VSP's Musings

SFBA VROC is the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club, an International group of Internet Kawasaki Vulcan enthusiasts. The SFBA Chapter is a misnomer of sorts since it includes Northern California, Northern Nevada, Southern Oregon and Utah.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Polar Bear Ride - 10Dec2005

{Click on photos for full size images}

Friday afternoon 9Dec2005, Sky and I leave Stockton heading to Novato. It is the fog season in the Central Valley and we decide to stay overnight in Marin County to make the Ride Start at 10:00 AM on Saturday. I was hoping that Nite Lite would be there to lead the Ride, but he had to cancel out with a bad back. So it looked like I became the default Ride Leader and needed to be there early.

Saturday morning it is a short 15 minute ride to the Bon Air Shopping Center. We gas up at the Chevron station at the center then head over to Noah's Bagels. Darcy and Jim E. are already there at 9:30. The sky is clear and blue and the temperature is already in the mid 40s.

Blackheart and the crew from Fremont arrive. Blackheart has the lowest VROC number (744) by a long ways for this Ride. One of the Riders, Tom G. has had a VROC number (18624) less than a week.

I had gotten a phone call from Top Dawg as he left home in Atwater some 125 miles through the fog from the Ride Start. That was shortly before 7:00 AM. He phoned from the road at a gas stop in Livermore and told me that his GPS said he would be here at 10:15 AM. So I tell the people that we will delay the Ride Start a few minutes to wait for the Dawg.

So we have a chance to visit and check out the bikes.

Top Dawg arrives all bundled up on his VN2000 at 10:16 AM. His GPS was fine. He just went to the western end of the Shopping Center and had to double back to Noah's Bagels.

We line up 17 bikes for our Ride. Heading out onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd is a bit problematic with that many bikes. The Christmas shoppers are filling the main east - west thoroughfare through the quaint towns of Marin County, one of the highest priced neighborhoods in the country. After getting through the towns and villages we head into Samuel Taylor Park. The road through the Park really needs to be repaved. At the rest break I find out that a slow moving cage had broken the Ride into two sections. The lead group is moving along at a nice clip through the winding roads of the Park. The rear group was being frustrated by the cage for a long time before the driver finally pulled off to let them pass. The road then Ts into Hwy 1. We make a qiuck right and a quick left to get to the Visitors Center for Point Reyes.

Check out the sky in the following photos.

The original Ride plan which was merely in my head was to head north on Hwy 1 to Bodega Bay and lunch at the snack shop at Lucas Wharf. Now that works if you have a small number of bikes. The snack shop has seating for maybe 12 people. With this many bikes and people we (was there a vote?) decide to head to Negri's in Occidental. Also it will be 11:30 by the time we get back on the bikes. So we will head up Hwy 1 with a bike check at Tomales straight to Occidental.

On the road we pass a ton of bicyclists. In front of us are a few cars moving along at above the speed limit so we get to ride at a reasonable clip on the twisting Hwy 1. At Tomales we still have 17 bikes. So without getting off the bikes we head on. At Valley Ford we take the short cut to the Bohemian Highway. Man what a rough road. We get to the Bohemian Highway, which is a neat road that has an occasional canopy of trees where there are sections of the road that never see daylight.

We make it to Occidental, a town that was built as a railroad stop for hauling out redwood logs. It is not a town that you will accidentally run into.

At Negri's we are greeted by Evelyn Negri. The Negri's own half the town and also have a thoroughbred race horse ranch up the road.

We have to wait a few minutes for the restaurant to set up our table. So we retire to the bar. It is a nice big bar and the wait is not too long.

Negri's has been around for quite awhile. It was a fixture for vacationeers at the Russian River resorts. The Russian River is only a few miles north of Occidental and was the Summer playground for San Franciscans in the first half of the twentieth century.

The food is plentiful, very good - not gourmet - and inexpensive. The two riders to my right at the table decide on an 18 ounce porterhouse steak for $11.95. I have fried chicken (1/2 a chicken) with garlic fries for $6.95.

After lunch we were suppose to ride Coleman Valley Road over to the coast then to Petaluma. But it is too late for that. So we head straight to Petaluma.

I talk Neil "the Saint" to lead us back to Petaluma, since that is his home. Neil misses the short cut back to Valley Ford. I am riding second and as he slows to maybe make a u-turn I wave him on. We will get to Hwy 1 and it is only a few miles longer, plus the road is smooth and my belly is too full for a rough road.

I think the last few riders took the short cut and beat us back to Petaluma. I know I saw Tiny and Top Dawg at a gas station. They had beaten me to Petaluma.

Darcy and I are the only ones to get to my regular gas stop at Petaluma. It is the Chevron station just east of Hwy 101 on Washington. We did wait for a few minutes at the driveway to the station for any other riders.

Darcy and I ride the back roads to just south of Sonoma, around Napa, through Fairfield and into Rio Vista where Darcy takes Hwy 160 back to Antioch. I continue east on Hwy 12 to Stockton.

Got to meet a lot of new VROCers. I hope this bodes well for VROC rides in 2006.


Don "VSP"......................Stockton........EN500................5569
Larry "Sky" D.................Stockton........Nomad...............14153
Robert "Top Dawg" A...........Atwater.........VN2000..............12939
Darcy S...........................Antioch.........Sportster 1200......10620
Doug "Tiny" R.................Pinole..........VN1600...............4685
Don "Silverstar" H............Petaluma........VN1500..............12621
Tom G.............................Mill Valley.....VN1500..............18624
Vicki S...........................Fremont.........Goldwing 1200
Brad "Blackheart" N...........Fremont.........Yamaha RSV............744
Peggy G...........................Fremont
Max M.............................Fremont.........Drifter 800..........7197
David "Sasquatch" C...........Fremont.........VN1500...............5801
Paul "Jazzhound" I............Berkeley........Nomad...............15466
Debbie I..........................Berkeley
Neil "The Saint" St. A........Petaluma........VN800...............18357
Ernest W..........................Alameda.........VN750...............16697
Don B.............................Saratoga........Nomad...............18406
Marcia "Mad Ma" B.............Santa Rosa......VN800...............17110
Jim E.............................Rio Vista.......VN800A..............18153
Roy C.............................Castro Valley...VN1500..............16477

Sorry if I missed someone who was there.

Don "Very Short Person" Inamasu
'93 EN500 A4 "Mighty Mouse"
VROC #5569; TWVROC #13
HSVROC_2006 Web Site:
Stockton, CA 95219

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Jelly Belly Oct 1, 2005

Cat rides up from SoCal to Nite Lite's home. SFBA VROC must have a Ride. We are to meet at the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, CA at 10:00 AM on Saturday, October 1, 2005.

We have a really good turn out to greet and ride with Cat and the Sublows. Top Dawg from Atwater, Sky from Stockton, Rocket Rod and Cindy from Lincoln, Jazzhound from Berkeley and I just show up to take photos at the Jelly Belly Factory.

Nite Lite will lead a Ride over Trinity-Oakville Grade Road and on to Occidental for lunch at Negri's.

Trinity-Oakville Grade Road by Pashnit

Now the Jelly Belly Photos

Jelly Bean Attacks Linda "Homeless" Sublow

New VROC Beetle

New VROC Beetle II

A new water bottle?

Belly Flops

Belly Flops are mistakes that are sold in two pound bags of assorted flavors. At a third of the price of the "good" bellies. Cat is selecting her three bags full.

Chocolate Jelly Bellies are Nite Lite's favorite.

Dawg, Sky, Jazzhound, Rocket and Cindy at the entrance.

Jazzhound and Sky. Jazzhound from Berkeley has a new Nomad and this is his first Ride with fellow VROCers.

Chocolates, Only Sold at the Factory. I tried a sample. Their chocolates are very good.

Displaying the bags of Belly Flops.

Cat and Howard Want the Same Shirt

Howard needs a bigger size.

Top Dawg Buying Beans

Dawg Eating Beans

Cat on a Shopping Spree

Cat paying the piper for her shopping items.

The clocks in the upper right of the photo display the time for various international cities. The Jelly Belly guide book and Recipe book are printed in 8 languages and are provided free to visitors.

The Group

Rocket Rod Wants This Beetle

Nite Lite Leads the Ride

Pulling out

Rocket Rod and Cindy

Who is that riding Tail Gunner?

Gone Riding

Now for Top Dawg's report:

Here's the short report:

Yesterday I went up to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield where I met
Don VSP (had to split and was absent from the rest of the ride), Nite
Lite and Linda, Rocket Rod and Sindy, and a new member Paul from
Berkeley. We went up to Santa Rosa, lunch in Occidental, over to Bodega
Bay, then down Hwy 1 where we split up to get home our separate ways.

I took Hwy 1 to Stinson Beach and then south to Muir Beach (which I
erroneously called Jones' Beach although I think there was a nudist
beach in that area called that 40 yrs ago when I lived up there) to
visit an old haunt and then Hwy 1 into S. Mill Valley and into SF via
the GG.

SF was clogged as hell downtown due to the Bay Bridge ramp closure on
1st St so everybody had to go up Mission to the 6th St ramp - talk about
a mess. Anyway, got back here around 8:30 very glad to be home. Total
for the day (for me only) was about 430 miles.

I'm sure Nite Lite will have a little more detailed info, including his
time-saving(?) detour around some stop'n'go traffic on the freeway in SR.

All in all, a great ride, Sure wish you coulda been with us Don. Howard
hogged all the waitress action at Noni's - we could've used you to keep
him in check.

{ arrrgh....I forgot to mention CAT who was the guest of honor, and Sky!
Damn CRS strikes again - so sorry you two...that's what happens when I
try to do a ride report this early in da morning. }

Robert "Top Dawg" Alexander

Now for Rocket Rod's Report

What a great ride this was!! Howard did an excellent job of
leading us through some outstanding roads and quite an mc
adventure! We were rolling through tree canopy covered shaded
twisties and zooming right past big redwoods, then climbs and
descents and climbs and descents, and the next thing I knew
I felt like I was Luther in Excalibur riding through the foggy
dragon's breath high a top a narrow trail overlooking ... over-
lookin ... well, hell if I know what it was over looking(!) it
was so foggy ... I just remember Howard sending back a message of
caution which Top Dawg passed to me about the single narrow road
and free roam cattle up ahead and down around the next turns ...
WHOOHOO! WHAT A BLAST!! Then, next thing I knew we were out in
civilization again; well a small coastal place ( Bodega Bay ) for
a gas stop and a few digital shots of the ocean.

After we gassed up, we headed off toward Petaluma. Sky had departed
for Cloverdale from Occidental, and then at some point Top Dawg
departed the group and headed off toward SF ... then a few miles
later Night Lite, Linda, and Cat turned off down some side roads while
Paul and I headed straight into Petaluma. Upon arriving in Petaluma and
traveling east bound on the 116 we saw Night Lite's group at an
intersection and turning onto the 116 too. A short ways down they
turned off and Paul and I continued down the 116 to the 121 and the
12, which dropped me out in Fairfield onto the 80. I headed east
toward Sacramento and Paul headed west toward Berkley from there.
I was home in Lincoln just in time to ride in while watching the
sun set! What a great ride!! I put a little over 300 miles in for
the day :) Thanks for a wonderful ride, Howard ... and Cat,
for getting it pulled together! :) Hope you had a great reunion,
Don--but, we missed having you there with us on the ride :(

VROC #10853 Zen #408
2001 Kawasaki 800 Classic
Lincoln, Ca

Friday, October 29, 2004

Tiny Leads Ride

Tiny's SFBA VROC Ride - April 25, 2004

Lorin, Deputy Bob and I arrived at the Jelly Belly at 10:15. Nite Lite and wife were already there buying candy. TC shows up on his yellow V-Strom but needs gas so we send him off to Fairfield to the nearest gas station. Tiny arrives on his VN 1600 with Van on his ZR1000. Topdawg gets there on his VN 1600.

Tiny leads. Nite Lite is riding tail gunner. The eight bikes head off for Mankas Corners. Vineyards, farmland and orchards are on both sides of us as we get to Mankas Corners and turn onto Suisun Valley Road/Wooden Valley Road. We twist and turn our way along this road in the Coastal Range Mountains until we intersect with Hwy 121. A pick-up towing a boat lets the back half of us pass at that intersection. Hwy 121 is a winding main road from Napa to Lake Berryessa and is heavily travelled. The road needs to be repaved. After a fashion we get to the Corners (Moskowitz Corners), which is a gathering spot for motorcyclists. It is located where Hwy 121 intersects Hwy 128 and has a lot of parking.

A rest stop. Water break. Change to summer jackets. It is getting hot.

Tiny leads us out with Van, Lorin, Bob, Topdawg, VSP, TC and the Sublows following. We ride along the west side of Lake Berryessa. There are a lot of people out this weekend since it is a sunny day in the high 80's with little wind. Boaters and water skiers are on the Lake. We leave the Lake at Pope Canyon Road and get caught behind an RV. But it takes a turnout and off we go. After winding our way up and down the mountains we blast along Pope Valley. Until we exit onto Howell Mountain Road heading to Angwin. This is a slow very twisty road for a long stretch. We get to Angwin and pass Pacific Union College, a Seventh Day Adventist school. There is some function going on today since the place is full and cars are parked along both sides of the road. {note: Hi Don, When you went by PUC in Angwin last April that was Alumni weekend. We were there for our 40th reunion. Rod}

We get to Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley and get to Calistoga. A lot of tourist in town. Lunch stop at Buster's BBQ. Boy are we hungry.

BBQ chicken or tri-tip was the choice of most. Was it that good or was I really hungry. It hit the spot. TC had to have his dessert:

Now we are ready for the last leg of the Ride. Over Petrified Forest Road to Calistoga Road to Hwy 12 to Arnold Road at Glen Ellen. From there Nite Lite will lead to the Sonoma Cheese Factory (in Sonoma) and the end of the Ride. Nite Lite's son is working there this afternoon.

The Sonoma Cheese Factory is along the town of Sonoma's Town Square. The Square was jammed with people and cars. So the Ride kind of ended in the street. I headed off with TC to show him the way out of Sonoma. Bob was off to visit his brother who lived close by.

Don "VSP" Inamasu
'00 VN 750
Stockton, CA 95219

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Nite Lite's Ride

SFBA VROC Ride - March 14, 2004

Start at Jelly Belly

VSP arrives

The weather was gorgeous. Low 70's and gentle breezes. Everyone should have been out riding. We saw a lot of motorcycles and a lot more cars today. The turnout was a little disappointing. Just the two of us bikes. The Sublows on the Nomad and me on my 750. I even had time to go into Jelly Belly and get a bag of Belly Flops.

It was a really good Ride. We even found roads with little traffic. Here is the route except for the Hwy 12 and a couple of short cuts from Jelly Belly to Petaluma.

We stopped in Occidental and had a nice lunch at Negri's. Saw a bunch of motorcycles come rolling in to town. Found out that Evelyn Negri's thoroughbred named after her needs to take $700 a month medicine. Rode past the Inn at Occidental, the only AAA Four Diamond and Mobil Four Star Inn north of San Francisco. Inn at Occidental Web Site
We then went over Coleman Valley Road to the Coast. What a view as you cross the top of the mountains and see the Pacific Ocean come into sight. Took a coke break at the Tides Wharf and sat outside in the warm sun and salty sea air.

A gas stop as we left Bodega Bay heading south down Hwy 1. We crossed into Marin County and Howard took one of his favorite lightly travelled roads, Marshall-Petaluma Road. Here are some photos taken at a nice little wide spot on the road.

Howard and Linda got home around 4:30PM. I still had a two hour ride back to Stockton. Hope to see more bikes for Tiny's April Ride.

Don "VSP" Inamasu