happy birthday, andrea!
I tried to buy Andrea a birthday present today, but she wouldn't let me. In retaliation, I will publicly humiliate her on my website. Yay!

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September 17, 2003

pacific rally: saturday.
Stephanie and I finally gave up on any pretense of sleep around 8am on Saturday and started the eternal process of hauling all of the foodstuffs out of our motel room and onto the benches on the porch. Naturally, the door squeaked, so I think our attempts at being quiet just annoyed the boys more. ;)

We loaded the rally attendees up with muffins, bagels, coffee, OJ, tea, etc. while we sat around and chatted about where we'd go riding that day. Debi, Bill, Von, and Diana headed out fairly early -- they wanted to get the "highest mileage of the rally" award, and were heading out on a 200ish mile route. Steph and I were pretty laid back about our route for the day, since we wanted to hang out at the motel to clean up breakfast and wait for the boys to wake up.

While we were hanging out on the porch chugging coffee, four bikes pulled up: Leslie, Paula, Karen, and Kate! They'd ridden up from the Bay Area just to say hi and hang out for a bit. I talked to them for about 30 seconds before they took off on their quick jaunt around the twisties. One of our other attendees (also named Karen) had come up in a car due to upcoming knee surgery, and she was thrilled when she was offered the pillion seat of Paula and Leslie's GoldWing.

The boys eventually stumbled out of the motel room, and we started chatting about our plans. Since we were all exhausted from lack of sleep, we decided to just ride to Kirkwood Ski Resort and back -- Peter wanted to pick up his snowboarding season pass. Another Wind Dancer, Jamie, was still loitering around when we left, so she tagged along with us.

Kirkwood is pretty much a straight shot down Highway 88 from Pine Grove. It's a really fun route, when you're not stuck behind Suburus going 45mph (to use a completely hypothetical example). Hwy 88 is twisty in some places, but mostly, it's wide open 70mph sweepers on freshly-paved and clean pavement. A little slice of heaven. Peter and I led the way to Kirkwood; we usually stayed within sight of the others, but, y'know, occasionally the sweepers got the better of us and we flicked our way along at a merry 80-85mph and would lose the others for a few minutes. We regrouped a couple of times for historical marker photographing.

Kirkwood in the summer never fails to amaze me. I'm used to seeing it buried under hundreds of inches of snow; something about standing on the hill in a T-shirt amongst green grass just seems wrong. It's beautiful, though. Growing up in sourthern Wisconsin, skiing meant piling onto a school bus and driving to a local landfill that'd been covered with about 4" of fake snow (I'm not making this up). It was always bone-freezing cold, the fake snow was crunchy and icy, and the scenery was about what you'd expect from a landfill. It's still amazing to me that skiing/snowboarding now means the Sierra Nevadas: clear blue skies, 7000-foot elevations, real snow, pine trees.

We ate some snackie appetizers at the hill's sports bar (thoroughly confusing the bartender, I think) and headed out. We contemplated going on to South Lake Tahoe, but I was feeling paranoid about being back at the motel in time for the caterer, and plus, we were all still the Walking Dead from sleep deprivation. So we headed back along Highway 88, the same way we came. I took the GPS off and mounted the camera. For some reason, the pictures all turn out blurry when I'm above 30mph or so. The bike must be vibrating more at that speed.

Peter did a really great job of leading us on Saturday, considering that he was going on very little food and about 10 minutes of sleep. He was riding pretty well, too; I can tell he's been working more on shifting his weight in turns, which makes me happy. Now I have to convince him to bend his elbows more.... :D

We stopped at the usual vista point along Highway 88. I'm still not sure what the body of water down there is, whether it's the Salt Springs Reservoir or Silver Lake...if anyone knows, let me know. For whatever reason, I really love this vista point. I like stopping here anytime I drive by, winter or summer. We all hung out here for a while, just chatting and relaxing and taking pictures. It was really, really, really nice.

I took more pictures on the way back to the motel, naturally. They're all blurry again, naturally.

Peter and I headed straight back to the motel for a shower, while Jamie, Tony, and Stephanie went on to nearby Volcano. I would just like to say that Steph rocks for bringing her Lush shower stuff along, thereby allowing me to indulge in that particular addiction. I swear to god, they put smack in their products. I was very happy to take a Lushtastic shower after having ridden in the Sierra Nevadas. Mmmmm.

I milled around a bit, chatting with various people. Jamie came back to work on her bike; a weld on her KLR shift lever had broken, leaving her unable to shift. Fortunately, she'd trailered the bike up ("it's not really a touring bike"), so the part failure didn't impact her weekend riding any.

Someday, I'll go on another motorcycle trip without Jenny, and then who will drink beer at the end of the day with me? (When we were in Mojave on the way back from Prescott, Jenny did a beer run while I was in the shower -- I nearly teared up with joy when I came out of the shower to find marginally cold Heineken in our motel room fridge.)

Continuing on the "carolyn as a big old lush" theme, I was surprised to wander into the meeting hall to find the Sutter Ridge Winery folks already setting up. Our fellow committee member Mary had dealt with the winery, and Steph and I were both under the impression that they'd be around after dinner, maybe 8pm or so. Yet, here it was, about 5:45pm, and they were setting up. To make matters more interesting, they hadn't been paid yet, and Mary had unexpectedly left the rally the night before. Feeling a Fosters-induced panic coming on, I ran back to our motel room to grab Steph and make her deal with it, while I brainlessly set up chairs and tables for the upcoming dinner.

Stephanie, fortunately, was an utter superstar, and got it all worked out. We were to have wine tasting before dinner. Peter was sent to herd the troops into the meeting hall if they wanted to try some of the wine, and Jamie and I continued setting up tables and chairs. Someone handed me a glass of wine from the wine-tasting; it was pretty good. The caterer appeared, and I helped her get set up while Steph continued dealing with the wine tasting. We got the raffle prizes assembled and placed out for ogling.

Eventually we got everyone in the banquet hall, and started dinner. The Sutter Ridge people poured everyone one more glass of wine (bringing my total for the evening to 2 glasses of wine plus a pint of Fosters -- it's a miracle I remember enough of the evening to be writing this) and headed out. The dinner was buffet-style and very good: chicken, pasta, pork, salad, lemonade, coffee, etc.

Dinner was fairly uneventful; or maybe it wasn't, and I just drank too much wine to really remember. Who knows. I remember sitting by Bonnie, Steph, Tony, and Peter. I'm pretty sure we talked about Bonnie's plans for the house she's building. I'm not quite sure about the rest. OK, moving on.

We had about 15 million raffle prizes, so Steph came up with the idea of playing Bingo for some of the smaller prizes; though, instead of Bingo, we played Biker. We passed out cards and pennies to everyone and hung out at the front table rolling 2 eight-sided die (which, yes, were referred to as d8) and screaming out letters and numbers. Peter won a little toy motorcycle, which kept him fairly entertained for the rest of the evening.

After Bingo, we raffled off the main prizes by sticking everyone's tickets into Stephanie's helmet and pulling them out one at a time. Since we had a bazillion prizes, everyone who was at the rally won a prize, which is pretty cool. Kathleen and Debi won our big prizes: a pair of boots from Helimot and a hiptop, respectively. They did very nice victory dances.

Peter picked a biker cookbook as his prize, which was baffling to me, seeing as though the most that either of us ever cooks is Tombstone pizza. The cookbook looks very nice, though, and will happily sit somewhere in our new house and continue looking very nice.

Peter also took pictures of everyone and their raffle prizes, but I highly doubt that anyone is even reading this entry anymore, so I won't post them all here. Go see the rest of the pictures if you're so inclined.

After the raffle, we cleaned up the banquet hall and headed back to the motel rooms to gab more. Favorite topics of conversation, besides bikes, were the leafblowers and horseshoe players that had woken most everyone up at 7am that morning (having been awake all night, I hadn't had that particular "waking up" problem...). Needless to say, leafblowers and horseshoe players didn't rank too highly amongst the 2003 Pacific Rally attendees.

When we got yelled at by management for being too loud at 10:45pm (seriously), a bunch of us retired into Debi and Bill's room. We talked about a whole bunch of stuff: politics, motorcycles, rallies, being short and/or tall, etc. until about 12:30am. It was a fun conversation. I don't normally get a chance to really talk to the Wind Dancers gals, since we're either out riding or just idly chatting over lunch. Rallies are such a great opportunity to actually get to know the people you ride around with (I think we all liked what we heard the others saying, which is fortunate since these are the people that'd wind up giving us first aid on the side of the road.... *grin*).

So that was Saturday.