh the tedium of having to hose off the front of the crankcase tomorrow? A Roman legionnaire would have said yes. I’d never have made it as a Roman legionnaire.

    fig08_IMG_2843.x20r60.jpg

    That stretch where the road winds through that final range of hills seems worthy of at least one photograph, so I stopped to take one on the way back. Why did anyone bother to build roads here, you may ask? This was all part of the Great California Mercury Rush – the less glamorous but somewhat longer lived (except for the miners) companion to the Great California Gold Rush. The mines have been closed for more than a generation, but some of the the roads remain.

    fig09_IMG_2847.x20r60.jpg

    As I noted earlier, the way to and from the hills runs past fields where ranchers were grazing some very skittish livestock. It’s tough to make a living in that part of the country, and I didn’t want to make it any tougher, so I ended up creeping past as quietly and smoothly as I could so as not to spook any cattle. This took some care. Should I have bothered? Was it worth the effort? I’ll leave this for others to judge, but it’s what members of my tribe do.

    I stopped at Griswold on the way out to have some biscotti – this is an Italian bike, after all – and marvel at all the green. I only ever see this place when its brown, after a fire, or both. These fleeting weeks of spring are different, and given that I only ride this route an average of once every five years, it may be some time before I see the it this color again.

    fig10_IMG_2850.x20r60.jpg

    From there it was a relaxing run back to Tres Pinos… or a memorable rattle over potholes and patches to Tres Pinos, as the case may be… then back home to enjoy a glass of wine (not pictured). As expdtiions go, this was hardly an epic. No new lands were explored, no records were set, and I turned back before I reached my planned destination. But that was not its goal. The goal was to discover if the V85 could do the kind of, "I wonder where this road goes oops, maybe this wasn't such a great idea," expeditions members of my tribe enjoy -- this may be why it's such a small tribe -- and the answer seems to be yes.
    #35
  16. Shekinahglori

    Shekinahglori Tired of winter

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    As the rider of an '05 wee Strom, I am definitely a member of that tribe.
    #36
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  17. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    It was those pesky Wee that were responsible for all this. Some years ago, someone on the Stromtroopers froum posted, "On my sport bike, there was always a little voice in my head, trying to get me in trouble, whispering 'Faster!'. Now this voice is whispering, 'I wonder where that road goes?'"

    I thought, "That's it! That's why I've been riding all these years! Why did it take me three whole decades to figure this out?" That very same month, I set out to replace my SV650 with a Wee Strom... and ended up with the Tiger instead, because what's the point in doing what you planned when you have a chance to do something completely different?

    Of course, it could be argued that replacing the Triumph with a Moto Guzzi 50,000 miles later might be carrying this 'something completely different' thing a bit too far, but trends like these may be like eating potato chips -- once you start, it's hard to stop at just one :D
    #37
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  18. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    I've gone from total road sports touring to touring to semi adventure touring to dirt oriented adventure touring (the Africa Twin is more capable off road than the Triumphs which have never been designed to withstand proper off road riding) and now back to the more road oriented touring with the V85.

    But damn those potato chips, never put an open bag in front of me!
    #38
  19. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    I use potato chips as an alterative to adjusting preload. More potato chips = the equvalent of less preload. Fewer potato chips = the equivalent of more preload. Though I must admit my PCPE (potato chip pfreload equivalent) may have crept upward over the years...
    #39
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  20. A.T.

    A.T. Been here awhile

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    I really like the color combo on that bike. Great pics and I also enjoyed the clever write-up. Thanks for sharing!
    #40