New Year’s Day ride


I chose to spend the first day of the new year in the pleasant company of my dual sport motorcycle, the 2006 BMW F650GS. It was a wise decision in so many ways, not the least of which was the complete enjoyment of all aspects of my ride. Twisty, paved (but rough) road? No problem. No pavement? Also no problem. Almost 70 miles per gallon of fuel? Another bonus of this bike! I’ve owned it for 4-1/2 years now, and I’ve never been disappointed.

Today, as I was trying to figure out what to wear for the annual run to Tortilla Flat for the New Year’s Day gathering of motorcycles, I figured it would probably be best to wear layers. This was not a fashion crisis, but a weather challenge! The temperatures started out in the 40s (F.), but were expected to climb to nearly 80 later in the day. On the way out, though, I was layered up and plugged in because it was cold! After breakfast at another local Denny’s (I’m diggin on Denny’s lately), we headed out to Tortilla Flat, aka TTF.

The twisting, narrow road was amazingly open in front of me and my riding partner, and I shot video with the GoPro from my new mounting bracket. Overnight, I will upload all the video I shot today, and I hope to post it soon.

When we got to TTF, we found lots of bikes already in attendance:

Hundreds of bikes showed up throughout the day

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, we couldn’t have asked for better weather. As we walked around looking at other bikes, it started to warm up. We saw people we hadn’t seen in a while, some crazy stuff, and most of all, some beautiful bikes. The best bikes were the older bikes that were the real “café racers.”

Café racer

Some “crazy stuff:”

This guy was really colorful. He spray-painted his boots metallic orange.

I was standing near this blue bike (below) for a while just admiring it, and people kept asking me if was mine. “I wish!” I kept saying. It was so beautiful. See what I mean?

This had to be my favorite bike

Pretty Ducati. Gosh, I miss the sound of a dry clutch!

Some of the "western" artifacts that make up the motif and touristy ambience of Tortilla Flat

When all the Harley riders showed up, I got tired of being there, plus a lot of the cool bikes had already left. So, we decided that it was time to go to “phase two” of the day, which was to go find one of the destinations for the riding contest down an unpaved road. We had an idea where the road was, but not the actual “place.” So, we left TTF, rode the fun road back to civilization, and then took US 60 out to Florence Junction. Then we took the road to Florence (home of the prison), and then rode out the east side of town to the Florence-Kelvin Hwy., an unpaved road that can lead to Kearny, or near Oracle, or near Winkleman.

It’s an easy road, and we were supposed to find a place called “Barkerville.” I had an idea that it didn’t exist anymore and that we were just supposed to use the signs as proof that we’d been there (or nowhere, as the case may be). We stopped a few times to take proof photos by appropriate signs, and we even asked a few guys on quads if there really was a Barkerville. “Not anymore,” one of them answered.  So, that settled, we only rode about 33 miles, then turned around.

Obligatory proof photo for the contest. Notice all the bullet holes in the sign behind me.

It turned out that it would be a good choice to turn around because later when we were getting off the freeway to go have coffee, Hal’s bike quit and wouldn’t restart! He got it to the parking lot, but it wouldn’t do anything. So, since we were closest to my house, we rode two-up on my bike to home, then I drove Hal home to get his trailer. We were lucky that the bike didn’t quit while we were out there in the middle of nowhere, miles from anything.

Not the perfect ending to the day, but that’s what happens sometimes. It’s all part of the adventure.

So, with both Hal’s bikes “down” now, there will probably be no riding tomorrow, which sucks because I only have a couple of days left of the break. Then it’s back to the grind, for a 10-week slog to spring break. But I don’t want to think about that yet!

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2 thoughts on “New Year’s Day ride

  1. We went to a concert Friday night and my wife carried a clutch purse. I suppose it was dry because she had no money in it. Get it? “I miss the sound of a dry clutch.”

    I was a good thing Hal didn’t break down out in the middle of nowhere. You would not want to go back to pick up your bike and find it with a few bullet holes in it.

    • No, it would be found with a LOT of bullet holes in it, given the mentality of the people out there (“Deliverance” comes to mind).

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