Sunday, September 28, 2008

2008 Sep 28 - Happy Wanderer Send Off Ride

2008 September 28 - Happy Wanderer Sendoff Ride

{Click on any picture to view it full sized.} photos by Cranky, K.C. and VSP

Happy Wanderer, Paul S. is leaving NorCal {Defense Language School in Monterey} and being assigned to Fort Belvoir, VA in three weeks. He is a Russian translator on active duty in the USAF.

Today we rode Hwy 25 to Hwy 198 to Coalinga. Then used I-5 and Hwy 165 to get to the Wool Growers for his send off dinner. Temperatures in the Valley were in the high 90°s.

Here's HW

We meet at the McDonalds in Hollister at the south end of town.
Six bikes will make the Ride. K.C. from Sunnyvale, Cranky from San Jose, Jim S from Alberta, Cat from Oxnard, VSP from Stockton and Happy W.
K.C., Jim S., Cranky and HW
VSP in the lead Jim S. and Cat as we leave the McD's parking lot
Heeerrrees Cranky riding Sweep
Highway 25
Hollister to Hwy 198

"63 Miles of Bliss"

There's something unique about this road and I think I've finally realized what it is. It's the length really. That unimpeded length. It's but another deserted stretch of pavement that's become a playground of sorts for motorcyclists of any persuasion. You might even say this road has it's own fan base. A road built with motorcyclists in mind.

Hwy 25 headed south out of Hollister (home to one of California's biggest biker rallies) is probably one of California's poster-child motorcycle roads. It's one of these forgotten roads surrounded by bigger and better well traveled rides. I-5 to the east, Hwy 101 to the west. In between is this little gem and any motorcyclist will love this road!.

About 2/3 along the way on Hwy 25 there is a wide spot in the road just before the King City exit. This is the usual break spot.
Not much traffic on this road. This is one of the few trucks that I have seen on it.
We reach the intersection of Hwy 25 and Hwy 198 and go over the Grade. In the middle of our ride on Hwy 198 we stop for a break at Priest Valley. Not much in Priest Valley.
Priest Valley Station Bar and Grill

Next door is the Priest Valley Dance Hall. There was actually a band practicing inside the dance hall!

Note that the Harley sign is from Kingman, AZ HD. The old phono was blasting out tunes.
After Priest Valley Jim S. can't stand the leisurely pace that we are doing especially in the twisties. So he and HW take off toward Coalinga at high speeds. After a bit K.C. decides to follow. Somewhere in running down the other two K.C. manages to get his GPS to record a top speed of 109 mph.

Here the rest of us pulling into the Chevron, which is my usual gas stop and rest break in Coalinga. Sherm and SAG and I stopped here on our Tucson trip last year.
Along Hwy 198/Hwy 33 east of Coalinga.
We eventually get to ride I-5 for some 54 miles of heavy traffic interstate riding, not my favorite roads for a day ride, but we were getting hungry. Hwy 33 the alternate is just as straight as I-5 and slower since it goes through four or five small towns.

The parking lot of the Wool Growers in Los Banos.
Three of us parked in front of the building. Redbeard was already there waiting to have dinner with the rest of us.
Nicole our waitress took this photo of the group.
Taking our orders, which at the Wool Growers is your choice of the main course.
We got there for dinner which meant that the choices included a New York steak and prime rib.
Green salad, potato salad and beans. A bottle of house wine.
Cranky holding the chicken and rice which is Sundays entree on the other days it is lamb stew.
The prime rib and Cranky's steak.
Cat's pork chops. HW and I had the roast lamb, but we both ate it up before I got the camera out. :-)
Desert. Ice cream and pieces of cheese.
The six of us chipped in to pay for HW's dinner. Dinner is a flat $18 which includes the sales tax, but not the tip.

We say our good byes and good luck to HW. Everyone but me heads for Hwy 152 to head to I-5 or Hwy 101 via Pacheco Pass. I am the only one headed north. I take Hwy 33 as far as I can but get on I-5 just north of Vernalis and head home. The I-5 traffic is really heavy for a Sunday afternoon.

Cranky, HW, VSP, Redbeard, Cat, Jim S.

Cranky leading the South Bay group home


Map of today's Ride

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