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Another Day, Another Glorious Failure

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

  1. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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
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  2. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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

    Joined:
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    12,664
    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    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 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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
  5. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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

    fig02_IMG_2952.JPG

    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

    fig04_IMG_2960.JPG

    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 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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
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  9. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,249
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
    "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 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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
  11. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    3,144
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    North mid-TN & North mid-AL
    :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 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,249
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
    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
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  14. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    869
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    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
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