Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Break Day 5

I woke up at 4:30 on Day 5 to rain. Looking out the motel window I saw it had rained and was still sprinkling. The parking lot was one big puddle, but at least I had covered Petunia and the seat would be dry. I laid back down and tried to go back to sleep when I realized if I waited I would be going through San Francisco in rush hour, in the rain. I got up, showered, loaded up, and was on the road at 5:15.

The rain had really stopped by that time and the temperature was about fifty. It was a very pleasant ride until just outside San Francisco. It started as a light drizzle and worked its way into a fairly heavy rain. I rode in the right lane because it was dark and hard to see through the wet visor on my helmet. At least I had the sense to put the clear visor on. California drivers don't let a little thing like rain get in their way, as they still drive 80 and faster. Horns blaring, lights flashing, and I'm sure several one finger salutes to the guy holding them up as they race to their important destinations on this Thursday morning.

And then I was on the Golden Gate Bridge. That was an experience all of its own. Now these wonderful Californians were welcoming me by pulling into my lane and forcing me out of their way. Kind of the way you do in a bumper car at the fair. Yes, I felt their love for me. I could see the rain being blown across the Bridge at a horizontal angle and the wind was picking up. And then..........the toll booth. Me the city boy with my wallet safely stored in the Tour Pack. Yep, I had to stop, get off, open the Tour pack, take off my gloves, get my wallet, close the Tour Pack, get back on Petunia, open the wallet, give the attendant a twenty, WAIT while he gave me change, and then be told move along your holding up traffic. The toll was $7.50 because I am a three axle vehicle. Like a one ton truck pulling a backhoe I guess. Lucky for me there was pull off a couple of hundred feet ahead and I rolled there to put the change in my wallet and put my gloves back on. I waited until all those lovely folks I had held up went past before I continued. Thought that might just make it better for them to be ahead of me.

These pictures were taken about 8:30 outside Salinas. It was still overcast, but the rain had quit and it was becoming a nice day.

About 10 I was on State Route 198 heading toward Coalinga on a great twisty road. The scenery was spectacular and these pictures don't do it justice. It was so green that it looked like it had been painted. It also was beginning to get warm and I took off my jacket for the first time in four days.

The rest of the day was mostly uneventful. US 99 to Bakersfield, to State 58 toward Barstow and the wind was really starting to kick up. I did run into a group of seven guys from Northern California traveling to Laughlin just east of Bakersfield. They were happy to claim they had already ridden 800 miles today and stopped for an hour or an hour and a half for breakfast, depending on who shouted the loudest, and had been at the gas station for over an hour. I was impressed? They said I could ride with them, but I knew I wouldn't go as fast as they would because of the trailer and common sense. Sure enough, when on the road again off they roared like a bat out of Hell, with arms outstreched over their heads, weaving from lane to lane, cutting in front of cages, and acting like fools. It isn't a wonder when a cage sees a single bike they think it is OK to pay them back for a group of morons like that.

About 3:30 I was getting tired and made the decision to stop at the next Motel 6 I saw. I spent my last night on the road in Mojave and was really glad to get out of the wind.

Todays route

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