| One night, several months ago, I rode
my BMW R100RT Classic, to the School Board meeting,
of which I am a member. Jim Canova, a fellow member, saw it and we
ended up talking motorcycles for much of the rest of the evening,
as motorheads are likely to do. Jim used to own a Honda 750 four cylinder,
several years ago and has never let his motorcycle license lapse. Anyway, the more we talked, the more Jim wanted
to ride again. I encouraged
him, of course and within a short period of time, he decided to rent
a Harley and suggested we head to Monterey for a weekend ride. I apparently wasn’t the only one encouraging him. As it turns out,
Jim has a good friend, affectionately known as Buddha, who already
owns a Harley FLH. Buddha thought a trip to Monterey was a
great way for Jim to get back into the sport.
Since we live in the Silicon Valley, a trip over the mountains to
the coast seemed like an ideal destination. We started talking up the trip to anyone who
would listen. Another fellow,
named Bill Green, who works at the district warehouse, also rides.
In fact, Bill is 74 years old and has ridden over 320,000 miles on
a bunch of different motorcycles.
Bill happens to own a Honda Valkyre at the moment, and
said he would be interested in going if we were willing to have him.
We said the more the merrier. It looked like Butch Pastorini from
the Personnel Department was going to come along to make it a fivesome,
but he changed his mind. That
meant we had four riders ready and willing to mount our paint and
chrome steeds and ride off to terrorize Hollister, or at least a local
McDonalds. Four middle aged bad asses with prostate problems.
Jim came up with a date and Bill volunteered to lead since he knew
a scenic route that didn’t have a lot of twisties. He thought, and we all agreed, that since Jim
hasn’t been on one of these things for a while, we should stay away
from a lot of major switchbacks.
We had a destination, we had a trip leader, we were ready to
go. Meanwhile, I bought a new Honda Goldwing to ride this summer.
That was going to be my scooter of choice for this trip.
The morning of the June 15th, the day before Father’s day,
we all met at the District Office at 9:00 a.m. to use as the central
starting point. It seems that
Jim had arranged for Cathy Van Pernis and her husband (also named
Jim) to meet us and take pictures of this sorry group.
Heather Davis, the student Board rep was also there, along
with several other district office folks, all ready to see us on our
merry way. That meant we all stood around looking at the
bikes, talking and laughing, giving motorcycle rides, sitting on different
bikes, taking pictures, and generally having a good time. The Roman legions themselves, as they marched
off to defend the empire, couldn’t have had a better sendoff (photos
1, 2, 3, 4).
By 10:00 a.m. we were ready to go so we devised a riding plan. This
is kind of like a “flight plan” only for motorcycles except that nobody
writes it down and may not actually follow it. Actually, I’ve never done this before but I’ve heard others talk
about it. I usually ride by
myself or with one other person.
For this trip, Bill would be first on his Valkerye (photo
5), since he actually knew where he was going.
Jim, would go next, on his Harley Fatboy (photo 6),
since he was the “newbie” in the group.
Buddha took third place on his Harley FLH (photo 7),
and I brought up the rear on my Goldwing (photo 8). We rode
staggered fashion in this order for the rest of the day and it worked
The Silicon Valley is home to roughly two (count ‘em) million people.
We needed to get out of town and away from the traffic.
Bill wound his way down this expressway, then over to that
expressway, and finally into the foothills of the Coastal Range.
Now we were in the typical California geography, light brown
hills of dry grass dotted with majestic oaks.
This part of the route is called Uvus Road or G8 on maps. Bill did good. This was starting out as a great ride.
Bill kept us between 50 and 60 mph, depending on the road.
G8 takes you past a couple of reservoirs, Colero and Uvus.
Uvus is the larger and more scenic of the two. After about
an hour, we pulled into a Carl’s Jr. for something to drink, which
was some where on the outskirts of Gilroy (photo 9). This gave
us a chance to see how Jim was enjoying himself, which was plenty.
If you have an obsession, you just naturally enjoy it when someone
else acts just as goofy as you do.
Jim was hooked. Well,
actually since he used to ride I guess “rehooked” would be more accurate. He was handling the larger “Fatboy” just fine
and looked good in the bargain. Enough
foolishness, back on the road.
We headed over to Watsonville, winding towards the coast, and then
hooked a left on Hwy.1 towards Monterey. This was almost a perfect day.
The weather wasn’t too cold or too warm. What a great way to get Jim back into riding. Hwy.1 goes from two lanes, into a four lane
freeway around old Ft. Ord, then back to local roads as you get closer
to the Monterey proper, with a view of the ocean most of the way. I really enjoy mountain roads, but there’s
something about riding along the coast with its sand beaches or rugged
cliffs and water just as far as the eye can see, that makes it special. If you’re from the interior of our great country,
don’t die without seeing the coast.
Either one will do.
Now we’re getting into traffic again, ahh yes, the tourist have returned
to Monterey, right on schedule. We
cruise slowly down Cannery Row, looking for a place to park that’s
free (photo 10). No
such luck on this weekend. We
finally pull into a pay lot and put all four bikes in one parking
place and split the cost four ways (photo 11).
We head down to the wharf area and Jim wants to try Bubba Gumps, which
is packed. We get on the list
and then have our picture taken with “Forrest” who sits on a bench
out front, dressed in white and having tourist, like us, take their
picture with him (photos 12, 13).
We obviously have no shame as we do the same thing that a thousand
other tourists have done. Anyway, we wander around the shops for the
next 25 minutes till our name is called.
I buy some fudge for dessert but for the most part we keep
our money in our pocket.
When we get inside Bubba Gump's, luck is with us and we get a window
seat (photo 14). Of
course we get a waitress who wants to know about our motorcycles. Her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, I can’t remember
which, had a Harley and she really liked it. Did you ever notice, they never say their boyfriend or ex-boyfriend
had a Honda Goldwing that they thought was really cool? I take a picture of our waitress and Buddha,
since she seemed to favor him (photo 15).
After such a late lunch, we saddled up and headed over
to Salinas to visit two of Jim’s nieces (photo 16). Fun is
fun, but towards 6:45 p.m. Bill and I need to head back to meet other
commitments. Jim and Buddha are staying over and came back
the next day. The ride back
is fast and too the point, much of it right into the setting sun. We made it back in a respectable time, even
though we couldn’t see anything but a big yellow spot in front of
our eyes, and Bill, who I remind you is 74, let no grass grow under
his wheels. He was a fine leader and I dub him “Pathfinder”
for his outstanding efforts.
We swing into a Chili’s restaurant for dinner, and by 10:00 I’m home.
How much better can it get?
I wonder just how long it will take before Jim shows up at
the Board meeting with his own motorcycle? His wife is going to kill us!