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

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Home again, home again.

Pismo Beach, CA was wonderful as always. The 68° temps were a welcome break from the 106° temps here in Arizona. It would be easy to convince myself to live somewhere on the central California coast just for the weather and the motorcycle roads but until I win the lottery it will remain only a day dream. Even having grown up in California and motorcycled extensively in the state I'm still amazed by the wonderful roads and scenery. I've become a desert rat in the 20+ years I've been in Arizona but California still holds a powerful attraction despite the outrageous expense of living there.

Got $500,000 for a beach house? This is what you get...and Pismo Beach isn't Malibu (thank goodness).

As for riding the bike to California I finally decided against it. I tried and tried to convince myself that I should do it and that some great riding would ensue once I got there. In the end though my daily review of city weather forecasts for the roads between Phoenix and the coast convinced me that I'd regret it. I saw nothing but 90-110° temps in the forecast for the entire way until Fillmore, California. I know, it was weak and cowardly of me to wimp out just because of searing heat and 1200 miles of freeway riding. I admit it, I'm getting soft in my old age. Yeah, I could have gotten up at 3:00AM and left to beat some of the heat but 3:00 AM is closer to my normal bed time than when I want to get up. Besides, the new Corbin seat for the bike didn't show up before leaving time came and the idea of broiling myself as I endured monkey butt on the stock Kawasaki seat finally sold me on taking my VW New Beetle.

I was reading Dylan's blog, Johnstown Company, and noted that he tormented himself in a similar fashion while planning a business trip to San Francisco. In truth, I didn't see that many bikes on the road while traveling to and from the Golden State or even up by Highway 1 so I guess I'm not the only one who let common sense get the better of my desire to ride. It's tough being mature and using common sense. I need to go out and do something foolish like buy a Suzuki Hayabusa before this common sense thing gets to be a habit.

On the way home this past Friday I watched the outside ambient temperature display on the NB slowly shift back and forth between 100 and 112° as I dropped into the desert and made my way back to Phoenix. If you've never ridden a motorcycle when it's 112° outside it's an interesting and painful experience. You convince yourself you can endure it but when you finally arrive at your destination you find yourself weak and slow cooked inside your own hide.

Way out in the desert between Palm Springs and Phoenix I spotted a fellow riding a Gilroy Indian (as opposed to a real Indian Motorcycle) at about 75mph on I-10. Usually when I'm in a car and see someone on a bike my first feeling is at least a twinge of envy for his freedom and sadness at my encapsulation in the auto but not this time. A peek at the thermometer on the car showed a toasty 110° outside. Nothing to envy about his ride at that particular moment.

When I got home the new Corbin Dual Tour seat was waiting for me on the front porch. Guess it was a sign of some sort.


Dylan said...

Hey Doug-

Really enjoyed reading your entry... I guess in our hearts all motorcyclists are tormented when we have to make the logical, common sense based choices rather than more practical or fun ones... On the way home from my recent work trip I felt really bad for the several folks on bikes I passed on I-5, what an awful place to ride... I doubt I could ever do a trek up and down the state that way...

Ride On!

Jeff said...

Always seemed to me the break over point was around 105 degrees. At that point the wind ceases to cool and simply cooks.

Maybe that's just here in the miserable treeless expanses of Oklahoma, especially on our overpriced turnpikes, but I don't mind anything below 105.

Enjoy your blog. Keep it up.

Dylan said...

105 degrees? Yikes! I have yet to have the pleasure of such hot winds... high 90's is about the top for me.

Doug Klassen said...

105° is about my limit for a short ride and 100° or less is better. Above 105° it starts to just plain hurt. Here in AZ it gets into the 100's by mid-May so you just have to deal with the heat as best as you can or stay at home and be bored. I try to time it so that I ride either early morning before it gets too hot or start out a couple of hours before sundown so the last half of the ride is twilight or dark.

I'll be really glad when the temps start to moderate a bit in September. At 9:00 PM tonight the thermometer on the Beetle still showed 107° outside. Ugh!

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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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