Central Coast '08
Day 1
That was an interesting turn.

240 miles

[Saturday - April 19, 2008]

The Captain's ride.  It's pretty loaded up.

"Be there by no later than 8:30AM otherwise we're leaving without you!"  Yeah right.  That was what I said, but I know better.  Inevitably somebody is going to be late .  It might even be me.  That's OK.  It's a vacation after all.

6:30AM.  I get up without so much as a peep from any alarm clocks.  These days I don't even have to have an alarm clock to wake up.  The internal clock I have seems to be working perfectly fine.  It's running a bit fast today, but that perfectly good because I still have to pack my electronic gear.  As always I have a sinking feeling that I'm forgetting something.  At least this is a short trip so leaving things behind really isn't a big deal.

As I run through the check list in my head I can't help but notice how stuffed my bike is.  Using a day pack as an alternate sleeping bag container makes the entire tie down look a lot worse than it really is.  It almost looks like I'm about to ride the world.  In reality it's only going to be a one night camping trip.  While in the throws of packing last night, I went ahead and increased the pre-load on the bike.  I'm hoping it will improve the comfort level but it ends up being something else.

We have a new rider for this trip, Veronica with a F650CS.

For the most part everybody has a light load except for me and on the Captain.  I have to carry the camp stoves, Bivy sacks, Thermarest mattresses, multi fuel lantern, and etc.  I normally don't carry other people's gear, but I made an exception for Veronica.  How heavy is a Thermarest, Bivy sack, and sleeping bag liner?  At most 5 lbs.  Hardly trouble for the R12R.

8:10AM, Nu shows up and gets stuffed with a tent, Thermarest, and sleeping bag.  Hm... this theme is vaguely familiar.  By the time we're done it's 8:30AM.  We're late.  Oh well, the guys can afford to wait another 10 minutes or so until we get to our meeting location... Starbucks.

It's unusually crowded for a 8:30AM run on a Saturday but at least traffic is moving.  As we pull into the Starbucks parking lot, I can see the Captain, Kevin, and that must be Veronica.  I think I've seen her at work before.  Hey! That's a cool looking CS.  "Where is Mike?"  "He just called me and said that he's running late," chirped Kevin.  "OK."  That's cool, Nu and I aren't the ones holding up the excitement.  Now we can go get our coffee and pastries.

About 15-20 minutes after Kevin's phone conversation with Mike, Mike magically appears.  It's good to see that everybody who is going to make the trip doesn't have to be accused of "bail out".

Mike is a bit concerned about his load and ask Kevin and me to have a look.  Yup!  It's a bit shaky alright.  Being new to all this, Mike is trying to hold things down with two cargo nets instead of one.  Two cargo nets?  That's a bit excessive.  He should be using just one.  I took one of cargo nets off and proceeded to show Mike how to strap it all down.  "You gotta walk the net up.. list this."  Bingo!  All done. It's nice and tight.  Just for added confirmation, I was wagging the bike by moving the tail.  This baby isn't going anywhere.

All done.  Just one cargo net.

"OK!  Let's get going."  While we're suiting up to go meet the Sarge, I noticed Veronica dawning a super full backpack.  Woaw!  That's intense.  Wearing That for the entire 240 miles is going to kill her.  I have an idea.  Since Mike doesn't need the second cargo net, perhaps Veronica can borrow it for the trip.  "Sure!" said Mike.  We all spend the next several minutes tying down the monster backpack onto the CS.  "There you go.  That should make life easier for you.  You don't really want to ride a bike and wears a backpack.  It will really tire you out."

The bike line up.  It's quite a mix.

A proud owner of a brandy new F800ST.  Look at that smile.

55 miles later, we're at Sgt's place.  At last, I get to take a look at this F800ST of his.  Yeah, it's lowered alright.  I have a good inch+ as I flat feet on the ground.  Cool bike.  If it works for the Sarge, it works for me.

Moorpark, 23 HWY, Fillmore, 126 HWY, 150 HWY, and Ojai.  All good and all uneventful.  That is until a Harley decides to rudely pass the entire group via weaving in and out of our formation.  Suffice to say the word "Butt hole" came up uncountable number of times on the radio frequency.  It's unfortunate but once again a few Harley riders are giving other bikers a bad name.  Even among bikers for that fact.

"Jim & Robert Mexican Grill" is where we stop for lunch in Ojai.  If you ask me how it was, we should have kept on going.  Nu's internals are churning, I'm gaseous, and the Sarge is struck by Montezuma's Revenge.  The only good news about all this is I only had a small portion of this stuff.

Rear camera ...

... front camera.

Continuing on the 150 HWY, we reach Lake Casitas.  It beautiful country.  Spring is definitely in the air.  There's a lot of green.

While we're in the twisties circumnavigating the brim of Lake Casitas, we came upon a tight turn with a dip.  Not knowing this road and having set the pre-load a little too high, the bike reacted in an undesirable way.  I had to break and stand the bike up to prevent from running off the road and crash.  Luckily, I succeeded in dumping the majority of the speed and stayed on the road.  My first thought after the recovery, "Now that was an interesting turn."  The Captain was right behind me and probably didn't know why I stalled in the turn.  No matter, I'm still alive and I'm reminded, "...you should never be too comfortable on a motorcycle."

For the interest of time and to allow us to get to the campsite with sunlight still available, we skipped the 192 HWY and stayed on the 101 freeway.  As expected, not only is it hard to keep a 7 bike group together, we have to also contend with idiot drivers.

Switching over to the 154 HWY, it's obvious that the temperature isn't going to get any higher than 56 degrees.  At 55 MPH, we're basically riding in 31 degrees temperature.  That's cold.

Back on the 101 freeway we go.  Heading North.  once again it's obvious we're on a major interstate.  We are to detour off the 101 before Santa Maria but once again, in the interest of having daylight at the campsite, we skip a big section of the 1 HWY.  Perhaps next year.

So far the R12R is doing excellent on fuel.  According to the estimates, I should be able to make it all the way to Morro Bay without needing to fuel.  That's all nice for me, but the others don't have quite the fuel range.  We stop at Santa Maria to fuel up.

While there, we saw a tow truck guy hooking up a Pontiac onto a flat bed truck.  I started smelling gasoline.  The aroma kept on getting more and more potent.  I turn around and sure enough, fuel was running from the car.  The looks of the hood, it looks like this car has been involved in a vehicle fire.  "Is that gasoline?" I said.  "Yeah, don't smoke." responded the tow truck driver.  After a while it was practically gushing out from underneath the car.  "Man, that looks dangerous," I chirped.  "Nah, I have to deal with this kind of stuff all the time." exclaimed the driver.  Next thing I knew, the tow truck is gone and so is the gasoline fumes.

Once again we skip a section of the planned route (e.g. a detour onto the 1 HWY) due to the interest of time.  We remain on the 101 until we reach San Luis Obispo.  Despite the crazy drivers, I'm reminded how beautiful the 101 Freeway can be.  It's not half bad if you don't consider cars trying to run up your tail pipe.

Off the 101 we go, and onto the 1 HWY.  About 15 miles or so later, there you have it "Yerba Buena St."  We're here.

No Veronica, you can't sleep on the table.

Downtown ...

... Uptown.

Trying to stay out of the cold cold wind.

Yet another one, and it's freakin' cold here.

The Sarge is all set.

Time to setup the stove for coffee and then dinner.

Stupid me, I setup the first stove and put the MSR fuel can down wind.  When the initial flames started flaring up, I was concerned about the gas can being heat up by the low intensity flames.  As a result I tried to move the stove while the started fire was burning.  At one point the stove looks like it was ready to tip over.  As a reflex action, I grabbed the wind cover to steady the stove.  The result for my action is a nice 2nd degree but to one of the index fingers.  Damn that hurts.  Luckily Nu encountered the same problem before and advised me to run it under cold.  With my finger throbbing in pain, I walk over to the faucet and ran cold water over the burn.  "Good, run it as long as you can and the burn will be fine," said Nu.  I stand there and stand there.  I can't help but feel stupid for making such a stupid reflexive action.  Now I have to contend with the burn as oppose to getting things ready for dinner.

The Captain, Nu, and myself go grocery shopping for dinner and for tomorrow's breakfast.  While I was in the market, my finger was screaming at me.  It wants something cold to ease the pain.  $160 dollars later, the mission is accomplished.

Angus beef burgers and chili dogs was on the menu.  Man did that stuff taste good.  Despite the need to look for a cold source for the finger, dinner was a complete success.  Everybody is full and happy.  We jokes around a bit and then all hit the sack.  We're all tired from today's ride.

During the night, I had to get out and get some water.  Veronica was shuffling around in her Bivy sack and I can hear lumberjacks from three different locations.  I think the Captain was cutting down a giant redwood, and the Sarge was axing away at an oak tree.  I'm sure I eventually joined in on the meddle once I hydrated myself.

Day 2 - Easier but not necessarily less dangerous...

Written on: April 21, 2008
Last modified: May 13, 2008