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Old 12-17-2002, 01:00 PM   #1
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The "Running from the Rain" Ride to Los Angeles - Dec 13,14, and 15

Never.

Never have I done such a wild ride, with such a great group of people, on such incredible roads, through such extraordinary conditions.

Am I glad I did it? Hell yeah. Would I do it again? That's another story. This past weekend has a story all it's own.

The Basics

Myself, Roscoe, Infrandom, Morthrane, and Wicked Wahine went on a three day, 1100 mile trip to Los Angeles and back.

The Details

Note: We decided it was best that we name our trips after popular dining establishments we encounter along the way.

Day One – The Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles Ride

I actually had been planning it for a while. But as the day approached, the weather forecast took a turn for the worse. After my recent birthday, and Wicked's recent completion of her last final, we weren't about to let a little weather stop us. The forecast showed a few breaks in the weather, so we went for it. Showers were predicted Friday morning down to Hollister, with the first major winter storm of the season hitting everything north of San Luis Obispo on Saturday. A break in the weather was predicted for Sunday. I devised a plan based on the different forecasts for dfferent locales, and we went for it.

WW, V4Pilot, and I made our way out of San Francisco on Friday morning, dealing with traffic and the first rain storm of the season, in what also happened to be Wicked Wahine's first ever trip riding in the rain. We made our way down to the Mercado to meet Morthrane, Roscoe, and Infrandom, arriving about an hour late than due to the conditions. After drying out my Chatterbox helmet communicator with WW’s hair dryer in the Starbucks bathroom, and sharing our plans for the weekend with a BARFer who just happened to be passing through the area (DynamicV), we were on our way.

Unfortunately, at our first gas stop in Gilroy, V4Pilot received a phone call and had to return to San Francisco due to a family situation that came up. The rest of us continued on down the wet roads through Hollister on Highway 25.

We continued south to King City, waiting for the roads to dry. But it just wasn't happening. We stopped at the King City Carl's Jr to dry off and warm up, resuming our trip on the damp roads before long. Our bikes were absolutely FILTHY. I’ve seen cleaner motocross bikes. The weather forecast said nothing about precipitation that far south, but obviously it was wrong. After making our way out to Lockwood on some drenched backroads, we decided it was best to head towards the clear skies on the southern horizon.

Fuelling up before 58, I warned Roscoe (the only 58 virgin) about the different features of the road. In preparation for such a great road, Roscoe said we had to do the “That Road Is The Shit – I Own That Road ™” dance. There is footage of this dance, but it has been withheld to protect the innocent.

Once there, we were finally able to stretch our sport riding legs, attacking the curves and elevation changes with a reserved aggression. I don’t know if it was more frightening or impressive to see a grinning 350 pound blueberry almost get airborn on an R1 in my rearview mirror. Roscoe took over the “shotgun” position as kneepucks (or Cordura, in my case) started skimming the deck through a long series of banked esses, on what might be one of the most cherry pieces of twisty asphalt anywhere. Arriving in the town of Taft, I asked Roscoe what he thought of the road. He flipped up his faceshield to reveal an ear to ear grin.

“DUDE! THAT SHIT WAS SWEET! FUCKING SWEET! DAMN!”

We made our way into Los Angeles, missing our dusk deadline for dropping into the L.A. environmental shitpool via Little Tujunga, as a few of the others had their first taste of splitting lanes through the infamous Southern California traffic. Talk about putting your “battle face” on. We began to discuss our options for dinner at our motel in Pasadena, when Roscoe dropped some knowledge on us.

“You do not go to L.A. without hitting up Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles!”

Roscoe in particular attacked his dish with an animalistic fury, seen here on this video footage

We made our way to the Pasadena location and chowed down. As odd as the combination sounded to a suburbanite like myself, I must say IT WAS THE SHIT! We retired for the evening, in preparation for day two.

Day Two – The Splash Café Clam Chowder Bread Bowl Ride

The next morning, we made our way west on “the” 210, going up and over Little Tujunga for our first taste of true “canyon carving”. Sure, we use the term here in Northern California, but we’re actually going up and over mountains. In Southern California, they’re actually canyons. Rock face on one side, steep drop on the other. After a quick trip to Cycle Gear to clean our chains, we proceeded on to the Mulholland, passing the Rock Store and doing a quick run up Latigo Canyon. We stopped at The Overlook at the top of Mulholland to catch our breath, discuss our options, and take some pictures and video footage.

Afterwards, we made our way to Ventura, fuelling up before Highway 33. It was 4:15, with the sun setting at 5:00 I knew we would be cutting it close. We had 45 miles of twisties to negotiate, 45 minutes to negotiate them, it was 53 degrees out and we would be climbing to over 5000 feet. I figured we came to ride, so ride we would, through whatever obstacles the road would present to us. Up and over the San Gabriel Mountains we went, being wary of any cold patches of pavement, riding into the desert on the other side. Uneventful, outside of a cold patch of pavement Morthrane caught, making him run a little wide. Before long, we were in the central valley, making our way north on a 10-15 mile straightaway towards Highway 166. Then someone yelled at me on the chatterbox.

“Holy shit, are those tumbleweeds?”

I looked to the side to see little basketball-sized bushes rolling alongside us. In the distance to the left, I could see large storms of dust rising from the floor of the valley. We continued ahead, hoping the dust storms would subside by the time we headed west on 166. It got uglier the further north we rode, with larger tumbleweeds making their way onto the road.

Then, we saw it. I yelled into my chatterbox.

“LOOK OUT LOOK OUT LOOK OUT HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT”

It was the mother of all tumbleweeds. A bush the size of a Volkswagen Bug, rolling along in our lane. I split left, as the others split right to avoid it. I could almost hear a Godzilla-like growl as it attempted to take us out, like an industrial strength bowling ball headed towards several 600cc (and one 1000cc) bowling pins.

We eventually reached Highway 166, heading west. A little gusty, but not too bad. It was dark by that point in time, we figured we would just cruise the 60 miles to Santa Maria. But then we remembered that dust storm we were riding beside, except this time we weren’t beside it.

We were in the middle of it. The weather report predicted 30-40 mph cross winds in different areas of the state, that sounded about right for the dust storm we were passing through. Trucks passing the other way belted us with tumultuous winds, as we struggled to maintain our line with the limited visibility. At that point, I think each rider in the group was just following the tail light of the rider ahead, with my Couch-a-saki being the lead Lemming of the group. Continuing west, the dust storm soon subsided, when I noticed something on my visor.

“Hey guys, is it just foggy, or is it raining?”

We went through a sudden pavement change, when the road suddenly became really shiny.

“Yup. That’s rain.”

The backdrafts of the oncoming semis became twice as difficult to negotiate in the slick conditions, as I used my left knee as an air rudder of sorts to keep me stable. Continuing west, the road started to change. We were going up. Then left. Then right. Nighttime twisties, in the rain, with big rigs coming the other direction. I was thinking the mountains would do one of two things to the wind. They would either a) protect us from the strong cross winds, or b) they would amplify them and create turbulent gusts in different directions.

I was hoping for A. We got B. Fucker. The bridges we passed over were especially sketchy, but we ended up making it to Santa Maria and up to Pismo Beach for the best clam chowder breadbowls anywhere, at the Splash Café. We retired for the evening for the trip up wet roads back to the Bay Area.

Day Three – The Apple Farm Ride

Okay, so Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo wasn’t a dining establishment at our destination, but that shit was so good that I decided to name the third day of the trip after it. Originally we were going to head up Highway 1, from San Luis Obispo, but the gale force winds on the coast in the weather forecast made us think otherwise. We decided to make a trip of it by taking backroads from Paso Robles up to King City, then following 101 back from there. I couldn’t even tell you the names of the roads, they were just fun, scenic backroads I came across when I went to college in San Luis Obispo, exploring every curvy line on the map I could find. Many of the roads didn’t have a centerline. Some of them didn’t even have names. I just knew where they started, knew where they ended, and followed them.

Outside of Roscoe obliterating a fallen tree branch (I yelled it out over the Chatterbox but failed to signal with my leg – sorry about that), the ride back was uneventful. As we reached San Jose, the group checked their odometers, with most of them reading 1000 miles over the three days. The odometers on my Couch-a-Saki read closer to 1100 miles. We talked about the ride at a gas station before we disbanded, and everyone agreed it wasn’t the best experience as far as pure sport riding was concerned, having to tip-toe through several technical roads we’d normally be bombing down. But it was the most incredible ride each of us had been on, given the different roads, conditions, environments, and obstacles.

And every member of the group said they couldn’t wait for the next one. Unfortunately, the snow and rain will likely force us to wait, but that will make it even better when it does finally happen. The Northern Sierras are my last unexplored frontier of California, I’m already thinking of an interesting route…

Thank you Roscoe, Infrandom, Morthrane, and Wicked Wahine for being a part of the most incredible ride I've ever been on
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Old 12-17-2002, 01:06 PM   #2
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The group just before leaving.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:08 PM   #3
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Gasing up in Gilroy. Unfortunatly V4_Pilot had to part ways.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:11 PM   #4
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Eating at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles... this place really is the bomb. The best friend chicken I've ever had, no joke.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:12 PM   #5
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Roscoe digging in. "You got to fork the chicken onto the waffle."

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:14 PM   #6
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Damn, that sounds fun!!! Glad you guys made it back OK.
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Old 12-17-2002, 01:14 PM   #7
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A picture is the only way to describe how much fun this ride was. Imagine doing this for like 3 days.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:16 PM   #8
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YOU FOLKS ROCK!
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Old 12-17-2002, 01:16 PM   #9
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I dunno how Christy kept her ride so clean.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:17 PM   #10
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I love this road. Its so fun. I want knee pucks.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:18 PM   #11
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Group shot over looking mullhuland.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:18 PM   #12
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R6... this doesnt looks like Roscoe's usualy pristine clean ride.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:19 PM   #13
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Dude where are we, did you guys see that 8foot tumble weed? Shit what's next a sand storm??!

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:20 PM   #14
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This is what we think of THC. We know what HARDCORE really is.

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Old 12-17-2002, 01:21 PM   #15
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man, u guys kick (_|_) (ass)
glad everyone had fun and made it back in one piece!
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