Archive for May, 2013

Riding for Mother…to Portland OR and back for Mother’s Day

A spontaneous ride emerged with the onset of Mother’s Day, since it had been several months since I had seen or spent time with my mother. So, In near perfect weather, I packed up the Bandito, routed a quick map in google and asked Gary to clone it onto the GPS and off I went with promises to return in a couple of days. Well, almost…

Leaving at a somewhat reasonable hour, I had an amazing ride under partly cloudy skies knowing that some serious goat awaited me as I headed to Antelope Lake. The windy Hwy 49 was a great introduction to what lay ahead.

Route to PDX


Hwy 49

The back roads to Antelope Laker were all Forest Service roads that wound up in elevation through an area that had been badly burned several years ago. The underbrush rich and vibrant grew up around the skeletal remains of the tall threes. The skies shed a quick downpour and I used caution over the newly wet roads. As I rose, I couldn’t believe just how many shades of green covered the hillsides. It was a new birth to the area, lush and ripe.

A quick rainfall…

Descending towards Janesville and looking into the valley below.

Highway 139 is one of my favorite roads to traverse north of Susanville and working toward Oregon. Eagle Lake is located off 139. I have wanted to stay here and at one point or another will make it so!

These flowers were prolific along the highway in NorCal and Southern OR.

The sun was getting low in the sky and the reflection in my lens was a treat though a far cry from the natural lighting.

Love the sky, which immediately brought the image of Monty Python’s god in the clouds.

I had called ahead knowing I’d arrive in Klamath Falls rather late, and made a reservation. I came to learn just what a good idea that had been once I arrived at the hotel filled with dogs and owners for the American Kennel Club and Klamath Dog Fanciers big “best of show”.

Well amid the dogs, I discovered that my room had been changed from a ground level room to an upstairs, which at this point a room at all was a delight. As I pulled in, I discovered that my room and key did not match and my room was in a different building. Oh my…I was tired and just wanted to get the bike and me situated. Two lovely girls came to my rescue with a glass or vino and they called the office and asked for them to send someone to sort out my right room. In the meantime, I took a deep breath and a big swig of wine. It worked out wonderfully and I made two new human friends and six new dog friends.

After a solid night of sleep, I rose, got coffee and decided I had never seen a dog show and that it was high time. I packed up and checked out and off I rode to the fairgrounds to see some dogs.

I got numerous shots, but these were my favorites.

One dog show later and I was on my way riding along Klamath Lake where I spend two of my teen years living in Modac Point, between Klamath Falls and Chiloquin.

The lake looked as pretty as ever.

As did the house where we lived. located right across the street from the lake.

When we were kids, we’d ride our skateboards down the driveway. They were the old skool ones with metal skate wheels. Anyway, my father usta tease us that if we didn’t stop at the bottom, either the highway would get us and if not that the trains on the train track or if we lucked and and made it past both then we’d probably drown in the lake. Yep, that wasn’t the safest place to ride skateboards.

When I reached Hwy 58 any semblance of desert disappeared as everything greened up into a layer cake of textures. I kept thinking how much CA could use some of OR’s water.

I succeeded in surprising my mother as I walked into her door. My sister and I had planned this clandestine campaign and did well. Mom was thrilled and introduced me to her new canine pal, Bindi.

My mom, always reluctant in front of the lens, neglected to sit for even one photo, so instead I thought I’d give you mom at 20. Yep, that will work. 😉

The next couple of days were spent hanging with Mom and my sister and even seeing my best pal, Karetta. I must admit to being sorry I didn’t get any photos, but you’ll just have to take my word that a good time was had by all.

Tuesday morning, I left with every intention of riding straight home via I5. But noooooooo…at Grants Pass, I had to veer off the 5 and head to some twisties. I just couldn’t do it.

Here’s my route to Red Bluff.

Red Bluff to home

Much better…

I stopped in Cave Junction for coffee and had the best ever espresso shake. Wow!! Loved the decor as well, and got a kick out of the coffee angel chain saw carving, complete with her wings and her coffee cup.

The road between Cave Junction and Happy Camp is one amazing road abounding with awesome twisties and wonderful surface. I saw one other rider enjoying the road, but otherwise the road was my own.

A map of the road…

Between Happy Camp and Willow Creek on Hwy 96 another wonderful road.

Once I reached Red Bluff I found the motel that Tyler and I had stayed in last year, the Sky Terrace. I must have been on auto pilot since it was dark and I had no idea where it was, yet I ride right to it. YEA! I was done for the day!!

I pulled in next to a group of sport bikes but didn’t really pay them any mind. The following morning I met the owners and discovered they were riding two busas and two R1. The R1’s were brand new and owned by young military men and the Busa’s custom owned by older gents. We talked roads and I sent them on a way better route than they had planned. I ended up seeing them a couple more times during the day. They all had big grins!

The day was cloudy and warm and the roads empty. Hwy 36 east toward Lassen.

The road to Bucks Lake is fairly goaty but then it changes to Oroville Quincy Hwy and it’s AMAZING!!

I love all the Oleanders along the roadways in CA.

Upon my arrival home, Hayden my grandson, was quick to greet me with his new pals purchased by a neighbor. For what reason you might ask…well, I wish i knew, but by nightfall, we were setting them free.

I must admit to loving the sound of them.

You may have noticed my day glow green jacket in the reflection of my mirror. Well, I finally bought my High Vis coat and absolutely adore it. It’s an awesome three season jacket that I feel is well seen and I know is comfortable. Woohoo!!

I hope all of you that were able, got out to celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s a most auspicious and fine day to appreciate those wonderful women we call mom/mum!

The PANTS trip and a little ride into Yosemite…

I purchased a new to me pair of Olympia Airglide 3 pants from a woman rider who had them listed on ebay. Since she lived in Modesto, I asked if I might wave the shipping fee and take a quick ride down to pick them up Sunday morning, thus giving us a chance to meet. It worked wonderfully. She was a delight as was her husband and their adorable dog. We had some time to gab, look over her gorgeous white Burgman 400, which she uses for work and pleasure. Man, I’ve gotta ride one of these, as they really look like a kick in the pants. Speaking of pants…the Olympia are totally wonderful. The waterproof liner is much like a free standing pant and the overpants have an articulated area which acts to give more movement when seated on a motorcycle. I also appreciate that they are roomy enough to wear jeans underneath, although I usually prefer something more comfortable than jeans under moto pants.

**Note, please that these are true to size. If you wear an 8, buy and 8. They are designed to fit OVER pants. I ended up with a size too large thinking it would make room for pants underneath, but really this is already taken into consideration in the sizing. Buy the same size you wear in street clothes.**

Getting back to the “pants ride”. I decided I really wanted to make this somewhat of a day’s ride so thought it might be perfect to take a jaunt into Yosemite. Yep, perfect riding weather, with some overcast anda light breeze. I knew it would be chilly entering the valley, but the valley floor would probably be quite nice. I decided to give it a shot.

Getting out of Modesto was probably the most difficult part of my day, other than the wind I experienced on the way home, but that will come later. Of course I had not programmed my GPS and had to do it on the fly, which is way less convenient, but doable. I wanted to ride the our favorite little twisty gem, “the little dragon” or at least part of it. What a blast. I don’t believe I saw more than three other vehicles.

After paying the $10 park fee, I wound up and then down into the valley. The traffic was moderate and slow but so are the park speed limits, so running quickly really isn’t an option. There was a huge presence of dirt bikes and dual sports and after talking to a man and his wife at the ranger Kiosk, I found out it was a gathering of many riders from the Bay Area doing some group off road adventure riding and camping. They looked to be having a wonderful time.

My first glimpse of the upcoming awe-inspiring sights.

When I pulled off the road, I got this shot. Photos never do justice to depth of field. This was a very steep descent to the valley below.

The valley floor was bustling, but not so much I was unable to get some decent snaps without people. I could have cropped this guys hand, but I quite enjoyed his zeal.

Bridal Veil Falls

El Capitan

Ribbon Falls

A pano of the valley floor with Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite Falls

The gratuitous Bandit in the park shot.

Merced River

I hadn’t been in Yosemite since the big fire they had, but it was nice to see the new growth. I just hope we don’t have to watch more of this pristine valley be destroyed.

I climbed out of the valley the same way I went in, because it was late and I knew that I still had a few hours before reaching home. I decided to take some scenic roads, but work my way back to Hwy 99 for a straight shot in to Sacramento. I did take Obrians Ferry road which is a fun little diversion and had I have routed this on my GPS, I would have considered some other roads, but instead, I followed Hwy 4 to Hwy 99 in some of the gustiest wind I have ever ridden. Whenever I feel like it can’t get worse, it does. This was even hard on the Bandit and it’s fairly heavy and grounded. I didn’t notice it on Hwy 120 but as I worked my way west, it began with gales. It was strong unpredictable crosswinds on Hwy 4 and I was watching motorhomes look on the edge of toppling. It was even intense for me, who is more than used to high winds from riding so much in the desert.

I am amazed how brown everything is this early in the year.

When I reached Hwy99, it was relative dull but I made it a point to ride within a prescribed speed limit. I did enjoy some fun sights this being one.

When I arrived home nearly past 7PM, I was extremely happy I had chosen to ride in to Yosemite. I need to keep in mind just how close I am to such a marvel and here soon, Tioga Pass will be open! Gotta schedule a passes ride! 😉

Streetmasters Motorcycle Reunion–what a weekend!

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!

The gang…behaving…;)

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!

Hwy 166

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!!!

Why we ride…just in time for International Female Ride Day!

Photo credit: chickthatrides

Since International Female Ride Day is tomorrow, I thought it was the perfect time to repost an article I wrote a couple of years ago, where I interviewed several female riders with the question, “why ride a motorcycle?”. I got some amazingly varied answers as well and several that bordered on channeling each other’s thoughts.

I am still puzzled that we are in such a minority. I guess the next question I should put forward is, “why don’t more women ride motorcycles”.

So kick off your shoes and read what these amazing women riders have to say about riding motorcycles.

Bikes and Babes

Think Bike, Look Twice!

May is Motorcycle Safety month but truly every month should be motorcycle safety month.

This shows why!!

Be an aware driver and look twice for bikes!!!