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Archive for October 3rd, 2008

Need I say more? 

Don’t get me wrong I like fall and during the winter I manage to shred the mountain a couple of times, but I’m just not ready to end the great riding season of 2008

But it’s turned cold and as you can clearly see  on the weather chart its going to be very wet this weekend!

So in protest I’m going to boycott winter stuff this weekend. I’m not going to bust out the jeans and the sweater.  I’ll be the one in the coffee line with a mild case of Hypothermia caused by an extended exposure to a damp environment… but, I’ll be in my favorite Hamm’s t-shirt and flip-flaps…I’m not going to let it be winter. No, I won’t, I won’t!

Forecast reminds me of that Gary Allen song about rain

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Last year‘s return we woke to rain and the 90 mile ride to Susanville was much too wet and cold.  So cold in fact that snow had collected on the hill sides.   Not this year!  It was perfect riding temperatures and cool, crisp air departing Reno helped focus our minds that we had an 11 hour day of riding ahead of us so giddy up.

From Susanville we took CA-44 through Lassen National Forest.  We headed up toward Old Station and then took CA-89 toward the town of Mount Shasta.  I like riding this route. The road is good and traffic is moving fast for a two-lane road and it has a varied and interesting scenery.

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta

Southern California seems to get most of the riding attention, but the fact is, Northern California has some of the best riding in the state and is much less congested. Most people visiting northern California are surprised at how much “nothing” is here. It’s pure motorcycling heaven that includes winding mountain passes, majestic redwoods and active volcanoes.  We enter the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains and press on around deep cut curves through beautiful scenery. For those of us who love mountain riding, this ride doesn’t get any better than this. Occasionally, you’ll catch a whiff of toasted brake lingering in the air, proof that not everyone enjoys the ride as much as we do!  We were all about miles today so, no time to stop at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  However, if you get a chance I recommend taking a few hours and visiting this dormant volcano, with its bubbly bits perking out all over.

When we stopped in Mount Shasta for fuel the clothing layers were peeling off as it was getting hot.  We intersected with I-5 and headed north.  This is called the Shasta Cascade region of California.

“Reeeneeneeeneen! Reeeeneeeneen!”  Was the sound of a two-stroke I passed on the freeway.  Not sure where that relic came from, but after passing and giving him a nod–the brotherhood of the biker–I fell in line with all the leather, tattoos and big-bore V-twins and let the orange polyester short-sleeve Polo riding shirt dude fade in the mirror.

Arriving at the Oregon border I-5 crosses 4300 feet in the Siskiyou Summit which is the highest point on I-5.  It then drops down into the Roque River valley through Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.  We rode over the three passes of the Umpqua Valley and after Roseburg cruised the rolling hills.

We did an Elmer’s dinner stop and then it was the final few miles to home in a little over 11 hours.  Another terrific and safe Street Vibrations trip.

Summer is officially over!!

Read more about the Street Vibrations trip at Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5.

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Poker Table

Poker Table

We were up early in prep for a ride around Lake Tahoe.  The previous night of gambling and fun thru the early morning took a toll on the posse as several dropped out of the Lake ride in favor of a bit more sleep.

I have ridden around Lake Tahoe on previous Street Vibration trips and about mid way up Hwy 431 near the Galena Creek County Park I started shivering and I never stopped until I hit the hot tub at the hotel hours later!  But not today.  It was in the high 60’s with clear skies and our route included the “twisties”…winding roads with gentle, sweeping curves that had us feeling like a soaring bird. Tahoe is a motorcycle paradise. 

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

The scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe is hard to describe in words.  With its crystal clear blue waters surrounded by towering peaks it’s easily one of America’s most beautiful areas.  What’s interesting to me is the developer assault of this pristine landscape and the huge estates… sprinklers going on manicured watered lawns one can only imagine what the construction phase of these behemoths was like and the toll it is taking on nature.

Even being up early every time we stopped for a photo op we had tourists to my right, left and back, already… sigh.  Made it difficult to get that perfect landscape photo which will make me rich and I can retire.  Yes, Saturday was a busy day at Lake Tahoe.  Not only were there a lot of motorcycle riders and tourists, there was both a bicycle and marathon race around the Lake.

We wound our way down to Incline Village and the grandeur of this route touches all your senses. You observe deep valleys and the aroma of the forest fills your lungs…as the bikes keep coming.  The peaceful Washo Indians considered the Lake to be a spiritual site and conducted sacred ceremonies on the South Shore.

We headed south on Hwy 28 and made a quick caffeine stop in the village.  Afterward we made several stops along the shore line in the Tahoe State Park. The “edge of the lake” is a unique and special place. We connected with Hwy 50.  Once called the “Bonanza Road,” due to the influx of pioneers to the region in search of Silver.  We grabbed burgers at McP’s on the state line and then elected to head back to Reno. 

The number of events, crowds and traffic on this beautiful day was taking a toll on our patience and our time.  We decided to cut the tour short and returned via Hwy 207 thru Minden then headed north on US 395 back thru Carson City.

We grabbed dinner at the hotel buffet and ended the gambling night before midnight in prep for an early departure and 11 hour ride back to the northwest.

Read more about the Street Vibrations trip at Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5.

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Virginia City

Virginia City

What a great couple of days. Terrific t-shirt weather, easy riding and we’ve been here in Reno with a bunch of good riding friends.

On our third day (Friday) we seperated into a couple groups and one drove the Virginia City, Carson City to Reno loop. Those of you old enough to remember the TV show Bonanza might be interested to know that the Ponderosa Ranch, home of the Cartwright’s is in the area.  Many believe it it’s in Virginia City, but actually Virginia City only hosted a back lot for the filming of the TV show.  The Ponderosa Ranch was actually a theme park in Incline Village, near Lake Tahoe.  It was shut down in the late 1990’s, but you can read lots more HERE.  Bonanza ran from 1959 to 1973 and was behind Gunsmoke as the longest running Western TV series.  I have an aunt who co-wrote a couple of the shows, but I don’t have a clue which ones.  It’s a cool area to ride in and the Ponderosa Pines are massive and the views are spectacular.

We arrived in Virginia City (pop. 1000) which still has much of the same character and ambiance it was famous for, and some of the same businesses (brothels), for which it is now infamous.  Named after the Comstock Lode which was an exceptionally large and rich mineral deposit of Silver, the city is directly built over the “lode” and was mined for years.  We leisurely wandered through many of the old buildings. Most have been converted from saloons and brothels to retail stores: cowboy clothes, leather goods, tourist trash, etc., however you can still see much of the original building details: large mirrors found on walls behind the various bars, the bar itself, or areas set aside for the honky tonk piano, gambling tables, and the infamous stairway to the rooms upstairs where a hard working miner or cowboy could find friendly companionship.  We enjoyed a $5 combo hotdog and beer lunch while watching the SWAT teams invade, oops I mean lurk in doorways in this rustic city.  Estimates had the biker crowd in Virginia City as high as 15,000 during the busiest part of the event.  Afterward the hotdogs we headed east out of town toward Carson City.

Speaking of the “companionship” business.  All indications are it’s going strong…. several of us made our way over to Mound House (about 6 miles east of Virginia City) to what’s called “The Ranch”…a set of connected trailers owned and operated by Dennis Hof for a “what’s-a-nice-girl-like-you-doing-in-a-place-like-this” tour.  Dennis is a TV personality and most visible as the owner of the Bunny Ranch and who starred in the reality TV show Cathouse: The Series on HBO.  I met him last year.  This year it was slow due to the poker run being on Saturday.  Sponsored by the Hells Angels and called the “Cat House Poker Run” many motorcycle enthusiasts go from business-to-business and participation is high…we had other plans. 

Skynnyn Lynnyrd Band

Skynnyn Lynnyrd Band

From the Ranch we rode to the Carson City Harley dealer.  The new building is located on 2900 Research Way just off US 395.  It took us awhile to find it because last year it wasn’t in this location!  We ran into the other half of the riding posse who were getting some parts and enjoyed various activities from burn outs to rock bands at this venue.

We headed back into Reno after a long and fun day. We grabbed dinner at the Eldorado Hotel in the Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant called Golden Fortune. Afterward we did a bit more vendor booth hopping and decided to catch a Harrah’s show.  Turns out that Skynnyn Lynnyrd (a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band) rocked out the plaza for some good sets. For comparison here is a video of Lynyrd Skynyrd from 1977.

Read more about the Street Vibrations trip at Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5.

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