Tag Archives: I-5

12th Annual Brown Water Run

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.

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The temperature in Morro Bay was chilly. Once we crossed the mountains and approached the Central Valley, it heated up. It was hot.

SR 41 at SR 33

Gassing up before crossing I-5 gave us an opportunity to shed our heavier clothing. It was now T-Shirt riding time.

Oakhurst

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.

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Rounding the Corner and Heading for Home

Rounding the corner and heading for home always brings a change in attitude. Much like the first day of a ride, you want to put on the miles. Our first day on this adventure we rode 440 miles, today I rode 432.

Jim and I agreed to ride about half way home and spend the night. Once we hit Redding, California, we knew we were headed home.

The weather was iffy leaving Crescent City but we decided against the heavy stuff.

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We made it about forty miles before we had to stop for bridge construction. It was warming up and it looked like it would be a long stop so I took off my jacket and stowed my sweatshirt. I took a couple of shots of Jim stretching before putting my jacket back on. The camera fell out of my jacket pocket, hit the ground, and broke. There is nothing visible but the viewer remains black. It will record an image but you have no idea what you are shooting.

We saw warning signs for Elk. Rounding a gentle curve, I saw a white van stopped in the roadway. Jim braked, and just before he stopped, the van moved away. Wondering what had caused the stop, I scanned both sides of US 101. Grazing in the front yard of a ranger station were at least a dozen Elk.

Later, coming into McKinleyville I saw at least forty Elk peacefully munching a farmer’s alfalfa crop.

The following picture of the California Coast line was taken blind.

Patricks Point
At Arcata, we turned east on California 299. 299 is a great ride and we have crossed it several times during Brown Water Runs.

I first crossed 299 more than fifty years ago. A freshman at Humboldt State College, I had relatives in Redding. So one Saturday morning I put out my thumb and away I went. Back then 299 was a true adventure, more like a corkscrew that a highway. I think the speed limit was 35 MPH. There were not a lot of warning signs. I got a ride on a loaded logging truck. It was an experience that I would not like to repeat.

About a month later, three fellow students and I decided to go to a dance at Chico State College. One of the guys had a cousin who was a student there. According to MapQuest it’s about 210 miles from Arcata to Chico. I know it was further back in 1962. It took us twelve hours each way. With the bald tires on my old Ford we slid across a few curves and off the road once or twice.

We slept on the floor at a Sorority house and had a ball at the dance. Chubby Checker was reigning supreme at the time. The only thing I remember clearly was doing the Twist.

Cal-Trans is still straightening out 299. We got stuck at a realignment project.

On 299

We passed a couple of cars on the right and pulled under a tree at the side of the road. The shade made it bearable. The picture was taken with my iPhone.

Once in Redding we fueled up and headed home. I-5 from Redding south can be best described as miserable and hot. I wasn’t disappointed.

Our next outing is only two weeks away. July 5th is the beginning of the 2013 Brown Water Run. We have over twenty riders confirmed.

Jim and I are already forecasting a ride for 2014. The plan is to ship the Harleys to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We’ll fly there and ride down the coast to New Orleans and ship the bikes home. The route is about 3,200 miles. But we never take the direct route. With Jim leading the way, we should cover at least 4,000 miles.

Key Largo

Jim has never been to Key West, Florida, and I am always up for a bit of scuba diving at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo. With any luck the Phantom will be well enough to join us, and maybe even a few other hardy souls.

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