Day 2 – 7/6/2013
What is an Axiom? An “axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy”.
Keith “Axiom” Wallace is always the first Brown Water Runner up. By the time anyone else is awake, Keith is out by the motorcycles with a cigarette in one hand, and a cup of coffee in the other. It wouldn’t be fair to tell you that the third part of the Axiom is that he is always the last one ready to ride. It wouldn’t be fair because he couldn’t get ready to ride with his Ultra broke down.
Saturday was no exception. Keith was up first but he had to walk four blocks before he found a cup of coffee. When the other riders came out, there he was coffee and cigarette in hand.
Our planned route took us over SR-58 to Button Willow across the Central Valley, on to CA-178 to Lake Isabella. The next leg was to US 395 and north to Bishop. California was suffering from a heat wave. The area around Lake Isabella and north was listed on weather maps as “Extreme Heat”. We’ve ridden this route before and even at the best of times, it is a miserable ride.
We all agreed it would be dangerous, foolish, to follow the original plan. We decided to take CA-41 east. This allowed us to stay on the same highway until we reached CA-120 near Yosemite. CA-120 took us to Tioga Pass. Tioga Pass is one of the best rides in the state.
This did increase our ride from 340 miles to 362 and from seven hours to almost nine. It was worth it.
The first leg of the day was CA-1 to CA-41. Mike Foster checked his GPS and made this announcement for all to hear, “It’s 19 miles to 41.”
Once we were all fueled and ready, I lead the group to CA-1 and headed north. Imagine my surprise when less than a half mile later I saw a sign for CA-41. I quickly, much too quickly, crossed from the fast lane over and on to the off ramp. I jumped from the Ultra and began waving the riders off the highway. Once I had everyone off, including the Train Mobile, I returned to the front of the pack.
The temperature in Morro Bay was chilly. Once we crossed the mountains and approached the Central Valley, it heated up. It was hot.
Gassing up before crossing I-5 gave us an opportunity to shed our heavier clothing. It was now T-Shirt riding time.
After lunch in Oakhurst, Keith’s Peace Officer Special Edition Ultra would not start. Up onto the Train Mobile trailer it went for the next three days. The electrical system decided it would rather ride a trailer than run the motorcycle.
Saturday on the 4th of July Weekend in Yosemite was hectic. Traffic was beyond heavy. A young man who apparently drove at excessive speed went off CA-120 and over the edge at a tight corner. He was lucky and ran up a tree. One of the two lanes was closed. Getting through the area once again split the group into several segments.
Tioga Pass is one of the most beautiful rides in the state. We made one brief stop at Tuolumne Meadows for water and gas. We were enjoying ourselves so much, we all neglected to take pictures. Going over the 10,000 foot pass it got a tad cool, but not enough for anyone to add layers. Tioga is always a great ride.
Once over the pass it was down to US-395 and south to Bishop. The pool at the Motel 6 was soon the scene of a gaggle of middle aged men in ugly shorts. A dip or two helped cool our overheated heads. A bucket of KFC Chicken made for the ultimate dinner and end to a great day.