Yesterday morning was our Wind Dancers ride to Pescadero. I’d intended to do my usual route (courtesy of Paul ‘n’ Carla), but we had such a small group that we just played it by ear. It ended up being a really fun ride.
The ride started at 10am at International Coffee Exchange in Saratoga, at the base of Highway 9. Jodie and Von were already there when I arrived, along with a new member, June, and her husband Mark. Steph and Prue appeared while I was chugging coffee, though Prue wasn’t riding due to an injured foot. One thing I really love about the Wind Dancers is that members are always happy to show up at a meeting place just to say hi, even if they can’t ride that day.
After chatting for a while, we saddled up and rode to Alice’s via Highways 9 and 35. I led this section, and I thought it went well. I don’t often like leading WOW groups in the twisties because of the huge varience in bikes/experience/comfort levels — some people expect everyone to go the speed of the slowest rider. Since we were a small group of all experienced rideres, though, it was understood that everyone would just go their own speed and we’d meet at Alice’s.
We did the obligatory photos at Alice’s, and I got shots of Von and June with their bikes. I like having pictures of WOW members with their bikes — I need to get them to Jamie to use on the Wind Dancers website. Lazy Carolyn.
While puttering about up at Alice’s, Jodie asked if any of us had ever seen The Flamingo House. Despite riding along Pescadero Road about a bazillion times, none of us had. Jodie decided that we must rectify this, and she took the lead on the next section, leading us down Hwy 84 to Pescadero Road, and then along Pescadero to this cute little landmark.
From the flamingo house, I led the rest of the way down Pescadero Road to our lunch spot: Archangeli Grocery on Stage Road. We loaded up on deli sandwiches and homemade bread, yum yum yum. In addition to my usual cinnamon bread, I picked up some garlic-stuffed olives. Mmm.
Lunch lasted much longer than usual, because we were all clicking along great and didn’t want to stop chatting. We talked and talked and talked: roads, bikes, WOW, various youthful deviances, men, women, etc etc etc. Sitting at a picnic table in the sun, surrounded by wonderful roads, laughing with fellow women motorcyclists: life doesn’t get much better than that.
It finally occurred to us that, perhaps, we should get back on the bikes. Normally, I’d go up Pescadero Road to Hwy 84, but since we’d come down Pescadero, June suggested we take Stage Road back to 84. We said, hey, sure, take the lead, and she did.
I hadn’t been on Stage Road (bottom of the page) in at least two years, and I’d forgotten how fun it is. It’s about 1.5 lanes wide, but we didn’t encounter much oncoming traffic at all, and the views were spectacular.
When Stage Road met up with Hwy 84, I think Von took the lead. We took 84 back up to Alice’s, which was considerably more crowded at 2pm than it had been at 11am. I ran into Paul and Dave up there, and got the happy news that Barney (Dave’s purple Gixxer) is running again! Huzzah! Back on the streets, terrorizing squids and evading law enforcement.
And that was our ride. We all ended up taking 84 back down towards 280, which ended up being a mistake, as for some inpenetrable reason, two 18-wheeler semi trucks had also decided to drive down Hwy 84. At, approximately, 7 miles per hours. Traffic was backed up at least an eigth of a mile between the semis and our group; god only knows how far back the traffic snarled. It was pretty offensive. We decided to take the Portola Road cutoff towards the bottom of 84, which is probably my least favorite turn in the Bay Area: not only is it a righthanded U-turn, but it’s tight and the apex of the turn is really freaking downhill-slanted. I decided to make matters worse for myself by accidentally being in 2nd gear while going around the turn — I went way wide into the (thankfully empty) oncoming traffic lane, but escaped with only severe embarrassment. I hate that turn.
All in all, it was an excellent ride. 🙂