Another year and another 49er Rally. This was my fourth and, as usual, NorCal BMW put on a fine show. Attendance and vendor participation were both a down a bit, but the same great cast of characters were there. The weather was not going to be cooperating this year, but I'm getting ahead of myself. . . .
Before leaving home, I filled up at the local Chevron. $4.19/gallon, a new in-town record! It was, by no means, the highest I would pay on this trip, however. You'll notice that I managed to fill up while traveling 1/2 mph.
We usually have a group of about ten, but this year it was only Brad and I. Two others dropped out when the forecast called for 70 mph winds. They never materialized, but it was windy as you can see from the dust rolling across the flats.
Mono Lake was certainly choppy.
We decided to overnight in Twin Lakes, a little mountain resort above Bridgeport. Some RV guys came ambling up and told us about the wind forecast. We staked everything down in the early afternoon and decided to hope for the best.
We decided to head back down the road to check out the ghost town of Bodie. It was only a short ride, but the last 3 miles were washboard dirt. I lost two bulbs, one PIAA and the other my headlamp.
Bodie is a town of "arrested decay," as the state park puts it. It arose in the time of the Civil War around a gold strike. People remained living there until the 1940s, as evidenced by gas pumps, electricity, and vehicles.
It was a short visit, as the park closes at 5:30 p.m. We rode to Bridgeport and had one of the best hamburgers I've ever had at Rhino's. A rhino burger is a 1/3 lb. patty with cheese, an onion ring, and one of three sauces they use for their hot wings. I chose the middle one, "freaking hot." It was way good. We returned to camp and enjoyed a pipe (my most recently acquired bad habit) while Brad planned tomorrow's route through the passes. Some dark clouds were forming, but the wind was pretty manageable. We decided to turn the bikes into the wind and not cover them. Why tempt fate, right?
I heard it start to rain sometime in the night. I also heard things sliding off the tentÔÇöwet leaves I reasoned. Though, in my sleepy state, I couldn't recall any deciduous trees about. . . . I awoke at 5:00ÔÇöafter a very cold and fitful sleepÔÇöto be greeted by the following vista:
Brad emerging from his igloo.
After we both scraped off the worst of the snow and began to gain our senses, and nice gentleman camped in a nearby motorhome (one of the wind prognosticators) strolled up and inquired if we might like a cup of hot coffee. Indeed, we did.
Sufficiently warmed, we packed our cold and wet things and made for Monitor Pass. It was snowing, slightly, but we were already in the mountains and didn't want to add a ton of miles to our trip, so over the top we went. Temperatures eventually fell to 24 degrees. My black ice warning indicator was flashing, but we were taking it slow. Heading down into a valley, the road eventually became snow-covered. Brad, ever the intrepid adventurer, showed no signs of slowing. I was pretty nervous, but we did OK.
Rolling through a corner, we came upon two riders on Harley DavidsonsÔÇöstopped, side stands down, in a blind corner. Brad and I slid to a slow stop.
Brad asked, "Are you guys OK?"
"Yeah," they replied.
"Do you need our help?"
"Well. . . ."
"We can't move our bikes, too slippery, no traction."
"Do you want us to push them to the side of the road?"
"Can't. Too slippery. We can't stop like you guys on those bikes."
Worried about the blind corner, I asked, "Do you want me to call someone when we got to the bottom?"
"Nah, that's OK. A flatbed will come along."
Brad and I wobbled forward and rode down the mountain. A few miles later and a few thousand feet lower we encountered a snowplow driver. He said the other passes were still open and were less snowy. He reported that it had been 90 degrees two days earlier. We told him about the HD riders and headed for the rally.
After a spirited ride across Highway 49, we rolled into the rally and set up our wet tents in 74 degree temperatures. We were greeted by the usual motorized eye-candy.
Tired and well-fed, we called it a night. Tomorrow we were going to ride to down to A&S to replace my bulbs and do a bit of tire-kicking.
At A&S, we ran into this fellow, Rob Rickert, an MSF dirt bike instructor, and his new '08 GSA.
He was a really nice guy and helped us to plan a route for tomorrow's big ride. We made a few more stops while in the Sacramento area and returned to the rally to see who else showed up and to eat dinner.
More cool bikes:
We strolled over to Old Town Auburn for dinner with some of our recently arrived club members. We had a respectable meal at a new brewpub that had opened since last year. Eventually, we called it a night and I slept well, dreaming of a long ride on a new road.
Alas, it was not to be.
It started raining at about midnight and it rained all night long. When we finally emerged from our tents, it showed no sign of abating. We were grounded.
Strolling the wet grounds looking for trouble.
Gerg and his brother were there, trying to stay dry under the big tent.
Nothing to do but take pictures. . .
. . . and smoke a pipe. . .
. . . and check out cool, wet bikes.
We had a great pizza, salad, minestrone soup, and garlic bread for lunch.
In the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Kbasa stopped by for a brief visit, followed by a rowdy bunch of ADVriders. They came rolling in telling stories, laughing, and carrying on. They were a great bunch and were followed by a lot of laughter.
Ian408 presenting photographic evidence.
Mr. and Mrs. Kbasa yuking it up.
The crowd eventually moved on and things quieted down. We were issued an invitation to join in some sort of flaming sambuca ritual, but declined in favor of an early night and an early start the next day.
The last shot before my G9 took a dump.
We had a good ride home all the way down the 49 into Fresno. It was dark and rainy the whole way, but we were only spit on here and there. In spite of the cruel weather, it was another great rally. Thanks for the folks at NorCal BMW for all their hard work and camaraderie.
Another outstanding travelogue with images par excellence, Tom. Thanks, as always.
Bonus points for the self portrait with pipe.
And Ian, bonus points for the charcuterie plate!
Easily a rally where I didn't miss a meal...this one comes with a story.
Originally Posted by tessler
Some of us walked into Awful Annie's for dinner. We overheard one waitress say to the
host "don't seat them inside. We don't want them in the restaurant. Seat them
at table 14". So when the host sat us down, someone asked him "is this table 14?".
I think he got the hint. I mean it wasn't like we were dressed any different than anyone
else in the place?
Service was great (didn't get the original waitress). Claire took great care of us and
she was amply rewarded for her efforts--hopefully, the waitress that declined to seat
us inside knows what she missed out on.