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!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Amazing Roads and Reno STAR DAYS

Negotiations started the minute I mentioned taking a ride with Wayne and possibly Johney on a trip up the coast heading for northern California and maybe Reno for the STAR DAYS convention.  It was intense hard bargaining with entrenched demands starting right off from the opposing side with the nuclear weapons options and enriching weapons grade uranium and even included protracted fights over settlements on the West bank in Israel.   It finally came down to being able to trade U.S. Government lithograph portraits of American Presidents for various items of jewelry and in order to keep the bargaining on track I threw in a coupon for three nights at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.  Both parties came away from the bargaining table battered, bruised but intact, with me getting the trip and she getting the 3 nights.  It was never in doubt that the exchange of paper portraits for various gold and silver trinkets was not to be touched anyway.  the other items just tactics to get my attention.   ROUTE DAY ONE up the coast:
So the trip is on, the route mapped out, the packing done, and all parties present for Day One of a new adventure into uncharted waters, or in this case roads that I have never been on for sure.  Let’s hope the navigation system really works and maybe we should have considered the flare gun as an emergency option just in case.  Wayne, Johney and I take off on Sunday July 15, 2012 at about 6:45 AM heading for San Luis Obispo, then Hwy 1 along the coast to Monterey where we part with Johney to go his separate way, and the two of us continuing on to Salinas or possibly Merced some 480 miles total.

It’s chilly as we leave and gets colder turning on Hwy 1 but adding an extra layer is the solution and I am prepared, not sure if Wayne has totally learned his lesson from the ill fated trip back from Beatty, NV 3 years ago but he should have it down by now.  My daughter tells me of a place to stop in Morro Bay called Taco Temple for lunch.  We stop for gas and call ahead to learn they will open by the time we get there in 10 minutes so we head for Taco Temple.   We are told the burrito is large so Wayne and I decide to split it and to our amazement it is huge beyond expectation for only $8 and good as well.

Above Cambria I take a turnout to look at the Elephant Seal population on the beach, which neither Johney nor Wayne had ever seen.  The ride up the coast continues slowly but steadily and we make it to Monterey by about 3:00 PM where we part company. 

 We do not need gas and not at those prices anyway.

Wayne and I finally decide we have the stamina to press on and we find a Best Western in Merced for the night.  It is an adequate room for $95 with tax.  I have a McDonald’s burger and Wayne is sound asleep. 

Monday morning and its destination Reno some 290 miles ahead.  Wayne choose the route via Highway 49 from Merced to Mariposa to the town of Jackson and then on to Hwy 88 connecting with US 395 for Reno.  

This is quite a road to say the least.  In the town of Jamestown the GPS seems to lose its mind and we had to stop for direction but found the right track into Sonora, where the main Chapter 230 group stopped for the night.  Pushing on, the road just gets curvier and tighter in a few spots but we continue to motor on with little concern or hesitation.  Arriving in the town of Jackson we turn on to Hwy 88 with about 89 miles until US 395.  Somewhere in this portion as we go through a small community I spot a deer with antlers bouncing around in this front yard, and decide to slow down just in case, sure enough leaping right across the road in front of me but we both saw it coming and continued on to the next curve just ahead.

Arriving in Reno Monday around 3:15 PM we went to the Nugget Hotel location for the 2012 STAR DAYS convention and upwards of 800 members to meet Rick from Scottsdale area plus connect with members of Chapter 230 and other folks we know.  Rick was the third member of the Colorado trip with Johney and me in 2011 but he never made it due to an electrical problem.  We are staying with Rick in his Reno timeshare and this works out fabulously for Wayne and I. 

After connecting up and greeting a number of chapter friends already there we head to his downtown abode to unload the luggage and get some dinner.  We decide to walk the 4-5 blocks into central Reno where the famous sign is and see what looks possible for food. 

We spot the El Dorado Hotel on Virginia St. and a buffet sign so in we go. Turns out to be a fabulous find that we repeat on Tuesday night just to get our fill of food-remember those seals on the beach, this is how they got that big.  All the usual buffet fare including rib roast, turkey several kinds of chicken, meat loaf, Bar-B-Q ribs, Swiss steak, pizza, some great sausage, lots of side dishes, ample choice of fresh salads and a monster variety of desserts including cakes, fruit cups and fresh gelato in a very nicely decorated setting made the $13 well worth a second visit, naturally we bought Rick his dinners and breakfast.  It was even so good that Wayne ate a full meal both times as well.

Tuesday it’s opening ceremonies for the meeting which we attend, then time to visit some vendors. First we try the breakfast downtown at another hotel advertising $4.99 steak, eggs and hash browns breakfast and sure enough another good deal.

Turns out the BreakAway Throttle people have a booth and I bring the Road Star over to have them adjust it.  Taking it apart he finds some adjustment and tweaking is in order and soon it is fixed.  Trials on the road prove he knew what to do and it really helped save my wrist from cramping and injury compared to the Colorado trip where I busted a blood vessel in my wrist, this time no problem.  If you don’t have cruise control this is highly recommended as a mechanical method to hold speed on the road and give your hand and wrist a rest.
 Both Wayne and Rick wanted to take a ride around Lake Tahoe so with Rick leading its loop-the-lake day on Tuesday. Rick was our WeekDay Riders leader here and for good reason, a steady pace, willingness to stop for photos, flexible and knowledgeable, very patient; we really miss his presence here in Orange County. I was also impressed that I kept up with him on the road from 395 over Rose Mountain Hwy (431) to the lake, but I doubt he was really pushing the Victory Vision anyway. Don’t forget, he let us stay at his time share so he is the hero of this trip for sure. Loop-the-lake route:

At look out over Emerald Bay, great weather , super ride, great friends.
I thought that water was cold

We went back to the Nugget Hotel then returned to the timeshare for dinner and as mentioned you know where we went…the buffet.  I tried to get in a number of photos to provide evidence that I was really there and also to visualize what went on.  Here are the photos after we got back on Tuesday.

Now he cleans his Royal Star Venture-did not get his name.

 We went to dinner downtown then returned for the meeting

 My impression is that I was rather pleased with the decision to not go with the chapter group or even register for the whole 3-4 day event.  While going with the group is better organized, and well mapped out with plenty of time to do a bit more sightseeing, along with safety in numbers, there are trade-offs such as longer gas stops, longer meal stops, a bit slower on the road with trailers so the plusses and minuses seems to balance out.  With just Wayne and I, shorter stops, slightly faster road time, more flexibility on when and where to stop, we had a great time sharing the trip and being part of the convention for the day and a half.

Regarding the convention, there is not a lot about it that strikes as drastically different than a regional STAR-B-Q such as the last Tucson meeting, not counting there were no exhibitors there at all, here there were a good number including the Yamaha Demo Truck, seat customizers, motorcycle cleaner vendor, Yamalube doing oil changes, clothing and variety sellers, the STAR sales booth and a few others. It is great for those that know a lot of members from around the country and is an important meeting for STAR in general, so it is worthwhile to go at least once I’m sure.  I get the impression that the founder Alan Cease is and has been wildly and profoundly in awe of the organization he started not too many years ago. I know he often gets quite emotional up there in front of the group but seems to be doing a much better job of handling it lately.  The friendships among the people you meet here and at other STAR functions really stand out as an important part of why we belong.

Wednesday and time to go has arrived.  Should we stop along the way for the night or go for the all-in-one-day 490 miles back trip?  The road will have to tell us which option will work, and sure enough it does. Starting out in Reno it is chilly and it gets a bit colder as we get further south on 395.  No problem, just add another layer and as we head further south into warmer territory start hitting higher temps so off come the layers and eventually we add the Kool Vests which really save us from the 90 deg plus heat.  There are a couple stops for construction and we get a chance for a couple photos because of it. 

Also we take the June Lake loop and go past the spot where 230 will be stopping for their 2 day return ride. There is no easy place to stop on the road and take a couple pictures of June Lake, but it is not very big anyway.   There are 5 lakes total on this loop all very picturesque. 

 Mt. Whitney might be in here somewhere, not sure really...

The miles roll by rapidly but at or below the maximum speed tolerable so we never encounter a personal visit with any members of law enforcement on this trip.  Eventually we make it home and I arrive at about 6:30 PM tired but conscious.  Total miles for this 4 day venture stand at 1,480 so not bad for a couple senior citizens if I do say so.

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