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Old 04-22-2006, 10:34 PM   #1
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Artist Painting Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

Riding with Pashnit Tours:
Exploring the California Central Coast

A Motorcycle Ride through the Land of Oz

I love to ride. And if you are reading this, you probably do also. And each Spring, a season of riding starts anew. Lately here in California, we've had an intense amount of rain. The most in 10 years they say. All the reservoirs are full, the ground is saturated, and last month, it rained for 25 days out of 31. There's so much water, they're giving it away. I'm told they set a record up at Mammoth- over 700 inches of snow. And 100 miles to the east of our tour, a state of disaster was declared in the Central Valley with its extensive levee system (nearly 1000 miles of) pushed to the limit, and just days after the tour, even the President of the United States came to visit.

So as our tour date approached, myself and all the tour participants held our breath and checked the weather like rabid sports fans desperate for the latest scores. As it turned out, the predictions changed every day, twice a day, and in the end, didn't match up with reality anyway. Oh well, so much for predicting the weather.

So with no further delay... I give you




A little sidenote: One of the things I was working on with this trip in terms of the photography was shooting a lot of photography in portrait mode, in other words, tall pics vs. wider landscape shots. Each trip I work on something new, and build off the previous ride. I was asked to share some more photo tips awhile back, and continue the previous text on my photography in the previous trip so I'll do a bit of that along the way. Maybe some of you will get something out of it (ntm, the previous thread is approaching 20,000 views so somebody must be reading this).

Meeting along the edge of San Francisco, at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Fellow Tour Guide Tim says Hi to all of you, Joseph looks on



Meeting the new riders for the first time, Breck, Dianne, Kevin & Rick



As was usual on a Pashnit Tour, there was quite the variety of bikes. The hallmark of a Pashnit Tour is variety and this one was no different. I had been in contact with Andy and Malie for months prior trying to coincide our schedules. Malie is a Rep for a Publishing Company in London, England. She was lucky enough to coincide a business trip with our tour.

Malie & Andy (pronounced Mah-lee)



She was accompanied by her husband Andy, who's a sales rep for Wrigglys Chewing Gum. Which he happened to mention is a 5 billion dollar a year business. Just chewing gum. Just Wriggleys. Lot of money sitting on the undersides of tables. Andy rides a SV650 and they live on the north side of London. They rented a BMW 1150GS from Dubbelju.com, had actually contemplated a 14 day tour, but our 3-Day Weekend Tour in the end was perfect for them.

Andy




There was another couple on the ride, Joseph and Dianne (above) flew in from Houston, Texas picking up a Honda Goldwing from Moturis in San Leandro. Joseph has been in Venture Capital for over 30 years, is a Vietnam Veteran and shared a few war stories with us, as he was an officer during the war, and had seen his share of combat. With a wink, he made it clear that he could get away with more than the average person. After all, he was from Texas.



Joseph & Dianne's Goldwing



Rick also joined our ride and in chatting with him, we quickly got engrossed in talking all about his classic cars- he owns 4. His daily driver is a 1970 Chevelle station wagon. He had recently gotten back into riding and was aboard the ultimate sport-touring machine of its time. A '94 Honda VFR in red. Wouldn't have it any other way. One of the things Rick was going to do when he got back from the tour was go climb Mt. Rainer. All in a days work.

Rick



Rick's VFR



Breck came down from Plumas Lake on a new V-Strom. He owns a Civil Engineering company which installs & maintains all the cell phone towers in far-flung places. Many of them only accesible by a 4x4 or dirt bike. So his other bike is naturally a KLR650, a bike that does nothing well and but can do all things (or however the saying goes). One of the interesting things that Breck was involved in was large-scale model rockets. As in rockets 20 feet tall, that could reach heights of 50,000 feet or more. These devout hobbyists often build the rocket themselves, then head out to the Black Rock Desert north of Reno, Nevada and fire them off. These rockets go so high, they have to file a flight plan with the FAA before the clubs launch their diverse cadre of rockets.

Breck




Breck's V-Strom



Kevin was a new rider that had only been riding for 5 months or so. His bike was a BMW R1150R Rockster, a mean lookin' streetfighter style motorcycle that mysteriously didn't sound like a BMW. It may have had something to do with a missing baffle or two Kevin seemed to have misplaced, but we really couldn't be sure. Kevin works in finance for the San Francisco Airport and used to own a bicycle shop in the Bay Area.

Kevin



The Rockster



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Old 04-22-2006, 10:36 PM   #2
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

Our plan was to make our way south and hope for the best with the weather, which alledgedly was better the further south we'd go. This is the middle of April in California after all. A quick ride up Highway 9 and into Big Basin introduced the Giant Redwood forest to several of the riders for the first time.

Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains





Your average everyday redwood tree. Hard to judge the scale though.



Try this one. These can get up to 300 feet tall, and weigh 1,000,000 each.




The bikes in Big Basin. Another great place to experience the redwoods is Avenue of the Giants up in NorCal (which we do on our NorCal ride).



Andy & Breck




As we made our way south out of the Santa Cruz Mtns through some light rain (it is a rainforest after all), as soon as we cleared Monterey and got past Rocky Point, the light rain we had ridden through abated, and the further south we got, the more the weather improved. The more I ride Hwy 1 Big Sur, the more you come to fall in love with this region of California.

Every picture is off the cover of a magazine, and it doesn't matter where you stand, every view is stunning!

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Old 04-22-2006, 10:36 PM   #3
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

Now check out the panoramic of the previous pic. See what I see?

Scroll -->
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:37 PM   #4
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

We stop often on rides like this. We ride awhile, then stop, take in the view, get to know each other better. Fun to think we've all only met hours before.

The busa & Rick's VFR



Breck's V-Strom, which is quickly becoming an enduring motorcycle, with an devout following.



My poster child shot of Andy & Malie's BMW 1150GS. I'm sitting by the phone waiting for the folks at BMW North America to call me.




Here's what happens when you take the previous shot, and make it a landscape shot. Have a preference?



Tim's FJR & Rick's VFR



Have to sneak in another shot of the Hayabusa. My travelin' machine- Be sure and look on newstands after May 2nd, 2005- Cycle World is publishing the annual called 'Sportbike'. Cover story is on the Hayabusa, and I got asked to write the portion about setting the Hayabusa up as a 'Long-Haul Busa'



We were about to leave, when what should pull up?





Here's Greg, who although was a complete stranger to us, knew who I was. Funny how that works. (Greg is also a member of the Pashnit Forum too.)



Greg was equally eager to chat with us, and tell us about his new 2005 Ural.



Greg and Connie had just purchased this Russian made Ural in Bellingham, Washington and were riding it back down the Pacific Coast to Los Angeles.



Although the '05 model was brand new, it'd already blown out the rear main seal and was seeping a bit of oil.





But the bike was georgeous, and even came with a reverse gear, complete with a wood knob for a shift lever.



Even the headlight is cool looking.



I have teased my wife for years that someday when the kids are old enough, I'm going to get a sidecar to put the kids in the hack to take riding with me. Maybe I will do just that someday. A Ural even maybe. Or maybe a Hayabusa with a sidecar might work.




After our short rest and enjoyable chat with Greg & Connie, it was off on the joyous task of riding Hwy 1.



Point Sur



See the difference in the two shots? Have a preference? I think I need to get a teleconverter for my Canon Pro1.




Lunch at the Nepenthe Restaurant was outstanding, I'm sure we'll be swinging by here again. The restaurant overlooks the spectacular Big Sur Pacific Coastline. While outside, fog and mist hung in the air. http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/



Even the walk up was impressive!





At the top of the stairs was this.



The Nepenthe dates to 1949 when it first opened up to travelers along Highway 1 Big Sur. And the view you say?? From these windows...



...It looked something like this. Breathtaking!!



Same pic, but in landscape mode. I think I like the previous one best.

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Old 04-22-2006, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

After lunch, the rain stopped and we were greeted with this- just low clouds that hung in the sky. But no fog, and no rain.



Another quick example of Portrait vs. Landscape. Here's the portrait style...



And the landscape shot of the same scene. Again, I think I like the first. Or maybe it's a toss-up. See the natural bridge?



The surf along Highway 1 Big Sur. If you've never traveled this stretch of highway, the road is hundreds of feet above the ocean so the view is fantastic no matter where you stand.



Joseph's Goldwing & Breck's V-Strom. This shot is a quick example of zooming vs using the curvature of the lens to get the effect you want. This is the zoom shot with the 200mm lens. I've backed up as far as I can and zoomed the lens to its max 200mm. The shot in turn looks like this.



However, if you leave the lens as 28mm, it's shortest focal length (on the Canon Pro1), and use no zoom, then walk up to the bikes as close as you can, but still be able to fit the bikes in the shot, you get something that looks like this. Can get two very different feels out of two different techniques.



Adding in the BMW GS to that shot.



Malie who's come all the way from England to see this!



This one will be the new brochure cover shot for the new BMW 1150GS. Still waiting for BMW North America's ad agency to call me.



'Nother shot of the busa. Okay, let's go ride.



One thing about these clouds, although it wasn't raining, they continued to hang very low in the sky.



The view even faded off into the haze.

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Old 04-22-2006, 10:42 PM   #6
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

Yet, despite the low clouds and threat of rain, it gave me some of best colors to work with. This is probably one of my favorite shots of the entire ride.



In a portrait style - the same shot.

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Old 04-22-2006, 10:42 PM   #7
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

Another example. Here's the portrait style.



And the panoramic version.



One of thing we did have to deal with was the result of all this tumultuous weather, and its effect on the road. Highway 1 was probably the worst I have ever seen it in all these years.



At Lucia. Only days before, Highway 1 had been closed here. Might even presume this was the slide, or sinkhole, that closed it. Seems they dumped loads of gravel on the road to get it open, and traffic flowing again.



Doesn't look like a main highway, does it?



South of Lucia, this is about the middle of Big Sur




Of course we had to climb up Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd, a tradition on our Central Coast Tour. Climbing hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean offers up a fantastic view of the Big Sur Coastline.

Another one of my favorite shots (taken from Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd). Add a bunch of text for something and you got your magazine cover.

There's almost a romanticism to shots like this. But then again, that's what I'm trying to capture.



Same shot, but landscape mode. Still like the first one.



The 'Long-Haul Busa'. The rain covers on the RKA Luggage worked great too.



Climbing up Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd. It's the only road in the coast range along Highway 1 Big Sur that goes up and over the Coast Range. It deposits you right in the middle of Fort Hunter Legget, a tank training grounds.

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Old 04-22-2006, 10:43 PM   #8
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

Certainly deserves a panoramic shot, doesn't it.

Scroll -->
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:44 PM   #9
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

The twisty climb up into the clouds. See the house at center? Lot of zillion-dollar homes tucked away in the hills along Big Sur.





Halfway up, Nacimiento Rd makes its way through this wooded area.



Then this, low bridge



Seems the hillside was in the process of collapsing from all the heavy rains in the last month or so. Check out the tree in the middle of the slide.



But Tim and Joseph on the Goldwing rode right under it, and merrily on our way



Rick headed back down. This isn't fog per se, but instead we're in the clouds



Andy, Malie & all that Pacific Ocean



Another one of my all time favorite pics. You could bring a lawn chair, a good book, and just watch the world go by up here.




What they had stopped to take a picture of. Amazing.



Now see it in a slightly different format. Really like the first one though.



Hwy 1 along the rugged Big Sur Coastline






Kevin along Highway 1 havin' a great time



Quick exercise in juxtaposing two bikes together, which is a shot I like to do often.

BMW & V-Strom?



Or BMW & BMW?



The new BMW R1150R up close. The more you look at this bike, you more it grows on you. Love the colors that BMW chose. Check out the fork tubes.




Time to stop and check out the seals just south of San Simeon.





Just hangin' out



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Old 04-22-2006, 10:49 PM   #10
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Re: Riding with Pashnit Tours: Exploring the California Central Coast

Saturday, the weather was predicted to be much better. At first I saw this, the Geza Cover on the Hayabusa, the heavy dew on Coastal San Luis Obispo had collected on the cover.



But when I saw this, I knew it was going to be a good day!



I went to check on the riders, and everyone was rarin' to go!! There's Tim, Joseph & Dianne, Kevin in front, then Rick, Breck & Zak standing, and Malie and Andy.




We were joined by a few local riders as is the custom when a Pashnit Tour comes to town.

Zak was a local rider who arrived from Illinois back in 1973. He was a tool and die maker that had worked with Craig Vetter in the 70's, of Vetter Fairings that is. He was also one of the original founders of Rifle Fairings and these days just works from his home and rode. He mentioned he'd probably ridden 600,000-700,000 miles and had jokingly said he'd never actually been anywhere. Zak was riding on a SV650 that looked like a rat bike. He'd bought it off eBay for $2200 and it each piece of the bike was a different color, the fender, the tank, the side fairings, the front fairing. It was the Coat of Many Colors.




But what was most interesting about this Suzuki SV650 is that Zak had converted it to a belt drive with Buell components. He mentioned he'd had requests for a kit, and that his fellow SV650 owners were quite interested in obtaining the conversion kit he'd developed and tested on his own bike.

Ever seen this on a Suzuki SV650?





Zak




Alex also came on his new SV650. I always laugh at Alex, everytime I shoot him on the bike, he's grinning from ear to ear. Riding is like that sometimes.




Erik also never misses an oppurtunity to come ride with us. His ZX-7 never looked better.



See that look in Andy's eyes? That's a "What a beautiful day! Let's Ride!!" look.




Zipping out on to Pozo, which really isn't a town. Just like 2 or three buildings, but the road there and back is awesome!! Great loop and back, affectionately known as the 'Pozo Loop'. There are several side roads, but we didn't explore them on this ride. Maybe next time.



Group at the Pozo Saloon



Zak and Jeff. Love Zak's helmet. Very old school. Jeff was another rider who jumped into our group on a R6. It happens, and the main riders on the tour really enjoy interacting with the locals. It adds a whole new dimension to the tour, it was a perk for the folks from Texas and England. We include locals in the tour for them to interact with and chat with.

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