Thursday, October 28, 2010

While We Wait for Me to Catch Up...

- Drizzly, misty Santa Cruz - Friday Oct 22
I ground to a stop three times today. It was just starting to mist when I left my cousin's house near Hwy 92 and continued to the coast at Half Moon Bay. That's a beautiful ride and I would have enjoyed it if the road were dry. I fought condensation and rain on my visor to the coast and on south. Feeling freaked by the rain and hoping to outrun it southward, I passed the last gas stations before Hwy 1 and thought those stations would be challenging to get to across congested traffic and through U-turns in the rain. I thought that surely there will be gas right on 1 and I could glide in on my right side. Hmmm. No gas. But wait, there is a distance sign... Davenport just 38 miles. Sure, I can do that. The adage for TW owners of never passing a chance to refuel whispering in the back of my mind, I continued and there ahead was Davenport. Whew. Or so I thought. There was no gas and I had another 11 miles to Santa Cruz. My trip meter was at 110. opps. I turned around and rode past all 8 buildings and parked to start asking people for gas. After the highway prospects were eliminated, I started up the residential street. The first house had a guy and his wife near their pickup and after discussing the options (none) he offered to siphon gas from his truck. He cut off a length of his garden hose and worked it into his tank. I found some empty drink cups, wiped them out and had the precious liquid in hand. He, however had gotten a more gas in his mouth than he intended and some in his eye as well. I felt so bad for him, especially remembering the swigs of gas I had as a teen. He came back out of the house with his eye and around it red and swollen. Well, just a little puffy. He clearly had gotten the worst of the transaction. He wouldn't take money or an invitation to lunch, just glad to help someone in need. Just then his mom pulled up, saying that there had been a head on collision on the way to Santa Cruz and the road would not be open for a couple hours. I had lunch and rode down to see if I could get through. Of course not. The LEO at an intersection was directing traffic through a detour and it would be an extra ten miles. But there was a town with gas in the hills through which the detour went, but I had to make several turns to get there. Naturally, I could only remember the first turn and couldn't stop to write anything down in the rain. Soon lost, I pressed on until the bike died and coast to a stop in a driveway. No one home there and I went back down the road to an intersection with a bank of rural mail boxes. The 4th person I asked offered to go home and fetch back a can of gas. As I was pouring it into my tank I asked "May I empty it?" "Sure, please do." There was nearly a gallon and I was so grateful. He gave me directions to the closest gas station and I was on my way after profuse thanks and good wishes. This new road was narrow, twisty, and oh so wet. After several stretches of signed one lane pavement, I was beginning to wonder if I would need to repeat my begging further down the road when suddenly I was on Hwy 9 and in Ben Lomand, going into a gas station. Now this seemed survivable after I had wiped clear my glasses and visor. Back out into the misting rain, I was soon passing Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park campground. I debated; push on or camp in the rain. Onward I went into Santa Cruz to find creeping traffic on Hwy 1. For the better part of an hour I crept along, thinking it would break soon and I could stay with my plan to camp south of Monterey if only I could out run the rain. Actually, I wasn't thinking clearly at that point. Traffic stretched on ahead disappearing into the rain. I saw a motel from the highway and gave in, getting off at the next ramp and checking in. 66 bucks, but I'm warm and dry. I'll find the Youth Hostel here in town and wait out this rain through the weekend. Monday will be good to ride Big Sur, dry and less people.

Saturday October 23rd Atascadero
After watching the TV weather report and verifying it on line, I decided to take the forecasters at their word and believe rain would hit the coast at 2 pm. I figured I could make it from Santa Cruz to Atascadero by then and left following the Google map route I had transcribed to note paper that was placed under a clear plastic panel on top of my tank bag to refer to while I was at stop lights. A couple turns into it and I was off track, so I made my way back to Hwy 1 which was a freeway at that point. Vroom. On down the coast past Monterey I stopped at the Safeway as I have on every other trip I’ve made though here. I sort of had a sense of home there, wherever home might be. I’ve been up and down Big Sur by car and by thumb at least 10 times and this is the first by motorcycle. I can recommend it highly and would like to do it again. The road was dry except for a few places in the shade where I was extra careful and the way it is banked on some of the curves, I could come closer than ever to being horizontal as I caromed through. This motorcycle riding thing is fun.
On this trip through Big Sur I went faster than any previous time. Landmarks where I had stayed and hiked before clicked by quickly and soon I was near sea lions basking on the beach. It was easy to tell where they were by sense of smell as I rode past them. I stopped to eat at San Simeon with a watchful eye on the clouds to the west; it was 1:30 and I was expecting the rain to be on time. In fact, it did not rain at all until the evening in A-Town. I’m glad I didn’t stay in the motel believing that it would rain all weekend.

Thursday Oct 28
I'm headed for Bakersfield today.  Looking forward to seeing friends and family.