Central Coast '08
Day 2
Easier but not necessarily less dangerous...

274 miles

[Sunday - 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 with my 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 trick.

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.



What the...

Yup ...

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.

Glamor shot.

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 the Sergeant.

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 cold temperature.

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 everybody's safety.

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 degrees.

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 breath.

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