Old roads are now new roads.

[September 22, 2006]

As usual, we have been planning this trip for a while and it has slipped a month and a week.  Originally it was suppose to be at the end of August but it slipped until the middle of September.  It then slipped another week until the end of September.  It's not uncommon as everybody has work and lives to live.  My work has also been keeping me really busy so it's no surprise.  However, about a week before it's time to go, the realization hits and I can start feeling the butterflies in my stomach.

Friday the 22nd at 11PM-ish,  I'm almost done packing.  Everything is loaded into the panniers/center bag and I'm almost ready to go.  Both rechargeable batteries for the helmet cam are fully charged, Both camcorder L batteries are fully charged, 6 Hi-8 video tapes are waiting for information to be put on them, and all the necessary adapters/on-board charging gadgets are all set to go.  The only things I'm missing are my energy drinks, the soap, and my tooth brush.  Of the three last items, I ended up forgetting two of the three.  If you guessed the energy drinks as one of those missing items, you're wrong.

I also had to program the TomTom with the appropriate route so we don't get lost.  I go into the "Itinerary Planning" menu item and picked all the routes I wanted.  The route was recommended by Minh.  It looks like as good a route as any.  The sweet deal is, no freeway.  In reality we had to ride a little bit of the I5 regardless how little freeway we want to take.  The route list goes like this:

Seeing the TomTom saying 8+ hours means it's going to be longer for us.  More like 10+ hours.  I'm a little concerned, but not concerned enough to ask Minh to change the route.  Plus, there is an understanding among the three of us that we can alter the plans mid way if needed.

[September 23, 2006]

6 hours flies by really fast and it's time to get up and get ready to go.  I packed away the energy drinks into a small cooler and jammed it into one of the panniers.  I even added a little ice for good measure.  Punctual as usual, Minh arrived at my place around 9:30 AM.  I was in the process of dressing for the occasion so it didn't take too much longer to get going.

What is the first thing that came out of Minh's mouth when he saw me?  "Do you want to try some ear plugs?  I have some for you."  Let me explain.  Minh has been trying to convince Eugene and myself to use ear plugs while riding for the last several days.  I'm not against the idea and know that you can actually damage your hearing when riding a motorcycle at high speeds if you don't wear plugs.  My concern was I just fixed my $1.3K intercom system to only have to wear ear plugs to drown out all the audio.  That just doesn't seem right.  The good news is, I know there are different rated ear plugs and perhaps I can wear ear plugs that have a lower rating so I can hear the intercom over and above the ear plugs.  I purchased two forms of ear plugs from the Rite Aid the night before.  One type is called EarPlanes and is for used during air travel to reduce any air pressure discomfort.

Reduces noise by 20 DBs ($6.50 per pair).

The second type is your run of the mill standard foam ear plugs rated to reduce 28 DBs.  I had tried both with the intercom system and was pleasantly satisfied to be able to hear the intercom system with both types of ear plugs.  One requires a little more volume adjustment than the other.  A minor problem.  The EarPlanes ear plugs was easier to hear over the standard foam ear plugs but are more uncomfortable to wear.  The soft silicone material was still too hard on my ear canal.  So I switched to wearing the foam ear plugs and cranked up the volume to hear audio from the intercom.  When I cut the chatter on the MP3, I can actually have conversations with people while the plugs are in place.  I also hear the bike's engine noise (reduced), I can hear emergency vehicle sirens, I can hear car engines as they come close, etc.  The important thing is it cuts out the damaging wind noises.  Anyway, Minh was pushing his ear plugs on me but I countered him with, "I already have ear plugs".  He looked at me a little surprised and then accepted the fact that I am willing to wear ear plugs.  He asked me if I have ridden with them on or just put them on and tried to hear the intercom.  I replied yes to the latter and he mentioned that I will be pleased to wear the ear plugs as it will lessen the fatigue when riding.

Around 9:45 we headed off for our first way point, Osborne street.  Eugene had called earlier leaving and left a message saying something to the effect that he's leaving a little early and will meet us at Osborne because he had some minor errands to take care of.  It turns out he had to repack because the backpack we was going to wear didn't fit in with his top bag on his bike.  He couldn't squeeze into that little cockpit area on his bike with that huge backpack/Camelback on.  It took Minh and I half an hour to reach Osborne from Monrovia.  We parked close to the mouth of the three way intersection between Foothill and Osborne.  A couple of buzz on the cell phone and there is no sign of Eugene.  We waited for about 20 minutes and guess who showed up?  Eugene came putting up on his 650GS fully loaded (this is when we learned about his backpack incident).

Again, what did Minh ask Eugene when he saw him?  "Do you want some ear plugs?"  Pointing to me he said, "He's wearing ear plugs now too."  I think that convinced Eugene.  This is especially true when I told Eugene that it actually is much better to have them on.  Eugene was game and is willing to try riding with the plugs.

Taking a picture of Minh taking a picture.  There's plenty of this to come.

Trying to track down Eugene via the cell phone.

A little more dilly dallying.  I had a cold the weekend before this trip so my sinuses were still out of whack.  I headed to a close by 7-eleven to hopefully purchase some Kleenex.  Eugene also need to take a restroom stop.  I succeeded, Eugene didn't.  There was no public restroom at the place.  Eugene is going to have to do his business somewhere else.  A couple of strange glances from several people in the store and I payed for what I was looking for.  We then continued on Osborne.  Noticing the amount of two wheeled traffic on Osborne, I said to Minh, "This is suppose to be a road less traveled?"  I guess we were both hoping it would be a road with fewer vehicles.  We were wrong.  We saw bikes of all kinds.  Sport bikes, Harleys, even a few cruisers.

I can see why the sport guys like Little Tujunga.  It's very technical.  Some of the turn are hair pins.  What's even better?  How about some sheer cliff drops?  Yep, they were there. It was all worth it though.  The view is gorgeous.  Of course there is a bit of wind to contend with.  Being a canyon road from a valley that leads into a valley, the wind is easily funneled through the canyons.  At several points during Little Tujunga, I was reminded of the Death Valley trip Eugene and I did earlier this year.  It conjured all kinds of images in my head of being push off the road.  At least this time around the wind were only gusts and not a constant gale force.  I put it out of my head and continued riding.

When we finally stopped at a good spot over looking a small valley, Eugene got off his bike, pulled off his helmet, and said, "The ear plugs work great!"  He then coined a phrase that is forever etched into our minds, "Once you go plugs, you never go back."  Yep, both Eugene and I refuse to ride without plugs from here on out.  Thanks Minh for forcing it upon us.  It only did us good.

Sucking on a piece of cantaloupe.

Now really... does Eugene know how to use that thing?  He was fidgeting with the darn thing for a while and then
claimed that his wife is normally the one that operates it.  I think that means a "Kind of, sort of, Maybe".

The tarmac on Little Tujunga is superb.  The road is extremely well maintained, there are no ruts nor potholes of any kind anywhere.  It was a pleasure riding the road.  It took a bit of getting use to since it has been a while since I've been on canyon roads.  Sure enough, the 12GS did it's job of being tossed back and forth without any complaints.

Sand Canyon road came and went really fast.  The one thing it did remind me of is Lancaster or Palmdale.  Wide open, dry, sandy, and a lot of wind.  This also reminded me of that long Death Valley trip.  Again, the gusts were bad but it was nothing compared with what seen that one day.  Next thing we knew, were are on Sierra Highway and then Vasquez Canyon road.  All three roads were essentially connecting roads to get to Bouquet Canyon road.

Bouquet Canyon road was a beautiful and a fun road. There were a lot of twists and turns.  To the left of the road, as we head North East, was a little river, most likely from the reservoir.  Even here where some parts of the road was lacking of trees, the wind would gust and push us around like we were little grains of sand on the dunes.  Of the three bikes, my R12GS was the biggest, but even Minh on his CBR1100 was also experiencing occasional wind issues.  We even encountered a large fallen branch, that took over half of the road, that we had to carefully circumnavigate.  Having no on coming traffic made the task easy.

The road was very well maintained and very smooth.  We can't help but notice a lot of camp grounds within the area.  Most were closed but there were a few that were open.  Some folks were even motor crossing.  We saw a fair amount of sport bikers out for the ride also.  At about the half way mark (11:30am), between Vasquez Canyon road and Spunky Canyon/Calle Hermosa road, we decided to stop at this bar/restaurant called The Big Oaks on our way to the Bouquet reservoir.  It was a quaint little red brick/slate and mortar place with a bar and a small standalone outside grill shack that cooked and served food for several canopy covered tables.

We each paid $4 to the bar tender and wandered outside to inform the grill master what we desired for our lunch.  Cheese burger, hamburger, chicken sandwich, three bags of chips and we're all set to fight off old man hunger.  The three of us decided to luncheon outside as the bar was already taken up by three fellow bikers.  Plus we like the outdoors and sun shine.  Plenty of room to lay our equipment down on the table and watch it get blown away.  I asked the grill master whether this type of windy weather is normal in this area.  The answer is no and this only happens on rare occasions.  Unfortunately this day is one of those rare occasions.

The grill master's shack.

Bad hair day is in order for this day.
Chewing the dead skin on your lips is not a good source of nourishment when you're hungry.

This infernal wind triggered memories about a conversation I had with Jaime the day before.  Jaime had told me there was a potential for Santa Ana winds to rear its head this weekend.  For those that have not experienced the Santa Ana winds in Southern California, this is equated to having constant winds as fast a 60 MPH and gusts up to anywhere between 80-90MPH.  One year it got as high as 100+ MPH.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  This has been know to happen in this part of California when certain conditions are right.  The wind tunnel effect we have is due to the mountain ranges we have and how they channel wind.  Where I work, there were several years where the entire place was shutdown for several days due to high winds and the potential of people getting hurt from flying debris.  Last year there were three injuries due to the Santa Ana winds.  One injury was due to a small branch hitting somebody at high speeds, another was due to the wind knocking a person down on concrete or tarmac injuring the person, and the last incident I don't remember.  The situation was so bad that trees would be felled and knock out power lines and/or water mains.  Suffice to say, Santa Ana winds is no condition to ride motorcycles in.  Fortunately, the winds were gusting but it was nowhere near the Santa Ana levels.

Where are we on the map?  Are we here?  Stop bothering me, I'm trying to
startup my MP3.

After 30-40 minutes of lunch, we got back on the road and continue heading towards the Bouquet reservoir.  The road started opening up and out comes the reservoir.  Another leg of the trip is over and a new section of highway is ahead of us.  The view was really neat, but I kept on passing turnouts because they were way too small to handle all three of us.  Eventually we reached a good turn out but the view of the reservoir is obscured.  As we pulled off the highway, there was a guy at the turn out.  He was staring at my GS.  He greeted us, made comments about my bike, and made mention thinking we were with the ADV Rider group.  I informed him that I'm aware of the ADV Rider forum and read it all the time but I'm not with the ADV group on this day.  He mentioned something to the effect that there is a group that gets together quite often and that I can get their information on the web site.  I thanked him for the info and we all took off to find a better spot to take photos.  We turn off Bouquet Canyon road on to Spunky Canyon road and tada, a good spot to park and take pictures.   It's even a better view of the reservoir.

At this point Eugene and I started noticing this peculiar behavior in Minh.  For some strange reason he keeps on wanting to take pictures in the middle of the road.  He said something to the effect that its a unique picture and it's a vantage point that you normally don't see.  Eugene and I brush it off as being odd but didn't make much of it, yet.

Minh is demonstrating the method to which one stands in the middle of the road on the solid double yellow line.
(Don't try this at home kids)

Minh's picture while demonstrating his stance in the middle of the road method.

My turn to demonstrate how to stand in the middle of the road but I'm not as masterful as Minh.

Eugene trying to get a better shot of the reservoir.

As mentioned before, there were a lot of bikers out and about this fine day.  In fact, once we got our act together and started heading down Spunky Canyon road, we saw our very first train of Harleys.  Yes, train of Harleys.  It was a pack of about 10-15+ Harleys.  They were are all heading on the opposite direction going wherever they're going.  Of course, you can hear them from miles away.

Spunky canyon road was yet another enjoyable ride.  There were several sections that were very tight and technical requiring a bit of slowing down.  We eventually made it to Green Valley.  Nice little town.  We even saw a flea market where they were selling clothes, all kinds of goodies including a couple of motor cross bikes.  Motor cross bikes huh?  When we reached the connecting stop sign to San Francisquito road, I asked Minh if we should go back to the flea market and grab those motor cross bikes.  Unfortunately, Minh can't hear a single word I said.  His ear plugs were buried too deep in his brain.  Oh well, not the first time I told a failed joke due to a person being partially deft from having a big wad of foam shoved into their ear canal.

As I ride San Francisquito I can't help but thinking, "This looks awfully familiar".  It looks like a road I have traveled before.  What I didn't realize at the time but eventually figure out is that San Francisquito is also the same road my brother and I use to take to go to a shooting range south-west of Lancaster.  The place is called APTS (A Place To Shoot) and is just several miles south-west of where Spunky canyon road meets San Francisquito.  It's a small world I say.  San Francisquito was an average road (e.g. it needs some attention Cal Trans folks), and we got through it pretty quick.  Elizabeth Lake road is also a familiar road but I have never been west of the road where Elizabeth Lake road meets up with San Francisquito.  Uneventful ride.  Beautiful country side.

Elizabeth Lake road ultimately turned into Pine Canyon road.  To us, we couldn't tell the difference.  The road, scenery, and ride was simply marvelous.  We couldn't ask for a more perfect day.  We kept going until Pine Canyon road, which started off being a two lane highway with a double yellow line, turned into a single road without any dividing lines.  The road turned into what looks to be a residential road that just kept on winding back and forth.  There were several hair pins to contend with,but nothing our bikes couldn't handle.  Surprisingly enough, there were motorcycles in these parts, too.  Bikes are everywhere I tell you.  The funny things is, the more and more we kept on going, the more it felt like we were somewhere else.  Like we were in some other country.  Europe somewhere maybe.  Maybe France.  Maybe England. Who knows.   Somewhere else but Southern California.  The rolling fields in the valleys were amazingly beautiful.  It looks like there must have been a fire here several years back since some of the trees were stripped naked and black. 

Look mah, no lanes.

Off we go.  Winding around the bends like snakes through tall grass.  Next thing you know we're at the end of Pine canyon road.  The junction where three roads meet.  Ridge Route road (also known as old highway 28), Pine canyon road, and NF-8N05 also known as Liebre Gulch.  Before swinging right to take Ridge Route road to meet up with the 138 (Lancaster road), we stopped to take final pictures of Pine canyon road.  This also marks the end of the Angeles forest.

It's a four way intersection but it's a three road junction.  Pine Canyon road is in the direction of the "FOR SALE"
sign, Liebre Gulch is the road to the right, and this picture was taken standing on Ridge Route road.

Motorcycle glamor shot.
That suspicious orange looking light is caused by the near by forest fire.

Minh in front of Liebre Gulch.  Doesn't look like much of a road left.

Here is another version of "Ham on the street" or is that Eugene trying to pickup chicks?
If he's trying to pickup chicks, he's definitely not going to have any success here.
Somebody needs to inform him about when/where it's appropriate to do those things.

From here it's a quick hop to the 138 (Lancaster road).  Approximately 3 miles.  We passed two motor cross folks are we make our way out on Ridge Route road.  As with other areas so far this entire day, the scenery is spectacular.

Can you see me in the pic?

Once we got to the end of Ridge Route road, or beginning of it depending on your perspective, I started having navigation problems.  No, I know my bearings, it's the TomTom that got confused.  For some strange reason, the TomTom pointed me in the direction of Lancaster instead of Gorman.  It was odd.  I sat there for a little while playing with the TomTom trying to knock some sense into it while Minh was gesturing to me, in more than one form, that we should be turning left instead of right.  At last, as a desperate measure, I canceled the current route and make the TomTom re-plot it source.  Alakazam, fixed.  Now the TomTom is telling me to turn left instead of right.  Weird.  It's possible that with so many way point assign to the nav system and the amount of times I've turn the unit on and off, that the unit got a bit confused.  Any which way, we're now heading in the right direction.

The 138 eventually hit the I5.  On our way to link up with the I5, we can't help but notice the forest fire raging just south west of the freeway.  There were large billowing clouds of white smoke coming from the fire.  The smoke eventually turned the sky into a dark orange-ish color.  It's like Mount Doom all over again.  Frodo Baggins must be near by somewhere.  This is probably one of the culprits why the air quality in the LA basin has been so bad lately.  All these fires along with the wind flow has been pushing all this debris down south.  For a week or more most of the people at work, including myself, are complaining about having runny/itchy noses and itchy throats.  Now I can understand why.  This fire was pumping out tons of pollutants.

Forest fire near Gorman

We made a quick stop at Gorman to fuel up and headed straight for Fraizer Park.  The I5 drive lasted about 6 miles so it was no big deal.  However, as we headed west on Fraizer Mountain road, there is a forestry sign saying something to the effect that Lockwood Valley road is closed.  Not knowing the area at all, Minh and I were afraid our route would be closed.  We chanced it and went ahead anyway.  Worst case, we would have to double back and head further North on the I5.  Fortunately the road we wanted to be on was Cuddy Valley road and not Lockwood Valley road.  We're clear to go and are heading towards highway 33.  Cuddy Valley road turned into Mil Potrero highway which turned into Cerro Noroeste road.  Once again, the road looks all the same and we couldn't even tell we switched from road to highway to road.  However, once we got on Cerro Noroeste road, we can tell the difference in terrain.  Cerro Noroeste was awesome.  We were basically riding one of the ridges of the mountain.  The road opened up to show chasms on either side.  Standing up on the bike, I can see a small road or a river bed at the bottom right chasm.  All I could think of was, I hope my helmet cam has not run out of video tape.  I tried to find a place to pull off to the side of the road but was unable to find one.  Once I did find something, it was obscured by trees and the mountain (the story of my life).

Yet another video tape goes into the Hi8 camcorder.

OK here's the deal.  When we stop at this trail head, for me to load a new video tape and for us to rest a bit and take pictures, Minh had this idea that Eugene should go down the dirt trail a little and ride out as if he had just finish going off road.  Poor Eugene, I can tell he didn't want to do it but Minh talked him into it.  Anyway, Eugene is trying to turn the bike around but managed to get into an awkward position and dropped his bike.  We all picking up Eugene's bike so it felt like it was a bicycle.  Nonetheless, the antic is over.  Eugene doesn't want to have anything to do with play acting off road scenes.  So Minh and Eugene settled for a "Good enough" off road photo opt.

Trail head that later caused grief for Eugene.

This is Eugene in that "Good enough" off road shot.

Again, Minh is continuing his photo fascination with taking pictures of a different vantage point (e.g. camera on the road on the double yellow line).  You can see his improvement in technique as he is able to get closer and closer to the solid double yellow line as we continue on our trip.

Yes, it's one of Minh's "A different perspective" photos.

Count 'em boys, this is the 3rd "A different perspective" photo by Minh.
Yes, he did ask me to look for traffic in the opposite direction when he took the shot.

Something that can't be seen on these pictures, there were gazillions of flies hovering around us.  Some were even trying to bite us.  These were not mere gnats, these guys are hungry for flesh and blood.  I never thought I'd see the day when I'm so happy to put on my helmet and goggles to avoid flies.  Eugene got the fortune of experiencing a couple of nibbles for standing still.  As a result, we wrapped up our business as fast as we can and got out of Dodge.  As I ride through the remain part of Cerro Noroeste, I can't help but think I'm in a Rally race in Arizona.  I haven't been to Arizona to any of the Rally races but I did play a rally race simulation on my computer (e.g. Richard Burns Rally).  No, saying that last sentence is not equated to playing a doctor on TV.  According to the scenery in the Rally sim, the vegetation on Cerro Noroeste looks just like one of the circuits in Richard Burns Rally.  Pretty cool.

The rest of Cerro Noroeste opened up to golden rolling hills.  The road winds back and forth but there are no other view.  Just North West of us, it appears there is another forest fire in the far far distance.  It seems like California is on fire.  The only inkling that it's another forest fire is the familiar orange/brown like smoke.

The tail end of Cerro Noroeste

Eventually we connected with the 33/166 highway.  We rode a short while until we entered Maricopa.  It's a small town that looks quite desolate.  My thoughts on Maricopa, "It's amazing where you can find human beings.  We're every where."  The town couldn't have been more than 1000 people.  Most likely less.  We passed the population sign but I don't remember the count.

We continued on the 33 highway passing oil pump after oil pump.  The road was as boring as you can be.  Straight and flat.  Even with my MP3 player blaring, I was still falling asleep (figuratively speaking).  We encountered all kinds of wonderful smells.  Smells of ocean docks or cargo ships (e.g. crude oil) and smell of what Eugene later insisted on was the result of Minh passing gas while passing us (e.g. natural gas).  How can you compare the mountain scenery to the flat desolate planes of the San Joaquin valley?  You don't.

Anyway, I was minding my own business on the 33 highway, falling asleep while noting the TomTom saying that we have another 36 miles before the 41 highway, when all of a sudden Minh passed me.  Then Eugene passed me.  Woosh!  I don't know what speed they were doing but I was the slow poke.  My thought, "HEY! You can't do that to me!"  So I cranked the cow (rocket cow I should say), with panniers and all, and chased after the two of them.  By that time they have slowed back down so I shot pass them.  Next thing you know, Eugene cranked it.  Then here comes Minh.  Once again, "Hey, I can do that too."  Zip I go passing Eugene and Minh.  We played leap frog for a while until we reached the 41 highway.  It sure made that 36 miles pass by really fast.  Funny thing is, the minute we reached the 33/41 intersection there was a California Highway Patrol car sitting on the 41 highway trying to decide whether he should turn onto the 33 highway (heading North) or sit where he's sitting.  For us, we are to turn right onto the 41 highway to head towards Fresno.  All three of us were signaling to turn right, Minh was in front of me, but Minh refused to budge.  I gestured to Minh that we're suppose to turn right.  Still, he sat there for a couple more seconds.  Eventually he turned and I and Eugene followed.  Later I asked Minh what he was waiting for, he said that he was making sure there were no signs that said the we couldn't turn on a red.  I was sure there were no signs, but it was good of Minh to play it safe.

At this time, I show 150 miles on the trip odometer so I was starting to get a bit concerned about fuel.  I didn't want to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere on the 41 highway having to hoof it to get gas.  Oh, and I forgot to bring my red 2 gallon gas can.  Forgetful me.  Anyway, salvation came after the 41 highway passed underneath the I5.  There is a little oasis full of gas stations and fast food restaurants for those that need to do things like fuel up and resting their wary crunched up sitting on the motorcycle legs.  We all fueled up.  It turns out I had only used up 3.2 gallons of my 5 gallon tank.  That's cool.  I could have gone longer but it doesn't hurt to be safe when it comes to fuel.  We all then pulled of to the mini-mart-McDonald restaurant building thingy.

It never fails, invariably someone will need help with their vehicle at these gas station/rest stop places.  I had gone into store/restaurant to get myself a McDonald sundae and a HI-C orange soda.  Yes, I'm almost 40 and I still like to drink HI-C.  At least it has vitamin C.  However little there is in it.  When I walked out, I was confronted by Eugene asking me for a wrench for this one gal that wanted to take her top off.  No, I'm not referring to her clothes.  She and a friend is driving a Corvette from San Francisco to LA.  They didn't anticipate it was going to be so hot and wanted to take the car's hard roof off.  I grabbed my crescent wrench and walked in the general direction of the car.  When I got there and examined her car it wasn't a crescent wrench that she needed, she needed a torx wrench.  As I mentioned to her, "Lucky for you I ride a BMW motorcycle.  I have to carry torx wrenches because my bike is filled with torx screws."  I went back to the bike grabbed the torx wrench set and went back to her car.  I have the right torx wrench but the screws were torqued in so tight that I couldn't turn it with my bare hands.  Once again I went back to the bike to take the crescent wrench to torque the torx wrench.  Say that ten times really fast.  Eventually, Minh and I, along with the torx wrench and the crescent wrench, managed to free the vette's hard top and lifted it off the cars for the two ladies.  The ladies thanked us and we're off on our way back to the bikes.  My ice cream sundae was melting.  We all joked about getting special gifts from the ladies but of course all we had to show show for it were our tools.

There were these two guys standing around the front of the store/restaurant.  They had come up and parked close to us when I was asking Eugene what wrench he wanted.  They both rode Harleys with no windshield.  Nice guys.  I started  talking to them and found out that they are both from Fresno and are heading back from a bike trip from Morro Bay.  One bike had a small sleeping bag mounted on the handle bar where as the other bike didn't have anything.  I asked them if it was a bear to deal with the wind.  They said, "Oh yeah", but they manage OK at 55 or so.  They then looked at our bikes and ask how about our rides.  One of the guys estimated that we ride around 70/75.  I agreed and said that we still get kicked around.  We talked and joked around for a while and I mentioned that my R12GS is really a car on two wheels.  They laughed at it but really didn't believe me.  When we got ready to leave, the guys noticed all the gadgets on my bike and then commented, "It is a car on two wheels!"  I laughed and said, "I told you so."  As a parting friendly shot one of the guys said, "You better watch out, we might pass you up at 55."  We waved then farewell and head back on the 41 highway.

We rode on the 41 a little bit and there is the California Aqua Duct to the left of us.  I'm reminded of what the 41 highway use to look like back when I use to live in Fresno and would venture to Avila Bay, near Pismo Beach, to fish the piers.  I haven't been on the 41 highway in years and notice some improvements.  The road has been widened.  The tarmac has recently been layed so the road was really smooth.  There are still signs of road construction but the lanes are much wider than in the past.  Dusk is upon us.  Regardless of its improvement,  I didn't want to ride the 41 highway in the dark.  Next thing you know, splat!  Splat!  Splat splat splat!  Then I think, "Oh yeah, the 41 highway is full of bugs."  I'm reminded of the mass carnage we encounter every time we took the car on the 41.  Now Mr. Moto is being introduced to bugsville.  The TomTom show 25 miles to reach the 41 freeway.  I can't wait to reach the freeway section because that means we'll be out of bug alley.  Splat splat splat!  My suit, goggles, helmet, and helmet cam received innumerable hits.  Once again, TOTAL CARNAGE!

When we got to the intersection of American Ave and the 41 highway, we saw this biker to the left of us.  I signaled "hi" but the guy didn't respond.  Oh well, the light is green for us so we all go.  Not too long after, the guy came up fast from behind and passed us up at high speed.  All he had on was a T-shirt, genes, and tennis shoes.  My first reaction was, "Squidy"  Also, what's the deal?  It's not like we're trying to race him.  Whatever.

At last the 41 freeway.  The bug count tapered off dramatically.  The sun had disappeared but there is still a bit of sun light left.  We take the 99 North freeway junction and rode the 99 until we saw  the Olive Ave exit.  From there it is a short skip and a hop to get to my parent's place.  We got to the house and went up the hilly drive way.  My mom couldn't even tell that we had arrived because our bikes were so quiet (she later tells me that she is used to loud Harleys instead).  Only when she looked out the window did she see us in our bug riddled full gear.  She ran out to greet us.  I gave her a big hug and what was the first thing that came out of my mouth?  "Ten hours in the saddle!"  Repeated, "Yes, ten hours in the saddle", but it was all worth it.  We had started a little after 10:00AM and ended the ride a little after 8:00PM.  Eugene is drained, Minh is tired, and my back hurts.  Minh probably didn't have legs left because I kept seeing him stretch while on the road.  We all had Pho for dinner, talk to the parents for a while, and then hit the sack to get ready for the next day.

My parent's welcome cluttered garage that housed our hard working babes for the night.

Day 2 [September 24, 2006]
Day 3 [September 25, 2006]

Written on: September 26, 2006
Last modified: February 4, 2006