The Breakfast Club: Gardnerville, 2017

Back to Marc’s story

Saturday/Sunday, Aug 26-27 2017

Alberto writes:

This is one boring tale… but, that is how it went for me and some others.

To be truthful, I am comfortable traveling by myself, but much rather go anywhere with another bike-rider coming along. Another, I dislike being the leader, you see the odds are I will get lost and have a need to stop and backtrack. By myself, there is no need to backtrack… I go where this road or the GPS take me.

I had arranged to go up the mountain with WWWobble, (Bob) and his wife Polly. Bob, because you cannot get anything serious out of him (the salesman syndrome) and Polly because she cannot remember anything I say, five minutes after I have said it (I can change my story and improve upon it at every new telling!).

Early riser that I am, there is no hurry. Not even an alarm clock to be on time. I am to meet with Bob and Polly at his house in San Mateo by 8:30 am. Coffee and hit the road was the plan.

The morning is fresh. Clear skies, no traffic on highway 280. I can tell in advance it is going to be a glorious day. Stopped by Safeway to get some croissants. Three to be exact as what they sell at the bakery are huge! Try them sometime, they are fresh baked, yummy!

When I got to Bob’s house there is no coffee, and he is ready to “hit the road”. “Hey bucko! I did not have breakfast anticipating a half hour of baloney at your house”. So there he is, having to improvise and kick on his Keurick coffee maker. Yes, I insist on coffee and the three yummy pastries I brought along.

On the road by 9:00 am. South on highway 280, onto 92 to cross the Bay and onto 580 heading East… and beyond.

Just as we get on the bridge at 92… Beep! Beep! I hear next to me. Oh, surprise! Carl Tyler. I can recognize the white bristles under his visor. I am very happy to have Carl join. Got it! I’ll have to keep an eye on the mirror at all times to insure nothing goes wrong with him. I looked in the mirror and a warm feeling covers me at seeing Carl come along. I am happy to do it.

A bunch of miles later I see Carl take the ramp onto 120 heading to Yosemite (in my mind..l bye Carl!) while Bob, Polly and I continue East on …. what highway am I on? Sacramento lies ahead,so I am not really lost until… Bob takes an exit toward Rancho Seco and the decommissioned nuclear power plant.

Pretty country. We can really open up the throttle and feel the warm breeze. Warm breeze? Correction, the HOT AIR rush by. It is 86°F and it already feels hot… little did I know what was coming.

The Rancho Seco Decommissioned Power plant is quite an imposing sight. Wish sometime to take a tour of it… “and I hear that all those that opposed this form of energy now favor it as a cleaner alternative. Can it be re-activated?” Bob explains that the technology to re-start it is too old and the cost of re-starting the plant is higher than building a whole new power plant from scratch. [ ALBERTO’s political sniping - thank you! To all those that knew enough to close the plant on ecology-and-safety concerns in the 60’s and 10 bonus points to the media that promoted the ideas of these idiots! - end of political sniping ].

Back to the story.

Bob found the way to highway 88 and later Shaker Ridge, our intended up-the-mountain choice of road. Shaker Ridge is a winding pretty road which after a few dream-like winding turns presented us with a “road-under-repair” detour. Well, cannot tell what the detour road was but it was fantastic, better than Shaker Ridge! Taking us down to highway 49 just a few miles from Sutter Creek. Bob is in his glory, pushing the bike left and right opening the throttle just at the apex of every turn and make the bike upright only to repeat the maneuver three hundred yards down the road.

You would think that having a pillion rider, Polly, he’d slow down a tad. Not a chance! “Polly likes to go fast, he later explained. Meantime I marvel at Polly’s sense of timing, leaning just right and turning her head to the side-of-the-turn to keep Bob nicely balanced.

We had lunch at some place Bob knew. Nothing memorable except for the company. Isn’t that something, choose your travel companions well, and nothing unpleasant happens. Choose a poor companion and ambrosia, you wished not to have ordered.

But enough of the kvetching. Time for the last leg of the ride. Up and down the mountain on highway 88 all the way to Minden, Nevada.

Because I am terrible at getting reservations I went with Bob and Polly staying at the Holliday Inn a very comfortable facility. Bob sure lives well… I may learn from him.

We barely set ourselves in our rooms when it was time to go to the golf course and meet with the rest of the SMBC buddies.

Dinner was interesting. They served TONGUE, yes beef tongue. I am okay with it, as it is a common staple in Peru (where I was born), but for Americans? Just the notion turn many away from even trying it. “Im too old to bother, I already know what I like, and this ain’t it!” I interjected as to the necessity of expanding one’s culinary exploration… “no thanks!”. And that was the end of tongue. Luckily, tongue was flowed by salad, chicken, steaks, bread, dessert… it was a food-comma pig out.

That took us until eight or nine pm when we adjourned to the motel. Well, most anyway, I went back to the Holliday Inn. I was tired. And correspondingly slept like a baby right away.

The next morning, Harry BAhlman and Rich Penrose joined Bob, Polly and myself at the Holliday Inn for breakfast. That is, if you can call plastic eggs and cardboard sausage patty breakfast. Harry has a hollow leg and he downed an enormous quantity of food. Bob, whom I though has a discerning palate, did likewise. It must be the years he spent as a traveling salesman living from hotel to hotel, you kind of develop a taste for crap, not unlike my preference for Burger King… high I still highly favor.

Off by 9:00 am. Highway 88, to the Mormon Emigrant trail to eventually find our way to the Rancho Seco power plant. They must have started the power plant and it probably has a leak! This area was at a toasty 108 ° F. We got on highway 12 somehow as we were riding the levees on our way to Brentwood, where Bob and Polly will say bye to us. Harry, Rich and Alberto continued on highway 4 westward. Boy, was that a mistake! The heat was unreal and the traffic while minimal was behaving badly. Everyone was doing 80 plus mph, zig-zagging, passing and probably cursing… I know I did!

Quick pit stop in Milpitas at Starbucks was a welcome break, my butt was seriously complaining. Back on 880, 237 to 85 and home loomed in the 280 Harry went North, Rich and I took the last miles home.

Phew! While it was a great ride, I was again exhausted. Got home. Took a shower and parked myself in front of the TV for some real American education watching Jeopardy which we have recorded at home…. next thing I knew, Lynn was calling me for dinner. Where did the afternoon go?