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2008 B4TheSnowFlies Ride

Saturday, November 1: Paso Robles - Three Rivers

Peter and I slept in on Saturday morning, had a leisurely breakfast at the Paso Robles Inn coffee shop, then wandered down the street to the Paso Robles Democratic HQ we'd seen the night before.

We were hoping to get some No on Prop 8 swag for our trip across the Central Valley, but were pleasantly surprised to hear that it was all sold out. We chatted for a few minutes with the guy working at the headquarters building, then headed back to the hotel to gear up and head northeast.

The day started out on Vineyard Canyon Road, twisting through the Cholame Hills, a northern extension of the Tembler Range. It's a small range, with McKittrick Summit a mere 4331', but it's a beauty that also contains Carrizo Plain National Monument.

The whole area was once a marine basin, but is now covered in dry rolling hills thanks to the namesake of the Tembler range: earthquakes.

As we got closer to Parkfield, the slightly higher elevation meant more shrubs and trees with fall colors.

Woohoo, lunchtime!

We were the only ones at the Parkfield Cafe, and the waitress came over to tell us about Parkfield's newest art installation.

Called the Parkfield Interventional EQ Field, it's "earthquake-triggered machine-driven artwork" and will remain standing until November 16, 2008.

It consists of steel rods, 1/2" thick and 10' tall, which move based on California's seismic events. This happens in near real time for any event greater than a magnitude 0.1.

There was a small earthquake somewhere in California while we watched (no surprise, really) -- check out the video.

Parkfield Grade was wonderful as always. It's still the dry season despite a day or so of rain -- a welcome change from the last time I rode here in 6" deep slimy mud!

As much fun as the unpaved section of Parkfield Grade is, the paved part is one of my favorite roads in all of California. Glorious twisties, always untrafficked, great views...

....and there's always interesting wildlife.

We hopped onto eastbound Hwy 198 in Coalinga and settled in for the long haul across the Central Valley.

There's really nothing interesting to say about 80 miles of flat, straight farmlands, so let's skip ahead to east of Visalia.

Clouds do make for great sunsets:

Hwy 198 past Lake Kaweah and into Three Rivers is always pretty, especially when we're lucky enough to avoid rain. I think this was my only time not getting poured on here -- we managed to hit it right between storms. ;)

There were a few bikes already at the Comfort Inn when we pulled up, including Gail's Cam-Am Spyder! It looks really fun and comfortable.

Dinner was at Serrano's as usual and the spicy chips were as good as always. Peter really was having fun, despite the miserable look on his face in the photo...

After a few beers and good food, we walked back to the hotel in the rain. Peter and I played around with the long exposure settings on the camera, trying to capture the lightning in the sky, but eventually gave up and we headed for bed.

Stats for the day:

CLICK HERE to go on to Day 3!