Central Coast '08
Easier but not necessarily less dangerous...
April 20, 2008]
I hear a bunch of talking. I can recognize it's Kevin and
Veronica. I didn't get much sleep last night because the burnt
finger was still paining away. Of the 4-5 hours that I got, it
was sufficient for my brain to figure out there is no longer a crisis
index finger. By morning there is no pain. Just a thick
layer of skin as if I've been playing a guitar for many long
days. That's good. I don't want something silly like a
burnt finger getting in the way of fun.
First order of business. Let's get something warm into the
innards. A nice hot cup of coffee should do just fine.
During the course of last night, it was a concern that we wouldn't have
enough white gas left to cook breakfast. With both stoves going
and the lantern shining as bright as can be, we're wasting away fuel
that will be needed for the morning cooking. I'll have to make a
note to take even more fuel next time we go camping. Fortunately,
we turned off stoves and the lantern in time to have one complete
consolidated bottle of fuel. That's good because breakfast is
starting up. I also have to make note to pack a lighter.
This time around I'm better at being a pyro artist.
Woaw, gotta remember to stand up wind.
1 hot cup of coffee and a little sunshine on the back should do the
The Sarge is making a mad dash for coffee.
He made it.
A different take on the Morro Bay rock. Nice view.
Breakfast was simple but extremely good. Bacon, sausage, toast,
and eggs. With our bellies full, we pack up the camp and get
ready to head on out.
"Unnecessary hard labor?"
Now this I don't know quite what to make of. During the course of
last night's dinner, several of us decided that we needed yet another
park bench to be more comfortable. One bench to cook on, the
other to eat from. That's all fine but why did we have to get the
table all the way from China instead of the table that is several steps
away? Perhaps it was because it was dark, or because we're too
tired to notice, but it would have been easier to take the table that
didn't require us to take it through customs.
The Sergeant's version of giving a hand to put the table back.
Kevin and the Captain tried to move it by themselves but it turn out to
be too heavy. As a result they solicited the Sarge's help.
You can see how helpful he can be sometimes (picture above). In
the end four of us put our backs to it and put the table back where it
belongs. All the way in China.
How many engineers does it take to move a table?
Do we really have an idea how tall Mike is?
Another central coast camping is trip is over. We get back on the
1 HWY, fuel up, and get ready to hop onto the 41 HWY junction.
It's only about 1 1/2 mile from where the campsite was. This is
when I started noticing that my rear suspension can probably be dumb
down a bit. However, it's an awful lot of effort at this point to
remove everything to dial it down. I should have done it
anyway. I'll regret this later as my back get sore from so many
bump in the road.
Through all the fishing trips we made at Avila Beach when we were kids
growing up in the San Joaquin valley, I don't remember this section of
the 41 HWY. I eventually found out from Nu that I never traveled
this section of the 41. Only he and a couple of friends drove
this section. That's good that it's a new road to me. It
looks marvelous. However, it's freakin' cold, 52 degrees.
We changed from the 41 HWY to the 101 Freeway to get to the 58
HWY. It's been a while since I've been on this stretch of the
101, and I'm reminded how beautiful the 101 freeway can be.
Green! Green everywhere! Now according to the Captain,
there is suppose to be hardly any traffic on the 58 HWY. So far,
that is not the case. I spot of traffic. I think he's
trying to sell me the Brooklyn bridge. I keep on getting radio
messages from Nu (in the back) that there are cars behind us. We
pull over and let then pass. There's definite traffic here.
The Captain is smoking something good when he said nobody nor their
mother and/or village idiot shows up here. Too bad because it
would have been cool to have an "out in the middle of nowhere" ride.
Eventually the cold, couple with a lot of coffee drinks from the
Camelbak, force me to go for a pit stop.
They're going bonkers back there.
Just don't turn into road kill Sergeant.
Jokers, all of them.
I think Veronica is catching on to this "middle of the road" business.
The bowling pins of life.
The line up.
These pictures make the 58 HWY look deserted but there was enough
traffic that we had to run from one side now and then. At one
point a big pickup truck came out from the bend. I signaled for
everybody to scram. When the truck finally got to our section of
the road, they wave hello as they have figured out our ploy. It's
good to see friendly people on the road.
Did I regret not filming the 58 HWY? Not really. Even
though the country side is absolutely beautiful, it would have been
footage of yet more road. Plus I wanted to enjoy the ride.
Another quick break to get the cars off our tail and to stretch the
legs a bit, or was it the Sarge needing a restroom break?
Veronica looks like she's sliding downhill. Bobsledding maybe?
I think the Sarge is getting it in the rear from Veronica.
The San Joaquin valley in all it glory being sprawled out in front of
us. Or in this case, behind us. It's flat, like a pancake.
I think the Captain is pulling rank on
They're suppose to be tough... I'm not sure what to make of it.
Last soaking of the scenery before we confront civilization once more.
What the others didn't realize is that Nu was confronted with his
engine over heating issues. Before we stopped at this vista
point, he radioed that his temperature light just came on. He
surmised it is probably because he was in first and second gear the
entire time he's going downhill. All this engine breaking is
making the F650ST heat up. At first I was a bit concerned it
might be something else until I remember the gal that we purchased the
bike from mentioned that the F650ST has a habit of over heating.
It's not a problem. We just need to get that bike moving and get
some air flowing through the radiator.
I was hoping this stop might be enough to cool off the bike. No
such luck. When Nu told me that both temperature and oil lights
came on, it's bad. Fortunately, the Sergeant was on the radio and
heard the conversation. The Sarge volunteered to go to the back
to look after Veronica while Nu catches up with the fast pack to cool
down the bike. Thank you Sergeant. You saved the day.
Sure enough, when Nu caught up to the front pack and stay at 65-70MPH,
both light turned off. Now we don't have to worry about pulling
over to let the f650ST cool down. It probably would have been a
bad idea anyway. For once I'm not going to complain about the
At last, we reach Taft. It's about 3:30PM and we're all
starving. The Captain spots the first decent restaurant in sight
and dashes for it. KFC, not the best thing in the world but that
works, I guess. By the time we got out of KFC, fueled up and
headed out, it's about 4:30PM. We still have quite a bit of road
ahead of us. We're suppose to take the 33 HWY to Cerro Noroeste
road to Frazier Park and then home on the 5 freeway. As we begin
our twisty ascent on Cerro Noroeste, Nu chimes in on the radio.
He voiced his concern that Veronica has crossed the yellow line at
least twice. It's a sign that she fatigued. In the last
instance, Nu had to honk at Veronica to bring her back to the correct
side of the road. Not good. Additionally, Kevin is also
making simple mistakes. At this point, the Sergeant and Nu
advised me that we should skip this part of the ride because of the
fatigue factor on everybody. Considering Veronica's situation and
her not sleeping last night, it's probably a good idea.
Taking into consideration Veronica's situation in addition to concerns
about the possible falling temperatures in Frazier Park, I opted to get
everybody home as fast as possible. This means we have to double
back on the 33 HWY, and take the 166 HWY East to take the 5 Freeway all
the way home. One thing is for sure, it's an easier ride.
However, I have to say I won't be happy until we all get home.
Knowing how car driver behave on the freeway, I'm a bit concerned for
We ended up back in Maricopa where we took a 20 minute break. I
was hoping Veronica would be willing to take a little nap but that idea
didn't happen. Anyway, times up and we're back off an running
again. The 166 HWY is boring as hell, but at least there are no
twisties to complicate the homeward bound.
As we head up the Grapevines, the mercury is plummeting. 58
degrees soon became 54 degrees. By the time we get to Frazier
Park and Gorman the temperature is 48 degrees. This coupled with
70-75MPH wind chill, we're easily riding in 10 degrees F. That's
insane. The Aerostich Kanetsu AIRVANTAGE technology fails.
The BMW heated grips fail. What do I mean by failing, nothing is
able to provide shelter or warmth from the below freezing cold
wind. My body is drenched in cold air and I can feel the heat
being pulled away from my body through my Rally Pro 2 suit. The
Gore-Tex liner I have on under the pants provide no protection.
All I can feel is mind numbing cold. The entire time we're going
through Gorman all I can think of is, "... eventually it will warm
up. Please warm up. Damn, this is freakin cold!" By
the time we got close to Pyramid Lake, it warms up again.
Relatively speaking of course. The temperature is back up to 54
Around this section of the 5 Freeway is where fear sets in on all of
us. The cars are driving fast and show no signs of
relenting. We're being tailgated and passed violently close to
being clipped. One Harley rider, with a passenger, rudely splits
lane at 70 MPH. If he were to come over to my lane any sooner
than he did, he and I would have both gone down for the count.
The speed limit doesn't matter. Those signs are put up purely for
comedic reasons. I know taking the freeway is an easier way to go
home, but I'm not sure it's the safest way to go home. Even as we
make our way down the hill to stop at Lake Castaic, Nu and Veronica
were on the verge of being flattened by so many 2 ton vehicles.
These drivers are absolutely insane. They have no regard for
safety and only care about getting from point A to point B in the
shortest amount of time. If they happen to turn some motorcyclist
to road kill, it's just a matter of happenstance. Eventually we
take the Lake Hughes exit and stop at a Mobile gas station to catch our
As a last thing to do, everybody fuels up one last time before taking
that last stretch home. As for me, I'm perfectly fine so I sit
there waiting for everybody else. Some how, I mistakenly think
that Nu and everybody is done fueling. With everybody clumped up
right behind me, I thought I had the full count of people. In
reality, Nu was having problems with his credit card and is also having
problems trying to fuel up. Having the incorrect thought in mind,
I begin the last leg of the journey home. When I got on the radio
to check on Nu, I received no answer. That's not good. My
initial thought is my radio is finally out of power to transmit.
I just have to make due and keep going.
When we approach the 210 junction, I bid the Sarge a fond
farewell. As we take the 210 junction I'm starting to notice I'm
possibly short one person. Oh man, I'm hoping it's not Veronica
that's missing. She's suppose to take the same route home with
the Captain. Not having a radio in the back isn't helping at
all. In the meanwhile, Nu was doing a steady 70 MPH the entire
time trying to catch up to us. I kept on holding speed (70 MPH)
and then slowing down (60 MPH) hoping the missing person will catch
up. At 7:30PM and pitch black with only headlights to blind my
vision, I can't tell who's who. I keep plugging along ... at
speed ... slow down ... at speed ... slow down. We keep
doing this. When we get to the 210/134 junction, I'm hoping
Veronica is with Nu because I can't find her not him. What I
didn't realize is that Veronica was with us the entire time. Nu
was the one that's missing. Baldwin Ave exit, I get a chime on
the radio. "Hey Bob, is that you?" chirped Nu. First
thought, the radio is working. Second thought, so it was Nu that
was missing. Third thought, where is Veronica? "Yeah, it's
me," I chimed back. By this time I have already wave bye to the
Captain and Veronica is following him to get home. "I can see
your SOLAS tape from a mile away. I figured it was you."
"Yeah, I'm the only one with this pattern. I'm glad to see you
caught up. Where's Veronica?" "She is with you guys the
entire time." "Good, so this means everybody is back in one
piece." By 8:30 and a little later, everybody signaled that all
is well and everybody is home. It's another successful trip
despite us all almost being killed on the 5 Freeway.
There is a moral to this story... freeway driving is insane. It
might be easier to drive but it is also a lot more dangerous.
You're truly playing probability number when you get on the freeway.
So ends the short Central Coast trip for 2008. Thanks for reading
and beware of low flying living rooms.
Day 1 - That was an interesting turn.
Written on: April 28, 2008
Last modified: May 13, 2008