This is a place where I post thoughts and information about riding again after all these years and the KLR 650 that I have for that purpose.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Coast Trip, the hard way

I finally took the second half of the trip to Mount Hamilton via Del Puerto Cyn rd. The result got me all the way home to the Monterey Bay via some pretty small backroads in the heavily populated bay area. The closer I got to home, the more I remembered the old trips I used to take coming the other direction when it was a big deal to get over the Santa Cruz mtns barely to the big world beyond. The path was Old Mt. Madanna rd and Redwood Retreat including a fireroad through a big stand of redwoods.

Today I can back that way from the other direction on a much larger journey some 313 miles round trip taking all day. I got home just after the sunset behind Mt Diablo as I passed under the "middle earth" tunnel below the freeway near home.

Heading west from the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton until Quimby and then San Felipe to Metcalf to Monterey Rd, to Baily to Uvas Meadows to Redwood Retreat to Old Mt. Madonna road and some very familar roads from days long ago...

I got lost a few times and had to cut short my idea to ride to Salinas to see the Steinbeck museum and his famous truck from Travels with Charley. Next time. I did see a wild pig, lots of deer and other wild life and a couple of great caution signs for wild pigs and elk. Even spotted a couple of KLR riders among the large number of riders out on a warm perfect day. None of them had more fun than I did and I doubt that they had been on some of the stretches of road I found today.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Spring but no ride or name, yet

Well, I did pull the KLR (I am working on a name) out and do some basic maintenance this afternoon. In spite of the balmy weather I opted to take my old mtn bike for a short spin to see what it needs to make it healthy again. That bike has been around with me as long as they've been making KLRs as far as I can tell. Come to think of it, I never did name that bike either...

I also finished Ted Simon's Jupiter's Travels (he never named his Triumph either) and have a trip planned to ride down next weekend and take another look at John Steinbeck's trusty old Rocinante again as I'm in the midst of reading that book again. Next up, perhaps Paul Theroux's old Patagonian Express........choo, chooo.

Sunday, March 14, 2004


Today I took a short trip near home late this afternoon. My excuse was that I had noticed the gate along the Calaveras was unlocked and decided to take advantage of that for a little exploring. I managed to ride through tall green grass for several miles where there was a slight footpath. I continued along the gravel topped level until I hit a gate where the bike path crosses to this side of the river. I headed back into the floodplain there and went farther upstream. I decided to veer off to check out some new housing construction with a very large excavation for drainage.

I zigzaged my way out of town on back roads mainly following Cherokee to Alpine. I know these roads but never really take them any distance. Today I followed Cherokee until it ended at Alpine. It turns out that Alpine is a nice ride north/south along the edge of orchards and ranchettes and is quite pleasent right now. I discovered that the gate along the Calaveras was also unlocked there and had a nice run along a stretch I've never been on before. Very nice view of wildlife out there and not much else.

I crossed a couple of milestones (to me anyway) today. At one point, I looked down just before I hit 12345.6 on the odometer. At the beginning of todays, I turned 12300 miles which means I've added over 6000 miles since I picked the bike up last April in Berkeley. Of course it had already been to Baja and back before I got it but I've still put more miles on it in less than a year than it had the first couple of years. It definitely feels like my ride now.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Todays Ride

Today I combined some errands and made a big loop across the delta for a round trip of just over 180 miles on a beautiful pre-spring day. It went like this.

I needed to be in Vacaville to pick up the rest of the payment for my daughter's 87 honda rebel. I met the very nice couple who picked the bike up in Arcata and brought it down and we finished the deal over a nice chat while their kids bounced around a bit as kids will do. Then I headed west and caught the rolling Pleasent Valley rd and followed it and very green hills to Lake Solano where I headed east and stopped briefly in Winters. I tracked my brother down and had a nice visit at his house.

I then tried to track down my in-laws in Davis to help with a new computer problem. They weren't around and the sun was starting to drop so I decided to head east on I-80 to get across the causeway. All day I had been carrying some mail that needed to find it's way to West Sac. I thought it would be fun to mail if there if possible. I almost hailed a mailman going by while I was reading a map but missed all mailing opportunities. I then took Jefferson south and caught the river levee road following it all the way to Walnut Grove with litte traffic and only a few spots with sun trouble. At one point the river was heading straight towards Mt. Diablo in the distance which made for quite a scene. Lots of boats on the river and people fishing on the banks in what felt like an early summer day no less.

From Walnut Grove, I took my familar route through Thornton and beat a long train heading south as I paralleled I-5. Just before I got home I remembered a post office with late Saturday pickup and beat the last one by two minutes completing my chores (in a round about way no less) and rolled up home with the sun setting and a nice tired feeling and my coffee cup calling. I soon took care of that....

Friday, March 12, 2004

I'm filing this one away for further investigation.

Carrizo Motorcycle Rides!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Subject: Pictures from New Idria

Well fellow KLRista Jim from Fresno got there the same weekend I was in the neighborhood. Not the same thing and I'll be up that way soon I suspect.

"Here are a few snaps from our New Idria ride last Saturday."

The guy on the mini 50 is Dan the sole inhabitant of New Idria. I
always make a point of talking with him when I ride through. When he
pulled out that minibike, side cover missing, leaking fuel, scabbed
together, I thought to myself no way will that run but lo and behold
he put his palm over the exposed carb and she kicked right up, a
testiment to Japanese engineering. The pig is his pet, Mrs. Piggy.
She was recently rescued from one of the abandoned buildings in town,
seems she got locked in for over a month and was quite slimmed down
when discovered. Her male companion was poached over the winter and
only his removed skin and skull were left behind. Sure is a great
time to ride over there right now. Stop in and chat with Dan.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

A Great Ride Today!

I took off about 10:30 today retracing my steps down the valley via highway 33 and other backroads. When I reached Gustine, I headed east on 140 and then south again on the old Santa Fe Grade. This is an amazing gravel one lane road that bisects the wetlands and grasslands with some amazing views of birdlife. The gnats were thick too and I was covered in them through most of this ride.

I continued south into Los Banos and then east on 152 until I connected to another segment of the Santa Fe Grade. I continued south hoping to make it all the way to head west and loop back via New Idria Mine. I decided that would have me in some pretty remote areas late in the day so I opted to head towards Mercy Hot Springs via Panoche rd. This was a great choice as I had about 15 miles of rough jeep road through green hills and amazing views. I connected via New Idria rd and headed north again to Mercy Hot Springs. I tried to catch some of the roads through the hills to the north on my return towards Santa Nella but they were all gated. Instead I backtracked via 165 through Los Banos and up the Santa Fe Grade once more.

The weather was great and I had a few light layers under my summer jacket and was comfortable all day. I was out for about 6 hours with a number of stops, long stretches of dirt and/or gravel for a total of 280 miles. I fueled up in Patterson and made it home on the same tank of gas. It looks like I averaged about 55 mph and they KLR was running fine and turning between 70-75 at 5000 rpm on a number of long straight stretches. The Panoche Hills have quite a bit of unexplored public access lands and will need some return visits.

The urge to continue south for a multiple day trip was very strong! According to my Northern California Atlas & Gazetteer, much of my ride today was beyond northern California and I had much of the backroads and dirt to myself.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Extreme Rides!

This is going just a little, no really a lot, too far for me. I am going to have to think hard about this one but it just seems the risk it too great. On the other hand, it seems more than a little like something out of a Mad Max/Road Warrior movie. You decide.

Chernobyl Rides

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