Motorcycle Trip: Fall 2020

Way too much time has passed since I’ve gone on a motorcycle trip. The last time I went on an overnight ride was early April 2019. Which might as well be a lifetime ago, especially with everything else going on in the world.

So it was with great joy that I rode north last week. Motorcycling in the Fall is the best time to ride. Sure there is a chance of rain, but the weather is much nice than in the Summer and during the week the roads are even less likely to be too busy. This year I had the added bonus of being able to see a friend from Portland.

We met in Eureka, CA. I rode up the coast, while he took a shorter route down Hwy 5 to Grants Pass. 

My ride north was nice, I’m still lacking confidence in my skills as a motorcyclist and during the ride up I took it really easy. There was a lot of fog as I followed Highway 1 north, some of it was very dense making riding unpleasant. I was nervous enough with out adding damp and questionable traction to my concerns. 

I did catch a break from the fog in a couple of places, one of the nicest was a long the Panoramic Highway which cuts through Mt Tamalpais State Park. I’m glad I wasn’t swimming through fog for that since it’s a twisty piece of beautiful road, but as soon as I was close to the coast the fog was back and stayed for a while. The rest of the ride was nice, the fog was finally gone once I was north of Mendicino and I was able to enjoy a break in Fort Bragg before heading up to some of the best Road on Highway 1. I mean if it wasn’t for cars driving slow (which luckily there weren’t many) Highway 1 from Fort Bragg to basically Fortuna is great. There’s the amazing 22 miles from the coast to Legget and The Avenue of the Giants. Just lovely scenery and some great twisty road.

I did have to take a break as the afternoon wore on, my new helmet is still not fully broken in and I was suffering from a hot spot on my forehead. I was fortunate since the Avenue of the Giants is a great place for a break. It was very relaxing sitting in amongst those towering redwoods.

Overall I made good time. I arrived well before my friend and took my time getting some coffee and relaxing.

The next day, Friday, we took it easy. I haven’t seen this friend in a very long time and we had lots to catch up on. We had a leisurely breakfast before heading out to the Lost Coast. Lovely scenery and a fun ride, but I would love it if maybe they could smooth out that road. I spent about half the ride fantasizing about coming out with a grater and paving machine and smoothing it out. The coast is lovely and very stark out there. The other highlight is the last six miles of road through some of the largest Redwoods in the Humboldt State Park. 

I had a long debate with myself on how to get home. I was feeling pretty worn out Friday night as I was making my plans and was seriously considering just taking Hwy 101 the entire way home. It would be boring, but fast and allow me to see my Wife and Daughter as soon as possible. I was definitely beginning to miss them both.

I ran several maps and couldn’t make up my mind on what to do that night. I eventually decided that I would just see how my morning went and make a decision from the road. I woke up later than I planned, sleeping in Hotels is not always the best, but I got a decent start on the day. I stopped for breakfast just  few miles down the road in Fortuna. I was feeling a little more adventurous after getting some caffeine and food, but I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do.

I was still debating as I went past the entrance for the Avenue of the Giants, I mean I just had rode it in all it’s glory two days before, and for a four lane freeway the Redwood Highway (as they call 101 up there) is pretty beautiful. 

Then I stopped at the vista point about 15 miles from where I had breakfast. It was beautiful. I’m not sure pictures do it justice. I was definitely rethinking just taking 101 south, it’s very boring compared to the coast and if I took 128 back to 101 it only added an hour or so to the ride. 

With views like this how could you want to make your ride shorter?

I debated it for the next 35 miles on my way to Garberville, by the time I got gas I was almost positive I was taking the coast. Soon after I was happy to get out from behind a CHP car and turn right to continue on Highway 1 to the coast. Those 22 miles once again didn’t disappoint. 

However, I was in for a bigger treat than I knew. I’ve ridden 128 a couple of times before. It never really stuck in my brain. I know one time I rode it in some pretty extreme heat and in relatively heavy traffic. I was hoping that I would be able to avoid those with the weather being a bit cooler and still a little early on a Saturday.

I was mostly right, the road was not heavily traveled in the direction I was going. I only came up on 4 or so cars and they all moved over for me. Which made the road an absolute joy to ride. I could just go at my pace which still feels slow to me, but maybe my memory is just on fast forward or something. It was just lovely. The whole thing. Starting out in some lovely redwood forest and then slowly working your way into the golden California hills, with vineyards and little towns. 

It’s about 44 miles from Highway 1 to 101 along 128 and it was the best hour or so I had on a motorcycle this year. Maybe in the last two. (I haven’t been riding much) There was a point where I was nearly crying with joy. It was definitely a good ride.

The less said about the last hour or so on 101 the better. I made good time, I got some lane-splitting practice and I got home safe.

 

 

Posted in Ducati, Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Forward: Purging the Crash Demons

In the last couple of weeks I’ve ridden up Page Mill Rd. for the first time since April 29th.

It was significant because the last time I rode it I came down it in an ambulance, with a badly broken wrist, barely broken ankle and a giant impact to my ego.

I had had begun to think that I knew every corner of that road like the back of my hand and that I could go as fast as I wanted on it.
I was wrong.

The first time I rode it recently I was going pretty slow. I’ve been back on the motorcycle doing my once a week commute for a couple of months, but it was my first time I had been on a twisty road. I took it easy and my brother was with me. I rode through the corner that I crashed on and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how I crashed on it. I’d been blaming it on gravel or something else in the road that I didn’t see, and after riding it that first time it was still my only theory.

I rode it again recently. The second time post crash. This time I pulled over and looked at the scene of the crash. I got off my bike and took some pictures, and really thought about what happened that fateful day almost five months ago.

The real reason for the crash, was I was going too fast, which of course is the reason for almost every motorcycle crash ever. Sure I wasn’t going much faster than normal, but I was definitely going faster than my reactions and observation could handle. Definitely so fast that the bumps and irregularities of pavement that at normal speeds might mean nothing now became dangerous.

I don’t know if I could have prevented it if I was paying closer attention, I do know that if I was going slower I could have prevented it. So as I move forward from this crash and hopefully move on, my main take away will be as it should always be.

Slow the Fuck Down

 

Posted in Ducati, Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Motorcycles are Dangerous: Looking Back at my Injuries

You can hurt yourself badly riding a motorcycle. Of course, I still think that if you want to ride a motorcycle you should. Living life not doing something you love is not living life.

I would be lying to say that riding a motorcycle is not dangerous. You should always wear protective gear and you should pay attention to what you are doing. I always do the first and try to do the later, and I’m here to say that there are consequences if you don’t, trust me I did the research personally and the results aren’t pretty. I let my confidence in my self, my skills and road knowledge to let me carry too much speed into a turn where some surface irregularities caused me to lose traction and control of the motorcycle. Next thing you know I’m rolling down the road and my bike is sliding in the other direction. I could feel my wrist hurting before I even came to a stop and I knew immediately that I wasn’t walking this one off.

It’s been five months and I’m still feeling the effects.  I shattered my right wrist, which was also a compound fracture. I also had small fracture in my  left lateral malleolus and a badly twisted right ankle. It was pretty scary crash. When you wear as much gear as I do and you still see blood coming out of your sleeve from an arm which was hurting quite a bit, it can make your imagination go to a wild and dark place.

Thankfully I had people stop to check on my right away and I wasn’t far from Stanford Hospital. Luckily with a good surgeon and physical therapist I’m back to almost normal and riding again.  

If it looks bad, its because it was. I made the top of my Radius into lots of little pieces.

 

Posted in Ducati, Gear, Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I rode today

For the first time in I don’t know how long I rode my motorcycle today.

Not just commuting but an actual long ride. I didn’t go anywhere fun, in fact it was the opposite of fun, but I was on the motorcycle for four plus hours and over 250 miles.

It was good. I felt good. My wrist which I shattered five months ago held up well. I had no scary close calls. My ability to read traffic and ride defensively are relatively intact.

I shouldn’t be so happy about slogging to Sacramento and back, but hell its 2020 I’ll take what I can get.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ouch! That Hurts

The injuries I suffered are much worse than the bike.  Despite or rather because of all the gear the only injuries are broken bones. I would love to write more but typing left handed is slow and annoying.

Damage to bike after brief consultation with my mechanic seems minimal.

Handlebars and risers, Hand Guards, Side panel, Mirror… hopefully that is it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2020 Looking Back and Forward

I’ve been out of touch for Months. My small human child consumes much of my time and all of my energy. This makes it hard to write anything here on my blog.

The Little Bundle of Joy

 

Looking back at 2019 is a little depressing. 2019 was quite possibly the worst year for riding a motorcycle that I’ve had. I had no crashes on the bike, (two car accidents!) but I rode less than 6000 miles in the year, that’s about half of what I used to average. I also only did one motorcycle trip, one that was mediocre at best.

All of this is my fault, and my mental state has reflected this lack of riding. I need to be better at planning time for myself on the motorcycle. I really enjoy riding and it helps keep me sane.

Let’s hope that I get some more miles in, and maybe even write about them here.

First Real Ride of the Year. Cold but wonderful.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring Trip an Adventure in Taking it Slow

In early April I went on our 4th Annual Spring Trip.

Again we headed south this year since with the heavy rain California got this winter I was worried about the condition of the roads. I also was hoping for slightly warmer weather. In the past I have obsessively planned the routes we will be taking with much emailing of maps and phone calls with my friends discussing route options. This year was radically different.

This year instead of actively planning much we did just about the opposite. My Dad booked us a couple of campsites at San Simeon Campground and that was about all that got done until a week before the trip. Then all we planned were meals and roughly decided on a departure time. Even the morning that we headed out there was lots of confusion on where we were meeting and when.

While it did all work out pretty well and it was nice to have low expectations I do think a little more preparation will be nice for next year.

We rode down on Highway 1 on what ended up being a cloudy and cool day. Not ideal for enjoying the beauty of the California Coast. The next two days were spent riding very little, or at least not very focused. We did get out on Highway 58 to see some of the wild flowers, but over all a mellow couple of days.

The ride home up Highway 1 was much prettier than the ride down, however this time since it was a beautiful Saturday it was hard to make good progress up the road with all the campers and cars clogging the road.

The most significant thing that we did was split up which just like most of the trip went well but could have used a bit more planning. My wife wasn’t feeling well and wanted a shorter route home than riding up the coast, so we agreed to meet in Salinas. This worked great because I was wasn’t worried about her all day and she could ride at her own pace with more frequent breaks. My Africa Twin riding friend also left earlier than we did with plans to meet up, sadly this wasn’t discussed enough so we missed him on the way home.

Overall a great trip, first time camping my 18 month old which over all went really well. I’m looking for a new and improved 5th annual Spring Trip next year!

Spent a little too much time looking at the flowers for my taste.

Posted in Ducati, Hyperstrada, Life, Motocycling, motorcycle, Motorcycles, Riding, Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Still Alive, Still Riding, Still too busy with Child

I really miss writing in this blog.  It’s just very hard to find any free time when you have a small child in your life. Any of my time spent alone is often nowhere near a computer and if it is I’m typically too tired to do any serious thinking or writing.

Perhaps I’m deluding myself but I consider writing in this blog serious.

I do however still ride motorcycles, just not as often as I as I did. In fact I just got back from a small trip on motorcycles with the wife and some friends.

However the real reason for this post was to link some of my new rider resources so that I could continue to refer my many acquaintances and friends who still come to me for advice on motorcycles when they start riding.

The most important posts I’ve written for new riders are:

Five Steps to Start Riding

How to buy Gear

How to buy a First Motorcycle

 

 

At least all the rain we had to suffer through this winter made lots of flowers.

Posted in Life, Motocycling, New Rider, Riding | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Spring Trip 2019

We did it again. We went on a Motorcycle trip in the rain, er I mean spring.

Just about the whole Family went. My parents followed us with the trailer and my child letting us all ride and providing a nice camping environment. Here’s some pictures from the first day.

It’s harder to fit all the motorcycles in the Garage with all the little one’s stuff.

A break on the way.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October Ride Pictures Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment