Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Oven fresh motorcycling
The folks used to live in Fresno, a large farming town in the central valley area of California. Visiting Fresno a couple of times a year was a lot like visiting the color beige. Pismo Beach is much nicer, cooler, and more motorcycle friendly. Plus there is genuinely fresh seafood, a beach, and all the attendant scenery that goes therewith...
Pismo also sits right near the start of the fabled Highway 1. Highway 1 is called the most scenic road in America. That's true but it's not the best motorcycle road in America, too many motorhomes and gawkers to let one truly appreciate the road on a bike. If you decide to ride Highway 1 some time I suggest getting up early to beat the rush. Oddly enough, winter is often the best time to ride it because the traffic is less and the fog is less. Riding north to south is better too.
I lived the first part of my life in California and know the roads well. There might be roads elsewhere that are as great for riding as the ones in California but there a none better. If you doubt me, visit www.pashnit.com for the 200 best roads in California.
I was in Chicago on business in May when my boss called and said I was needed on a trip to support some German colleagues working in Death Valley and Las Vegas. "No, I'm sorry Heinz, my vacation is scheduled for that week." I knew it was futile to argue of course. I did extract a promise that I could schedule a week off in July with NO changes allowed. Sadly, motorcycling to and from Arizona in July is even less appealing that in June.
Between the Phoenix area and California lays 400 miles of desert, boredom, and 100°+ temperatures. Even late at night the temps in July will stay in the high 90s. I mostly convinced myself that I'd just leave about 3:00 AM and high tail it across the desert to the coast before the worst heat set in. As the day to leave approaches and the daytime temps hover around 108° I'm less enthusiastic about making the trip on the bike, a lot less enthusiastic. Living and working in Arizona I understand how insidious the heat and low humidity can be, how it lulls you into thinking you can endure it for a little while longer even as it desiccates your body and leaves you senseless but upright until the last gasp.
The trip to and from Pismo Beach is about 1400 miles there and back. If I make the trip in the car I'll be comfortable, air conditioned, music'd, bored silly, and regret when I get to PB that I didn't ride the bike. If I go on the bike I'll be at least medium roasted for 800 miles of those 1400 miles. The other 600 miles will be great. What to do? How much am I willing to suffer to get to some great roads in July?
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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence
An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison