Mid-Week Rides: January Frosty Ride
The Captain reports:
The Mid-Week Riders gathered, Dick Zunkel, Jon Beining, Bob Burns, Randy Bush, my neighbor John Guy (riding my older RT) and yours truly! Bill Grass coudn’t get a motor to start and it was probably due the cold - ‘cause it was! We met in Petaluma at 0900, save for one late arrival on a new FJR (no names mentioned mind you….). He was only 28 minutes late and didn’t leave us standing in the cold so I suppose that’s okay.
Our departing intentions were to ride Kings Ridge out of Cazadero. We rode to Sebastapol and then on into Occidental, saw some frost but the road was generally clear. We turned NB onto the Bohemian Hwy for the Russian River and started to see frost on the highway…cafeful now! We paused at Camp Meeker’s Post Office so John could mail-in his quarterly taxes via registered mail. The ground here (photo included) was white with frost. We came-up the south side of the Russian River from Healdsburg through sanded stretches of roadway and past a lot of signs saying ‘icy’. We paused at the bridge for a stretch and photo oppertunity at near noon where it was decided that Kings Ridge might not be a good idea given low elevation roads already experienced. We scratched Kings Ridge in favor of a coastal ride. Weather was bright and sunny but even at Noon fields were frosted-over where still in shade. (Note the frost in the background field - this in front of the red motorcycle where all are parked on the bridge.) It was decided here that we’d go out the 20 mile dead-end road to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse. There were no clouds to speak of at Noon while on the bridge, but by 6:30 PM the area was all in rain.
It was a great ride. I’m pleased to report that the heated grips on my new RT were too warm on the high setting.
Major WWWobble comments:
Yes, it’s true the HSTA Polar Bear Ride on Jan 1st was warmer than the coast on a foggy summer day, HOWEVER, we’ve had our cold weather since. Not like Denver, but damn cold for us. An aside for those of us who are foolish enough to log monthly mileage. My best January was in 2005 at 1419 miles. Pathetic compared to the Iron Butt crowd – and not impressive in that part of the Beemer community that rides always and a lot.
HOWEVER, with my new and newly patented anti rain device (ARD Version 4) on the FJR maybe I can change things. <g>
It sure worked yesterday. It was working better than I was working. I am paying for the sins of too much food and drink as we had guests for the last thee days, so Tuesday I was tired and, err.. visiting the rest room a bit in the morning. Departed late for Petaluma at 8:15 with 36F showing on the JetBlu instrument cluster. I installed a Powerlet 15amp BMW style power outlet “pre-wired” for the FJR1300 so all I had to do was route the wire from the mounting point to the battery way up front. Works well, and I now have three hook ups, a 2.5 amp cell phone charger in the glove box, a 10 amp Widder specific hookup, and a 15 amp BMW style Powerlet for the air pump or a 2nd vest or liner. Isn’t this good touring talk for an old slow squid?
Traffic through SF isn’t bad although I hit several red lights as I wind around Ocean Beach to the bridge. I’m convinced you catch more red lights when late. It warms to 42F thru SF and I am optimistic for improved warmth soon – then hit the fog in Novato. The temp plunges to 30F. And the fuel gauge blinks. I realize I have no idea how much is supposed to be left in the tank once the gauge blinks. I really SHOULD read the manual. I continue the 15 miles to the newly remodeled Henny Penny, which looks just like the old Henny Penny. Hey, the bathroom was clean. Chris and his neighbor, Ran, Dick Z, and Jon graciously allow me to wolf down something edible, and fuel (still had over a gallon), and we depart. It’s still cold.
Chris leads north thru Sebastopol, turn onto Bodega Hwy, right on Bohemian Hwy to Freestone and onto ever colder, damper, sandier pavement culminating with our Captain turning left into Camp Meeker which looks cold, damp, and still frosty to me. I don’t follow. Jon pulls up behind me. We wait in sunshine at the side of the road to see what happens next. What happens next is the group exits the cold, damp and still frosty Camp Meeker and we all continue down the hill toward the Russian River. It looks like Russia too. Frost shows white in fields beside the road. Puddles are frozen. No visible ice as the road had been sanded, but I keep thinking about the ice I crashed on off Mines Road. I never saw it either. We turn left on Moscow Road and travel cautiously along. Outside temp is 34-36F in the shady parts, but sunny and mid 40 at the bridge over the river outside Duncan Mills. We stop. It’s nice in the sunshine. Dick Z takes a group photo. WWWobble is dreading going back into the shady, wet, sandy, glen to Cazadero and says in a meek and mild manner “does anybody else think heading out to the sunny warm coast on a main road makes more sense than tip toeing through sandy tarmac looking for ice?” Jon from Wisconsin is all for it. Dick Z all sealed up inside the GoldWing doesn’t care one way or the other. Ran offers that the concept sounds more reasonable than most coming from the MidWeek Riders, but then looses all credibility for intelligence as he informs the Captain that he’ll follow into the ice if that’s where he leads. The Captain counters that nobody has lost traction and fallen down. It’s true. I’m thinking I’d like to keep it true. The Captain relents. He’s a team player. I could have kissed him, but held the impulse. It’s a long way down from the bridge into the river. We head to the coast on 116 and it is warmer.
Truth is, the coast is never more beautiful than on a clear winter day. Light traffic. Blue water. Sunshine. Life doesn’t get better. We continue to Pt. Reyes for coffee. We still have time and Jon suggests we ride the bummmpppy road out to the lighthouse. We do. Say, does anybody notice the wind is picking up? The new FJR slices right through, but it’s getting cold again. And we have a bit of a sand trap to negotiate but it looks worse than it is. The view from the point is spectacular. It’s always spectacular. We watch as a storm approaches from the Northwest.
And so we head back to Hwy 1 and split off various directions for home and warmth. Traffic remains light and I’m inside by 5:30 or so. I switch the ARD off. Rain is falling by 7pm. The Captain has led another successful MidWeek Ride.