Posted by: caryandjohn | March 28, 2009

Parkfield Grade to Clear Creek to SF … we start to fall apart …

After chatting with a couple of German guys who were finishing up a two-week trip on rented Harleys, we loaded up the bikes with a vauge expectation of being able to make it back to San Francisco today. Hope springs eternal. Ha.

So, the day was beautiful, and we wove our way up just east of 101 through the wine country around Paso Robles,  to Indian Valley Road, where we stopped and tried to decide which way to go … up and over Massey-Furguson to Route 1? Or just keep on Indian Valley to Peach Tree to Airline Highway? Bah, we decided, we’re on dual-sport bikes, let’s find some dirt! So, we took Vinyard Canyon Road to Parkfield, the earthquake capital of the world, where we could ride the dirt up and over Parkfied Grade, which goes up to over 3000′. I’d never been up Vinyard Canyon Road, which was a super Central California-style road. Very nice.

We stopped just below the summit of the Parkfield Grade to take some photos, when I noticed that the DR350’s pipe looked unhappy. Turned out that when it was blown over while we were packing it at the Cajon Pass, the milled aluminum bracket on the can broke. Grr. OK, no problem. We just need to secure the pipe to the bike; we’re only a few hours from home. How hard can it be? Now then, where’s my safety wire? At home in the garage? Great.

So, we sacraficed my spare clutch cable and wired the pipe to the bike. Off we went for a mile or so, before the pipe slipped off the header. We poked around and found a huge safety pin and some scrap barb-wire and made another attempt at securing the pipe for the few miles left to San Francisco. OK, Cary jumps on the bike, goes over the high side, and drops the DR350 right onto the pipe, breaking one of her rear view mirrors. Hmm. Maybe we won’t be making it home today … The DR gave us a bit of a hard time, by stalling in Coalinga and then not wanting to start right away, somthing that had not happened once in the last eight weeks of daily use. Hmmm.

We regrouped in Coalinga, at a nice drive-in, and figgured we’d camp somewhere along the Coalinga-Los Gatos Road, maybe just south of the Clear Creek Managment Area. We found a Fresno County Park where we could camp, set up our last campsite of the trip, were awakened at around 11 pm by beer drinking teenagers who left at around 1 pm and awoke to our final, beautiful, day of our adventure.

We stopped for gas in Hollister, and had a wonderful breakfast at The Rose Cafe on Fourth Street, on through San Juan Bautista, Watsonville, Aptos, up Old San Jose Road and through the Santa Cruz Mountains to Alice’s Restaurant. The pipe stayed on the DR. It started right up and never stalled. It began to look like we may make it home. Without pushing a bike, or spending time in an emergency room. Joy.

So that’s what we did.

Thanks to Kalle and Lisa for keeping our plants watered while we were gone, and for the nice “Welcome Home” note! Jen from Werkstatt did her magic in getting the bikes ready to complete our over 5500 mile adventure ride. Yay, Jen!

And special thanks to Cary, who was unfailingly cheerful, tough, understanding, and enthusiastic throughout our trip. Some few of you who have read some of this blog will have an idea what an accomplishment it is to ride a DR350 for eight weeks and 5500 miles. Sweet. Yay, Cary!

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