Another Day, Another Glorious Failure

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

  1. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,474
    Location:
    Avon, IN If we never go, we will never know
    Well, I did see a report that Cali is reporting its first case of the plague in five years--so there's that.
    #81
    DesertPilot likes this.
  2. Sibhod

    Sibhod Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    USA-Nor Cal
    Don't forget Murder Hornets, they're still a possibility......
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url...ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCNilypu6qusCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD
    #82
    klaviator and DesertPilot like this.
  3. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    I'm hoping to stick with Lethargy Spiders, that laze around the yard making no real effort to build one of those tedious webs or actually catch something...
    #83
    klaviator and Sibhod like this.
  4. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    THE (NIOT UNIFORMLY SUCCESSFUL) QUEST FOR FIRE

    The recent dry thunderstorms (something like 20,000 cloud-to-ground strikes) triggered a massive series of fires here in the Bay Area. By now the total 200,000 acres or more, with something like 0% containment. The fires have burnt over most of my favorite roads to ride – perhaps half the places I’ve photographed in this thread – and pretty much put paid to any plans I might have had to ride this weekend, but I had to ride 10 miles to the store, the ride up Page Mill to Skyline was only a 20-30 miel detours, so I figured heck, let’s at least go up and have a look at the CZU Lightning Complex Fire from a distance.

    The ride up Page Mill was blissfully free of traffic – a great day to wind through the turns on the Ducati Scrambler, taking it easy, with nothing to prove except how clever I was to be taking it easy when there was a fair bit of sand and gravel on the roads from the emergency vehicles. But when I got to the top, it became clear the fire situation was more serious than I’d realized.

    fig01_IMG_3488.jpg

    Pretty much everything was closed: Skyline South, Alpine, all the local parks and open space preserves.

    fig02_IMG_3487.JPG

    The view from the nearest turnoff looked innocent enough until one realized those weren’t clouds, that was all smoke

    fig03_IMG_3486.JPG

    I could have headed north on Skyline to check out the burn area from the brush fire the eveing after the storms, but it with 48,000 acre fire threatening Boulder Creek and Santa Cruz a few dozen miles away, this seemed bad karma, so I headed back down. Stopping at a few turnoffs on the way back in an effort to get more shots of the smoke plume seemed worth a little bad karma. I couldn’t get a good view of the smoke so I had to settle for an Italian motorcycle...

    fig04_IMG_3489.JPG

    ...some nice bits of road...

    fig05_IMG_3490.JPG

    ...and more shots of some of the trail closures due to pandemic and fires.

    fig06_IMG_3492.jpg

    In retrospect, it was not have been quite the ride, but heck, it’s 2020, so we must appreciate what we can get :D
    #84
    klaviator and MrKiwi like this.
  5. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    THE UNSUCCESSFUL QUEST FOR MILES – Part I

    It took some time, several delays, and a fair bit of patience, but I finally got a new bike to replace the beautiful new Moto Guzzi V85 that TT was so heartlessly destroyed by that SUV last June. As I’m sure you can imagine, I did my research, evaluated all the latest machines, compared them with my riding style, plans, and requirements, and chose… another V85 TT. But hey, in a stunning moment of recklessness I chose... a different color :clap

    fig01_IMG_3685.jpg

    I rode the new machine home Thursday, rode around the block a few times to make sure all the bits were working, bolted on the engine guards that had been sitting next to my desk for a month on Friday, then faced the challenge on Saturday: how to start wracking up distance for the 900 mile (!!!) break in period. The obvious solution was to go for a ride. Since most of my favorite roads on the west side of the Santa Cruz Mountains promised to be closed in the aftermath of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, I decided on an old stand-by: Hicks Road on the eastern side. This has much to recommend it

    fig02_IMG_3699.jpg

    It also has some nice places to stop and enjoy what must have been a very nice view when the reservoirs actually had water in them. The place I chose offered a mystery: a clearly defined path into the woods.

    fig03_IMG_3703.jpg

    Curious, I dismounted to see where this led, and discovered what must be a nice little clearing to hang out and enjoy what must have been a very nice view when the reservoirs actually had water in them (see above).

    fig04_IMG_3705.jpg

    Intriguingly, the path continued, so I pressed on.

    fig05_IMG_3706.jpg

    The path led up another rise to a secluded hollow – quiet, peaceful, hidden from the road -- which just screamed, “This place must be littered with discarded undergarments, used condoms, and other testimonials to humanity’s urge to reproduce the species, but not at the moment.” Time, I thought, to chuckle, head back to the bike, and continue with the ride.

    fig06_IMG_3704.jpg

    My next goal the old radar site on top of Mount Umanum. It’s a site that demands a photo op.

    fig04_IMG_3721.jpg

    It has a nice view of downtown San Jose.

    fig08_MG_3715.jpg

    It also overlooks some killer mountain bike trails that She Who Must Be Obeyed and I will have to try someday.

    fig09_IMG_3717.jpg

    But as I enjoyed these, it occurred to me that following roads where it can be difficult to exceed 25 MPH might not be the most productive way to accumulate miles. The day was still young(ish), so I turned around, nipped back through Los Gatos (not shown) and picked up Highway 9 for a ride the coast...
    #85
  6. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    THE UNSUCCESSFUL QUEST FOR MILES – Part II

    Highway 9 is one of the classic motorcycle roads here. Every weekend, scores of highly talented riders, many with serious track experience, hammer through its turns at twice the posted speed limit to explore the limits of their machines, courage, and skill.

    I am not one of them.

    Since I had nothing to prove, I stopped at the overlook partway down to check out a trail head She Who Must Be Obeyed and I may try sometime this winter when the days are too short for anything substantial.

    fig10_IMG_3748.jpg

    I stopped in Boulder Creek to confirm that as I expected, my favorite riding roads were all closed, except to residents picking up the pieces of their lives after the fire. This was not something I wished to intrude upon – the town is full of posters thanking the crews who stopped the flames just a mile or so to the north, and it still smells of smoke – so I continued down 9 toward the coast. In Felton, I turned right onto Felton Empire Grade, partly to avoid the traffic I expected in Santa Cruz, partly to check out the Bonnie Doon Winery and see how it had survived.

    Little did I realize what I would find.

    I hadn’t gone far before I was slowed by a string of cars ahead. This string grew longer and slower, longer and slower, until I was getting forced to stop heading up 9-12% grades. The extent to which this Was Not Fun cannot be exaggerated. It was also perplexing. What, I wondered was going on? Also, this was a new clutch. I didn't want to wear it out on my very first day of riding. Finally, I found a reasonably flat spot, pulled over, shut down to have a look around, and realized I’d blundered into the fringe of the burn area.

    fig11_IMG_3722.jpg

    The trees may only have been charred in places, but the undergrowth was blackened and burned away, and the ground was covered with ash.

    fig12_IMG_3728.jpg

    It appears the crews were able to hold the line here, and keep the fire from crossing the lower parts of the road.

    fig13_IMG_3727.jpg

    I didn’t feel I should press on – yes, the road was open, but the people here had work to do, and I didn’t want to get in their way - so I turned around and continued to the coast. The ride north was the same as always, tooling along with the sun shining down and the Pacific Ocean stretching way to m my left. It’s a dark, dirty, dangerous job, but someone has to do it! I made my usual stop at Waddell Creek to reflect upon life and watch the kite boarders.

    fig14_IMG_3730.jpg

    That’s one of our hang gliding sites to the south. I never fly there because it's infested with poison oak, but on a good winter day, many of my friends are up.

    fig15_IMG_3734.jpg

    Even here, there were signs of the fire. I believe it burned up to this ridge that overlooks the parking lot.

    fig16_IMG_3733.jpg

    By now it was time to wend toward home, so I continued north, ignorant of what I was to find. I’d kown from the mpas that the fire had pushed close to Highway 1. I hadn’t realized just how close. My education began with the occasional burn patch next to the road.

    fig17_IMG_3736.jpg

    By the time I passed Ano Nuevo, these had become long strips of blackened vegetation, on both of the highway where the flames had jumped the road. The shoulders were lined with people who’d stopped to marvel. I chose not to join them – the way people were pulling on and off to stare, this might have been asking for trouble. Farther north, the roadside was untouvhed, but the hills to the east were blackened for miles,

    fig17_IMG_3737.jpg

    Chastened, I pressed on toward Half Moon Bay…
    #86
  7. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    THE UNSUCCESSFUL QUEST FOR MILES – Part III

    The fog thickened as I continued north. I had no desire to deal with fog and weekend traffic during the bike’s break-in period, when I could only use the bottom half of the RPM range, so I stopped at the Cowell-Purisma Coastal Trail to enjoy what would have been a nice view were it not for the fog.

    fig19_IMG_3741.jpg

    It was still a nice view even with the fog.

    fig20_IMG_3742.JPG

    There were also some interesting cars in the parking lot. This one made me feel young again.

    fig21_IMG_3744.jpg

    Surely such a work of art deserves another look!

    fig22_IMG_3745.jpg

    Now I faced the question of how best to head back across the mountains. Highway 95 seemed unappealing – see note above about fog, traffic, and break-in period – and 84 also promised to be filled with people whose concept of driving was not calculated to bring joy to those with whom they shared to road, so I decided to head up Tunitas Creek, a nice tight twisty climb into the hills through the redwoods on which I took no pictures whatsoever.

    That was pretty much it for the day. I stopped at STP to enjoy a soda and check out everyone else’s machines – it seemed to by Triumph Bonneville Day, but there was also a couple with a nice pair of Indians. Then I wound my way down Page Mill…

    fig23_IMG_3750.jpg

    ...toward home and a bottle of Old Stock Ale (not shown)
    #87
  8. OtterChaos

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,044
    Location:
    Grover Beach, Ca
    And completely fail to tell us how many miles you managed to acquire on this trip.
    #88
  9. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    Miles? Inches was more like it. A lowly 12,672,000. If that :D

    I may do Big Sur, Carmel Valley Road, or the Airline Highway next. They're all non-freeway and good for about 300 miles each. That would get me up to 600 total.
    #89
    glasshousebc and MrKiwi like this.
  10. Pavement Optional

    Pavement Optional Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    CurveAlice, Oregon
    Glad to see your Guzzi deficiency has been rectified. Some people think that color scheme is too much, but if I were shopping, that's the bike I'd be looking at.
    #90
  11. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi Increasingly Grumpy Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    18,509
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I like both the yellow and red versions of the colour scheme. I think Guzzi did well with each. This bike in those colour combinations is sharp and sexy looking.
    #91
    DesertPilot likes this.
  12. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    SOMEDAY I'LL GET THOSE PHOTOS

    It's been a long several weeks of riding the same old coastal loop because of work and the pandemic, but finally, at long last, I had a chance for something more ambitious. Today’s destination was that pinacle of riding perfection, that place out of legend, a place celebrated to the ends of the Earth… Petaluma. It’s a not-insignificant slog to get there from the south -– up the Peninsula, though San Francisco (ick), across the Golden Gate Bridge (be sure to wear cliche-sensitve sunglasses that darken to block out the view of national icons), then up a peculiarly unsatisfying stretch of freeway (see note above about ‘ick’) until you reach Lucas Valley Road -- but then it becomes worth it. Lucas Valley Road ranks high on the list of Roads That Are So Much Fun To Ride You Never Stop To Take A Picture. After a short jaunt through civilization, it winds up a pass, plunges through a redwood forest, then passes a small hamlet (“To be or not to be, that is the question”) on its way to range of low hills. It doesn't seem a road for finding out how fast you can go. There are much better places around here for that. It’s a road for realizing just how much fun you’re having on two wheels.

    e02_x20r60.IMG_4261.jpg

    Eventually it reaches Nicassio This Used To Be A Reservoir. Here I paused for a drink and to reflect upon the meaning of the word ‘drought’. Like many of the smaller former reservoirs in California, this one now has bushes growing over much of its bed.

    e03.x20r60.IMG_4262.jpg

    There’s still a bit of water in what used to be the deep end of the pool, but if you examine the banks to see how much this has dropped, you can detect an Unfortunate Trend.

    e04_x20r60.IMG_4253.jpg

    From here, I could have turned left for Point Reyes Station, Point Reyes, and the coast, but I used to always do that (we will hope the Grammar Police doesn't spot this sentence), so I turned right instead, past a ranch or two or three, until I reached the Marshal-Petaluma Road. This ranks even higher on the list of Roads That Are So Much Fun To Ride You Never Stop To Take A Picture. I keep meaning to. Honest I do. Maybe next time. Or the time after that...

    By the time I reached the Highway 1, I was smiling from ear to ear, and had failed to stop even once. But the camera was not fated to remain unused. Continuing the This Road is Just To Cool To Spoil By Going Fast theme of the expedition, I turned south along Tomales Bay. This stretch of the PCH just demands a photograph.

    f01_x20r60.IMG_4276.jpg

    Well, maybe it demands more photographs

    f02_x25r60.IMG_4280.jpg

    It also demanded a pause for lunch. By now the weather was taking its toll. Those of you in other parts of the country don't realize just how brutal winter can be here in the Bay Area, with warm sun and blue skies that last for weeks on end. Gentle zephyrs, gusting up to 3 MPH, whisper out of the north, pushing tempertures as low as a spine-warming 65 degrees. Few can endure the strain for long before they crack. Imagine having to face something like this Every Single Day!

    f03_x20r60.IMG_4285.jpg

    We residents of the Bay Area are willing to bear this burden so the rest of you don't have to. I hope you appreciate our fortitude :D

    South of Tomales Bay, the Highway 1 runs inland along the San Andreas fault, which isn't very interesting until you think, "Hey, I'm riding along the top of the San Andreas Fault! How cool is that?" Cool or not, it doesn't make for exciting photographs, so I pushed on to the old triangulation station for the old coastal defenses before WW-II. Back then, observers were stationed here to plot the position of an attacking fleet and relay this to the shore batteries by the Golden Gate (“If you‘re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. If you’re going to San Francisco, you’re going to meet some 14” naval cannon there.” etc.). At least that was theory. In practice, one imagines the observers might have been so distracted by the view that the entire Japanese Navy could have steamed past without them noticing (“Lieutenant Filmore, report! What is the range and bearing of the enemy fleet?” “Fleet? What flee... oh… that one...”)

    I think everying will agree this view is too good to miss.

    f04_x22r60.IMG_4286.jpg

    As the old coastal fortifications crumble to sand, and the war for which they were built receeds into memory, this has become a popular spot to pull up in your Porsche Cayman, put a candle on the dashboard, enjoy a glass of wine with a beautiful companion as you watch the sunset, then hope you don't get knicked for DUI on the way home.

    f05_x22r60.IMG_4288.jpg

    That was it for the day. With bridge traffic and the streets of San Francisco between me and home, I felt it best not to linger so I could beat the rush of all the people who decided to linger. But I’ll give the region another go when the days are longer. And maybe next time I’ll actually get some pictures of the good bits...
    #92
  13. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    AN IMPORTANT EXISTENTIAL QUESTION

    The quest for the past two days has been to find the Perfect Lunch Spot. For this purpose, it's important to use the right moto. There seem to be two options: the one that matches the first wildflowers of spring...

    clipped_IMG_4295.JPG

    ...or the one that matches the Word's Best Soft Drink -- the Elixir of The Gods, of which all other sodas are but pale imitations..

    x20r60.IMG_4332.jpg

    Art versus functionality? Which one to choose? It's a tough decision -- on a par with oil and tire choice -- and I'm still trying to find the answer :D
    #93
    JaySwear and klaviator like this.
  14. Ride4Life4Ever

    Ride4Life4Ever Is it beer time yet?

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    NW AR
    So......Tiger or Scrambler???
    #94
  15. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI -- Part 1
    ..the way John Keats would have written it if they’d had motorcycles back in 1819

    “O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
    Alone and palely loitering?
    The sedge has withered from the lake,
    And no birds sing.

    “O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
    o haggard and so woe-begone?
    You don’t want to ride to the coast again
    Where else can we ride?”


    I’d been hoping to take the hang glider out for a flight, but my shoulder has yet to fully heal, so I had to take the Guzzi out for a ride instead. On a calm sunny day with clear skies and temperatures in the 60s. Yes, I know, life is tough but we must bear these burdens :D The day's destination was Mercy Hot Springs, because in all these years of living and riding in the Bay Area, I had never… ever… been there. A quick glance at the map will show the reaason why. This is pretty much poster child for ‘smack in the middle of nowhere’. And there is nothing else out there, at all. No stores, no bars, no house, no trees, nothing but this hyothtical resort? Nature reserve? Cult center for people who venerate empty spaces? I suppose I could have checked the Web, but where’s the fun in that?

    fig01_screenshot.jpg

    The first stretch was the usual blast down 101 to Hwy 25, through Hollister, past the Last Gas Station On Earth (be sure to get gas there!!!) to turn left on the Panoche Road. This is one of those roads that just promises fun.

    fig02_IMG_4333.jpg

    It also promises to test your suspension and stamina, for the years have not treated it kindly. This is where potholes and patches want to go when they grow up – the big time for crumbling pavement, of which lesser crumbling pavements can only dream. It is wise to bring an extra pair of kidneys. Here's one of the smoother sections.

    fig03_IMG_4335.jpg

    Attention-getting though the road surface may be, the road itself is a teriffic amount of fun – one off those routes where you just have to press on to find out where it goes.

    fig04_IMG_4338.jpg

    And it goes on and on and on...

    fig05_IMG_4336.jpg

    Eventually you get to the Valley Of What Cannot Be The Most Prosperous Ranches In the World. In the past, I've always pressed on to the Central Valley and back, or headed south to the end of the county maintained road to contemplate the warning signs on what used to be a trail to New Idria reflect upon the fragile and transitory nature of life, and think just how much more fragile and transitory life might be if I ignored them. But today, I turned north, as instructed by this handy sign.

    fig06_IMG_4340.jpg

    What, I wondered, would I find?

    (continued)
    #95
  16. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI -- Part 2

    My first thought when I saw the Mercy Hot Springs Road was, “Huh? Say what? Was this the prototype for I-5?” For some reasion, it’s every bit as smooth as the Panoche Road isn’t – perhaps because no one ever uses it – but just look at this photo. Dead flat and straight trherough the middle of nothing. Could you imagine a less promising scene?

    fig07_IMG_4342.jpg

    I feared I'd condemned myself to miles of tedium. Then I got to those hills in the backgound :D

    fig08_IMG_4346.jpg

    I took precisely no pictures after this point. I was having too much fun on this hidden gem – fast smooth twisties, winding through the hills, without a single car, house, or human being in sight. It’s a long way from the nearest gas station, and I might have been fretting on the Ducati, but the Guzzi can go 250-300 miles on a tank, so life was good. Eventually I reached the turnoff for Mercy Hot Springs. Either they have dozens of identical signs or someone moved the first one when I wasn't looking.

    fig09_IMG_4345.jpg

    I suppose I could have gone in to take a look.l but instead I turned around to ride that road the other way. Wouldn’t you?

    fig10_IMG_4347.jpg

    By now it was mid-afternoon, so I headed south the the Griswold Day Use Area – did I mention that the Guzzi can go 250-300 miles on a tank of gas? – for a late lunch. I still have no idea who Grisswold was, or precisely what he might have used this area for during the day, but perhaps it has something to do with arroyos.

    fig11_IMG_4350.jpg

    This does seem like one of the places they manufacture arroyos for later export to poor Third World nations that cannot afford arroyos of their own.

    fig12_IMG_4349.jpg

    I will probably never see them place when they actually have water. There are also some mysterious trails She Who Must be Obeyed and I will probably never explore on a mountain bike, because this is a long way from nowhere.

    fig13_IMG_4348.jpg

    That was it for the outbound leg. By the time I’d finished lunch, the day was getting on, so I turned back and headed for home, with one more little milestone along the way

    fig14_IMG_4352.jpg

    That’s 3000 miles on the New V85! Yippee! Let us hope we can be more successful at dodging SUVs than we were with the first one :clap
    #96
  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    17,274
    Location:
    Huntsville , Al
    I have come to really enjoy these types of roads. I refer to them as "paved goat trails". They are paved but you really don't want to ride them on most street bikes. You need the suspension of a DS or ADV bike. A bonus of these roads is there is seldom any traffic. There are a lot of them around me although they are not as far out in the middle of nowhere.
    #97
    DesertPilot likes this.
  18. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

    Joined:
    May 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    Paved goat trails! :D I know exactly what you mean. When I took my old SV650 on the Panoche road, back in 2003 ("Gosh! 2003! Were there People then?"), it was quite smooth. Since then, time has reduced some sections to rubble. This transformation may not have been apparent on my old Tiger 800, which dismissed things like bad road surfaces, potholes, and asteroid impact craters as unworthy of the Master's attention ("Very good. Will that be all, sir?") but when I tried it on the Ducati, I was in fairly serious pain.

    That's why I got the V85. And she's been quite the success :clap

    x20r60.IMG_4306.jpg
    #98
    klaviator likes this.
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    17,274
    Location:
    Huntsville , Al
    I love the V85. One of my riding buddies here has one and I try not to drool too much when I'm around it.

    [​IMG]

    If I was looking for a big adventure bike the V85 would be at the top of my list.

    Since you mentioned the SV650, I had a 99 model. Fun bike but not the best on rough roads.
    #99
    DesertPilot likes this.
  20. Pavement Optional

    Pavement Optional Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Oddometer:
    131
    Location:
    CurveAlice, Oregon
    I too had an SV650, an '03. Did a bit of touring and off-pavement exploring and realized it wasn't the bike for me, much as I loved that v-twin. By a happy coincidence I had a friend who was selling his Vstrom.

    I've never ridden in those hills but I've driven in that area, and always wished I was on two wheels rather than four. Maybe next year.
    klaviator and DesertPilot like this.