A Run For the Border!

Day 1-Friday, April 20, 2007

I'm excited. It's been hard for me to concentrate on anything but this trip for weeks. Now it's 9:30 in the morning under "partly cloudy" skies and the moment of departure is finely at hand. My only problem now is getting all this crap into my bags and onto the bike...I sure hope it all fits.

No problems, I have no room to spare but am loaded and ready to roll.

On this first day out I'm covering some VERY familiar ground. I plan to head straight south from our home in Eureka, California on Highway 101 down to the San Francisco Bay area where I'll be spending the night with friends. I've done this a million times (well, maybe not quite a "million") and still must admit that I still really enjoy the road. The highway is four-lane most of the way but the scenery is lovely and I can make good time. My first day out is mostly spent just getting away from "home" so I can really start my trip.

Lunchtime finds me in Willits and when it's lunchtime in Willits there is only one thing to do...eat at Ardella's! For those of you who have read some my other trip reports you know this is like a holy thing. Ardella's simply serves wonderfully delicious, reasonably priced food. It's that roadside diner (with some more exotic food choices) you're always looking for. I ordered up the Cuban panini and a cup of the homemade bean soup. I am not disappointed ;-)

Since Ardella's recently moved to a larger location, you don't always get to chat with Lori, one of the owners, much any more. As I walked outside to get back on the bike Lori came running out to say hi. She recognized me (the guy on the bike that stops by every couple of months) and we chatted for 10 or 15 minutes playing catch up. She recognized the Guzzi from my website and knew all about last year's accident (read about it HERE).

My next stop was in Santa Rosa at my "local" Moto Guzzi dealership, Moto Meccanica. I didn't really need anything, I just don't get to the "big city" all that often and I'm like a kid in a candy store ogling all the bikes. Moto Meccanica has recently installed a dynamometer and sent all its techs to Power Commander (an adjustable fuel injection module) school and is now available to adjust mine for me. I'll have to come back for that service soon.

They have a few old bikes on display inside including this lovely Moto Guzzi 125 c.c. Stornello Sport made back in the early '60's (I chastised them for displaying it with a flat tire).

They also had this old Ducati that I have no idea what it is but it sure was pretty.

I wound my way across the Golden Gate Bridge and through San Francisco's traffic until I reached Palo Alto. I was spending the night with friends of Becky and mine from the Sport-Touring.Net (ST.N- an online, international motorcycling forum), Chris (vitaminC) and Liz. I rode directly to their home. This was a pretty amazing feat on my part because it's a running joke among my friends about how easily I get lost. I won't bore you with the stories. Sensing my pain this last Christmas Santa brought Becky and I a new Garmin 2610 GPS unit (the units are now discontinued and amazingly inexpensive). I now had the unit mounted on the Le Mans and it told me exactly what roads to take and what turns to make to get to their house.

Chris had bought a new Mini Cooper since I last saw him...sweet!

At about six o'clock Frank (xsrider), another ST.Netter, showed up to join us for dinner so the four of us walked uptown a few blocks to eat at a Mediterranean Wraps restaurant that I am very fond of (mmm, can you say "falafel?") At the restaurant yet another ST.N member (and one of the group's administrators), Nevin (bsd43) joined us. It's a party! I had a great time.

Then it was back to the apartment where everyone got comfy. Chris and Liz grabbed their lap tops and started downloading some porn (not true, I made that up) so I just went to bed. Actually I was exhausted, it had been a long day in a series of what were to be many long days.

Miles ridden this day: a little over 300

Day 2-Saturday, April 21, 2007

The three of us walked back downtown and had a simple breakfast of bagels, coffee and juice. It was perfect, I was still stuffed from all the food I'd eaten the day before.

Then it was back home to get on the gear and load up the bike. Chris was going to join me on his new (to him) yellow, Kawasaki Ninja 250 for the ride over to the coast. But first we had to play with his new 125 c.c. scooter. I took it for a spin around the block. I'd never ridden a scooter before and I LOVED it. If I lived in an urban area I would definitely be commuting on one of these bad boys!

Chris led the way out of town and over to the coast near Santa Cruz. We parted company at a BMW motorcycle dealership where I left him drooling over a new BMW 800 twin.

The temperatures were moderate, somewhere in the 60's and the skies were still "partly cloudy." Around Castroville I started riding through lots of fields where the are artichokes were almost ready for harvest.

Then finally I hit Highway 1 and the beautiful California coast. I won't bore you with the endless pictures I took...you've seen similar a zillion times (well maybe not a "zillion") and you know the drill. Ride 5 minutes, stop, take a picture of the breathtaking landscape, get back on, ride 5 minutes, stop...suffice to say it was lovely and slow going.

As I neared San Simeon I came across Point Piedras Blancas where there are huge numbers of elephant seals dozing in the sun. I first discovered these guys on a motorcycle trip back in 2005 (Bikin' the Binaries) and now this is my third time stopping here and I'm still amazed by the size and number of them. Click on that Point Piedras Blancas link for all the details. It's a pretty amazing story.

At around 3 o'clock in the afternoon I rolled into the Motel 6 in San Simeon. Here I was to meet up with some fellow ST.N members who had been riding the roads and trails in the area for the past few days. The motel was, well...a Motel 6. No cell phone coverage, no credit card long distance dialing, no coffer maker but the price was right, $57.

The reservations I had made for here were the only ones I had made for my entire trip. I had heard that there was a Corvette convention going on and that lodging was scarce. Boy were they right. There were over 250 Corvettes in attendance. These beauties were everywhere!

Since it was still pretty early in the day I killed some time ogling the 'vettes and wondering how I was ever going to hook up with the ST.Netter's since I didn't know any of their last names. I just mostly knew them by their "screen" names and that everyone was staying in different motels.

Then I saw Gary (Twist, another of our administrators) ride by and I knew everything would be okay.

We met up with everyone else (many of the Southern California contingent has left for home that morning) for supper and decided to go to the same Mexican restaurant that they had eaten at the night before. That's Tony (cal_tony), Andrew (Nny), Gary (Twist), Carolyn (bluepoof) and myself (Dr. Gil) in the photo.

After dinner we hit the bars...having far too much fun. I had to leave when the karaoke started with an Elvis impersonator though. I walked back to the motel to get some sleep.

Tomorrow I have to deal with the L.A. freeway system...and it's supposed to rain.

Miles ridden this day: around 180

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