Sometimes you’re just gonna get wet. You think you’re all prepared; rain-suit on, waterproof gloves, boots covered or waterproofed and you still get wet; then wet and cold, then just miserable with low visibility. It happens. Good thing is our brains are geared to prioritize the good over the bad. You’ll remember how funny it was that Karen couldn’t put on her gloves by herself with all her heated gear on or that Debra wore latex gloves under hers. Yeah, that’s something you might do next time, latex gloves – heated gear maybe not, zzzzap!
The first Long Distance Ride of 2017 was to Pismo Beach, California February 10th thru the 12th. The official ride leader was Bubba G. At times he gave over portions of the lead to Randy K. (Road Captain Prospect at the time) and Kevin S. (Road Captain). With 19 people and 17 bikes in all it was a great group braving a rainy five plus hours of downpour from Malibu, where they stopped for lunch at Marmalade Café, to Pismo Beach. The ride lead up the beautiful coastline, over scenic bridges and through green rolling hills that first day, unseen by the riders, but there.
The second day, Saturday, was originally to be up Highway 1 to Monterey Bay but the plan changed a few days before KSU on Friday with a mud slide covering parts of Highway 1. It was then 101 to San Luis Obispo, the 1 to the 46 to the 101 to G14 then back on the 101 at King City to Soledad then to G17 which hits the 68 to Monterey Bay with clear skies and a biting nip in the air. If you tired just reading that, it was a bit like painting by number, they rode it, After lunch at the Fish Hopper (know for amazing clam chowder) it was back down the 1 south to G16, aka Carmel Valley Road, to Greenfield then south on the 101 to Pismo Beach. A looooong… glorious day of riding.
I received a call on Friday night and headed up on four wheels Saturday afternoon with friends. Seems Jim M. wasn’t quite tall enough for a sudden stop in a deep dip. He lost footing, actually never found it and the bike went down wrenching his shoulder. The bike was okay but neither of us felt he should ride even with the Tiger Balm that JR R. so graciously supplied. Rather than towing the bike back, a friend and fellow HOG member Lewis M. volunteered to ride it.
We arrived after eight Saturday night and got to have dinner at Rosa’s, the best Italian Restaurant on the Central California Coast. We walked in, saw all the white table cloths and thought, hmm maybe not in t-shirts, jeans and boots. They on the other hand did not hesitant and sat us immediately. The food was excellent and the service even better. When we finished the free hotel shuttle, the driver was so nice though it was right at the end of his shift, took us back.
The group stayed at the very accommodating Oxford Suites Pismo Beach. Clean, nicely appointed and they had no problem with three extra people occupying a room originally reserved for one. They even supplied extra breakfast chits.
The Sunday ride back was the reverse of the Friday ride up only clear and dry. Debra L. and Linda A. decided to sleep in so missed our side visit to town Solvang (founded in 1911 by a group of like-minded Lutheran Danes who were tired of midwestern winters) for danishes, coffee and a quick tour of the shops. We arrived early and had the place mostly to ourselves except for one restaurant, it had a line at least 20 persons long, Paula’s Pancake House. On a tight schedule we went elsewhere, but I read they make everything from scratch – maybe next time. Leaving town the crowds had picked up and cameras just seem to point our way. No photo bombing required, we are in many a vacation picture being a Sight To See.
Homeward we continued on Highway 154, then 101 to Ventura Harbor where we stopped for lunch at Brophy Bros. Restaurant & Clam Bar. Getting there was a bit of a maze, the center was under remodeling construction and normal walk paths were redirected by orange net fences. Once there we were made to feel welcome with staff pulling tables and chairs together and setting us up in no time on a busy Sunday. Laughter and stories ruled. Too soon it seemed like we were hitting the road again with only gas stations between us and home.
Once we hit Ventura Oh the Traffic, the Traffic; our group stayed together through some tough sh…, well the bikes did. Being in a SUV was a little more challenging to maneuver but with a little help from a heavy foot and threading we found them again just in time to see Debra L. and Linda A. waving while passing by splitting lanes. I laughed so hard other drivers were looking a me funny, so hard my eyes teared. It took only a few moments of consideration and one by one all the pack followed, safer than staying in stop, start, stop, start traffic for miles unseen.
This time it took longer to find them again, it wasn’t till somewhere around Mission Viejo we caught up. The pack was exiting the freeway for a human/bike pit stop. This was our last stop and last stop protocols were followed, hugs and goodbyes. It wasn’t sad, we ride and will ride together again, soon.