Saturday, January 7, 2017

Because We Can - Friday & Saturday December 30 and 31, 2016

Following a good night sleep, we awoke to a dreary day!  Boohoo!  Oh well, it wasn't raining, just cloudy and a tad chilly.  After brekkie at the Best Western we geared up again with all the layers of LD Comfort, heated gear, outer gear, winter gloves, buff, etc. and headed to the ocean.  After all, it was only about 1/2 mile away and it's been a long time since I've been to the ocean so we had to go.  Geared up and bikes loaded, we left the hotel parking lot in search of a beach access.  It wasn't long before we found what we were looking for!

Those dots out there in the ocean are surfers!    Brrrrrrrrr!!!

It was a beautiful beach in both directions.

I watched this surfer catch a wave and ride it in!

We climbed down the million or two stairs to go stand on the sand :-)

And, of course we had to memorialize our visit ;-)

Then, we had to climb up the million or two steps to get back to the street where we had parked the bikes!  Oh, and I was dressed like the Michelin man, lol.

After our brief visit to the Pacific, we headed east on rural roads which was very pleasant as we had very little traffic to deal with.  California Hiway 58 was particularly fun with a lot of twists and turns and then roller coaster hills and valleys.  Whee!  I love it when you feel like you're catching air off the top of rise as you enter the downside.  Good fun!

When I think of CA Hiway 58, I usually think of the slog across the Mojave and it really isn't very interesting until you get to Tehachapi.  But the western side of CA Hiway 58 is fabulous!!!

We took a little break here - the middle of nowhere on CA Hiway 58 where there is a humongous solar ranch.

Big tumbleweeds!  I had one blow right behind me, so glad it didn't get me because it was about the size of a house.  You can see some of the solar panels in this photo.
Oh blue sky!  Yeah, no for long.....

Yeah, another picture of my bike.  I can't get enough of this Beastie Bike!!

After riding through Bakersfield we started heading up the mountain to Tehachapi where we stopped at Denny's for lunch (only the best for us!).  While we were eating, a lot of clouds gathered and the fog got very thick, like pea soup.  The weather report was calling for snow in Tehachapi and neither of us wanted to spend the night there and risk being snowed in.  Besides it was still early afternoon.

So, after lunch, we bundled up again and headed out into the thick fog that now had freezing ice pellets pounding down.  It was nerve wracking!  My new LS2 Metro helmet has it's own proprietary pinlock type shield.  It was a piece of shit and didn't work at all.  That meant, I had to leave my visor up most of the way just to see.  GACK!  Fog, freezing ice balls, bad traffic.  This part was NOT fun.  I was thankful when we got over the summit and started heading down into the Mojave and the weather improved greatly.  I was also thankful for my heated pants, jacket and grips!

We were moving along quite nicely heading to Barstow when about 15 miles out of town, traffic came to a standstill.  Both lanes.  No movement.  Then we got to move like one car length, then another, then another.  Eric suggested we lane split.  Ummmm,  no thanks, not with the Beastie Bike and her big hips.  Besides, I've never really done it before and just the thought intimidated me.  (Actually, during the 2011 Iron Butt Rally, I did lane split in Pennsylvania on route to the checkpoint in Buffalo).  We even had a dude driving a motorhome tell us it was okay for us to lane split in California.  That was nice!

After several miles of this stop and go, the highway merged from two lanes to one lane and everything just became that much more congested.  We were getting some serious slow riding skill training!  Eric started to look for alternative routes on his GPS which pretty much meant off pavement.  I wasn't too sure about that.  I was tired and really didn't want to go exploring.  I was ready for my cocktail and a hotel room.  The motorhome guy told us traffic was clearing up about 5 miles up the road at the intersection of Hiway 58 and Hiway 395, so we just stuck it out.  It took a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG time to get to Barstow.

Although our route today was just over 300 miles it took us hours and hours and hours because of the traffic jam.  This meant it was dark when we got to Barstow.  Ever since I had Lasik eye surgery, my night vision sucks and I was having a tough time merging onto the Interstate with all the traffic and brake lights and stop and go on the Interstate!  Yuck!  We took the first exit into Barstow, pulled over at a Chevron station, refueled the bikes and parked while we searched for a hotel.

The Super 8 where we had stayed a few days prior was already booked up.  Too bad, because it was a decent room, spacious and clean.  Eric was able to book us a cheap room at the Days Inn.  I've found that just like Super 8, it can either be a gem or a shady place.  Unfortunately, this Days Inn was on the shady side.  No, really it was awful, tiny room and filthy.  Gross.  Yuck.  Do Not Stay here, ever!  Don't let the somewhat tidy exterior fool you.  This is a nasty place.  Oh well, I was happy we were parked for the night and I could finally have my cocktail and relax.

The next morning dawned with blue skies and more chill.  I snapped a few photos before we departed again wrapped up in all our heated gear.

It was about another 300 miles to home and it's straight down Interstate 15.  Traffic was much better on our way home than it had been on our way to Orcutt, CA.  There were no lines at the rest stop :-)

It was nice to roll into our driveway that afternoon.  We had a great little ride and got to visit with friends we hadn't seen in quite some time.  Our "Because We Can" lunch was great and popping over to the ocean was a highlight.  The western side of CA Highway 58 was spectacular (go ride this highway!) and we didn't have to deal with any issues other than bad weather at Tehachapi and that ugly traffic jam.  Our bikes performed flawlessly and I managed to stay toasty with my heated gear.

Now, the Beastie Bike has about 13,500 miles and is overdue for the 12,000 mile service.  I have an appointment for next week down in Las Vegas.  We'll see how that goes.....

Thanks for following along.  It was nice to take a little trip in the middle of winter.  We have a Baja California, Mexico trip planned next month so stay tuned!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Because We Can - Thursday December 29, 2016

Yippee skippy, it's today, it's today!  The Because We Can Ride To Eat is today, hooray!!!!  Since we were only maybe 5 miles from the Far West Tavern where the RTE was being held, we again slept in and took our time getting dressed and the bikes loaded.  We awoke to another glorious day with clear skies and shining sun.  It was warm, well compared to what we have been riding through and I didn't even need any heated gear.  Man, it felt sooooo good to get on the bike without all that bulk on :-)  And, I could actually turn my head from side to side, lol.

We weren't the first to arrive although we got there early.  Ray Blair was part of the welcome crew.
 And Dean Tanji, our host was all smiles :-)
 I hadn't even taken off my jacket and the folks began to arrive en masse.  It was fun watching the riders roll in and park while waving and nodding and not hearing a thing because they still had their helmets and earplugs in!
 It was great to see Nancy Lefcourt!
 Dean and Rocky Mayer stroll through the parking lot, checking out the bikes and riders.  I was super happy to see Rocky because I had a custom BMS saddle that I got at the Rockmor Rally this past August and I had sent it to Rocky for some customization.  But, I also wanted heat and some tweaking on the seat.  So, as fortune has it, Rocky was at the RTE and I had brought the seat along so I was able to personally get a fitting and send the seat back with him to his shop for the tweaking and heat.  Oh yeah, baby, heated custom seat?  That's what I'm talking about.  Can't wait to get it back.  Thanks, Rocky!
 Look, look, look who showed up!!!!!!  Yes, that would be Eric.  Hahahaha!  No, look closer, it's Lisa Landry all the way from Texas.  Here she is hanging out with Eric and Heidi Still.  Heidi and her guy John rode in from Yuma, AZ.

 I was tickled to see Pat Ford ride in.  He came from Lake Havasu, AZ.  Pat will always have a special spot in my heart as he helped me on my first rally.  He's kind of crazy, he'll be riding the Iron Butt Rally again come June.  I think maybe this will be his fourth???
 Kurt Worden - usually I see him on a Ninja 250 but today he brought the big gun, a Moto Guzzi Norge 1200cc monster!  Whoa!  Actually, another rider, John (I don't know his last name) also showed up on a Norge but his was a sexy, fast red :-)
 Here is Heidi checking out the new arrivals.  You can see what a beautiful day it was!
 And was time to invade the restaurant and decide what to eat.  Of course, everyone was talking, talking, talking and the poor servers exhibited a great deal of patience trying to get everyone's order taken.
 I was delighted to see Andy Mackey.  Of course he rode in on his BMW R1200GSA that has like 300,000 miles on it.  Rumor has it he'll be riding it in the Iron Butt Rally this June making it his third?  Maybe fourth.  Good luck, Andy.

 OMG!  Do you know who that is?  The guy in the middle?  The Ex Noble Grand Humbug?  Yes, peeps, that is "THE" "TURBO DAVE" or Dave Hicks to strangers ;-)  It was just fantastic to see him riding again.  2016 was a tough year for Turbo Dave and he is now back with a vengeance.
I stepped outside for a smoke and took the opportunity to take some photos of all the awesome bikes in the parking lot and out front on the street.
 Oh, here's that other Norge in front!  You could find just about anything here from a Ninja 650, Yamaha Super Tenere and FJR, Honda ST, BMW GS (both 800 and 1200), RT and GT along with a Goldwing or two and Ray Blair's Suzuki Wee Strom.
 It just makes me happy to see all these bikes and riders gathered together for a meal and a chat and then take off only to do it all over again in a year.  What great fun!

 Back in the restaurant, you would think there might be quiet time while we all ate our lunch but somehow we all managed to chat while eating.  The food was good.  Really good.  Eric and I split a bbq bacon cheese burger and opted for fresh fruit on the side rather than fries.  Hahahahaha!

I caught Ms. Landry sporting a DFF sticker on her forehead!  What a prankster ;-)
 I couldn't resist taking this picture.  I love the graphics on this saddlebag!
 Peter Perrin and John Cooper joined us for lunch.  Peter brought along his son who is now all grown up (how does that happen?) and he was riding his own Ninja 650.  Riding pillion on Peter's bike was his son's girlfriend.  Yay!  Keeping it in the family :-)
Heck darn it.  I didn't get a photo of Mark Fischer (Redneck Valdeez) but he was there, looking good, on his Honda Blackbird!  I didn't get pics of a lot of folks but I sure had a good time chatting with and sharing stories with everyone.  Gosh, another rider I didn't get a photo of but love dearly is Carroll Walker!  That dude is the stuff!!

So, all porked full of fine food, it was time for some peeps to depart for destinations unknown.  I hate that part.  Of course, nobody could leave right away.  Someone always, always, always has something else to say.  Just one more word or one more thought or one more "did you see".....

 But, alas, all were gone except Eric and me.  Somehow it's not unusual for me to be the last to leave.  I love these gatherings and hate to say goodbye.  Besides, we didn't have anywhere to be, so we hung in to the end.

It was a great RTE and I so much enjoyed seeing everyone and meeting some new folks too!  This very loose knit community of long distance riders is simply awesome.  They span all ages and what they choose to ride.  It doesn't matter - the common bond is riding and we all do a lot of that.  Thanks Dean Tanji for putting this together for the umpteenth year!  It was good.
 There we were, all alone in downtown Orcutt, CA.  Where to go?  Well, heck, darn, we're just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.  Maybe we should go visit the ocean?  Okay!

We rode north on Highway 1.  What a treat!  Very little traffic and lots of good stuff to see.  A good deal of farmland and agriculture eventually giving way to towns dotting the coast.  It got busy at Pismo Beach but traffic again thinned out.  Eric was playing a motorcycle "tag" game so we made a stop here at Oceano.
He needed a picture of a caboose!  Score - but not so fast - by the time he got to the hotel and checked his tag game he'd been "Bruced" (meaning someone else got the tag first).  No matter, it was a pleasant stop in a cute little burg.

 Eventually, we ended up in Morro Bay at the Best Western.  Not quite ocean front, we we have a peek-a-boo view.
 See, that's the Pacific Ocean!
 Really, it is the Pacific Ocean :-)  Tomorrow, we'll ride down to the shore and snap a few pics before heading east and toward home.

 It's quite a nice Best Westie and I love that the roses are in full bloom, in is good ;-)
There you have it, folks, the "Because We Can" Ride to Eat for 2016 at the Far West Tavern in Orcutt, CA.  A great event, awesome peeps, cool bikes and good food.  It was totally worth the 560.5 miles from our home in Ivins, UT.

We'll figure out our route for home tomorrow and start riding east.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and not get us wet or too cold.

Thank you for following along and stay turned, it's not over quite yet :-)