California 2016

Day 04

June 21

  Today I make the short run up to Russell Daylong Saddles in Shasta Lake, which is one of the reasons for this ride. The RDL I have now has over 200,000 miles on it from 2002 when I had them build it and it just now has a slight tear in the cover. I've also brought along another seat with me to be built from scratch and all of my backrests to be recovered.  
  After a quick breakfast at the Super 8, I head on up to Russell. As I prefer to be, I'm way early and the gates are still locked.  
  Once Terry the owner gets here, he unlocks the place and I pull in. When I go into the office area, I meet the 'real' boss - Mocha, CIC - Cat In Charge.  
  She let's me know that Terry, who thinks he is the owner, is actually just her assistant. I think that is pretty nice of her to let a human help her run the business.  
  Mocha even has an administrative human - Jay. She is very serious about making sure her business is tended to properly. Jay has built seats for many years and just recently moved into the office support area - with Mocha's approval of course.  
  Jay gets all of my paperwork taken care of and we sort out how the next two days will go. He's going to have them build my 'new' seat first and recover the driver and passenger backrest. My builder is Chris who has had plenty of experience. Jay tells me that their 'least' experienced builder has over eight years of building seats.  
  Mocha seems to be overcome with all the stuff I want done, but she recovers quickly and directs her humans as to what to do.  

Chris is going to take the measurements from my old seat to use on the new seat since I told him it was still pretty good. I go with vinyl since I don't like the smell of wet leather and I do ride in the rain a bit. Jay shows me several different stitching patterns and I go with the one that he recommends instead of my old cross hatch pattern. Then he finds a spare ST1100 seat they have so I can do some riding while they work. He tells me that a run up to Shasta Lake would be nice as the water levels are just getting back to where they should be. I ask him -

"Is there a Honda shop anywhere near? I need to pickup some Honda Antifreeze as I am just a bit low."

He directs me to Lee's Honda in Redding with spot on directions. When I had SweetTreat serviced at 100,000 miles it seems they may have left a hose clamp a little loose. I can't find it, but she's been running a little warmer than I like so I figure I'll top it off while I have the time. I run down to Lee's and get what I need then head back north to Shasta Lake.

  Highway 151 runs right through the middle of town up to Shasta Lake.  
  It's a nice bit of twisties ...  
  with some really pretty views.  
  It is a nice little loop, so I decide I liked it so much that I'll run it again since I have the time before they need me back for the next 'fitting'.  

But my second loop is interrupted by some roadside drama. As I approach a pulloff overlooking the dam, a woman comes out jumping up and down, waving her hands and hollering -

"Please help me!"

Since I didn't come in on a load of pumpkins last night, I approach cautiously as I am concerned that it is a setup. As it turns out, her companion is in the front seat and turning blue and she is completely freaked. I call 911 to get him help as he does not look good at all. I tell the dispatcher very plainly -

"Ma'am, he's not breathing. We are on highway 151 at the big pullout overlooking the Shasta Dam."

She responds "There is no highway 151. I don't know where you are located."

Since I just took a picture of the road sign, I think -

"We're in real trouble here."

So I explain to her that I came straight through town, through the four way stop and up the hill and I am overlooking the dam as we speak. She finally figures it out and dispatches the appropriate folks. I stay until they get him into the ambulance and then the lady takes off like a shot cat.

Since this has taken up quite a bit of time, I decide I'll head on back to Russell instead of completing the loop. I make a stop at a convenience store to get gas and a cold drink and who should pull in but the lady in distress. She does not 'see' me, but manages to hit up a couple of local ladies for some cash for gas since she is on empty and has no money. I just shake my head and am very glad that I don't know the whole story about what happened up on the mountain. I did what I needed to do and that is the important part for me.


When I get back to Russell, Mocha is looking at her watch and wondering just where I have been. Chris has got the new seat ready for a tryout so we give it whirl. On a ride-in, they let you sit on it before they upholster it to see if there are any points that don't feel comfortable. I tell Chris -

"Man, this feels great!"

He's pleased and goes back to do the final work. I ask Jay -

"Any place around here good for lunch?"

"Yes, just go through town and look for the log cabin. If you get to the railroad tracks you've gone too far" he tells me.

  So away I go and I find it quite easily. It's called the 'Old Mill Eatery And Smokehouse' and I pull around to the side and go in.  
  It's very pretty inside with a painting of the Shasta Lake and Dam that I just saw.  
  I decide to be adventurous and I go for a BLTA - a BLT with avocado. It almost makes me feel yuppified. The sandwich has big ol' strips of bacon, fresh avocado, tomatoes and lettuce and a wash tub full of fries. And the lady that waits on me is one of the busiest people I have ever seen . She's like a top - she never stops her motion - but she is great.  

And since I can still breathe after that feast, I order up a killer chocolate shake since a lady next to me has one. No reason to leave any empty space in the old stomach. Two guys at the next table are also riders so I strike up a conversation. They can't grasp the distance I've already ridden and how far I've got to go to get back. I encourage them to check out Russell Daylong Seats just up the road. I tell them as I've told many people -

"If you plan on keeping the bike, it's well worth it. When you look at the cost over several years, it's not very much at all."

When we go out into the parking lot, one of them is driving an original 1967 Camaro with a 396 in it. It's in pretty good shape and I tell him -

"If that was in Tennessee, it'd probably be a rust bucket by now."

He tells me that cars do pretty well out here since there's not much moisture and salt.


When I get back to Russell, they have my new seat ready to roll, complete with the the driver and passenger backrest. The upholstery looks absolutely gorgeous and it sits mighty fine. Jay lets me know I don't need to be back tomorrow until about lunch time, so I tell him -

"I reckon I'll see you tomorrow about lunch then."

After that scrumptious lunch, I figure I don't need much supper at all. I just walk across and get some snacks from the market to tide me over. Since I've got some time, I work out a route of about 140 miles to check out some of the roads I am planning on taking on the way out and a run up through Lassen National Volcanic Park. It's been a long time since I was through there so I figure I will get to use my recently acquired 'old man' National Park Pass. And this will give me a little road time on the new seat to see if there are any issues.

  With my few electronic chores done, I settle down for a nice long snooze.