Featured Off To See Santa In April

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Jet City, Apr 19, 2022.

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  1. Jet City

    Jet City Noble Member

    Sep 24, 2018
    Seattle, Washington USA
    #1 Jet City, Apr 19, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2022
    Part One


    Work safe, die old. This could be a motto for motorcyclists and reflects the contents of my carryon bag. Space that would usually be taken up with nonessentials like clothes and shampoo has been used for fancy leather pants and boots.

    The program for this trip was for me to fly from my hometown of Seattle to Santa Rosa, California to ride motorcycles with friends Flip and Bill. I’ve known Flip for 33 years now and Bill for almost as long. These are two of the great guys, guys who will laugh with you, post bail for you at two AM, tell you when you are being a wanker, and help you move the body. We share a love of bikes and things mechanical.

    My buddy Flip has a spare helmet at my place, and I have a spare at his, cause just in case, right? But the rest of my gear had to be carried on.


    Flying gives you a perspective on the world that you don’t often view, and the Western USA has some dramatic scenery. Here are Mount Shasta (California) and Crater Lake (Oregon).



    It’s a quick flight, though, and two hours after taking off we were landing in an airport surrounded by vineyards in every direction.


    It is hard to describe how pervasive viticulture is in the Napa, Sonoma, and surrounding valleys. There isn’t much land left to convert into vineyards, and if they start planting vines in median strips and city parks I wouldn’t be overly surprised.

    When I left Seattle it was 50F and spitting rain; the next day in Northern California it was 65F and sunny. I wish I could post up pics of us hauling the mail through roads draped over rolling hills covered with row after row of grapevines, with hawks wheeling overhead and the smell of lemon blossoms in the air (a thing that actually happened (more than once!)). But of course I was riding motorcycles at the time instead of snapping pics. Still, once we stopped it looked like this.


    And this. That’s Bill up ahead, wondering what the hell I’m doing.


    Although I was only in Santa Rosa for a few days, we did a bunch of riding. We rode exactly 666 miles over three days; despite the beastly number very little of it was wasted time. Even the little bit of four lane road we took is pretty scenic.



    Highlights were Cal 128 through the redwoods to the ocean (we burst out of the oak covered hills south of Albion and the Pacific Ocean was heaving blue-green against the rocks under the sunshine, contained by fog about half a mile out. It was so spectacular and distracting that I thought “this could actually cause a crash”); Cal 253 from route 101 to Boonville; and California 29 from Calistoga to Middletown.

    There’s nothing wildly scenic about that section of Cal 29 between Calistoga and Middletown, and there is plenty of traffic. However, it’s the only highway I’ve ever seen where you are encouraged to pass on the curves. It’s pretty much big sweepers for about ten miles, and three lanes for that entire stretch with alternating passing lanes north/south. The rhythm for motorbikes is… wait for passing lane, blast by three or four cars in the fast lane pitched over at a righteous lean angle… cruise up on the next clot of traffic… exercise your sidewalls again. You get the idea.

    This guy was keeping an eye on our bikes while we ate
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  2. Jet City

    Jet City Noble Member

    Sep 24, 2018
    Seattle, Washington USA
    #2 Jet City, Apr 19, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2022
    Part Two

    How did I wind up with a 2005 Tuono Factory as a loaner motorcycle? Frankly, it beats me. It’s as though you were talking with your friend and he said, “Hey, why don’t you come down to my place and we’ll go out for a drive. You can drive my Ferrari, no problem!”


    Unfortunately, remarkably soon the Tuono was festooned with my bug-spattered gear. I spent a surprising amount of time using the bike to kill bugs. Who knew there were so many bugs in Northern California?


    This little guy came by to say hi and check out some Italian exotica

    In the end it comes down to this: I strongly encourage anyone reading this to cultivate friends like mine, who invite you to thrash their rare motorcycles, put you up in their spacious guest rooms, make you coffee, endure your jokes with a smile, feed you (delicious) chili, have big fridges full of beer, and laugh at your attempt to pay for anything.

    Bill tries to visualize a nuclear powered KTM Duke

    I sure look pleased with what I left on the road right… there. Others are less impressed.

    Flip has a conversation with his impetuous throttle hand

    Okay, which one of you jokers filled this with styrofoam peanuts?

    Bill has as esoteric fleet of bikes, including a KTM Super Duke R, the aforementioned Tuono, and a Kawasaki ZX14R. He also has a motorcycle that was one of my early crushes when I was in my early twenties: A 1982 Suzuki GS1100E.


    This bike makes an intoxicating, slightly evil sound

    His garage has a rich layer of Suzuki engines in various stages of build. C’mon, this just feels like a place you want to hang around in.


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  3. Jet City

    Jet City Noble Member

    Sep 24, 2018
    Seattle, Washington USA
    Part Three

    After what seemed like a very quick three days it was time to stop paying $6.20 per gallon for gas and go back north where gas is only $5.20 per gallon. I realize that for the Europeans out there in internet land, this is cheap but for us in the USA it is quite a shock as gas has gone up by about 40% in the last six months. Oddly enough, just like in Europe, there are still traffic jams regardless of how much gas costs.


    So I hopped into Alaska Airlines’ big white sleigh and went home. Lemme see… there are eight reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh and adding Rudolph, Santa, and me that makes eleven. There were indeed eleven people, including the crew, on the flight from Santa Rosa to Seattle! It was a bit Twilight Zone, frankly.



    My fabulous wife welcoming me home at SeaTac Airport :grinning:
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  4. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

    Oct 29, 2014
    Brilliant. Loved that. :):)
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  5. andyc1

    andyc1 Lunarville 7, Airlock 3

    Feb 4, 2017
    N. Ireland
    What a class trip... and perfect friends! :cool:
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  6. Glenn2926

    Glenn2926 Senior Member

    Dec 21, 2021
    Great ride report of your trip with great friends. Please do more of them. Thanks.
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  7. Markus

    Markus First Class Member

    Oct 28, 2020
    @Jet City: Thanks for the humorous stories and terrific pictures!
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!

    Dec 3, 2018
    Tucson Arizona
    #8 Sandi T, Apr 25, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2022
    Wow, what a brilliant thread and trio report, @Jet City! Thanks so much for sharing the moto adventures of you and your friends. I was drooling the whole time. I lived in the Bay Area some years ago and absolutely love Sonoma County. It's where I'd chose to live if money was no object. It looks like you had a blast. And with friends like that, who needs....well, who needs much else? Except for a wonderful wife, like yours obviously is. I LOVE that photo of her welcoming you home, you "motorcycle hoodlum", you. I agree with @Glenn2926--please do more ride reports, Jet City!
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  9. PatW

    PatW Senior Member

    Apr 4, 2021
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