The Breakfast Club: MOA Rally 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
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Alberto’s tale… DAY ONE - BILLINGS
Actually it all started last Friday the 10th.
Preparing the motorbike for the next two weeks of riding. Tire pressure checking, oil levels, cleaning the windshield and hoping that I have now done all that is necessary. Remember, it’s me playing mechanic. Not a good combination.
Oh! Almost forgot. My helmet has a problem. When I lift the visor, well, it comes clear off - off the helmet that is! One of the side latches is broken. Went to Cycle Gear, lucky me, the helmet has a five year warranty. They removed the latch, fixed it and… Gave me a new visor without scratches. Now that was a great bonus. Clear visibility all the way to Billings. Thank you Cycle Gear!
While there I bought two Rock Straps to attached my bags to the motorbike. That was okay if you do not mind being set back $24 for a vanilla strap. How wrong can I be. The Rock Straps are simply fabulous. Before I had to use 4 or 5 bungee Chords. Now, just two Rock Straps and the job is done. Pretty cool.
Loading the clothing, (rain gear, heated gear, and street clothing). Loading all entertainment stuff like this iPad, iPhone, GPS, and chargers. Loading odds and ends (toiletries, towel, maps, iPod, tools… Not much more). And I am set.
Tested the load on the bike. Wholly smokes, this bike is heavy… no, it is HEAVY!! The bike no longer feels like I can maneuver it. Just will have to adjust to the new added weight, do not attempt or even try to lean this bike…. It will go straight down. Ouch! Careful, will have to be more attentive to weight.
Saturday and Sunday I spent in preparations. You’d think I have never gone on a motorcycle tour. I have. Not many, but I have. They however have been short 500 milers for three days. This thing to Billings Montana will be two weeks and close to 4,000 miles. That same and not really.
Sunday night, 8:30 pm. Tomorrow I will depart. Time for bed…. Why? I know that sleep will not come. Still, just rest, close your eyes… Something will happen. Correct! Next thing I know the alarms goes off at 4:00 am. But I have been awake for about 45 minutes and I was anticipating it.
Up and at them! Will not bore you with the details, suffice it to say that I was out of the house by 5:00 am on my way to meet with Chris at the Shell station on Hickey Boulevard in Pacifica. About 45 minutes away. I live in the South Bay, Saratoga.
Highway 280. I saw the sun rising and the cloud cover threaten a little bit. Nothing to be concern except for the obvious temperature drop. We are heading to the Central Valley - it will be hot, very hot there.
Chris showed up on time. If this guy says 6:00 am, by gollies is will not be five before, or five after. Just set your clock by his arrival.
At the Shell station we both topped-off the gas tank and in short order headed off. Destination Winters CA near highway 205 to the Putah Creek Cafe. ( Note: Putah, for tose Spanish speaking, Putah, is a name, so clean up your mind! )
Crossing the SF traffic was painless, the new Oakland Bay bridge remains a thrill to cross. Then comes a bunch of highways eventually taking to Winters Rd. What a great little road, meandering next to a river and ending in this definitely laid-back town of Winters.
I was not going to have breakfast. Truth be told, I intent on being cautious about “porking out”. I still want to shed a few pounds and riding the bike should help. Putah Creek Cafe. Chris starts by saying, “Alberto this place will serve sausage patties that are the best in California, make no mistake!” Well, so much for skipping breakfast… And he was right! Too late!
Half hour later, we head north. Chris tells me that this portion of the road today will be a “yawner”. Highway Five for a hundred miles or so. Right! It turned out a massive yawner. Stop at some truck-stop to watch a “crop-duster, refuel. Fun little two-winged airplane, and, yellow! My favorite color. Got some gas at the gas station and attempting to use the facilities… Aww, the bathroom had burned down. Huh? Yes, up in flames a couple of days ago. Nice attendant lady suggest, “just cross the street, go to the Subway restaurant.” We did, I downloaded… Chris, uploaded a root beer (I refused to drink medicinal soda). Off we went.
Red Bluff, no more highway for us. Quick through it, and Chris is definitely “on the go”. ”Ready to climb some mountains?” He asked. You bet!
Little did I know. Two lane State Road 36. Sweet winding road, no traffic, sunny day, no worries. Is there anything better?
Soon enough we found ourselves at Lassen National Park. Purchased a super-senior national parks card. Super-senior because I am the best… (Chris, is the super-senior by age). $10 and I am set for life at any and all national parks…. Hence forth, FREE! My taxes at work, thank you, to all those under 65. (I will not talk about Medicare, but I thank you all on that count as well).
Brokeoff Mountain, Lassen peak, lakes, Tehama Mountain…. It is all magnificent. Went to the visitor center, where they have a twenty minute video. Worth every second. See it, if ever you have a chance.
After a couple of tourist pictures, and some creative photographs, by Mr Weld trained photographer, of a beautiful meadow… He sure has a good eye, despite the glasses he wears. Darn good eye.
And the last leg. To the Weld household in Old Station, California. Did not see a town, but sure arrived just in time to the house. I am tired.
Chris is setting up the “entertainment”. Bird seeds for the birds, and it appears “this show ain’t for the birds”… Chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and birds descend on the seeds he has placed. “By Thursday, it will be all gone!” And let me tell you, he has placed no less than a couple of pounds of seeds. We’ll see about this show!
About an hour later… Alberto! Come here, I have an idea. Idiot me, believing Mr Weld to be the perfect host… I sure took, Hook-line-and-sinker!
Huckleberry Finn, someone got someone else to paint the fence. Well, today we have Huckleberry Chris. This guy, get this, proposes : “Alberto, here, take the lawn mower and if you do that I’ll do the weed-eater”. There I was pushing, and pushing when I see his eminence Weld admiring my pushing-style, while he is smoking his pipe. WHAT!!? I have become a farmer working dawn-to-dusk… Where did I go wrong here? Vacation, ever heard of that word? Well, I must amend this tale. Mr Weld, while admiring the pushing was really thinking: “Has this guy ever pushed a lawn mower? - probably not. There is no way anyone can be that useless. “Alberto, do not push so hard, look the mower has self-propelled wheels, let the machine do the job”. All I could think was okay, okay.
Once the slave-job was over, came the fun. Chris has this red scooter, has to be 11cc With a top speed of 15 MPH, I know, because I tried to go faster. Nope! That scooter is Union, and it definitely knows it’s rights. 15, that’s it, buster!
Now is 7:00 pm and probably after Mr Weld downs some booze, we’ll think about dinner. Now, that will likely be an adventure. We shall see… Stay tuned, I promise to tell the event.
…This is an hour later. Sometimes you can tell in advance if someone can cook or not. Listen, the host goes to the freezer and announces: ”well, let’s see what we’ve got here. Frozen taters. Some frozen meat balls. Hey, lucky! Pot stickers!” - yes, an adventure is about to unfold.
It is all in how you approach the problem, What Mr Weld lacked in culinary, he more than made up with enthusiasm. By the way, Chris has a placard on the refrigerator that says: IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCED; REDEFINE SUCCESS. And, right he is. We are about to, enthusiastically, redefine culinary.
Dinner: noodles with meatballs and potstickers all boiled in one pot. For sauce, Ahhh, let me tell you, (don’t knock it until you have tried it) Chris opted for Bull’s Eye BBQ sauce. I went for the international flavor of Trader Ming’s Sesame Soy & Ginger Vinaigrette… The bottle says fat-free - I said to myself, how can I go wrong? (I think it would go better on salads), I added ketchup to tone it down a little. For the second helping we both traded sauces. My opinion, BBQ, much better! But, what do I know!
The day ended with Chris downing some more wine, I think, it was Cavernian Suave Onion… Or something like that, most suitable! Contently he smiled and that was good enough for the first day.
What a great first day!
Day 1 Pictures
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