me and my sweetie.
August 9, 2001
Peter and I went to a CD store in San Jose tonight, and on our way back up 280, I noticed two bikers over in the righthand lane. One was a guy on a cruiser, with huge apehangers and footboards that stuck straight out and about a foot out to the side on either side -- something right out of LowRiders magazine. Next to him was a guy on a sportsbike (GSXR-ish but I couldn't tell exactly what bike it was), doing the whole "left arm at my side, hand on hip, I'm-really-too-cool-to-be-on-this-freeway" thing. The two together were like the extremes of both classes, and it was almost surreal to see them right next to each other, especially given the purpleish streetlight glow. It was like watching some late night B-movie.
Anyway, I was going around 80 [Note: I mean 65, the safe and legal freeway speed], and suddenly the sportsbiker tears up in front of me, in my lane, and pops a big wheelie going around 75 or so. It was a pretty decent wheelie, until he lowers it -- and slams the front wheel back down onto the pavement so hard that my shocks hurt. I could hear his forks bottoming out even through my earplugs. He swerved into the next lane over, straightened out, slowed down, and took the next exit. I was fairly entertained by this.
our ride to calistoga
We had a nice ride up, ate lunch at a great little restaurant along Lincoln Avenue, and had full body massages at the Golden Haven spa. It was pretty nice, though I'm not really used to being naked and rubbed down by someone whose name I don't even know (this should come as a relief to my mom, if she ever reads this).
After the spa, we hung out for a little while, then headed home. We wanted to take a different route home, but didn't want to take a freeway the whole way, so we looked at a map and found a little east-west route that connects the Silverado Trail with Hwy 12, which would then take us back down to 37. That little route was called Oakville Cross Road, changed names partway across to Oakville Grade (which, really, should have been a hint), and was easily the most challenging road I've ever been on. The first picture below, which I really like, is Peter and I at Oakville Cross Road, right before it turns into Oakville Grade. The second picture is about halfway across Oakville Grade. We took it because it was the only part of the route that was straight enough to stop safely.
Oakville Grade was really nuts. You can sort of tell from the picture that it's a pretty narrow road that's not really in the best of shape -- there was some loose gravel and lots of tar snakes. The "fun" of it was the combination of hairpin turns, large grade slopes (both ascending and descending) at the apex of said turns, and the fact that we were headed due west at 7:00pm. Big yellow day star bright! There were some hairpins after which I was grateful that there was no oncoming traffic, because not only did I not stay in my lane, but I barely stayed on the entire road. I was really pissy and discouraged when we stopped to take the above picture and rest, but did much better on the second half of the road; ironically, it was the opposite for Peter. Who knows. At any rate, we survived, and took pictures to prove it once we got to Highway 12.
The trip back across the Golden Gate was interesting for me -- it was the first time I'd ever gone over the bridge southbound while driving any vehicle, much less the bike, and there was bumper-to-bumper traffic. The SVS doesn't like going under 10mph very much, so it was frustrating for me; Peter was in front, and he'd be going really slow, but it was really uncomfortable for me to go that speed, so I'd speed up to get in front of him. Then he'd ride along next to me for a while, but it was also windy, so I didn't want to do that, so I'd slow down, and then he'd slow down too. Finally, I just went in front of him, but then I didn't know to get in the righthand toll lane (apparently we wanted to take the first exit off the bridge, but I didn't know that), so there was a little drama in the 8 million car merge after the tolls. The tolls themselves were much easier than I'd thought, though, and the tolltaker was really nice about me having to fish my money out of my map pouch ("I know it's harder for you guys," she said). So that was good, and I did make the exit, even though it put me in a bad mood. We pulled over onto a side street once we got through the Golden Gate park, and Peter nicely listened to me bitch and whine and be pissy for a while. I was frustrated, because it'd been four months since we'd ridden together, and I'd wanted to blow him away with how much better I'd gotten, but I felt like I'd done really poorly on Oakville Grade. My wrists hurt, and I was tired, and feeling like a big stupid face. So I ranted for a while, and Peter did the Nice Boyfriend thing and got me feeling better, and we headed home.
I'm just way too much of a perfectionist.