This was a motorcycle trip to attend Slimefest IV, an IRL ("in real life") activity of the Pacific Northwest Brotherhood of the Slug. If you are not a Slug, or don't read the newsgroup called r.m.h, no amount of explanation will help, just let it go. The common thread of the PNWBS is the enjoyment of owning and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Most of the advance work for this trip was done by friend and co-worker Dave Clements. I would be riding with Dave and his wife Pandora from their home in the central valley of California to north-central Oregon, near the Mt. Hood National Forest. Dave is very good at determining routes of travel and places to stay.
Another reason for the trip was to take pictures for the Harley Owners Group's ABCs of Touring. Both Dave and I needed to add to our collection of city, county and state signs. I also wanted to take pictures of California highway signs along the way.
At the time of this trip, I had owned my States Blue Pearl 1996 FLHR-I Road King for 2 1/2 years and had put approximately 36,000 miles on it, including cross-country trips in 2001 and 2002.
The day before the trip was a regular work day and I was assigned the dreaded "relief," but I made the best of it. After work, I got home and started packing the T-Bag and saddlebag liners. I packed a few shirts, a few pairs of socks and underwear, a pair of pants, some all-purpose bandannas, a few miscellaneous items and a couple of maps.
Having learned on my last trip that it is inconvenient to put on motorcycle boots in the middle of the night, I packed my sheepskin moccasins and then went to bed about 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 5, 2002 - San Jose, California
The anticipation of this trip did not let me sleep too well. I was up at 5:00 a.m., dressed with a couple of layers, did a little rearranging of the items in the T-Bag and saddlebag liners, changed some video tapes in the house, packed some cold drinks and blue ice, put down dog food, and started attaching things to the Road King.
With the engine started at 5:40 a.m., I bid Barney goodbye, donned my last couple layers of clothing, and got on the road at 5:45 a.m.
It was still dark outside and quite cool as I rode through the Santa Clara valley, north on Interstate 680 and east on Interstate 580. I stopped for fuel at a Union 76 station near the east end of Livermore about 6:40 a.m., where the sun was just coming up.
I continued east on I-580 and I-205, then north on I-5 and east on CA Highway 120 into Manteca and arrived at Dave & Pan's house (79 miles) about 7:20 a.m., where there was a slight cool breeze, and he was getting their FLHT Standard ready to go.
After some last-minute preparations, mostly involving children and pets, we left their home at 8:40 a.m., stopped for fuel around the corner, and were on our way at 8:50 a.m.
We hit Interstate 5 about 9:15 a.m. and headed north for about 115 miles, where we pulled into Granzella's Restaurant in Williams CA a few minutes before 11:00 a.m. for a wonderful breakfast. I had pork chops, eggs, toasted rye and juice.
We left the restaurant just before noon and got fuel at a Union 76 station around the corner, where I had to go inside because this was my third fuel stop of the day. (Fuel Rant.) It wasn't a total loss because I found a Commander Cody CD for $9.99 (with the Lost Planet Airmen, of course).
We went back over the freeway, I took a CA Highway 20 picture, then got on northbound I-5. We worked out a system where I would take an off-ramp, take a highway sign picture, then get back on the freeway. Meanwhile, they would stop near the on-ramp and wait for me.
This worked well for Highways 162, 36, 44 and 299 as we rolled through the real "northern California," but when I stopped for a picture at Hy 151 and then got back on the freeway, I had lost them. There was no safe place for them to pull over, so they kept on going.
I kept riding north for what seemed like 20 miles, through some beautiful parts of rural northern California, looking on both sides of the highway for Dave & Pan, before pulling into a vista point about a mile south of Castella CA a little before 3:00 p.m. I was quite concerned about how and if we would get back together. Of course there was no cellular phone signal, but I was approached by a drunk woman, who admired the Road King, so it wasn't a total loss (!).
After a short while I decided to forge onward, and I finally found them near Dunsmuir about 10 anxious minutes later. After a brief reunion and a vow not to let that happen again, we kept going north.
Somewhere north of Dunsmuir I heard an ominous "clank," the sound of pot-metal hitting the freeway, and looked down to see that my left side passenger footboard was no longer rattling, but had finally just jumped off the bike.
About 20 minutes later, we pulled off the freeway to refuel at a Union 76 in Weed CA. As this was my fourth fueling of the day, I had to go inside to pay.
We then continued through Weed on U.S. Highway 97 in a northeasterly direction on mostly two-lane highway. We had a great view of Mt. Shasta and the Klamath National Forest and then passed through the old railroad town of Macdoel.
About 4:40 p.m. we arrived at the Golden Eagle Motel in Dorris CA. They're right on a 15 mile per hour curve at 1st and Main Streets, elevation about 4200 feet. (Dorris is known for its three 15-mph curves and the occasional overturned truck.) Dave had made reservations by phone, and we found everything to be in order.
Dave and Pan were given the key to Room 20 and I was assigned to Room 19. We parked the bikes just outside the rooms, right-side to right-side on their gravel parking lot. Not surprisingly, I found no Sprint PCS coverage.
The motel owner told us to be prepared for cold temperatures overnight. We talked to a construction worker named Mark, staying in a nearby room, who concurred. He'd been here for six weeks, working on a new dam at Tule Lake. He warned us that he would be starting his 1966 Ford Fairlane early, but he would try to be quiet.
For dinner, we walked down the street to Primo's Pizza and More, where Dave and Pan shared a calzone and I had salad, steak and a bowl of pineapple pieces (instead of the less healthy French Fries).
After dinner, we walked back toward the motel at about 7 p.m. I detoured around the corner to a market for some milk for the morning, then back to the motel.
I watched some CNN, some CBS, took a shower, watched more CNN and went to bed before 10 p.m.
Miles for the day: from Manteca = 341, from San Jose = 420.