Saturday, April 19, 2008

2008 Apr 19 - Little Dragon - Welcome Home Cranky

2008 Apr 19 - The Welcome Home Cranky - Little Dragon from Atwater and ending with lunch at Modesto

{Click on any photo to view the full size image}

Today I delayed the start of the Ride. The bike that I started on had an oil light come on about a mile from my home. So I took it to my maintenance place about 400 yards from my home. We filled about 1.25 liter of oil. But then examining the bike found that a bolt had busted loose on the exhaust header. So anyway I head back home to switch bikes.

Here is a map of the Ride Route:

Anyway our KSU time of 11:00 AM became 11:20 AM. The rest of the crew was at the McDonalds in Atwater. I missed my egg biscuit.

From left to right: Cranky's new bike, Rad W's bike, Uwe W's bike, and Happy Wanderer and his 650 V-Strom.

Don I., Uwe W., Happy Wanderer and Rad W.
We ride the 20 miles to Snelling through Merced County farmlands. We pretty much leave civilization after Snelling so we make a pit stop.

We turn onto Hornitos Road at Hornitos. It is an old gold mining town.
Among the ruins in Hornitos are the walls of the Ghirardelli store, where Domingo Ghirardelli traded with the miners before moving to San Francisco in 1852 to found his chocolate company.

My camera refuses to stay on during the ride up to the Little Dragon. So these photos are from the Southern Vista Point.

Notice that the road starts at our elevation and winds back and forth down and down to the valley floor. It then heads across the bridge over the Merced River. That bridge is about half way through the Little Dragon.

The 15 miles to Coulterville takes over a half hour and is like a Disneyland E ticket ride. The traffic was real light as I set a really slow pace. No one was in front of us and no one ran up our rear end.

Here we stop for our second pit stop at a Mariposa County Park next to the historic Jeffery Hotel:

These pics are on Hwy 132 just a few miles west of Coulterville.

We make the 60 mile ride to our lunch stop. Arriving at 2:35 PM. Nomad 42 is waiting for us. His bike is in the repair shop in Modesto.

Lunch is at Doc's Q'in Pit Stop:

Doc's uses a huge outdoor BBQ pit to slow cook his meats.

Nomad 42, Happy Wanderer and Uwe W waiting for their orders.
Cranky looks sleepy. This was his first serious ride since his accident. Welcome back Cranky.

This is my main course - the large order of barbecued ribs. I also had black eyed peas and cole slaw and a corn bread muffin.

This is Uwe's main course the brisket.

Cranky and VSP taking photos:

It became really windy as we headed home. I will have to add what Cranky and the others had to say about their rides home.

I just got off the phone with Cranky. For some reason the winds were blowing 40 knots with higher gusts along the Coast Range and through the center of the Central Valley. Hwy 99 was not windy but Cranky said that Hwy 165 was blowing this morning. I am glad that we did not have those kinds of winds riding the Little Dragon.

From Uwe:
"Anyhow, we also were nearly blown over (winds gusting at +55 mph) -- we had to slow down to "a crawl" so we where not blown into the next lane, or worse across the road. But we both had a lot of fun today thanks to all of you-- not only where our expectations met, they where exceeded by far. All of you are a bunch of great guys and we both felt really "welcomed to the VROC Family". I hope we get to do this often and we both look forward to our next ride with all of you."

The Rider's:
Cranky (VROC #16804) - San Jose, CA
Happy Wanderer (VROC #18670-R) - Monterey, CA
Rad W. (VROC #26674) - Pacifica, CA
Uwe W. (VROC #26135) - Pacifica, CA
Don "VSP" (VROC #5569-R) - Stockton, CA
Lunch only:
Jon "Nomad 42" (VROC #19338) - Manteca, CA