Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Looking ahead...   Will try to stick to local rides with San Francisco area MC groups for three weeks.  Head to FL at end of month.   Tons of Meet-ups here for bikes.  Looks like a couple training days also.

Swapping street tire onto bike tomorrow and rearranging luggage.  Looking to loose 20 pounds... 10 off myself and 10 off the luggage.

Should be an interesting month.

Travel safe!   Jeff

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2014 travel plan, as of January

I truly believe, and he reminds me every week or so, that God gives us opportunities and lets us make them into what we choose... Just like the parable about 'talents'.  When my father passed away I took his gift and upgraded my photography (which he started me with at age 7) and bought a motorcycle.  The dealer asked me what type of bike was I interested in and I told him, "I have cousins in CA whom I haven't seen in 50 years, and I like dirt."

Here I sit, 18 months and 25,000 miles later in California having seen those three cousins, about to see two uncles, and cuz Barbie just reminded me that she is on the tour map that I posted yesterday.  I'm about to replace my third set of tires, having "pounded sand" in most states along the way... Life is good... Thank you God.

This past week the year ahead came into very sharp focus.  I updated my resume to many locations and received the following offers... not having a second thought to any of them.

Google maps says 11,000 miles.  Routes unplanned.  Does not include other ADV and BMW rallies to be added along the way.

February:  Un-scheduled travel to Modesto, Cupertino (uncles Fred and Ken), Gulfport (daughter Mackenzie) and on to Daytona for Bike Week early March.  Route unplanned.

March:  Daytona Bike Week, CADS (ADV) Cross Fl Ride 3/7, Dixie Dual Sport Everglades Adventure Ride, March Moto Madness (Telico Plains, TN) and other to be announced.

April: Osceola National Forest (FL) Camp Host and into the sand.
4/4-5  Slay the Dragon Rally, Robbinsville, NC

May:  Little Grassy Lake Campground, (IL and where I grew up) Camp host and general gopher.
5/2-4 GA North Mountain BMW Rally, Hiwasassee GA
         5/29 BMW RA Rally, Barber Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, AL
5/16 - 18 SLAP Rally, Ozark, AR

June: 6/3 Lake George, NY.  Speaker at Americade.  
         Home in PA for 24 hours.
         Balance of month - Stephen Foster History Center, White Springs FL.  Camp Host

          7/11 Dressage for Kids, Saugherties, NY  Announcer, (Year 5?)
          7/24 BMW MOA Rally, MN  Including Gypsy Tour competition
           Visit cousin Barbara in MN

August - unplanned.  Probably home to uncoup.

September:  Back to Stephen Foster Camp for Sept and Oct.

Detail to be updated as they develop.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

An evening of reflection...   the last few days I have run across articles on Native American Indians...  the mystic power in their long hair.   Free experiential learning.  Letting the spirit of the child discover what to explore and what to become skilled at.

Today I worked further on the travel post before this one on the blog.   I read back and the details are there... right here, left there...   but the messages are in the videos and images.   I worry that I don't write enough dialog... but it's not about the dialog...   It's about the experience.

Mid summer more than a year ago I was headed to Bloomsburg on the bike.   A destination day...   take the bike out and enjoy getting to a destination.   Until I came upon that side road away from the Catawissa Creek.   Somewhere south of Mainville.  No destination posted at the intersection...  just a road into the woods.   

My mind asked right out loud... "Where Does That Road Go?"   

The motorcycle experience isn't just about the destination... it's about the travel.  What houses are along that road?  How old is that barn?   Why is there a grove of trees in the corner of that big field?  Who settled there?  Why did they pick this valley to build a town?

And more...   Feel the sunlight warm your face, jacket and pants when you come down off that mountain pass.  Watch the next series of turns come into view over a rise... set up and develop your rhythm.   Watch as you pull up behind that Amish buggy...  listen to the hooves, wheels scraping the mcadam, smell the people and the horses.   Pass knowing that they are one more rung down the vehicle ladder than your two wheels with power.

I don't always write these sensations into my posts... Hopefully you will find them in the images and videos.

Travel safe, my friend... and often,


Added 1/10:   My most comfortable rides are back roads running 45 or so mph and listening to the purr of taust ahe exhause and the wind across my face.  Turns come and go without even consciously  making any effort to guide the bike.  Out on an interstate the throttle creeps up to 80 and the sensation is just as casual at 35 around town.   Even working our way up rutted fire roads in GA,  after a few miles the bike and body english take on anything that comes our way.  Strange to thtink of a one-with-the-bike concept, but that's pretty much what it becomes.

Adventures in Pasradise (CA)

Crapola...   I am so far behind...   How did two weeks go past and I haven't shared any stories... sorry about that...   Was distracted by a boat-rehab project with a friend that will last at least until the end of the month.

Let's skip back a week and travel a few roads from Chico, CA east into the Butte Creek Canyon to Paradise, CA.   Paradise is a real town, not a frame of mind...

Picked up Honey Run Road heading East just south of Chico where it intersects the Skyway.   Google maps was useless for planning this drive because it doesn't show that Honey Run can be taken all the way to Paradise.   The drive is about 10 miles, starting in the base at the outlet of the canyon and heading east and eventually up hill to Paradise.   

Most of the road is in the open with some tree cover.  The last few miles gets down to one-lane with plenty of tight winding curves bearing to the right.   These blind curves run the risk of oncoming traffic being across the non-existent centerline...   fortunately I didn't encounter any vehicles on my morning drive.   

Once reaching Paradise I worked my way to the south east side of town and then turned west on Pentz Road 7 miles and out to Rt 70.   70 makes a great morning ride with the sun warming the valley.   Up thru the Plumas national Forest.   Lots of scenic overlooks to the valley on the south side of the mountain sections.   

Rt 70 is an easy drive.  No tight curves, almost no traffic.   Plenty of turn-offs to pass or allow faster traffic to get by.  I grabbed a couple photo-ops along the way to try out my new tripod...   successfully!

Every side road leaving Rt 70 looked like an adventure of its own.   Tempting, but was on a mission (at least it began that way) to reach Lake Almanore, the town of Chester and then return on Rts 36 and 32 to Chico.  
Will post the ice photos which I encountered just north of these nested bridges.   There are also about 6 tunnels along this section and lots of white-water areas from the power station at the dam.  Water was low today so there wasn't much activity.

I was past the bridges just a few miles when the mountain walls became steeper and the shadows had not allowed the overnight dew to have left the road surface.  The center-line was very wet and looked ominously like ice...  By the time I reached the Belden town there was snow on both sides of the road and quite a bit of ice in the parking lots.   I pulled in across the steel bridge to the Beldon Town Resort where I found a Harley and a Yamaha cruisers parked against the snowbank outside the restaurant.   


Inside I met the two couples that were taking the holiday vacation time to cruise up from Cherokee.   They, and the barkeep, explained in no uncertain terms, that evey thing further up hill from here would be ice and snow, so I enjoyed coffee with them, swapped stories and then turned around to enjoy the ride back.

They gave a "recommend highly" to the road from Rt 70 to Cherokee.  That was about 20 miles and definitely worth the drive to enjoy.   Not as tight as Honey Run Road but full time twists and turns.  Other than a few miles behind a truck, the drive was beautiful.   

Somewhere along the way there was a covered bridge on a side road, and the town (?) of Cherokee...   I didn't see anything more than an intersection that must have been town.   Would be a quiet place to spend time, for sure.   

Pretty soon the road opened up and reached Oroville.   I picked up the Rt 149 N there up to 99 and back to Chico.   This is a definite loop that should be included in your travel plans if you make it up this way.

Cherokee and Rt 70 videos to be posted soon!