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1/2 a Ride Report to Rick Mayer Cycle

Friday, September 28: Cupertino - Anderson

As with any good ride, Peter and I started out at Bobbi's Diner in Cupertino for breakfast. Before we'd even gotten our helmets off, we were approached by Randy, a Harley rider who was heading down to San Diego to meet his son's ship. His wife was also there in a beautifully detailed car (if you look closely, you can see the sparkled flames). Randy is the biker-looking dude behind the car:

Our first stop after breakfast was the Sunol Water Temple. I've wanted to visit it for a while but it's only open from 9am - 2pm, Monday through Friday. One of the advantages to taking a Friday off!

The temple was designed in 1910 by local architect Willis Polk. Severely damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, it seemed destined for demolition, especially after San Francisco closed the temple to the public out of safety concerns. Fortunately a community effort was formed to restore the temple, and it reopened in 2000.

The temple is inscribed with: ""I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry lands springs of water [from Isaiah 41:18b]. The streams whereof shall make glad the city [from Psalms 46:4]. S.V.W.C. MCMX [Spring Valley Water Company 1910]"

We headed north on Palomares, one of my favorite East Bay roads. Peter had never been on it before and I was really glad to hear that he liked it. It's generally low-trafficked and goes through some beautiful rural creekside scenery just a couple of miles from the major interstates.

Clamper crossing!

We wound our way north through the East Bay hills. After gassing up in Lafayette, we were momentarily distressed that Peter's bike didn't want to start. The gas station mechanics were very friendly and hooked the Superhawk up onto their portable charger/jumper. The attendant and Peter also noticed that his battery terminals were slightly loose, so we tightened those connections down and hoped that would take care of the problem. Thanks to Nicholas at the 76 station in Lafayette!

Once over the Benicia Bridge, we continued north to Lake Berryessa. One of the largest freshwater bodies of water in California, Lake Berryessa was constructed in 1957 by the Bureau of Reclamation thanks to the Monticello Dam. I still haven't seen the spillway (glory hole) at Monticello Dam -- hopefully on our next trip to Lake Berryessa!

Peter finds some fall colors:

We took a short break at one of the many campgrounds along Lake Berryessa and Peter took a much-needed nap. ;)

Unfortunately, Peter took the nap with the ignition still on and the bike wouldn't start up again. Since we were starting to get the inkling that this was going to be a recurring gremlin, Peter switched the wiring on his battery tender pigtail so that it could directly plug into mine. I admired a nearby manzanita tree while we waited for the Beemer to charge the Superhawk.

The charging problems took a bit of time out of our day, so by the time we got to the next side road that we wanted to take, it was getting a little late in the day...oh, and the road was dirt.

We decided to press on to I-5 for the final 100 miles of the day, which kind of sucked since, y'know, I-5, but at least we got to our hotel just in time to see a nice sunset over Mt Shasta.

We had a decent enough dinner at El Mariachi restaurant right next to the hotel and then had a fascinating and romantic stroll across the strip mall parking lot to Rite Aid.

Day stats:
291 miles
Max speed: 85.4 mph
Moving average: 50.8 mph

Saturday, September 29: Anderson - Eureka.

We woke up to a beautiful morning on Saturday. After a thoroughly adequate breakfast at Perko's, we loaded up the bikes with chipper hearts and smiling faces. Peter's bike, of course, had other ideas. Once again, it wouldn't start.

This time the battery pigtail on my bike wasn't cooperating either and we quickly figured out that the previous day's bike-jumping had blown the small-amperage fuse on my battery pigtail. The one nice thing about being right at I-5 is that there are strip malls and Peter was able to walk over to a Radio Shack for extra fuses. Once I installed a 15 amp fuse the problem was solved.

We'd called Rick Mayer to let him know we'd be a few minutes late, but it didn't surprise me when we bumped into him partway to his house, leading astute reader Chris Weiss on a joy ride of fun little back country roads. ;) Rick pulled a U-turn when he saw us and zipped on ahead to his place.

Getting a Rick Mayer seat made is pretty much the same for all bikes; he asks a bunch of questions about what you're looking for in a seat, has you sit on the bike in different positions, asks about color/material/etc....all while chatting about this and that and motorcycles and Newfoundland puppies and whatever else strikes his fancy. Rick is amazingly friendly and does really great work.

Shelf of seats and pans:

Rick's workshop:

The outside of the workshop:

Seth shows off my new seat as he staples the cover back on:

Once again, I was thrilled with the result. The Rick Mayer seat is a little taller than the orange low seat (the low and "standard" seats use the same pan; the low seat just has less padding) but it's thinner and more comfortable. I don't feel as though I sacrificed an essential part of inseam.

Peter was also very happy with his new Superhawk seat. It looks really snazzy with the combination basket weave and smooth vinyl, especially with the red plastic cowling.

The most important criteria....can Peter still nap on the new seat?

I got my dose of off-roading arriving at and leaving Rick's place -- a pittance, sadly, but at least it's gravel! It still amazes me how stable the F650GS is on gravel. Much more so even than the XT225; the following road felt as smooth as pavement to me:

Our first few attempts at finding lunch failed as the place Rick recommended was closed and the second place we tried had burned down. Oops. Fortunately there was a "giant burger" stand open for business across the street from the burnt-out place and we had decent enough burgers and milkshakes.

At that point, we headed straight for I-5 again and westbound 299, as it was almost 3pm and we still had 160 miles to go to Gil and Becky's house in Eureka.

The ride west on 299 was absolutely fantastic. Blue skies, light traffic, smooth roads, good tunes on the iPod.

Party in Weaverville:

Trinity River:

I mean, it just doesn't get better than this, am I right?

I think autumn in Six Rivers State Park has got to be pretty much perfection. The leaves are changing, the rivers are murmuring, the fishermen wave to you from the banks. There's just a hint of a nip in the air as the sun starts to fall behind the Coast Range...which is why I thought nothing of coming up on Peter, pulled to the side of the road, pulling on another layer of clothes.

Until I noticed that his seat was off.

And he was removing plastics.

And he looked very, very grumpy.

It turned out that he really had pulled over into the turnout to put on another layer; he kept the bike running just to make sure it wouldn't die. When he was backing up against the curb, though, he put the handlebars at full right lock and the windscreen hit the brights switch. He said something went "POP!!" and the whole bike went dead. When I came upon him, he had already checked the fuses by the battery and was now going for the main fuses under the tail plastic.

Unfortunately, all the fuses were fine. The battery was also OK, because turning on the heated vest controller as an experiment lit up the little LED. The battery, however, was about 15000 degrees hotter than the sun. Anyway, didn't matter, the bike was dead as a doornail. No headlight, no idiot lights, no WUBBAWUBBA, nothing.

After a few minutes of discussion in which I said I would absolutely not leave him alone on the side of the road after dark in the mountains, we decided to ride the Beemer 2-up the 45 or so miles to Gil and Becky's house. And this we did.

It was fairly horrifying at first. It took about 10 miles for me to stop shitting myself every time we took a curve. I really hate being a passenger. Also, have I ever mentioned that my Beemer doesn't have rear footpegs? Fun! Peter did well though and we made it to the " B&B&B" without further incident.

Naturally, the U-Haul place was closing just as Becky called and, no, they would not stay open for 5 more minutes for us. Thbbbbbt. So we left the Superhawk overnight along 299, both of us pretty stressed about whether Bigfoot would steal it under cover of darkness.

In happier news, we had a wonderful time at Gil and Becky's. They truly are the epitome of hospitality and we enjoyed pizza, beer, Kipper the tailless cat, exchanging "how we met" stories, and much more.

The "Wall of Shame" in the guest room...are YOU on it?

Becky and Kipper:

I forget exactly why we were looking at placemats here:

Bedside table in the guest room -- can you tell these fine folk cater to motorcyclists?

Sunday, September 30: Eureka - Cupertino.

After a restful sleep, we woke up to find the big ol' Pacific Northwest middle finger of storm fronts headed right towards Eureka.


We went to the U-Haul place for a 14' truck....

...and drove back up the hill to where we'd left the Superhawk...

Yay! It was still there!

Hilarity ensued but we did manage to get the bike into the truck. It helped that it hadn't quite started raining yet -- it held off until the bike was firmly tied down.

By the time we got back to Gil and Becky's, though, the storm front was hitting pretty hard. We decided to put my F650GS in the truck, too, and I'd ride home warm and dry with Peter and the dead Superhawk. Getting the Beemer in the truck was trivial thanks to Gil and Becky's considerate neighbors who had thoughtfully built their driveway with a decline.

The "I *heart* manatees" hat is good for sun OR rain!

Becky and Gil say "yay, both bikes are in!"

You gotta make your own fun in these situations.

We warmed up with some coffee, and Gil showed me how he entertains himself by pretending that the Babe the Blue Ox pepper shaker is inside his placemats.

Meta-Babe...Babe with Paul and Babe.

Unfortunately, we had to then leave. The truck ride down was uneventful and we made pretty good time -- we left Eureka at 4:30pm and arrived home at almost exactly 10:30pm. 410 or so miles of Hwy 101, gotta love it.

Rainy day redwoods:

Ah, look, almost home:

And that was our "relaxing" weekend in which I had every good intention of showing Peter a good time. Ah well, he says that he still had fun, we had a blast with Gil and Becky, and had some great road time before the bike died. And, really, I guess that's the important part.