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Look in the Blog Archive in the box to the right for past ride reports going back to 2006. New material posted as rides or other motorcycle news occurs. Thanks for reading. Comments always welcome, be sure to log in below. Comments will be reviewed. Please note the disclaimer below.

About Me

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Motorcycling has been a life changing experience. I hope sharing the info and pictures on the Blog gives you some idea how impressed I am with the experience, travel and the people I have met. Made new friends especially among Riders here in Orange County. Special recognition to Johney (Wrench)-helps with all the maintenance stuff+rides, plus other great riding friends: Ken Y., Luis V. & Minita, Chuck & Patty, John R., Joe, Carolyn, Gregg, Charlie & Carol, Rick, Stan P., Ed & Susan P., Barry, plus Terry, Bob B., Brian H., Glenn, William & Daveta Jo, Bob (Concho) and others. ************* DISCLAIMER: This is my personal write-up (Blog) of motorcycling news, rides and events that I am involved with in some way and not affiliated with any group, organization or club that might be mentioned herein. There should be no confusion regarding the fact these are my personal comments and not those of any other entity.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.
Monument Valley, Utah-9/2011 photo by Johney Harper!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pines to Palms-STAR ride to Palm Desert

This ride was scheduled for the week prior and moved to 03/13/2010 due to all the rain and poor weather that has kept us from a group ride for two months.  As usual we all meet at the Best Buy parking lot and I arrive at about 7:30 am to help Johney collect money for the meeting raffle.  The actual meeting doesn't even start until about 8:30am waiting for people to arrive, catch up with all the news and generally mill around looking at motorcycles.  I get to stand in the middle with 3 other members Lynne, Keith and Pres. Terry, that have a March birthday while everyone sings Happy Birthday.  


The one aspect of STAR Chapter rides that I don't like is the fact that with a larger group there generally is no time to stop for pictures along the way.  With that in mind I thought a review of some gear I wore might be of interest since there are no pictures of the trip.  It is fairly cold this morning with temps in the low 60's so I wear my First Gear Mesh-Tex jacket with the liner and my nylon rain/windbreaker jacket over that.  In addition I am wearing a pair of "Redhead" brand jeans from Bass Pro Shops that are fleece lined for more warmth.   The jacket and pants combination is light weight and really provides adequate protection from the cold air while underway.  Route 74-Pines to Palms Highway takes us up to nearly 5,000 ft. elevation with temps expected to drop into much colder numbers.    Even when we get to the top with temps dropping into the mid 50's plus a wind chill factor I am quite comfortable.  I know the temperature readings since I added my stick-on temperature gauge the day before.

The new 2009 Road Star really whips through some rather tight turns going up hill into the mountains and handles very nicely going down into the desert as well.  This is my second time on a motorcycle through this downhill portion into the desert and it is much easier and a lot less intimidating than the first time.  I know my skill level has improved this past year but I think some of this recent improvement has to do with the effect of fuel injection on the new motorcycle.  Comments from Tail-Gunner Jim R. indicate that spacing and riding from every one was very good on the whole trip out to Palm Desert. 

The trip leaving Palm Desert is not quite as comfortable or relaxing as it was going however.  First off, it's very warm at our lunch stop-about 80 deg. so guess what, I take off the outer jacket and just leave the Mesh-Tex jacket and liner on.  Not a smart idea as it turns out.  I now know that when the temperature drops below 70 degrees or so, wear the extra jacket or take the heavier Tourmaster jacket.  When we leave Palm Desert and get on the 10 Freeway heading west, almost immediately we start hitting headwinds.  The reason all those propellers are out along the freeway is that the wind pushing those propellers can generate electricity and today they were making lots of it.  As we headed further west toward Whitewater Junction it became rather fierce actually.  I know I was reaching the edge of my speed - buffeting - fear level and while trying to keep up, did fall back.  The wind made it difficult to keep speed up anyway and the result was burning a lot of gas.  Luis, on his son's Stratoliner had to fall way back as his gas level dropped dramatically due to the wind resistance.  As we head into more wind, the brake light on our Ride Captain Keith's Stratoliner start flickering off and on and stay on for long periods as we travel.  A short in the electrical system maybe?  The answer when we stop for gas.  Suddenly to our right here comes Lynne and Glen on his red Harley down an on-ramp, apparently she had to pull out and change to a sturdier pair of glasses or goggles due to the wind.


One thing about these STAR trips, if you run into a bit of trouble there is someone there (like Glenn) to stay with you and make sure you get help if needed.  We make it to the gas stop off Fields Road near the outlet stores.  My gas mileage dropped to about 34 MPG due to the high head wind.  Instead of thinking that it might be colder ahead, I forget to put the other jacket on for some crazy reason.  I figured it would warm up once we hit Moreno Valley but it never really does,  luckily the jacket provides enough coverage so I am not really freezing with temps hovering around 62-64 deg.  What caused Keith's Stratoliner taillight to come on intermitently on the road?  We figured out it was the wind pushing against his brake lever since he has a set of leather tassles attached and the wind caught it making the light come on!

Looks like the trip was about 280 miles start to finish, arriving back home right around 5:00pm.  All in all, a very good but windy and very cool return ride.  FROM JOHNEY'S NAV SYSTEM: Total miles from Starbuck’s/Best Buy to his house, round trip: 255.9  Moving average speed was 50.4,  Total ride time: 7hrs 30 min.  Total stopped time: 1 hr. 18 min (actually more like 2 hours, due to battery down), Moving time: 6 hrs 11 min

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