Getting out of my head, Death Valley and California Central Coast edition

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Codewheeney, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    A couple of months ago, I planned a trip to Death Valley with my good friend JT, who had never been. Getting close to departure day, though, I was seriously suffering from stressed out, pandemic, work related arrggggghhh! Codewife and I are lucky, really, that we're both able to keep working and have been healthy, but damn, it was time to get away and sort myself out. So I told my boss my long weekend was extending into the entire following week. 12 day trip, let's go!

    I left my home in Morgan Hill, California, after work on Wednesday. Packed up and ready to go, I was meeting Codewife in Paso Robles for a great dinner at our favorite restaurant (Il Cortile). Headed out 25 south of Salinas:

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    Lots of cows on this trip:

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    It's was along 25 that I found the new Anakee Wilds were terrifying on the street. I'm running them at my normal street tire pressure, 38 psi front and 42 front. I've never ridden any tire (knobbie or street) that wants to fall into a corner more than these tires. I found myself counter steering out of each corner just to keep my lines. The first 15 minutes were like me being a noob again and 50 pencing each corner. I eventually got the hang of the tires, but it was a remarkably self conscious ride.

    Everything is better with a barn photo:

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    Got to Paso after a blast down the freeway to make it on time. Holy speed wobble Batman, I had to keep things below 75 mph or the tires wandered all over, shaking like crazy. Tomorrow is a ride to Death Valley, how are these tires going to perform?

    I left Paso in the morning, gassed up and headed out the fantastic CA 155 to Lake Isabella. Important point here, this is a twisty, twisty road and I forgot it went as high as it did. Did I mention I have my mesh jacket with me? Froze my nuts off heading up to the 6100 foot pass at Greenhorn Summit. I was not quite prepared for the 31 degree temperature, but I was finally understanding my tires, though

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    Finally headed out of Lake Isabella after a nice Patty Melt at the Dam Korner Cafe, and crested Walker Pass, looking for the proper desert and some warmth:

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    Reminded me of a U2 song

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    Heading up 395, the wind was stupid strong. I think perhaps some of the worst winds I ever rode in was coming off the Sierra, and then suddenly, there was no wind. And then it was back, and gone again! Crazy. Stopped at the Chevron and gassed up, filled up my spare gas cans and got ready to head into Death Valley proper.

    Hit Olancha, eventually

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    Turn right on 190, now we're heading into DV proper

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    Gaining some altitude, Death Valley being all about extremes of altitude and temperature. There's still snow in the Sierra

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    Made it!

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    Heading in to DV via 190 from the west is one of my favorite routes, although it's the road in to Panamint Valley that really gets my blood boiling. Crowley point, for instance, looking over the Panamint Valley

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    It's at some point on this ride, probably on the bumpy short road to Crowley point, that I apparently lost one of my auxiliary gas cans. I didn't notice this until I got into Furnace Creek, checked in and got into the room. Somewhere out there are two liters of Chevron's finest 89 octane ...

    JT was running late, so I grabbed some "to go" from the Last Kind Word Saloon and ate on the patio.

    JT arrived after sunset, and we shared some whiskey and tequila, and got ready for the following morning.

    JT, being a DV noob, my first ride was to take him along Titus Canyon. We got a bit late of a start, and it was really, really cold going over Daylight Pass. But finally, let's hit the dirt and air down

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    I'm riding with the Marlboro man here

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    Heading up Titus Canyon

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    It was then I noticed something was missing

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    Parked along the road and let's walk up and see what we see

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    That road looks good

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    Heading up to Red Pass, what an fantastically beautiful place

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    Titus Canyon was actually in the worst state I'd seen it. I was happy to have the proper knobbie tires rather than Anakee 3's, which is what I had on last time I did this route. The uphills were quite rutted out, and the narrow descent off of Red Pass required some traction from the big beasts.

    We eventually got to Leadfield

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    Seriously, why doesn't this guy have a cigarette

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    Heading further down Titus Canyon, I'm beginning to fall in love with the Anakee Wilds. I'm running 20/22 PSI front/rear, and they frickin' rock. I can cross through the thick gravel in the middle of the road with ease, and I feel really great with these tires. The tires with the Enduro ride mode are really confidence inspiring.

    We got down to the actual canyon, with shallow gravel. Tight and twisty as we approached some petroglyphs

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    The sun was high, but we weren't hot

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    Does this canyon get more narrow?

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    Idiot in the road

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    JT on a bike

    https://codewheeney.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Trips/2021-Moto-wandering/i-RtD6BCZ/A

    Riding through Titus

    https://codewheeney.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Trips/2021-Moto-wandering/i-Vnp97Qh/A

    Finally popped out into DV and had to air up

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    Airing up, my portable pump couldn't quite get my Wilds up to my previous pressures, so it was 32/36 front/rear. What a transformation on the street. I was on to something here, now the tires performed well, being 50/50 tires.

    Inyo county, where DV is, was still under quite strict dining restrictions, so we headed back out to Beatty and had a great lunch at Smokin J's BBQ. We then headed back into DV via Daylight Pass Cutoff. It's weird to say DV is my happy place, but it is truly that place. I had the right music, the right view and the right wing man. I love this place

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    We got back to Furnace Creek and had, oddly, a great salad with chicken and hung out on our patio and drank our booze and told lies. Tomorrow was a longer day on the bike, can't wait.
    #1
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  2. MongoLikeCandy

    MongoLikeCandy It Never Gets Easier, You Just Go Faster

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    interesting ... I did Titus (and several other routes in DV) two weekends ago at the noob rally with my V85 TT (first time off road in DV, 2nd time ever off roading on moto) on the Guzzi OEM Anakee "Adventure" tires with ~8000 tarmac miles on them from last fall 4500mi, 7 state tour, they are big block street tires .... for DV i dropped them down to about the same tire pressures as your nobbies (20/25) and they managed pretty damn good for a street tire.
    weight has a lot to do with it as my V85 is much lighter than your heavier GS, and you had your boxes on, I strip mine for the ride

    there was another V85 out there with ┬┐probably? similar tires to what you had, they look like your nobbies .... it would have been fun to ride and notice the difference just in the tires.
    overall I'm glad I didn't put knobbies or similar on there as I really want the performance on the road, (as that's where most of my touring is) the OEM Anakee Adventure tires really knock it out of the park for me and my V85, which I run at 36/41 fully loaded on the road.

    sounds like you're on to something with those tires running them at a lower pressure.... maybe the higher pressure forces more tread block squirm/movement?

    here's a few pix of the OEM Anakee "Adventure" model tires after the noob rally (shes still filthy) .... even after several hundred miles of death valley dirt, rock, sand, and silt they are "square" and are nearing replacement time

    20210405_090243.jpg 20210405_090342.jpg
    #2
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  3. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    2021 ride report, Day 2, Racetrack and Hunter Mountain

    Before we begin about Saturday, here's some video climbing up to Red Pass on Titus Canyon



    We got up a bit earlier on Saturday, it was going to be a nice long day. We headed towards Ubehebe, and took the obligatory noob pic at sea level

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    Slabbed it to Ubehebe

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    Ubehebe is neat, but honestly, it's just nice to not lay in the dirt to air down tires

    Heading out towards the race track, I still can't imagine traveling across these lands in a wagon in 1849.

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    I had some intel that the road to the race track was in really bad washboard shape. However, it was in the best shape I'd ever seen it, barely any washboard. Going was smooth and the air was cool.

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    Got to Teakettle, and saw two graders parked just north of the intersection, so that explains the great road condition.

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    Zulu is a good dog

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    JT at Teakettle

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    Heading to the racetrack

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    We had a wander out to the Grandstand

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    Like a fish out of water

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    We rode on down to the south end to see the sailing stones, but first we ate lunch. What a great place eat.

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    Great view to go with my orange. Two inches lower than the other end, that being a major factor in how the stones do move.

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    We wandered out to see the stones

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    After heading back to Teakettle, we asked some riders we met there about the condition of Hunter Mountain, and it looked nice and open, so we decided to go back that way

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    Hunter was a little more gravelly than the racetrack road, but not too bad

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    Got up to the top. The twisty bits are great fun on the big bikes.

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    Some video climbing Hunter Mountain



    The top of Hunter was rutted, but the ruts were all parallel to the direction of travel, so pick your rut and off you go.

    We got some great views of Saline Valley

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    JT decided he finally "got" what I was on about with Death Valley, and he added the sticker

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    What a great day on the bike. Perfect riding temperatures, a great wing man, and Death Valley being Death Valley, so vast and beautiful and stark.
    #3
  4. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    Different strokes. I loathed the Anakee Adventures off road. Was riding fully loaded out of Harry Wade exit route in October, felt like the bike as always going to swap ends in any kind of gravel.
    #4
  5. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    DV never disappoints but your pics will make the tourists come in hordes.

    :thumb

    we had the noobs rally a week ago at Panamint Springs and the weather was nice!
    #5
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  6. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    Yeah, saw you guys all out there, I had planned this trip before I realized the Noobs was going on. Caught up with a couple of apparent Noobs going across Hunter - very new GSes, very new Gear, Very stiff riding style. Wanted to give them the link to Rawhyde to get trained up, they'd have way more fun!
    #6
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  7. BIG-E

    BIG-E AKA; Mongo-E, Sexy Grande Supporter

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    Outstanding!!:clap

    Thanks for taking me along!!
    #7
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  8. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    2021 Ride Report Day 3

    Day 3, Wildrose, Charcoal Kilns, Aguereberry Point

    As I've also found in DV, the third full day of riding was a day of less effort, time to catch our breath a bit. So I planned a mixed paved/dirt route to check out some other greatest hits.

    We didn't rush out in the morning, but got our bikes packed and, to my surprise, I could collapse my top case. Nice and tidy, let's go.

    We had a nice ride out into Panamint Valley, and turned down Panamint Valley Road to Wildrose

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    Up Wildrose, and the pavement got worse, which was great. The dirt road to the Charcoal Kilns was pretty washboardy, but I also realized that I didn't put the bike into Enduro mode, nor did we air down since the road is so short. The Charcoal Kilns were quite crowded, I suspect lots of people hiking out to Wildrose Peak, as there weren't too many people around, but lots of parked vehicles. The views of the Sierra were spectacular

    Landscape?

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    Or maybe portrait?

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    This Raven kept an eye on us

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    Another beautiful day

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    A view through a kiln

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    We headed back down (putting the bike in Enduro mode helped with the washboard)

    Near the Skidoo Pipeline

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    The views were still spectacular

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    As we headed back to towards the Wildrose Work site, JT pulled up and said his range had gone down from 170 miles to 40. Never trust a motorcycle gas gauge. We had more riding planned for today, and I hadn't refilled my spare gas can. JT had a spare liter, so we poured that in

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    We figured we could still go out to Aguereberry, since from there back to Stovepipe Wells was all down hill. So we rode up to Aguereberry. That was a revelation, I had never been out there. The dirt road was in pretty good shape, but quite steep and rutted for the last few hundred yards to the top.

    But man, the view is worth it

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    When we were at the Charcoal Kilns, a Crow stole some things out of JT's open side case (there was food in there)

    Apparently, he followed us to Aguereberry Point. Brave guy, came right up to us to steal food. I dropped a peanut and he came within touching distance to take it.

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    A panorama was in order

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    The views from up there are just spectacular, all of Death Valley (the valley, not the park), at your feet

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    This place makes me smile. We ate lunch here and I figured out why I could close my topcase down. I left my lunch in the hotel room, so it was Cliff Bars and Gorp for lunch for me.

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    One more of the view

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    We headed back down to Wildrose and into Stovepipe, and due to some judicious coasting, JT made it with fuel enough to spare. We gassed up and headed back to Furnace Creek, had a nice steak and potato dinner. I called the hotel to see if I could extend my stay to the next day, but they were full booked. I went to bed having no idea where I was going tomorrow....
    #8
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  9. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    2021 Ride Report, Day 4

    This was a liberating day. I woke up on Monday morning with no idea where I was going to go. I was due to meet Codewife in Paso Robles on Wednesday, but I could even delay that a day. We got up, made some coffee, and I opened my maps. North? East? I didn't know. But what I did know was that I wanted to take Tuesday off, have a day off the bike. Las Vegas isn't really my style. Most of the Sierra Passes are still closed. Back South?

    I looked at the map, and Ojai sprung to mind. CA 33 outside of Ojai is a pretty epic road. But Ojai can be pretty warm. Santa Barbara? I checked county websites to see what the state of Covid restrictions were. Santa Barbara was open for indoor dining, so I jumped on the web and found a B&B close to downtown. I had a destination, time to hit the road. JT was heading back to Phoenix, I bought water for the trip and queued up some routes on the GPS. I left via Wildrose and Emigrant Pass, if it was good enough for the 49ers, it's good enough for me

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    I dropped down into Panamint Valley

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    Gassed up in Inyokern, I looked at the route and the time estimates in the GPS, and scrapped my plans to head to Kernville and take CA 155 back into the central valley, it seems I had alot of miles to go. My spidey senses told me something wasn't quite right, but I headed over by Lake Isabella and out on 178, which is a bit of a busy road, but still, really great

    Although Lake Isabella is quite low, and the Kern River isn't too full, there was enough rain to make the valley spectacular. A great place to eat my lunch of chicken wraps bought from the store in Furnace Creek, an orange, and some GORP. At least I didn't forget my lunch today.

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    Dropping down into the central valley, I looked at my range and thought I could make it to Ojai. As I headed east, I found where Codewife's favorite fruit, Clementine Oranges are grown

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    It was here, looking at my distance to go on the GPS and my range, I decided to dump my spare 2 liters of fuel into the tank.

    I carried on, kept looking at my range. This is not going to work. Is Ojai still that far away? That can't be right? Dang it, let's detour up to Taft and fill up, since that's where the nearest gas is.

    So I cut up to Taft, filled up my tank and my spare gas can, and headed south to rejoin my route.

    And I passed a gas station in Maricopa that didn't come up when I searched on the GPS. Should have searched on my phone, as I had a signal. Damnit.

    I pulled over and futzed with the GPS. Apparently, my route had waypoints out of order. I only had about 80 miles to go today. I didn't need any gas at all! Well, okay, we're sorted, plenty of time to blast up one of the great roads in the area.

    Let's head south through Cuyama Valley, to the beginning of the good bits of 33. Stopping near the top, the views are spectacular

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    The rough and ready overland rider who can't figure out how far the next town is

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    I dropped down into Ojai, and 33 didn't disappoint (although there are more tar snakes since last I rode here). Wonderful curves, great sight lines, and no traffic. Even the Anakee Wilds were getting into it. Some fantastic patterns.

    Leaving Ojai, I slabbed it to Santa Barbara, stopped at BevMo for "essential" supplies, and ordered a pizza in while I caught up on MotoGP from the weekend. A fantastic day!

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    #9
  10. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    2021 Ride Report, Day 5

    Today was a day off the bike. I had a bag full of toxic waste that used to be my clothes, so I first walked down to a laundromat and, after some struggles figuring out how the payment system worked, got my laundry done and headed to lunch. Lunch was some great Argentinian empanadas and had some really nice beers to go with it. I walked down State Street, and was looking for a good coffee, so I wandered into one of the Paseos that lead off the main drag.

    Instead of coffee, I ended up at the tasting room for Grassini Wineyards. They do some good work, growing Bordeaux varietals in the warmest part of the Happy Canyon AVA.

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    I had some wine, but was still hankering for a coffee, and found a nice place that served Turkish Coffee and baklava. Absolutely filthy stuff, totally delicious!

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    Back to the room, caught up on motorcycle racing, and then headed to a fantastic dinner at Bouchon.

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    A great day off the bike, errands done, belly (over) full, ready to set off tomorrow to Paso to meet Codewife.
    #10
  11. staudio

    staudio Time to take a ride.....

    Joined:
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    Great report and pics. I road Hwy 25 for the first time a couple weeks ago, it was a blast. Looking forward to the rest of your report.
    #11
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  12. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    2021 Ride Report Day 6

    Today I didn't have very far to go, as the crow flies, but I had mapped out a rather circuitous route with a little bit of dirt to get me to Paso, where I'd meet Codewife and stage out for day rides and enjoy some great meals in the evenings.

    Cool tree visible from the hotel

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    I had a final tasty breakfast at the B&B, packed up the bike, and headed back towards Ojai, gassed up and grabbed some water, and headed up CA 33. Seriously one of the best roads and the weather was perfect, about 60 degrees F or so.

    After 5 days, I've finally getting out of my own head, and further into this state

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    Heading back into Cayumas valley, I took a right to go out Lockwood Valley Road, a great shortcut between 33 and I-5.

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    Loving life, just riding and not worrying about anything else

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    Lockwood Valley Road is a ton of fun, twisty and hilly, and it got quite cold as I headed up. Getting to Frazier Lake Road, I hung a left, away from I-5 and into the back country. I hadn't ridden this road before, and boy, what a gem. Not too tight, great sight lines and beautiful pavement. Had some great views, too

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    Dropping down the hill, it got warmer and I was onto the Corrizo Plain, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrizo_Plain, and the Corrizo Plain Naional Monument. I've ridden on the plain before, it's a beautiful grassland plain. Not a bad place to eat my lunch of a basket of strawberries (A farmer's market appeared on State Street while I was drinking wine the day before) and couple handfuls of GORP.

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    The dirt road through the plain was recently graded, so it's super smooth and fast. Whenever I feel like I know what I think I'm doing on the dirt, I always consciously slow down! It was lonely and warm and beautiful.

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    Obligatory

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    The Corrizo Plain contains Soda Lake, a dry lake bed

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    Exiting the dirt, it was some familiar, wonderfully twisty roads. The Anakee Wilds, at a lower pressure, are letting me pick up the pace, and I'm loving life.

    Getting closer to Paso, things got greener. A good barn shot

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    I ended the day in Paso, met Codewife and had a great dinner. Lovely day!
    #12
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  13. tag3

    tag3 Doofus

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    Depending on where you are headed next....I'll be in Parkfield about lunchtime. Headed to either La Panza or Navajo Flats for a night or two. There's some dirt I want to explore there.
    #13
  14. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    I'm actually typing this up after the fact, I finished the trip this past Sunday, bummed not to meet you. Parkfield features as lunch in a couple of days! Love to hear about your trip, though, always looking for new places to ride.
    #14
  15. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    2021 Ride Report Day 8

    Messed up the previous day counts, today is day 8.

    While in Santa Barbara, I arranged to get some Anakee 3's installed on the bike in San Luis Obispo. I only had some simple dirt planned for the rest of the trip, no use taking more life out of the Wilds. SLO is about 20 minutes south of Paso. Why had I chosen SLO? Complete experience bias. Years ago, Thanksgiving of 2010, Codewife and I were on a big tour on the bikes, and I overestimated how much life I had left on my rear tire. We were in Paso and the only place that had a rear for me was in SLO, so road down there the Saturday after Thanksgiving (freezing cold) to get the tire changed. So, of course, I need a new tire, I'm in this neck of the woods, I do it in SLO. There's a bike shop like 5 minutes from the hotel in Paso I could have used, but nope, experience bias wins.

    Anyway, ran down to Chrismoto in SLO, and the wonderful Sheena had my tires ready to go. Took an uber downtown for a late breakfast, and my tires were mounted up by 11:30

    Got the Wilds strapped to the bike, gave the straps a "twang" and said "That ain't going anywhere", as required by standard safety procedures

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    Left SLO for the coast, finally got a glimpse of the Pacific

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    Did a little loop on Old Creek Road and Santa Rosa Creek Road. Old Creek is a fast and twisty two lane road, where it took me about 15 minutes to get back to the old feeling with the Anakee 3s. Santa Rosa Creek Road is a tight and steep goat trail, love it. Good views from the top

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    Video on Old Creek and Santa Rosa Creek Roads:



    This being "green" season in Central California, there are lots of cows out grazing on the fresh grass

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    Finished my loop and took 46 back towards Paso, great views of Morrow Bay

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    Took the twisty back roads, Vineyard and Peachy Canyon, back to the hotel and had another fantastic dinner with Codewife. Great day!
    #15
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  16. wetwider

    wetwider Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Many, many thanks for a good vicarious romp over some old favorite roads! I'll get over the homesickness.
    #16
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  17. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

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    2021 Ride Report Day 9

    Today was a loop around some well known roads north of Paso, and a few roads I haven't ridden before. I started out in beautiful weather heading out Indian Valley Road, one of my favorite paved "Goat Trails"

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    Not much wine grape cultivation out this way, but lots of cattle grazing

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    Still morning, and I'm wondering if I have enough fuel today. This seems to be becoming a theme of this trip. Not too worried, though, the weather is beautiful and the riding is fine

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    Out of an abundance of caution, and having plenty of time, I took the wonderful CA 198 all the way to Coalinga, filled up and headed back to the Parkfield Grade. I've been working on my road riding body positioning for a few years now (after having a crash and subsequently discovering why while taking the CMSP Intermediate riding class). My body positioning is improving, but I've noticed I've been not using enough road on left handers, and I'm turning in too soon on left hand bends. 198 was a good road to work on improving this. After gassing up, I went back out to Parkfield Grade and headed south.

    The top of my faring is about 5 feet off the ground, apparently

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    Parkfield grade turns to easy graded dirt at the 3500 foot summit. The views into Cholame Valley

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    I'm having a very good time!

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    Parkfield is a simple dirt road, and at the bottom where the pavement resumed, I met three guys on baggers going the other way (uphill on the dirt bits) who were wondering whether to carry on. Very big, very heavy, very shiny. I told them the truth, a bit washboard and a little bit of gravel, but probably passable on their machines (I once got my doors blown off by a dude on an old Goldwing while riding the dirt in Mexico, it's the artist, not the canvas). They took off north and I took off south to Parkfield.

    Always enjoy a good bridge

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    Lunch was at the Parkfield Cafe. It's also the location of the V6 Ranch. Codewife and I need to spend a weekend there soon.

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    Parkfield sits RIGHT on the San Andreas fault, this sign is about 1/4 mile away from the restaurant

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    The aptly named Vineyard Canyon Road led me back towards Paso Robles, but I detoured onto Cross Canyon Road, Ranchita Canyon Road, and Hog Canyon Road (lots of Canyons round these parts) before heading back in to town, gassing up, and having dinner again with Codewife. Life is good!

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    #17
    staudio likes this.
  18. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,134
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, CA
    2021 Ride Report Day 10teenth

    I took the day off, on this Blursday afternoon. I've started forgetting what day it is, and that's kind of the point of this trip.

    We're not having a glass of wine, we're having 16, it's called a tasting, and it's classy

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    Great day, even if we were in the cage.
    #18
    staudio likes this.
  19. Codewheeney

    Codewheeney Callipygian Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,134
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, CA
    Day 12, my final day on the bike.

    I left most of my gear in the car for codewife to bring home, and I set off for an unburdened ride. I planned rather swervy way, and hopefully lunch at one of my favorite places

    Once more up Indian Valley and Peachtree Canyon Road

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    Barn with GS and Wildflowers, oil on canvas, Codewheeney, 2021

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    I headed back in to Coalinga and had really good Pollo a la Diabla at El Michoacano, nicely spicy and delicious.

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    I rode out Coalinga road, which is wonderful pavement in Fresno County, and turns to crap at the San Benito County line. Free bike wash, though!



    Joining back up with 25, I headed home, hopefully with my head in a better place. It's California Poppy time of the year, a time or rebirth

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    Thanks for reading, it was a fantastic almost fortnight

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    #19
    bobbyimp, msahern5, HiJincs and 5 others like this.
  20. staudio

    staudio Time to take a ride.....

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    896
    Location:
    20 Minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge, CA
    Impressive ride report and photos. Went down to SLO (my home town) to visit family a couple weeks ago. Took Indian Valley Road/Peach Tree/Highway 25 home. Look forward to riding those roads again.
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    #20
    dano619 and Codewheeney like this.