~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Oven fresh motorcycling

I'm taking next week off from work.  Originally I was to take a week off in June and head over to California to see my mom, my first visit there since Dad passed away in January.  I'd promised her after the funeral that I'd be back to see as soon as I could.   My plan was to take a little time and ride the Kawasaki over there and do a little site seeing along the way.  My mom lives in Pismo Beach on the central California coast so the riding and site seeing possibilities are endless. 
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?

1 comment:

Brother K said...

Hey, Doug--

I'm working my way through your blog, & having a good time at it, too. I was going to leave a comment on the one about your dad, but when I read the other comments there I realized that I'd be repeating it--but I did really love that entry. I couldn't help leaving a comment on this one, though, as the line "Visiting Fresno a couple of times a year was a lot like visiting the color beige." is the kind of surprising observation I've come to expect from you and good clean fun.

I just got a note from the Rain Taxi editior saying he was going to publish a review (of Henry Thomas Buckle's 19th century tome), so I wrote back to him and asked if he'd be interested in publishing some kind of blog guide/review. Foremost in my mind was that it's very hard to find good blogs--and I actually do try to find them, paging through a dozen or so eveyr couple of weeks--and I was thinking that I only found your blog by accident, and that's a damned shame. I know you don't lack for readers, but I think there are many, many more people who would enjoy your writings. The editor wasn't enthusiastic about the idea of a blog guide/review, though, and I don't think I can change his mind . . . but, of course, that won't stop me from trying.

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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

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