This hasn’t been an easy event to write up, due to the superstar nature of the speakers, the days of superior riding and the number of brilliant participants. We had David Hough author of Proficient Motorcycling, Fred Rau, author of Motorcycle Touring Bible, Craig Vetter, from the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and Dana and Nancie Brown, son and daughter of Bruce Brown who filmed the motorcycle classic, “On Any Sunday”. We also had the ever knowledgable Walt Fulton and Nancy Foote. Starstruck, I just haven’t quite known where to start, so I’ll just give it my best shot and begin with my ride to San Luis Obispo and see where it goes from there.
I had a late start. I slipped on my moto-gear and as I zipped my pants the head of the zipper came off in my hand. Grrrrrr….not now!!! They are my only riding pants and I simply don’t go without protective clothing especially given some of today’s route was slabbing the I5. I quickly jumped onto YouTube looking for zipper repair and found how I could get the zipper back on the teeth and got ‘er done! Within 15 minutes my pants were good to go and I was off, but let me tell you, it certainly made for an inauspicious and later than planned departure. Good ol’ Murphy’s Law.
From a broken zipper to I5 was not a big leap, though both lack any measurable distain. I schlogged down the interstate and finally cut over to Hollister and caught a more scenic route. I was relieved to know the back roads were alive and well, but I have to admit surprise that the surrounding hillsides were already brown. Though it’s the end of April, it seemed like it should have been more green, but that was not the case.
Peachtree and Indian Valley are both beautiful but goaty.
I love the huge oak trees that are found around CA.
In the small town of San Miguel was a lovely 200 year old CA mission.
I couldn’t help but stop for a couple of photos.
When I finally arrived at SLO, it was 7ish and I had just enough time to settle into my room and walk to where dinner was being held. My friend Bruce, Streetmasters official photographer, had waited for my arrival and together we met those that had arrived on Thursday night. Friday was the official day to register and many more would be arriving, however registration was not until 3pm and we could do some local riding prior.
For your pleasure here are some of Bruce’s photos and any photos posted in the RR that are not watermarked demenshea, are provided by Bruce.
Craig Vetter arriving on his 16HP Vettermobile. Craig is an ardent supporter of less is more for these days of the tight economy and ridiculous fuel costs.
Arriving at the restaurant and greeting Walt Fulton.
Nancy Foote, Walt’s SO and me.
We had a lovely dinner and called it a night after making plans with two friends, Regina and Carolyn to meet Friday morning to ride. Bruce decided he’d join the women’s excursion.
Before leaving the hotel, we came across an old friend…luckily it was only for conversation!
Colleen has been a Streetmasters instructor and was my roomie, at my last seminar. She is an absolute riot and it was great to see her!
Loved the license plate holder and let me tell you, that was one big arse gun!
Carolyn and Regina
We had big plans to ride Rossi’s Driveway avoiding all highways. Well after a brisk blast over Rossi’s Drive, we promptly got lost zig zagging over back roads. Next time I will actually program the GPS! The temps were quickly rising and before we knew it, it was baking at 90 degrees. Bruce had to be back to help set up the meet and greet, but we girls decided to ride over Nacimiento Fergusson road to the coast which is absolutely glorious! and cool to the point of being downright cold!! Amazing.
Four happy riders after Rossi’s driveway!
Bruce enjoying his lease on life…;)
A little hydration…
We were told that since Nacimiento crosses a military base we would need to have our registration, license and insurance cards, so after stopping to comply we were ready to head to the base. Of course since we were prepared there was no one at the gatehouse.
However, the ride there was lovely.
Nothing prepared me for the absolutely astonishing views!
Three beautiful RED motorcycles…
And the road heading down to the coast was challenging to say the least! For those of us with acrophobia this suddenly became a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo!
The descent was steep and quick.
Before i could count to 50, I was down at the bottom on Hwy 1 with about 20 million Harleys.
But we had moments that the road seemed like ours!
When we arrived in Morro Bay, we were already late for registration and knew that we would have missed the Taco feed and meet and greet so we decided to go with the flow and eat at Taco Temple before heading back to SLO. Sublime take on Mexican food!!!
We arrived back at SLO satiated and just in time for Fred Rau’s talk about riding in New Zealand. What a first day!
But it just wasn’t quite enough. We girls decided a cocktail would be the perfect thing to finish off the evening, so off we went to Applebees. Who’d of thought, drinks at Applebees?? Well it was Karaoke night and we had our share of good laughs and cheap local entertainment and we were all in bed by midnight, the witching hour.
Saturday morning began bright and early and hangover free, with breakfast with Fred Rau and Dave Hough at 7 am. How does anyone want to eat at 7am?? Well Walt and Nancy were ready!
What a pleasure to meet David Hough, author of Proficient Motorcycling. He was not only approachable but witty and fun. Fred Rau was much the same and they played off one another during the morning session. They were both glib with one another and had the group well entertained with the informal nature of the meet.
Fred with Craig onlooking.
Fred was never short of things to discuss!
Bruce on the opposite side of the camera!
Dave and Fred
After breakfast David Hough gave his first official talk on “Why don’t they see us”. For me this was a very eye opening discussion as his ultimate end was that we, as motorcyclists are largely responsible to taking care of ourselves, period. We need to be constantly vigilant, have escape routes, do what we can for conspicuity and to think of crashes as crashes NOT accidents for the vast majority with proper riding techniques, could be avoided. In otherwords, we are responsible for us the biggest part of the time.
When we think of most of our friends crashes, we discover that most COULD have been avoided by riding within the proper envelope, know the limitations of thier skills and focusing on doing everything right. Many crashes are rider error as in bad judgement and riding over one’s head. Those of us listening to David, exchanged glances knowing exactly what he was talking about. Yep, an eye opener.
After Dave’s talk we were excused to go off and ride the CA coast! I’ll tell you, i certainly entered that day with a bit different mindset. Being responsible for myself was going to be a very big job!
My friends agreed!
Nancy had put together some amazing group rides for the day led by streetmasters instructors, but since I’m not much of a group rider, we, Bruce, Aurore, Regina and I decided to use one of the self-guided routes Nancy had created taking us over Tepusquet Rd to Foxen Canyon and to Los Olivos for lunch. Another amazing day of riding, but this one not without some moto problems. Aurore’s Ducati decided to be temperamental and died, luckily not in a corner!
At the base of Tepesquet.
I had been shooting some photos and came upon my friends along the side of the road. At least it chose a nice place to die. We met a lovely moto-rider who offered up his bathroom, and shade and water to allow for both bikes and riders to cool down.
The Fess Parker Winery had some big thing going on, but it was the beautiful flowers that barely caught my eye!
Los Olivos was crowded as usual, and parking was creative. Across from our shady dock was this lovely Shasta travel trailer.
After a delicious lunch at a deli, we decided the path of least resistance was probably the best route to get the Duc back to SLO. We jumped on the freeway and up until one exit prior to ours, the Ducati hung in there, but there it decided it was done. I pulled off to make sure Aurora got it going, and off we went back to the motel. We parked the bikes and decided we’d deal with it the following day since we wanted to shower before the BBQ and movie night of On Any Sunday. Sadly Bruce Brown would not be joining us but his son, Dana and daughter, Nancy were there to narrate and add all the fun outside info! We also found out that Tom Hensley, who now owns Burt Monroe’s Indian was going to be absent due to family illness. I think as disappointed as we were, we all understood.
So, we showered and though a bit late were able to sit in on Craig Vetter’s talk. I was not surprised to learn that Craig had not only created the Windjammer fairing, but was the inventor of several interesting things, including a wheelchair for handicapped marathons, Hippo Hands with his bro Bruce’s help, fuel efficient hot tubs, as well as several not so well thought of ideas like the Ram Wing. Check out Craig’s short film regarding this gem!
So the early evening was packed full of Craig’s accomplishments, dreams and desires. He and Carol are astounding people who I admired previously, but now that I have listened to and met, I adore! Carol and I talked extensively about riding solo, since Carol had ridden solo across the country and back through Canada in 1972!! That was a serious accomplishment in any year, but given that time element, was astounding. Carol is a sparkling gem!!
Craig in the 70s
Nancy had Craig leave his story to go to the BBQ with a promise that he could finish in the morning at breakfast! We were all good to go at that point but definitely wanted to hear the rest of Craig’s story!
Regina and Aurore with Craig’s ride
After Craig’s talk, a few of us piled into Dave Hough’s car and off we went to the BBQ held in a lovely SLO park. Other people walked or rode but Regina and I wanted to imbibe a bit and preferred someone else to drive!! We definitely felt SAFE with Dave.
I’m sure Walt enjoyed this photo.
Regina and me
Dana and Nancie Brown and moi!
Back at the convention room at Best Western, we embarked upon another fun evening. We were about to watch On Any Sunday, with Dana narrating and adding personal asides to the film. Hearing the inside stories involving Steve McQueen was indeed a treat. He sounded not only like a character but an endearing person to have known.
The girls of Streetmasters or at least some of us!
It’s movie time!
Complete with Licorice…
What an enjoyable night!! Man this Streetmasters Reunion was one of the best weekends EVER!!
The final morning, we met at 7am for breakfast with Fred, Dave and Craig and afterward we got some group shots in.
Craig, Carol and me
The entire group!
David had a few copies of his new book, Mastering the Ride on hand for purchase and autographing. Of course I and Regina had to get one! I let Dave know that it was me in the Streetmasters shot on page 26…he told me I should autograph his copy! ; )
Well after a million small conversations, we finally broke it up and began the trek back to our homes. The first order of business for us girls was to make sure Aurore’s bike had been attended to. Well, to make a long story short, another Duc rider, Phil and Walt talked to Aurore regarding the symptoms before shut down and it was decided that possibly the charcoal cartridge was the culprit. So they removed it and after charging the battery it started right up. All seemed good to go. Then we noticed that Carolyn’s rear tire had picked up a screw. Sheesh. Rocky, one of the awesome Streetmaster’s instructors with the help of Regina’s plug kit, had it fixed in no time. Ahhhh….we are ready.
Aurore left. Carolyn rode with me and Regina until San Miguel and split off to go to the coast. Regina and I decided to grab a bite in San Miguel and then take Indian Valley, Peachtee and Hwy 25 before we split off at Panoch Rd where I would take the back way to I5 and she would go on to Hollister and Santa Cruz using more back roads. It was heating up rapidly and I was wishing I had my camelbak. Man, i know better!!! Since leaving SLO at a later time than expected, I know I wouldn’t get home much before 7 pm. I was right.
Resting in the shade off Peachtree Rd.
It was already heating up!
Another rider comes by…
This heart-shaped cactus was the best metaphor ever regarding love…wonderful but prickly
Regina and her beautiful sexy Duc!
Water in CA makes all the difference!
Heading down Panoch Rd, hot, dry and desolate.
By the time I reached I5 I needed gas. The nearest station was absolutely packed. While i awaited my shot at the pumps, a driver was drinking his shot via whisky and redbull. Wow, I didn’t notice his plates, or quite frankly I would have called him in. He was probably about mid 20s. When I told my 24 year old son, he replied, “welcome to my screwed up world, where guys find this A-ok.” sigh…
The rest of my ride was rote and boring, but I kept thinking of Dave Hough’s talk on being responsible for ourselves and how complacency is one of our worst enemies. I rode confidently but not aggressively and kept about 8 miles over the speed limit. I don’t think that is anything much worse than negotiating the I5. Just south of Elk Grove the traffic began baking up and I could see black smoke rapidly rising. I carefully split lanes toward the front of the clusterfook to discover a compact car engulfed in flames and a group of women screaming on phones. I slipped right on by and left it to all the “good” citizens behind me. One such was an 18 wheeler who crossed from the right lane to the left and parked. OMG…I couldn’t get out of there quick enough.
As I pulled into the drive, the open garage looked very inviting, to say nothing of the glass of cold white wine that Gary handed me once I was stopped. Ahhhh…there are so many upsides to the Spot-GPS locator!!
That evening I heard that Aurore made it to Goleta when her Duc gave out for the final time. Rocky, one of Streetmasters instructors borrowed another instructor’s truck and ramp and went to rescue her. He gathered her up and took her to San Diego where she lives and turned right around back to SLO, where he lives. How noble?? Very very commendable!! I have no words, but I adore this community. With the Duc dealer closed on Monday, we are still awaiting to hear what the little Ducati gremlin had done to her bike. No word yet, but i’ll contact her tomorrow to hear a verdict. And let you know!
I can say hands down that this was one of my most wonderful motorcycle weekends ever!!!