The Plan: Since I usually take 198 to Carmel Valley road to get to Laguna, why not mix it up and take some of these other wonderful roads I've been reading about lately? Relying on the AAA central coast map, I drew a very squiggly line which started at the 99, 180, J1, New Idria Road, Clear Creek Road, Los Gatos Road, Coalinga, 198, 25 G13, G15, G16, G20, then to arrive at Laguna Seca. Well I'll tell you straight off, AAA LIES! They draw lines where only turkey trails exist!!! Thank you AAA!
Friday started off beautifully, riding West into the freshly rainscrubbed San Joaquin Valley air! While it would send a resident of Humbolt into an instant Asthma Attack, it was the best I'd breathed in weeks! Nothing on the 99/180 to note 'cept some road construction 3 miles out of Fresno.
Passed up a chance for gas in Mendota (when the little voice inside your head tells you to stop for gas, STOP!) in anticipation of an easy crossing of the Diablo range through New Idria and Clear Creek "Road."
J1 was a Ba aa aa aa aa aa aa aa aad road (as in good!) As soon as Little Panoche (pa no key) Road got into the twisty part, I run headlong into two flocks of "Grass Maggots (the pet name cattle ranchers call sheep). They were VERY apprehensive of the bike and would not advance so I eased it into first and gave a short rap on the pipe to clear the way. After that J1 provided a nice rolling ride through interesting geologic formations and beautiful vistas. The Hills on the east sine of the Diablo's have started their summer progression, so I rode through this patchwork of Green to Gold!
New Idria.....Welcome to hell. http://www.ghosttown.info/ca/newidria/ There are some places Sport bikes don't belong, I found one of them. When a reasonable looking chap unloading an XT 225 from his rig tells you NOT to take your fancy sportbike on that road....Listen! Nice place for a vacation, if you like camping next to a superfund site! Plenty of asbestos and toxic Mercury taillings to ride yer dirt bikes in! What FUN?? That orange color to the water is from the pool of toxic wastwater that's leaching into San Carlos Creek. Thirsty Anyone?
Approaching New Idria the road peters out and hardpacked dirt takes over. All the buildings in town sport "No Tresspassing","Private Property" sign. Past New Idria the road climbs steeply up the side of the hill past abandoned mine openings and partial road wash outs. "Keep out" most of the signs read but did I listen?.....Noooo! Still, plenty more beautiful vistas of Panoche Valley behind me, I climbed.
Well the road didn't go straight through. Soon I was in the middle of a network of fire roads. Great! Lost in the middle of nowhere, bingo fuel, and no map!
Rounding one slow, dirty turn after another, and thinking to myself *you're gonna have to walk outta here,* I spy this van stuck up to it's rear axle in mud. I dismount an approach with "well, this makes two of us who shouldn't be here!" He introduces himself as John V. and shares he has only one leg and has been there for two days! I gave him the bag of mixed nuts brought for the trip and some juice from my thermous which he and his dogs scarffed ravenously. John became my savior when he whipped out that jerry can and told me the way to get out of there. I promised to call the BLM to come and get him out (more on that later)
Still shakey on the exact route , but relieved about the fuel situation I started back up the rise toward the salvation of black asphalt. The left I was to take was through an unmarked, locked gate which allowed horse and single tracked vehicle passage. The voices were in full debate on whether to procede or not. 200 yards ahead I got the first no vote from the bike. I crossed her up trying to negotiate a deep, decending wheel rut. CRUMP! Down she went! After all the explitives subsided, I noticed the signal was still intact!! Haha! No damage! We had cheated the mountain god of it's prize today! And on we went. 50 yards from that point, down we go again. This time the mountain god gets his vengance. After a couple of tries I lever the Mille up and take stock. Broken signal, slightly bent clutch lever, and a few scratches on the left side. El Diablo was merciful. It could have been worse. To my discredit, I could not bring myself to raise camera and shoot her lying there with that "Well Stooopid, don't just Stand there, PICK ME UP!" look on her face.
To add insult to injury, there's spooge all over the inside of my tankbag! El Diablo is now on all fours hysterical with Laughter! Spooge! (Note to self; when carrying spray cleaner in your tank bag, remove the little spray nozzle) All of it.....every drop! It looked like.....well I won't say what it looked like but that 8" cylinder emptied it's entire contents into the interior of my tank bag! Ewwwwwwwwww! The inside still smells pretty though.
Two drops is about my limit so I change the rescue plan to include a call to LLE when I get to Paicines at the junction of J1 and 25. Since it's my first time in this maze I'm not even confident in my ability to get back to New Idria. All I want is Out at this point. Panoche Road is a treat after New Idria. Beautiful Road, even better scenery, a small area where a recent Landslide has tore up the road, but overall very nice!
I stop to call at the store, relay the information to the 911 operator and grab some lunch (at 4:00) The lady running the store comes out and gives me the phone back. Seems the watch commander and seargent wanted to get a better idea where John was stuck. They talked me through the landmarks I could recall and came to the determination he was in Fresno County and that they would refer it to the Fresno county Sherriffs. Later someone from the Fresno office wants to start the whole process over. The next day a lady from Fresno county leaves no name but a #. Call the # and no one knows what I'm talking about! By this time I wish I'd called the Boy Scouts. What is so hard about getting up from your table at winchells and taking a nice drive at County expense to go look for a guy who may be still up there starving?
There was a Harley at the store where I called. Riders name was Kevin. No rub he, Kevin was from Colorado looking for a place to camp for the night. He was thinking of Mercey Hot Springs on Little Panoche Road. Anyone know about that place? It looked nice.
Since I was already in Hollister I figgured I'd sneak into Monterey the "Normal" way. 152-101-152-1. That stretch of 101 is the reason I go through Coalinga.
Arrive Laguna. at like 5:30. What A Day! A hot shower in the paddock is just what "The Doctor" ordered (hurry up and get here July!) Nice race, Mustangs SPANK Porshes in the grand sport race
Moto GP ticket sales are up to $3,500,000. Will probably reach 5 mil before race day. Volunteers still needed. They need corner workers too. If you want to watch the race literally from trackside with no fence between you and the action, this is the spot for you! http://www.laguna-seca.com/volunteer/ they also need help all over the track, so if you don't want to go through the application process to become a Race Marshall, they need help parking people in the AM, selling programs, being a camp host, Etc, Etc, all kinds of jobs to do in order to put this race on. In exchange for some work time you get a free ticket for that day. Email the track and someone will get back to you. I have dibbs on the beautiful 21 y/o Anesthetist student though!
The first aid trailer at the base of the trilon is my bunk house during most of the races I'll be in SCRAMP camp for Moto GP.
Nice rims on that cart eh?
Check out the Super Motard Husky!
Some action on pit row
New Plan for the way home. Laureles Grade G20, Carmel Valley Road G16, Metz Road G15, Bitterwater Road G13, Rt 25, Coalinga, Los Gatos Road, Panoche Road/Little Panoche Road J1, 180 Fresno HOME!
Everything the ride out was not the ride home was. Carmel Valley Road seems to be getting shorter every time I ride it. There were lots of places I was disorientated due to all the Green! Instead of hopping on the 101 S at Greenfield, I continued over to Metz Road. Top-up in King City and up Bitterwatter Road to Rt. 25.
Bitterwater rises easily out of King City into the foothills. I kept thinking it must have been a RR grade. No appreciable changes in elevation or direction. One could very easily achieve warp speed in the gradual up-hill sweepers. Hit the 25 at the community of bitterwater then South. I could get used to 25's nice meander through the valley.
Stopped at Coalinga Chevron for gas and rest. There were about a million BMW riders (OK, maybe 20) mostly comming back from Death Valley peeping the wild flowers. Got directions from a gps guy who tried to find with his gps pen and sun faded screen where the turn off for Los Gatos road was, then later a local rider pointed to the light past the McNausea and tol' me to take a right there (Gale) and follow the road around (to Derrick) and it ran right to the origin of Los Gatos Road.
Los Gatos is another Gem! Well maintained in Fresno, then rougher in San Benito, it winds it's way up to the 25 just North of Bitterwater. It passes that ficticious squiggle called Clear Creek Road. Driving the mile and a half in to the BLM ranger station to leave another note about John, I wondered if Fresno and San Benito County's Finest figgured out which one was going to go up there and rescue him. Jez he was in a fix! Gas at Holister Then Back to Panoche Road and to it's Little brother. No sheep this time. I notice the pavement is torn up as you get closer to the 5. Moreso going East than West.
Well that's all folks! Sorry it took so long to get the whole thing up.