The subtitle of this trip was In Search of Mufflers and Steak.
The plan was to ride the Road King, along with riding partner Dave Clements on his Electra-glide Standard, to Long Beach CA, to pick up a set of stock mufflers that Rich Johns took off his 1996 Road King a few years ago. These would replace the stock mufflers on my 1996 Road King, which were damaged during my 2001 accident in Arkansas. I would remove the scratched mufflers and toss them into the recycle bin (or dumpster), then put Rich's take-offs back on and ride back to San Jose.
Rich decided to make this a SoCal netscum event, invited the usual suspects, and enlisted the aid of his wife to put on a barbeque dinner at their home.
Dave and I would also take along our cameras so that we could take pictures for the Harley Owners Group's ABCs of Touring contest for 2003. We needed Fresno, Kern, Madera, Orange, Riverside, Tulare and Ventura counties and a few city signs.
Thursday, March 20, 2003 - San Jose, California
I was up before 7:00 a.m., packed my T-Bag and left my house at 9:45 a.m., in cool temperatures, under clouds mixed with sunshine. I rode over Hy 580 into California's central valley, bypassed Manteca on CA Highway 120, stopped for ABCs of Touring photos in Oakdale, then returned westbound on Hy 120, stopped for a couple of Escalon pics, and rode back to Manteca, stopped for fuel and arrived at Dave Clements' home at 1:00 p.m.
We did some motorcycle maintenance and cleaning, greeted his children when they arrived home from school, watched "the war" on CNN for a while, and had a wonderful steak dinner with potatoes and salad.
Dave's daughter had kindly given up her bedroom for the night, so I put my things in her room and plugged in my cellular phone charger. We watched a little more CNN, the kids went to bed around 8:00 p.m. and the adults went upstairs around 9:00 p.m.
I made some notes, took a shower and went to bed.
Miles for the day = 130.
Friday, March 21, 2003 - Manteca, California
Engines started at 8:50 a.m., we left at 9:00 a.m. and rode east on Hy 120 and then south on CA Highway 99 in pleasant weather.
We pulled into the Enoch Christofferson Turlock Safety Rest Area at 9:40 a.m., after Dave noticed that his speedometer was only reading 45 miles per hour. Things seemed to be secure, so we continued.
We stopped for a Madera County photo, then tried to call Al in Fresno to confirm our breakfast plans, but could not reach him. We continued south, took a Fresno County picture, and arrived at Al's Cafe on W. Olive in Fresno at 11:20 a.m. We looked for Al but didn't see him. We later discovered that his cellular phone was broken and he had been tied up with work things.
After breakfast we continued south on Hy 99, took pictures at Kingsburg and Tulare County, then stopped at Visalia Harley-Davidson in Goshen. [Note: they've locked the door from the Service Department into the Parts Department, so you'll have to use the front door.]
Back on the road, we stopped for a Delano picture and then for fuel in Delano. We got through Bakersfield, then stopped for pictures at CA Highway 119 and Pumpkin Center (don't ask me), then continued south on Interstate 5 when Hwy 99 ended.
As we approached Castaic, Dave pulled off the freeway and into a very familiar Union 76 Station at 3:55 p.m., where I checked my oil, and after Dave retrieved a paper funnel from the convenience store (which is actually the gas station), added some oil.
[Whaddya want? The engine had 98118 miles on it at the time and it uses a little.]
Back on southbound Interstate 5, we took a short detour west on CA Highway 126 to the Ventura County lilne, but the sign had been sheared off in an accident (Dave found the base of the post in the dirt!) and not replaced. The best we could do was make a U-turn and get the Los Angeles County sign, then continue back to I-5 and southbound.
We turned eastbound on Interstate 210, stopped for a CA Highway 2 picture and got back on I-210 with heavy traffic in the 5 o'clock hour. We stopped at a Chevron Station for fuel and I removed the soft lowers as the temperatures were pretty warm. We got back onto I-210, and after some hesitation, we got into the car pool lanes (some would say illegally, but who's to say what's illegal in Southern California?) and shared lanes for several miles. It was certainly a unique treat, which should be avoided at all costs.
We turned south on CA Highway 57 and then south on CA Highway 71, but I cannot explain to you how those two movements happened. I just followed.
Darkness was falling and it was 6:40 p.m. as we pulled off the highway and into a Jack In The Box parking lot to check the map. According to a young woman security guard waiting for her bus, we were in Pomona, and weren't too far from some motels.
It took a short time, but just after 7 p.m. we found a Motel 6 on Garey Avenue near CA Highway 60 and Hy 71. After some back and forth with the front desk clerk, we ended up with one smoking room and one non-smoking room, about 200 yards apart, down and around a corner, but both were first floor rooms, where we could see the bikes.
We decided to park both bikes in front of my room, under the lights, and cabled them together.
I called Rich Johns on the cellular phone and told him where we were. He told us not to tell anybody else we were in Pomona, and that he would see us in the morning. I walked across the street for some grub and Dave ordered some grub delivered.
The smoke detector in my room chirped a few times, so I called the front desk, expecting they'd send someone with a battery, but the clerk said to go ahead and take the detector down from the ceiling. Done. (Don't ask.)
I watched a little news on CNN, took a shower and went to bed around 10:30 p.m.
Miles for the day = 373. Miles for the trip = 503.
Saturday, March 22, 2003 - Pomona, California
I slept fitfully. Don't eat pizza and then expect to sleep without nightmares. Or maybe it was just the neighborhood. I was up several times in response to noises outside, checked the bikes, and went back to bed.
It was light around 6 a.m., Dave brought his stuff down and loaded his bike about 6:30, as I was dressing and packing. I loaded the Road King, then we cleaned the bikes, checked out of the motel and hit the road about 7:30 a.m.
We started east on Hy 60, then turned at an interchange and went west on Hy 60 (don't ask), then south on Hy 71, west on CA Highway 91, taking a few pictures along the way, enjoyed the relatively light traffic, then turned south on CA Highway 19 (Lakewood Boulevard) and west on Carson Street. Those who know southern California know that many cities are shoulder to shoulder, and we didn't always know what city we were in, but we knew our destination was Long Beach, and that's where we went.
About 10:45 a.m. we found our way to a Ralph's grocery store at Long Beach Boulevard and San Antonio Drive, where we got some juice, milk and sandwiches, and thoroughly enjoyed the air conditioning, then ate at a table Ralph had thoughtfully provided in the shade of the building.
After this little recharge, right about 11:20 a.m., we rode a few blocks to the Johns compound, where we were instructed to ride right into the garage. We met his wife Barbara and some of their creatures, and put out stuff into two guest rooms.
We proceeded immediately to the muffler swap. The left one was hard to remove, so there was some banging and cursing, but eventually it came off and I replaced it with one of Rich's take-offs. The right muffler was much more cooperative and was easily replaced.
I noted the part numbers stamped on the old and new units, and saw discrepancies. About this time we remembered that his mufflers were from his California bike, while mine were from a non-California bike, so I was getting mufflers with catalytic converters included, thus different part numbers.
Then, utilizing the Service Manual and Parts Manual to their full potential (under the kickstand to keep the motorcycle more or less upright), I checked the oil (added some) and checked the primary fluid (added some) [remember, it's an old bike], then after being egged on by Dave C. and Rich J., bent the tab on the kickstand back to its proper position.
The work done, we lounged in the back yard for a while.
Along about 4 p.m., Dave Nichols and his neighbor Don Kent rode in from the San Diego area. A little later, Steve & Faye Reyer arrived, followed by Larry & Jeanette, then Beate, then StephG. and Red-Haired She-Devil, Michael, neighbors Ray & Yvette, Fred [of Fred's Free Beer] and a few others that I was not able to keep up with.
Barbara set a wonderful table (actually several tables) with burgers and dogs, salads and side dishes and fluids of all varieties, and three desserts! It as a most excellent spread and very good. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.
About 8:30 p.m. I went into Rich's office to watch CNN for a while, and while there noticed that the bathroom was quite busy, so I sought (and received) permission to take a shower upstairs, then went to bed about 9:30 p.m.
The accomodations were first class, and I slept well, although there were a few instances of loud motorcycles starting and leaving the area. Those darn motorcycle riders!
Miles for the day = 69. Miles for the trip = 572.
Sunday, March 23, 2003 - Long Beach, California
In the early morning hours I heard birds chirping and police helicopters passing overhead; the sounds of the big city.
I was up for a bathroom break about 1:30 a.m., found Barbara watching television and met two of their cats; one friendly and one somewhat aloof. While I was in the bathroom, the friendly cat snuck upstairs and into my guest room, and I didn't realize it until I heard it rustling around, so I let it back out into the hallway.
Light started coming in the window about 6:30 a.m. When I went downstairs, Dave N., Dave C. and Don K. were up and talking in the dining room. Dave N. and Don had slept on the living room floor. I went back upstairs to dress and pack, then loaded my bike about the time Dave N. and Don were leaving.
Dave N.'s bike is loud but Don's [non-Harley] was not. Rich told Dave that starting his bike would not bother then neighbors since their bedroom was at the other end of the house. Don started his [non-Harley], followed immediately by Rich saying, "go ahead and start it any time." I enjoyed that.
They left for San Diego, and Dave C. and I said our thanks and goodbyes and left at 8:30 a.m. We rode down Atlantic, then west on Interstate 405. We were faced with signs indicating road work with ramps closed at U.S. Highway 101, so I followed Dave as he skirted the construction and we ended up going north on Hwy 101, just as we had intended.
We exited at CA Highway 27 (Topanga Canyon Boulevard) and looked for a Hwy 27 sign. After riding several miles and getting gasoline, we finally found a Hwy 27 sign and got a good photo. We got onto westbound CA Highway 118 and rode to the Ventura County line, then made a U-turn at the next ramp and came back eastbound, observing signs for the Ronald Reagan Freeway, then continued to Interstate 405 and then back onto Interstate 5 and headed north.
We took a short detour for a CA Highway 138 sign, then proceeded over the Grapevine and back onto Hwy 99 heading north.
We stopped behind a restaurant near Wasco about 11:45 a.m., where we watched some inconsiderate fool toss garbage and glass bottles out of his car and onto the parking lot of the restaurant. What a maroon!
We rode north another hour and stopped for fuel at a Union 76 station on Prosperity Avenue in Tulare, then continued north. We encountered rain around Madera, then went our separate ways near Chowchilla. Dave continued north on Hwy 99 and I turned west on CA Highway 152 about 2:10 p.m.
Shortly thereafter, I stopped under the CA Highway 233 overpass to put on rain gear, a monumental task, as the rain gear is one size too small. I hope nobody was nearby with a video camera.
The rain ended about the time I got into Los Banos, but I left the rain gear on.
I rode over Pacheco Pass and got into Gilroy about 3:35 p.m., stopped at Wendy's in a heavy overcast, then got gas at at another Union 76 in Gilroy, and continued north.
I stopped at Wolf Camera near my home about 4:45 p.m. to drop off little plastic cameras and arrived home at 4:55 p.m.
Miles for the day = 415. Miles for the trip = 985.
The results of the trip included some miles ridden, a set of mufflers swapped, a bunch o' pictures taken, some new friends made, some old friends greeted, and a wonderful Saturday evening barbeque.
Thanks to Rich and Barbara Johns for their excellent hospitality!