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Old 01-05-2009, 04:53 PM   #1
Lupin
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My first ride of the new year.

I thought some people might enjoy reading about my ride last weekend.

Jan 2nd I was up early and heading out the door for my first ride of the new year.

I had seen two good roads on Pashnit that I wanted to try out. The plan was to ride down to Hollister, then over to Panoche to Highway 5, then down to Coalinga and up Coalinga Road back to Highway 25, then back up to Hollister and back home.

I’ve already done the Panoche Rd a couple of times heading to New Idrea, but it’s a fun road so I figured I would do it again. I was primarily interested in doing the well known Coalinga Road. I’d heard about it several times and thought now was as good a time as any to finally check it out.

This is the route with Google Maps.

It was also the first test for my new Spot locater that my wife had given me for xmas. I set up a tracking page for my wife and and a friend who is going stir crazy in the snowy north pining for the day he can get his bike back out, to watch my progress and headed out!

It had been a while since I had a good ride that wasn’t commuting so it felt great swinging a leg over the bike and head down the road.

I felt a little decadent on the bike for the first little while. It was a chilly morning so I had my heated grips on and my heated vest plugged in. I have great cold weather gear so I was nice and toasty while I headed south down highway 101 listening to music on my Zumo 550 while my Spot beamed out my locations. It felt like I was a bit technology happy and maybe was using to much but when I looked down at my instrument panel and it said it was 42 degrees out, I figured what the hell. I’d rather be warm and happy.

The ride to Hollister was typical 101 highway stuff and not much to write about. In Hollister, I stopped and filled my tank so that I would be set for the day. It was a quick ride from there to Panoche Road. It’s a great road with some nice twistys and amazing views. As I rode along I started seeing fewer and fewer cars. It seems not to many people were out enjoying the sunshine. The road was nice and dry and for the most part, pretty clean. When I reached the Panoche Inn the only people I was seeing anymore were farmers out doing their chores. I had planned to hit the dirt road section of Panoche Road and ride through the hills eventually connecting to Highway 5. Instead, I made a wrong turn and almost ended up at New Idrea. I rode 10 miles before the pavement ended before I decided to turn around. I’ve already ridden to New Idrea and had new roads to discover today.

I made it a mile or so down the Panoche Road dirt section before coming to a valley in the road that forced me to stop. The road was flooded and the water looked very deep. I contemplated a water crossing, but having never done anything like that before, and the height of the water I decided against it. I turned around and headed back to Little Panoche Road to ride that to Highway 5. Just before I entered Highway 5, I pulled over beside some vineyards to call home and see how my wife was handling our new little munchkin. While on the phone, a rider heading in the opposite direction passed me giving me the “got trouble?” signal. I gave him a thumbs up and he sped away. Riders are the best people on the planet. My wife let me know her and Louis were doing fine and that my Spot messages were getting through. They were following my progress online!

Highway 5 was full of traffic, I suppose it was the last of the holiday goers returning home. I was on it for a meager 30 miles and then turned off towards Coalinga. I was very surprised riding towards there. The hills were littered with oil pumps, pipelines and a maze of dirt roads connecting them all together. It was absolutely crazy looking. I half expected to see Mad Max come blazing down one of the dirt roads.

I figured it would be cool to take a picture of my bike with one of the pumps, so I rode over to one of the closer ones beside the road. I didn’t even have a chance to take my helmet off before I heard the crunch of truck tires on gravel behind me. I was surprised to turn around and see a white pickup truck with a large guy asking me what I was doing. I hadn’t been stopped for more then a minute. The guy was pretty cool though. I told him I just wanted to take a picture at the pump and then I would be on my way. He was fine with that and then warned me about poisonous gas that seeps up around there and not to linger for more then a few minutes. I got the picture I wanted and he gave me a wave as I headed back down the road.

Soon enough I was winding my way down Coalinga Road. It was everything I had hoped it would be. Twisty enough to be interesting with views that made me want to stop and take a picture every 2 miles. Unfortunately, the sun was getting low on the horizon so I didn’t dawdle to much. The road wasn’t to bad, but it looked like there was some frost ice on some of the shadier sections of wet road, along with mud tracked across sections of it. The wet leaves and gravel spots kept me from upping the pace to much. I came around one corner to find myself passing about 30 goats wandering up the road towards an enclosure. I reconnected to Highway 25 thinking to myself that this was definitely one of the best routes I had planned in a long time. When rider friends come to visit, this will be the route I take them on.

There was a quick hop through Hollister and arrived back home soon enough. I pulled into the driveway very pleased with the day. I had covered 300+ miles, taken in some amazing views and enjoyed some spectacular roads.

My wife had watched it all on my spot page and had dinner ready as soon as I walked in the door.

I think the day was well seized!

(Yeah, I like taking pictures with my bike in it. I should have taken more, but I just couldn't bring myself to let my wheels stop turning very often.)
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:55 AM   #2
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Nice...I like 25 to Coalinga via 198 but definitely have to watch for slick roads this time of year.
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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Highway 25

What's really cool is that for part of the ride, you're literally right on top of the San Andreas Fault.
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Old 01-12-2009, 12:06 AM   #4
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Great area to explore Lupine! Hwy 25, Hwy 58, Panoche, Indian Valley-Peachtree. Awesome stuff. Once you hit San Miguel, lot of fun backgrounds between San Miguel & Pozo.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:11 PM   #5
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Love that area! A new use for Spot?

"Good woman, watch that page, when I get about here... Start dinner."

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Old 01-14-2009, 07:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupin View Post

............... The hills were littered with oil pumps, pipelines and a maze of dirt roads connecting them all together. It was absolutely crazy looking. I half expected to see Mad Max come blazing down one of the dirt roads..........
Yes, isn't it ugly ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupin View Post
He was fine with that and then warned me about poisonous gas that seeps up around there and not to linger for more then a few minutes. ..................
Wow...I didn't know poisonous gases...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupin View Post
Twisty enough to be interesting with views that made me want to stop and
take a picture every 2 miles. ................
COMPLETELY agree with you there !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lupin View Post
I think the day was well seized!
Nice ride Lupin! Thanks for the trip report. I LOVE that area. so close of a get out of town ride !
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:29 AM   #7
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Love that area! A new use for Spot?

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Old 01-14-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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Love that area! A new use for Spot?

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Old 01-14-2009, 12:32 PM   #9
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He was fine with that and then warned me about poisonous gas that seeps up around there and not to linger for more then a few minutes.
I have to remember that. It sounds a lot more effective than "Get off my lawn, you kids!"

Nice pics.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:20 AM   #10
Lupin
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Originally Posted by pashnit View Post
Great area to explore Lupine! Hwy 25, Hwy 58, Panoche, Indian Valley-Peachtree. Awesome stuff. Once you hit San Miguel, lot of fun backgrounds between San Miguel & Pozo.
I couldn't agree more! Thanks for taking the time to have a site like Pashnit, it's a wonderful resource.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
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Yes, isn't it ugly ??



Wow...I didn't know poisonous gases...



COMPLETELY agree with you there !!



Nice ride Lupin! Thanks for the trip report. I LOVE that area. so close of a get out of town ride !
The pumps were cool! Definitely ugly, but the sheer number of them, the maze of pipes and dirt roads and the crazy industrial look of it makes for one heck of a spectacle when you ride up on it. Especially if you have no idea they are there. I was floored when I saw it.

I wonder if the poisonous gases are just a very convenient way of keeping people off their roads and away from their expensive money making operation.

I really love the Panoche area as well. It's not far from the city, but when you're out there, you feel like your remote.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:29 AM   #12
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Love that area! A new use for Spot?

"Good woman, watch that page, when I get about here... Start dinner."



The funny thing is, that's exactly what she did.

She saw a check in pop onto the tracking page about twenty minutes from home so she started dinner. I parked my bike in the garage, walked into the kitchen taking off my helmet to find a steaming hot dinner sitting on the counter for me. Just one of hundereds of reasons validating my decision to marry this wonderful woman.
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