Another Day, Another Glorious Failure

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

  1. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    Mount Umunhum and the Temple of Doom, Part I

    I’d hoped to join another inmate for a group ride, but I became clear I couldn’t make it in time, so I switched to Plan B. It had been some time since I’d ridden the Ducati, so I decided to take it out before it got jealous – this can be a serious concern if there are two Italian bikes in the garage. The goal was Mount Umunhum because 1) it hasn’t become a popular Family Destination yet, so traffic was likely to be minimal, 2) I hadn’t been there for several months, and 3) twisty mountain roads... Ducatis… need we say more?

    The approach along Hicks was idyllically free of minivans early in the morning.

    fig_a1_IMG_2874.jpg

    And I must say, doesn’t this road just scream, “Take the Ducati, you fool!” Good thing I did :D

    fig_a2_IMG_2866.JPG

    Unfortunately, the reservoirs also seemed idyllically free of water.

    fig_a3_IMG_2871.JPG

    This bodes ill for farmers this year. That’s not something I like to see, so I pressed on to the intersection with the Mount Umunhum road. This intersection can be hard to find, but I spotted the Subtle Clue that other less-attentive explorers might have missed.

    fig_a4_IMG_2876.JPG

    This isn’t a fast road, like the good parts of the Angeles Crest Highway, but it's perfect for something like the Scrambler.

    fig_a5_IMG_2882.JPG

    The turns can force you down to first gear, you have to watch for gravel (they aren’t kidding with that sign), and and there may be better places to take that BMW S1000RR, but it's one of the better sightseeing roads.

    fig_a6_IMG_2883.JPG

    Think of it as the Angeles Crest Highway’s baby cousin.

    fig_a7_IMG_2884.JPG

    Even at a ‘ sightseeing’ pace, it didn’t take long to reach the helipad at the top. Today, this was just above the inversion layer, which made for some interesting clouds.

    fig_a8_IMG_2898.JPG

    Now it was time to leave the bike behind ("What? Get off the bike to go for a walk?") and have a look around.

    fig_a9_IMG_2889.JPG

    continued...
    #41
  2. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    Mount Umunhum and the Temple of Doom, Part II

    Mount Umunhum is crowned by the Monolith. Supposedly this was the foundation of an enormous air defense radar built during the 50s, but it looks more like the temple of Mekraton, Dark God of Coolant Leaks.

    fig_b1_IMG_2891.JPG

    The altars below it are stained with ethylene glycol and scarred with marks where innocent radiator hoses were offered in sacrifice.

    fig_b2_IMG_2894.JPG

    Yep, definitely the Temple of Mekraton. What else could it be?

    fig_b3_IMG_2901.JPG

    Sage Defense System’? Ha! That’s what they want you to believe! That 'antenna' is obviously Photoshopped.

    fig_b4_IMG_2903.JPG

    Of course it’s hazardous! It’s dedicated to the Dark God of Coolant Leaks! Who I may well have angered by riding an air-cooled bike today. Hmm...

    fig_b5_IMG_2904.JPG

    Radar station... a likely story! Does this look like a radar station to you?

    fig_b6_IMG_2917.JPG

    And look, the rangers even put up a sign to admit it was the temple of some long-vanished civilization :D

    fig_b7_IMG_2920.JPG

    Well, perhaps it is only an abandoned air defense radar installation from the 60s, but it did make for a good story. And there’s a lot of other neat stuff up here. This may not be the place you’d go for any kind of serious hike, but that was just as well, since I was wearing motorcycle boots.

    fig_b8_IMG_2912.JPG

    That stone circle also demanded some kind of story, but I'd run out of ideas, the road beckoned, and it was time to head back down. I didn’t head straight home, of course. I took a little detour to Almaden Quicksilver Park and back because who can resist a road like this?

    fig_b9_IMG_2930.JPG

    There was a fair bit of riding after that detour, because it was too nice an afternoon to waste – or such a nice afternoon I just had to waste it, if I’m being honest :D – but those were all roads I’d photographed before, so I’ll end this report here, before I start trying to come up with a story for that stone circle...
    #42
  3. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan Supporter

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    Nice thread. I grew up around that area but haven't been back since about 1982. Back then they held D36 enduro's around New Idria. Last one I went to it got snowed out! We rode the area through the snow anyway and had a great time. I'd forgotten about Mt. Umanhum and the like. Lots of nice little roads around the Bay Area. Back in the early 70's we rode dirt bikes in Los Altos Hills! We actually had single track through there. Anyway, thanks for the nice images. I never thought I'd miss the Bay Area but your thread sure brings back the good parts of it.
    #43
  4. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    I envy you that era! I spent those years windsurfing. That was fun, but I'm keenly aware of all the good dirt riding I missed. Dealing with crowds at Hollister... or hauling a trailer for hours to get to some site in the mountains... isn't quite the same. Also, if I'm going to spend hours driving to the mountains, I'm taking the hang glider so I can go flying.

    Still, there are a lot of good roads left to ride around here. And I keep hearing about new ones. In particular, I've only begun to explore what Petaluma has to offer, and more missions are planned to the San Benitos now that I have another bike with the necessary range.
    #44
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  5. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    The Unspoken Coolness Competition

    The weather conspired against any great expeditions this time around. Saturday's forecast looked good for hang gliding, so I loaded up my gear, drove our local flying site, discovered that the wind had defied preditcions and changed direction to blow downhill, shutting us down, turned around, drove home, put my gear away, and wheeled out the Guzzi hours too late for anything more than ride to the coast and back. Sunday was just plain weird, with forecast winds of ‘blow you off the bike’ strength that canceled my plans for anything ambitious, then cleverly failed to show up, leaving me.. you guessed it... riding to the coast and back. Again.

    Still, one must make the best of these things, and I picked Alpine Road, which has many things to make the best of, such as views (see below)

    fig01_IMG_2936.jpg

    and turns (see below)

    fig02_IMG_2938.JPG

    I also took this opportunity to fiddle with windshields because members of my species are genetically coded to fiddle with windshields. If I was on an interstellar spacecraft, hurting through the airless void between the stars, a day would pass, maybe two, then I’d turn to my fellow crew, say, “Do you mind if I fiddle with this?” and start unbolting the windows while they grabbed for their spacesuits. Which may be why I never get invted to travel on interstellar spacecraft. But I digress.

    I usually conclude these rides at The Place People Stop To Get A Soda And Check Out Everyone Else's Machines because I wanted to get a soda. And check out everyone else’s machines. One of the advantages of stopping at a place like that with an unusual bike is your chance to enter the Unspoken Coolness Competition. We all know how that works. You switch off the engine, put the sidestand down (it’s important to remember this step!), swing your leg off the bike, and stroll over to the store affecting a casual nonchalance while others Notice What You’re Riding. Then you come back, soda in hand, spot a rider or two Waiting To Ask Questions, and pretend that you aren’t secretly thinking, “Score!”

    Until someone shows up with his dog riding in a sidecar.

    fig03_IMG_2942.JPG

    As soon as he turned into the lot, everyone was smiling -- one of those memories you treasure to get you through the week :clap He wins! I willingly concede defeat! No matter what I ride, ever, he’s got me beat forever and for all time!
    #45
  6. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    A Pre-Apocalypse Ride

    With six local counties issuing a shelter-in-place order for three weeks, starting tomorrow, in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic, it seemed like a good idea to take the Scrambler out for a short pre-Apocalypse ride. It seemed likecthe right thing to do. After all, if you knew the world was going to end, wouldn’t you want to greet the ending on a Ducati? The ride to Page Mill was strange, with precisely five cars on the freeway… in the middle of rush hour. Unnerving, perhaps, but I must say, this is the way freeways should always be!

    It was a perfect day for an Apocalypse. The hills were blanketed with that fleeting layer of green we remember during all the dull grey days of summer, and the skies were filled with clouds left over from the storm the night before.

    fig01_IMG_2948.JPG

    The road itself was as twisty and fun as ever, and made even better by the complete absence of traffic

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    On another day, I might have pushed on to the coast, but time was pressing – Apocalypse and all that – so I stopped instead to enjoy the places I passed. And there were many places to enjoy

    fig03_IMG_2955.JPG

    Ask youself, if you knew the world was going to end tomorrow, could you pick much nicer place to to ride? :D

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    In addition to the nice road, there were also some views

    fig05_IMG_2961.JPG

    The ride home was seven more unsettling that the ride out, as I breezed through an interchange in the middle of rush hour that was usually stop-and-go traffic. It was difficult not to feel like I was starring in some old some end-of-the-world movie – Charteton Heston in ‘The Ducati Man’, perhaps. But I trust we shall weather this storm, as we have weathered others. Have fun, you all, stay healthy, and I’ll post more ride reports after this storm is over.
    #46
  7. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    Day 2 of the Shelter-In-Place order. This is beyond creepy. Not quite an after-the-holocaust scenario, but... you don't have to look both ways before you cross the street. Heck, you could probably crawl across the streets, backwards, with your eyes closed, and not worry about getting hit. The few people you see out for a stroll either smile with the look of fellow survivirs or look at you strangely, as if they expect you to go after them muttering, "Brains... brains!" It's particularly weird during rush hour when the people shopping for necessities -- what is it with hoarding the toliet paper, lads? -- have all gone home and the roads are... empty...

    I suppose I could take this opportunity to get in some rides, but I'm going to sit this one out for a few days and see where things are headed.

    That's it for now. i don't want to clutter up this forum with non-riding trivia. Stay healthy and stay safe, everyone, and we'll celebrate when this is all over!
    #47
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  8. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    After The Apocalypse Ride Number One

    I had to run some errands – errands that would most certainly be deemed essential even were they to tighten the shelter-in-place order that’s been in place here. My wife has been too busy to ride her Z125, so it’s been sitting neglected in the garage for a couple of months. I'm sure you can all can see where this is headed.

    The first question was what shape Kay’s beloved green Kawasaki might be in. The oil was fine, the brake fluid was fine, and we'd done the chain before we rolled it into the garage, so that was all fine. The next question was tire pressures. To my complete and utter astonishment, they still spot on. We shall honor those tires! The elders of my tribe shall sing their praises when they gather around the council fire at night. The final question was... the battery. Yes, we have a trickle charger, and members of my tribe hope some day to understand its use. Until then, it remains in its box, next to other trophies of our defeated enemies. Expecting dissappointment, I rolled the bike out of the garage, suited up, threw a leg over the saddle, turned the key, turned off the kill switch, thumbed the starter and… my my! Impressive engineers, those Japanese!

    Satisfied the bike was running, I set off through town. This was not entirely deserted. A few cars –- fleeing the zombies, perhaps –- still traveled the streets, but it was still unsettling to see 2 AM Saturday morning traffic during rush hour. This also gave me a bit of a poser, because Kay’s bike isn’t heavy enough to trigger some of the traffic signals. What would Mel Gibson have done in 'Road Warrior’, I wondered? Would he have run the light, waited for fleeing refugees to pull up behind him and trigger it, of meekly dismounted to push the walk signal? My answer to this question shall remain a mystery :D

    Aside from that, I had a terrific amount of fun. I can heartily recommend riding a small-bore motorcycle through an almost-deserted town during the onset of a global crisis. Well, actually, I suppose I can’t. I take that back. Pretend I didn’t say it. But I must confess to a bit of guilty pleasure at this opportunity to do the 'Dancing In The Ruins' bit. The only problem -- other than concern I'll be punished for enjoying this by being reincarnated as a rutabega in my next life -- was this lingering fear that with only 125 cc’s at my disposal, I was going to have devil of a time outrunning the zombies myself.

    Fortunately, this circumstance did not arise. I finished the errands, stopped to get Kay some gas, and made it home without being eaten even once. I have no idea if and when I’ll get out again, because there’s no way of knowing where this is all heading, but I’m already working on titles for the screenplay. ‘Slowed Warrior’… “Mad Minimum’… ‘Not Anywhere Particuarly Near Thunderdome’… there are many possibilities here!

    IMG_0030.clipr60.jpg

    Stay healthy and stay safe everyone, and take care.
    #48
  9. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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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."

    Or out east. Didn't even know it was available out west.

    For the uninformed, Moxie is a refreshing blend of almost Dr. Pepper and some oddly-flavored cough syrup.

    And it's delicious.

    You'll either love it or hate the person who convinced you to try it. :lol3
    #49
  10. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    I have to mail order it, though I have seen it around here in BevMo. To my astonishment, She Who Must Be Obeyed also likes it. She's Korean. Moxie and kimchi is a terrifying prospect.

    And once she takes over the Ducati as she's theatened, I'll no longer be able to outrun her...
    #50
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  11. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    :lol3 no, no, no! With kimchi it's all wrong. Tried that while first stationed in Korea in '90 by the request of those welcoming me there. Not what I expected. Not again. Combine that with cough syrup-spiked Dr. Pepper and …., omg. No.
    #51
  12. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    The concept does rather strike fear into the heart, doesn't it? That's why members of my tribe recognize she who invented it as She Who Must Be Obeyed :D
    #52
  13. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    As they say in Maine, "A-yuh...sounds wicked terrifying."

    Let me see...Rumpole quoting, odd-ball bike loving, finely-tuned antenna for noting the absurdities of life and the human condition, an almost childish glee at noting the differences between reality and expectation.

    Finest-kind of tribe, Sir, finest-kind!
    #53
  14. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    After The Apocalypse Ride Number Two

    She Who Must Be Obeyed informed me in no uncertain terms, that if we were going to be cooped up for several weeks by the shelter-in-place order, then in the interests of domestic tranquility, I was going to go for a ride. “I have to to riding?” I asked. “Yes!” she replied sternly. “You insist?” I asked. “Get out there!” she replied. “Darn!” I thought to myself. Or maybe that’s not what I thought. Maybe I thought something entirely different. Be this as it may, I decided it was time to ride the Moto Guzzi because Guzzis and the end of the world just go together. Well, perhaps there isn't quite as much of a connection as I imagine. But it did seem like a good day to throw a leg over the saddle, turn the key, and feel that lovely ‘ka-chunk’ as the bike ka-chunks to life. Try that on your R-1!

    It was certainly a day for an after-the-apocalypse ride. The sky was gloomy and grey, the streets were almost empty, and the few drivers I saw were driving like it was… I dunno... the end of the world? There must be something about a major global pandemic that makes half the people flog it, the other half dawdle, and concepts such as ‘lane’ and ‘there might actually be other vehicles on the road’ vanish from their minds. Or perhaps their minds were under the control of the alien invaders.

    The other gloomy thing was just how much is now closed. We all know the pattern. Health officials close the most popular park because the lot is so crowded they worry about contagion. This puts more pressure on the next-most-popular park until that gets closed, which puts pressure on the next, and the next. I fear this will grow worse, before it gets better, so I determined to enjoy what we have.

    At least one of my favorite scenic overlooks was still open. I stopped there for a photo before pressing on.

    fig01_IMG_2962.jpg

    I didn’t have time for any elaborate expedition, so I had to content myself with,… you guessed it… the Usual Loop. By the time I was descending toward the coast, the sun had come out, tempting me to stop and enjoy some peace. Unfortunately, it had rained the night before, and it was clear that any peace I found would involve mud. I had to settle for taking a picture of the ‘hurry up and get the shot before the sidestand sinks into the gloop’ variety, finishing with whole seconds to spare! :-)

    fig02_IMG_2965.jpg

    Some nice stretches of twisty road followed this stop, which I was quite unable to photograph because every suitable turnout was... well... see note above about mud. But ttraffic was absent as as well, so I could tool along as fast as I pleased, relying on the Guzzi’s miraculous ability to do all the work for me if I just held the throttle on. Try that on your R-1 too! On second thought, maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea...

    My ill-defined plan had involved stopping at a beach, but the apocalypse had reached here as well, and these too were closed. Though no zombies were immediately evident, the feeling of shambling hordes crying, “Merlot! Merlot!” – this is, after all, California – was definitely present. Still, the sun was still out, and that always counts for something.

    fig03_IMG_2969.jpg

    With most places I could possibly stop closed or a sea of mud, and time running short before I had to head back home to help She Who Must Be Obeyed with dinner – see note above about domestic tranquility – it seemed a good time to turn around, but no trip to the coast would be complete without a stop at The Cliff Where Everyone Stops.

    fig04_IMG_2971.jpg

    The ride back on 84 was quite a bit of fun. One nice thing about the apocalypse is that if you chose the direction opposite the one everyone is taking to flee the zombie hordes, you can have the entire road to yourself. Twenty miles of smooth pavement and weeping turns, climbing past redwood trees into the hills. It is possible to imagine worse fates. I stopped on Skyline to catch one final glimpse a glimpse of the ruined city inhabited only by ghosts, where… ooops.... got a bit carried away there.

    fig05_IMG_2975.jpg

    After I’d enjoyed the view, which was certainly worth enjoying...

    fig06_IMG_2981.jpg

    ...I nipped on home for a can of Moxie (not shown).
    #54
  15. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    After The Apocalypse Ride Number Three

    They were calling for rain, I had a few hours free, and with California balanced between ‘whew!” and ‘[redacted]!’ with this pandemic, it may be only a matter for time before they’re forced to ban all non-essential travel, so I seized the opportunity for another ride. Circumstances meant it was going to have to be very short, but I think we will all agree that ‘very short’ is better than ’none’. Once again, I took the Guzzi, because it’s the perfect moto for after the apocalypse – fast enough to outrun the zombies, and its range of almost 300 miles is more than enough to get you across the desert to the isolated city-state where Queen Zeldia is seeking a champion to defend her people against the Krylon hordes. Oops... wrong apocalypse.

    It was a beautiful day for an After The Apocalypse ride – sunny, warm, and not too windy. The limited time I had available – see note above about ‘very short’ – meant I had to take the usual route up into the hills, but Page Mill Road never gets old. For reasons that should be apparent in this photo.

    fig01_IMG_2991.jpg

    A week of stress had pretty much put paid to my state of mind, and I was not riding well. You know those days when you’re fighting the corners rather than dancing with them. Well... yes. But things improved as I climbed away from the city, and by the time I reached Skyline, I wasn’t disgracing myself quite so badly. I wasn’t going to have time to take any of the great little roads that wind down to the coast, so I decided to head south on Skyline itself. Normally this is sportbike territory, pavement worn smooth by thousands of riders dragging a knee, but you ride the roads you can, and stop when you can to enjoy these last few weeks of green before summer.

    fig02_IMG_2983.jpg

    I don’t ride Skyline south all that often, and I’d forgotten how much beautiful it can be in the spring. I might only have been traveling half as fast as some people ride this road, but surely I was having twice as much fun. I also passed a few cars that had stopped in turnoff like this, either to enjoy the view, have clear fields of fire it the zombies attacked, or both.

    fig03_IMG_2988.jpg

    A few other riders were out headed in the other direction – returning from defending Queen Zeldia and her people, perhaps. We gave each other The Wave and I imagine we all smiled inside our helmets. What the Krylon hordes thought of this, I can’t imagine. I stopped for a photo at the entry to one section of road I particularly like, then continued on my way.

    fig04_IMG_2987.jpg

    That was pretty much it, really. I was running out of time if I was going to get home in time to preserve some domestic tranquility - since She Who Must Be Obeyed is stuck behind her desk unable to ride, the prservation of domestic tranquilty looms fairly large right now -- so I turned around shortly after the Section Of Road I Particularly Like and headed back the way I came. As rides go, it was short, unadventurous, and totally pointless, but we must enjoy the things we have rather than fret about the things we don’t. In this may lie the path of wisdom.
    #55
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  16. WRC51

    WRC51 Long timer

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    Great road report it put a smile on my face,Thanks. Many of those roads south of Gilroy are familiar to me, we lived in Morgan Hill for a long time and those roads were ridden a lot. You mentioned something about riding and Petaluma, you wont be disappointed, HY1 from TB up and how far you dare to go are amazing. We are retired in Santa Rosa and the roads up here are also beautiful, come up lets ride "it will be fun" he said.
    #56
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  17. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    After The Apocalypse Ride Number Four

    As the fourth week or quarantine began, we were running low on pictures of the ocean. She Who Must Be Obeyed ordered me to take new ones, so I donned my gear, strode out to the garage, and rolled out the Moto Guzzi for this desperate quest. It remains the perfect moto for the end of the world, because that ka-chunk and twicth the right when you hit the starerit alwasy bruings a smiel to my face, and what better way to face the end of the world than with a smile? :D

    The important thing for missions of this sort – or any ride for that matter – is to take the most inefficient route possible, so instead of heading straight to the coast, I jogged south on Skyline, then headed down Route 9. Usually this is a schizophrenic mix of minivans wallowing along 20 MPH below the speed limit, and sportbikes nipping along at twice the limit. This makes for an interesting spectator sport. Today, three weeks after the Apocalypse, I had the road entirely to myself. Not even the shambling zombie hordes were out. It was so strange to be able to ride the thing at my own speed, and finally get the rhythm, that I didn’t stop for a single picture along the way.

    After Boulder Creek, in keeping with the ‘ most inefficient route possible’ theme, I jogged over to Jamison Road because that route is pretty much the poster child for inefficiency. It’s also the poster for Washouts I Suspect They Won’t Get Around To Fixing This Year Either. Since there was precisely no one on this road either, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a closer look at one.

    fig01_IMG_2996.jpg
    This is the least noteworthy of the lot, but the others were all located in turns where it might have been difficult to park the bike without it falling over, and my dedication to inefficiency doesn't extend that far, so this one will have to do.
    fig02_IMG_2995.jpg

    It was also necessary to get a photograph of Jamison Creek itself, which I assure you is down there... somewhere...

    fig03_IMG_2998.jpg

    All good things, washed out or not, must come to an end, and this took the form of Empire Grade. Uphill, this is a climb of some reputation on a bicycle. Downhill, on a moto, it’s just a way to get to Pine Flat and Bonny Doon Roads, a.k.a. the Place I Always Take A Wrong Turn. Well, almost always. I got it right this time – fear of the shambling zombie hordes, perhaps.

    fig04_IMG_3003.jpg

    There was still precisely no traffic whatsoever, so stopped to have a look at Laguna Creek. I’d always wondered what was tucked down inside this particular bend. And the way I see it, the world only comes to an end so many times, so you have to take advantage of this when it happens.

    fig05_IMG_3001.jpg

    Even the most dedicated effort to be inefficient couldn’t prevent me from reaching the coast. The theme now became See Just How Many Things Are Closed. Davenport, in particular, was a ghost town – not quite a Charlton Heston and ‘The Omega Man’ level of desertion, perhaps, but still unnerving when you realize this stretch was usually packed with cars and motos.

    fig06_IMG_3005.jpg
    The problem now became finding someplace to stop and take that picture of the ocean. Every state beach, and pretty much every possible shoulder, turnoff, and parking area near the water has been closed to prevent people from congregating to share viruses. I can hardly argue with this – given the stakes, quite the contrary – but it did present my with a bit of a poser, since She had given the order, and can be mighty in her wrath. Eventually I found a stretch of clifftop that hadn’t been sealed off. The day was a bit on the grey side – OK, it was a lot on the grey side - but we all must do what we can. And I wasn’t the only one who’d stopped to enjoy the view. The fellow with that car to the right had brushes and an easel and was capturing it (“Ha! Gotcha!”) on canvas.

    fig07_IMG_3007.jpg

    There are one or two obscure sideroads I take on the way back form the coast. Most pass by isolated farms where people with more fortitude than I can imagine eke out what I cannot imagine is a living of fabulous wealth. As I turned onto the first, it occurred to me that they cannot be terrifically happy right now, and the last thing they needed was more riders blasting past their front yards to remind them of an outside world that no longer seemed entirely secure. I wrestled with this feeling for a few seconds, then turned around. Was I being silly? Who knows, but it’s what I did.

    Silly or noble, this sentiment didn’t prevent me from giving Gazos Creek and Cloverdale Roads a go. They’re notable for turns and scenery, but they also have some straight bits.

    fig08_IMG_3010.jpg

    From there I just had to check Pescadero to see if it looked as abandoned as Davenport. To my relief, there were quite a few people about, with a single zombie – shambling or otherwise – in sight. It seemed I’d found an oasis of civilization that had survived the disaster which has swept the Earth clean of humanity, or something like that. A delicious smell of baked goods wafter from the grocery store/deli, and I was about to park and nip in to see if they had any fresh scones when it occurred to me that this is exactly what you are not supposed to do during a global pandemic – the sort of thing that can spread it from one community to another. Sconeless, and cursing all those courses in medieval history I took back in college, I continued on my way.

    The ride back across the hills was another blast up roads almost empty of traffic. Since there was no telling how long the remaining parks and open space reserves here may stay open, I stopped for a brief hike at one.

    fig09_IMG_3012.jpg
    After all, we must seize these moments when they are available.

    fig10_IMG_3015.jpg

    The parking lot was posted with all manner of warnings to avoid crowding, which can only increase as more places are closed to avoid crowing, but there were still several families out enjoying an afternoon before the rain -- waving at each other from a distance, perhaps, but smiling and laughing as they did. It is the smiles and laughter I will remember.

    From there it was back home to report the success of the mission, and share a nice Central Coast Pinot Noir, that goes well with the end of the world – She Who Must Be Obeyed saves the Cabernet for the dawns of new civilizations :D
    #57
  18. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,355
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    After The Apocalypse Ride Number Five: The Quest

    The problem with these after the Apocalypse rides is that one always ends up going to the same places – the secret laboratory, the hidden stronghold, the mad scientist’s hidden lair. This can get old. But today’s mission was different. Years ago, I took a photo of the Tiger on Loma Prieta Ave.

    f01_100_0337.jpg

    The goal for today was to photograph the V85 at exactly the same place. In order to make this more challenging, I didn’t bother to look at the picture. After all, how hard could it be to find that spot with all the flowers? I also didn't bothered to check what time of year the original photo was taken to determine if they might actually be in bloom. It’s important to plan ahead for these things!

    To get to this road, you head up 17 (always fun), take the ‘wow I don’t remember this turn being so sharp’ exit onto Summit Road south (also fun, but in a somewhat different way), then pootle along past a mile or two of unremarkable houses occupied by people with more money than a sense of the remarkable. This is followed by a nice set of curves through a forest where people have yet to build unremarkable houses, ending with the turnoff onto Loma Prieta: the Only Gravel Road In the Santa Cruz Mountains.

    f02_IMG_3060.jpg

    Perhaps I exaggerate. Surely there must be others. But they are few and far between, so this one has to do. I rode it to the section the residents post to keep people out, turned around because the best views are on the way there, then stopped to enjoy some of those views. That's Monterey Bay in the background, with Big Sur somewhere beyond the horizon to the south.

    f03_IMG_3066.jpg

    Stlll., the Place Where I Photographed The Tiger remained conspicuous by its absence. Where could it have gone? Could the zombies have taken it? Had the mad scientist incorporated it into his plans for world domination? Then I remembered the power lines. Right, this was the spot! And I took that old photograph in… hmm… June. My my. So much for getting a matching shot with those flowers.

    f04_IMG_3068.jpg

    With this failure in hand, I headed back to Summit in search of others. The most entertaining way down from Summit is Highland.

    f05_IMG_3070.jpg

    It’s a fun road – narrow, twisty, and cracked, with cleverly-places potholes, a washout or two, and the occasional turnoff. The latter can be littered with interesting artifacts. Such as red high-heeled shoe that was lying next to a tube of ‘Astro Glide’ under the bushes on the left. I imagine there was a story behind that one. I wonder what it could have been.

    fig06_IMG_3071.jpg

    Whatever the story was, it cannot have been as much fun as the road, which was simply made for a mid-size Italian v-twin adventure bike. Great though it was on the Tiger, it was terrific on the Guzzi.

    fig07_IMG_3077.jpg

    This also seems to be the place where they manufacture large rocks for later export to poor third world nations that can’t afford large rocks of their own.

    fig08_IMG_3074.jpg

    My usual Highland loop involves taking some turns I can’t be troubled to remember to approach the village Coralitos from the east, then turning right to take Eureka Canyon Road back up to Highland. I could have used my GPS, but whats the point of having a GPS if you aren’t going to ignore it? Besides, I was sure I remembered the route. I was confident I knew exactly where I was and where I wasgoing. So you can imagine my surprise when I rolled into Coralitos on… Eureka Canyon Road.

    Hmm.

    With this second failure out of the way, it was time to decide on the most entertaining route home. The coast is always fun, and it seemed there might be some kite-boarders out, so I prepared to head north, only to discover that for all their merits as an After the Apocalypse bike, Moto Guzzi’s are terrible for social distancing. Stop, for even a moment, and it’s a fair bet another rider will appear to ask about it. We were careful to remain six feet apart and obey all safety precautions.

    From there it was north through Santa Cruz to stop as close to Waddell Creek as possible – most of the parking lots and turnoffs are closed – to enjoy the view,...

    fig09_IMG_3085.jpg

    ...and watch people have fun out on the water...

    fig10_IMG_3081.jpg

    Then it was time to head home, for the wind was picking up, the hour was moving on, and a glass of wine was calling. Should I head out again in June to make another failed attempt to reproduce that photo? A fair question that! We shall see.
    #58
    popscycle, lvscrvs, klaviator and 3 others like this.
  19. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,318
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I grew up in San Jose and used to live on the East Side of Mt. Umunhum. I remember the red/white radar installation could be seen from our neighborhood. We also used to go hiking up to the quicksilver mines which at the time, was quite the adventure. Our next door neighbor was a really rich dude named Nick Rajkovich. He owned much of that land that has since been developed into hundreds if not thousands of houses. Kids in the neighborhood went to Williams Elementary, Brett Heart, Leland, etc.

    But since you have both an 800cc Ducati Scrambler and a V85, and since they are both 800cc bikes or so, how would you compare performance? I say this as I also have a Ducati Scrambler and may add a V85 to the garage if for no other reason than the near doubling of fuel capacity.

    Surprised California will actually let you out of your houses at all. Have you passed by a cop on your ride? Do they even give you a second glance?

    NC




    #59
  20. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,355
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    Everyone was walking on eggshells here the first two weeks, when no one knew if we might get hit as badly as New York, but now we're back to the new abnormal. Beaches and state parks are closed along with any local ones that might put burdens on Search&Rescue, and San Mateo has banned visitors from other counties to its parks, but no one has any problem if you go out and ride. Police and rangers do roll through the traditional parking lots to make sure people don't congregate, but no one was doing this anyway, and places like Alice's and STP are still open for takeout, provided you're wearing a mask.

    r25_IMG_3092.jpg

    It's hard to compare them. They're bikes from entirely diferent universes. The Scambler is the perfect 'fling it around and have fun' bike. The V85 is the perfect 'I feel like riding forever and this is the machine to do it' bike -- I am loving that 300 mile range. Both bring a smile to my face, though I must admit the smile starts a bit earlier with the Guzzi, as soon as I hit the starter and the bike does it's little 'ka-chunk' jerk to the right :D

    Performance is amazingly similar. The Scrambler feels nippier, because the intial throttle response is much quicker, while the first bit of throttle with the V85 leaves you wondering if it's connected to anything, but once you've gotten used to this, acceleration is more or less the same. Both bikes will beat a Tesla, unless the driver has manhood issues and has to show off, and both easily have enough roll-on zip to pass people on the freeway.

    Handling is surprising. The Scrarmbler should be quicker, it certainly is more fun to flick around, but I've found that if I just hold the throttle on and let the chassis do the work, I seem to go just as fast on the V85. Though I must note that 'fast' may not be a meaningful concept for members of my tribe, whose pegs remain quite thoroughly unscraped :D

    As far as off-road capability goes, the Scrambler -- even with the full Ohlins kit -- is still prety much a street bike, and the V85 is better on rough gravel roads. I can take the Guzzi to Panoche and arrive with the same number of teeth and kidneys I had when I started. WIth the Ducati, I may have to pick up new ones when I get back to Tres Pinos. But as an admitted whimp, I wouldn't take either on anything more demanding than forest service roads.

    When everything's said and done, the two bikes complement each other very well. If I want to do a short nip through the mountains to the coast on reasonably good roads... Scrambler. For long rides on unreasonably bad roads... V85.
    #60