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.

Name................................Hometown........Bike................VROC#

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:
http://www.norcalrat.com/hsvroc/
Stockton, CA 95219

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