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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, August 14, 2010

Long way for a Subway Sandwich

Leaving August 15, Sunday heading for Pearsonville, CA on Hwy 395, some 170 miles from here.  What's in Pearsonville besides the Subway/Shell gas station?  We are meeting with one of our members, Rick Sherrill, our Week Day Rider leader,  who moved recently to a home near Phoenix and his son Mike.  A group of STAR members are heading up to meet him and a few of us will join up with his ride through Sequoia National Forest to Tulare, where we will stay overnight and return on Monday.

Our first stop is at Corky's Cafe in Rialto, to meet up with Bob Barbano, another member that moved out of Orange County but is still very much in touch with the group.
  Our ride group consists of Johney, John R., Stan, Chuck and me.  On arriving we see Bob B. pulling into the Corky's parking lot and we have breakfast.  We leave after a run through of the hand signals by Bob B.  and he takes the lead.  It's sort of like having the Admiral lead us as he is very accomplished in riding and providing proper hand signals.  We get to Kramer Junction on Hwy. 395 and Highway 58 near Boron and who should join us but Joe on his Victory Vision for a total of 7 riders. 
Gas prices out here are steep.
This route map is as close to correct as I can figure. Once we were in the mountains the road lines are nearly microscopic even when you zoom in very close, which I suggest you do to review the crazy roads in the forest. I still can't quite grasp that I made it through there.

View Larger Map
We meet up with Rick and his son Mike at the Subway and Shell gas station on 395 in Pearsonville and after all the meet and greet plus a picture, just 4 of us, Rick on his Road Star, Mike on a '06 Harley Road King, Chuck on the Gold Wing and I on the Road Star, head on a few miles further north to a tiny turn off heading for Kennedy Meadows,
 the rest head back to Orange County.  TAKING THAT TURN IS WHEN THE ADVENTURE STARTS.  The road quickly starts climbing and heading up into the mountains.   

Here is a Google Map close-up of some of the tightest, twistiest, switchback, corkscrew tight left and right turn, sand covered, pot holed roads I have ever been on.  Zoom in even closer to get an idea of what I'm talking about. 

View Larger Map


Just to give you an idea of the road conditions, we first encounter "Road Narrows" signs and the center line disappears along with the two lane road.  It's more like 1 1/2 lanes wide. 
 Then the sand in the road starts along with pot holes and loose gravel. We come to a sign that says "ROUGH ROAD AHEAD" but by that time we figure it's like we are almost on an unpaved road anyway and it continues to get worse with more sand and gravel and bigger potholes.  Chuck in the lead seems to handle it really well but I'm one to slow down and take it a bit easier.
 
We come to an intersection and a bridge at the Kern River and take a 3rd break to see the water.
As we go further on we hit an elevation of 8,500 ft. according to Chuck's onboard altimeter and are into the Redwood forest, where we do spot some redwood trees. The roads in the Redwoods are pleasant sweeper types with curves that allow for moderate speeds and the scenery is gorgeous.

  At some point at the Kern River we are on Route 190 heading in the forest and it is part of that scenic route. Once we start heading down the road gets really crazy as shown in the map above and some clips from Google Earth below.

Our 4th stop before hitting Porterville
IT'S ALL DOWN HILL FROM HERE!
We go through a series of switch backs that are spread out over several hundred feet and yards and they are manageable. Then, after a quick stop at a mountain top cafe, the road heads down the mountain in a series of quick right and left tight turns. You whip around a tight right hand semi-blind turn and immediately in front of you the road takes a sharply banked left hand curve. On one stretch some trucks were in front of us and the pace was steady and I look down through the trees and see the trucks almost directly below us and wonder how did they get down there? Well of course, the sharp left 15 MPH "U" turn in front of us takes us right down below where we were just a minute ago. We cover several 15 MPH "U" turns on this trip.
Lean, you want to talk about lean?  On three seperate curves I get this scrapping noise and vibration, twice on one side and once on the other, gets my attention for sure.  Actually though with all the tight curves it did not seem any more severe than on several other curves.  This downhill spiral just seemed to go on and on for miles, but we do finally reach level ground heading for Porterville and a gas stop, where I force Chuck to pull in regardless of the fact he never needs gas for his Goldwing.  Rick and Mike were behind me and I know they could have handled those turns at a faster pace than I did, but they are very patient and never complain or make any comments.  My friend Ken tells me I should not apologize for my riding talent or speed, but I still hate to hold up better riders, although at least I know I rode my own ride and we all made it safely through.  When we did stop for gas I kept wondering if I really did all that or just dreamed I did, it was almost so unbelievable.

There was one major spill in all this.  At the gas station in Kramer Junction, while taking a couple of  pictures of the group by the gas price sign, I step into a hole in the ground and actually fall over and hit the dirt.  Because of all the armor I was wearing I literally got up without a bruise or mark on me and nothing ever shows up later, see, all the gear all the time works for seniors even if you are not on a motorcycle.  The other casualty is my precious Stebel air horn, somehow I knocked the horn part loose and it's busted.  Other wise the 4 of us have a great time and wind up for dinner at Cool Hand Lukes.
Nobody can park next to us, this is Rick's idea
Total trip door to door is 570+ miles, with temperatures as high as 100 deg., but this trip was different, I wore a Kool Vest and it made a tremendous difference in handling the heat.  We left Kramer Junction in the mid to high 90's and all the way to the Shell station I was rather cool compared to the outside temperature.  I now have a new system for handling the heat.  On the way back from Bakersfield south, with temps reaching 99 to 100 deg. heat was not a major problem thanks to the Kool Vest.  Special thanks to everyone that made it a great two day trip, including Chuck for sharing a room, and Rick and Mike for making it happen and being patient..

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