Another Day, Another Glorious Failure

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

  1. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    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
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  2. Sibhod

    Sibhod Been here awhile Supporter

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    Don't forget Murder Hornets, they're still a possibility......
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url...ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCNilypu6qusCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD
    #82
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  3. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    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
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  4. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    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.

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

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

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    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...

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    ...some nice bits of road...

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

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    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
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  5. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    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

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    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

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    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.

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    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).

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    Intriguingly, the path continued, so I pressed on.

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    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.

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

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    It has a nice view of downtown San Jose.

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

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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

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

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    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,

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

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    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.

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    It was still a nice view even with the fog.

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

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    Surely such a work of art deserves another look!

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    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…

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

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

    Joined:
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    3,029
    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

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    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
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  10. Pavement Optional

    Pavement Optional Been here awhile

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    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

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    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
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  12. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Long timer

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Well, maybe it demands more photographs

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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