Thursday, July 20, 2006

Relaxing on the California Coast

After meeting my buddy John in Modesto Sunday night, we packed up the bikes and ran (and I mean RAN) for the coast to get away from the head (108F when we left Monday afternoon). It was too much for me, I guess the Californian in me has been replaced by a Pacific Northwesterner.. LOL.

Right now it's early Thursday morning, the fog is just starting to lift off the landscape. It's going to be another incredible day. It's also the beginin of the purpose of this trip. Tonight we reach Monterey, the home of the United States round of the MotoGP. Last year was just fantastic. We had general admission passes (last minute purchase since I was not sure I would have had the time off last year).

This time around we are going VIP, or semi-VIP with the HCRA Chalet package ($400 a pop but I'm sure worth every penny as the sun beats down on us). Can't wait to get down there and start checking out the happenings at the track! Trucks, teams, riders should all be arriving in town by this morning. The place will be crazy!

Also tonight we'll be meeting up with some of my Seattle friends that rode down a different route. We'll be having dinner at The Blue Fin down on Cannery Row. It's always a fun place to hang out, get some food, play some pool and watch the general mayhem down on CR that happens every year around the races. I doubt this year will be much different.

I havn't taken too many photos around Santa Cruz in the 3 days here. I guess.. it's such a familiar sight to me that I just didn't think about taking many pics, although I snapped off a couple yesterday.

Shot of the Boardwalk along the beach:

Odd sight, at least to me. The freight train rolling literally right down the main street amidst the hussle and bussle:

That is all for now. I'm to re-pack and get down the coast. I'll post more as time and internet connections allow!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day 4 of the journey

Today is for resting. It took 2 hours to reach Modesto from Napa yesterday. There was no traffic to speak of and everyone had the hammer down. How quickly I forget how people drive down here without the over-bearing presence of the State Highwayman we deal with up north. As far as the highways go, WA is, by all accounts a 'Police State'. In 3 days here, I've seen only 1 CHP car, it was undercover (well very unmarked) and it was blasting along in traffic with everyone else.

Getting back to the story. Hwy 12 out of Napa was the ticket. Followed that to 680 south for a few miles then caught Hwy 4 East, then south to Tracy and finally down to Modesto arriving at 7:00pm. Waiting for me there was cold beer, a swimming pool and 101F tempurature (but, it's a dry heat... so they tell me).

It was not long before we started up the BBQ and discovered the beer supply was woefuly lacking. So.. into my buddies Porsche and off to the store, the long way. What a hoot.. I really do need to get me one of them thar Porshy thangs. :)

After a great meal I was able to convince John that a trip out the the Lazy-A lounge was in order. Of course that did not require much arm twisting. Much to our surprise the place was packed on a Sunday night! Oh.. and the enterainment... wow.. that was by far the best set of entertainers old man Antonio has ever had in there! We stayed until closing time, came back to the house, dropped into the pool to cool off... watched a replay of the MotoGP race then passed out some time around 4:00am. It was a grand way to wrap up the 'weekend'. :)

This computer is borrowed so I don't have the latest pictures I took available for upload at the moment, however more will soon follow. For now.. it's time to re-pack the bike and get ready to head back to Santa Cruz on the coast.

More to follow.....

Sunday, July 16, 2006

3 Days in California

Well, it's Sunday afternoon and the riding has been INCREDIBLE!!! I could write for days! However I will not since I'm in the middle of a busy internet cafe in downtown Napa. There are some wineries I want to visit before I head south on the final leg to Modesto.

Friday saw me leaving Salem early and riding I-5 into Yreka. Weather was getting warmer and warmer. This time I would not hit any snow on Hwy 3. I would also not hit ANY traffic! Zip, zero.. nada. All the way to Weaverville! I WAS FANTASTIC!

Hwy 3 really is one of the best riding highways. Technical in places, loose and open in others and the best part is nearly every foot of it's 100 mile run from Yreka toWeaverville is textbook book canyon carving.

Stayed the night in Weaverville (rented a room with a hot tub, it was SO nice to soak after a longday). Hit the local eattery (La Grande - Excellent!!!), then 'The New York' (their version of a night-club... interesting... really!) then it was back to the motel/hotel (I walked, it was nice out!) and some sleep.

Saturday was all curves. Hundres of miles of curves. Words cannot describe the incredible oddesy 'The Lost Coast' became with the heavy fog, weird people on the road... and the views.. OH THE VIEWS! And the road too. What I planned to take about 1 hour took more than 3, and I was not sand-bagging!

Hwy 36 out of Weaverville is just spectacular! Much better than 299 which is the alternatvie route I took back in April. 36 is just about one of the best roads.. when combined with Hwy 3 *AND* the Lost Coast all in one day.... it completely defies my skills to relate.

I took a lot of pictures on the way down, including a number of my signature self-portaits and on-road action shots. I don't have time to go into it all righ now so I'm just going to upload some of the pictures and let them speak for themselves... ah.. what a wonderful trip and it's just started!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Off to the MotoGP in Monterey, CA

Final prep for the MotoGP.

The time is upon me again to finalize departure plans for the MotoGP in California.

Bike saftey checked - CHECK
Bills paid to end of month - CHECK
Emergeny Contacts notified - Uh.. NOT YET
Bike packed - CHECK
Tickets purchased - CHECK & CHECK
New helmet - CHECK
Lodging arranged - SORTA

My plan for the last month was to depart tonight for Portland (arriving around midnight) then to Yreka by 2:00pm and Weaverville by 5:00pm Friday night to meet up with freinds. At this point I'm not sure that is going to happen. Work on my current project is slightly delayed, just enough that I will likely not be able to leave until tomorrow. This is me quite dissapointed.

However, this does mean that I will be able to travel with a lighter mind and really enjoy the two weeks on the road.

This time around I'm planning to post updates from the road instead of waiting to get home like I had to do last time. We'll see how that works out. When I get into full-travel mode it's unlikely that I'll want to stop to jot things down, I'll just want to RIDE.

Time (and this blog) will tell. I hope to read some interesting comments from visitors as the trip progresses, and if I can I'll upload some pics along the way. Maybe I'll see some of you on the road. If you see my big old KTM give a wave (honking the horn can be rather startling for a biker).

- OUT.