California 2013

Day 05

June 22

  As I go out to the parking lot to uncover SweetTreat, I notice a really nice Studebaker Hawk in the parking lot. I remember toward the end of their existence, Studebaker was putting Chevrolet 283 V8s in them. They were always one of my favorite cars as a kid and I remember a gentleman that stopped by the gas station where I used to work who had a beautiful black one.  
  SweetTreat is ready to roll for today's adventure. She looks mighty fine with her new seat in place.  
  It's nice to get out of the heat as I head out of town.  
  Highway 89 turns right off of highway 44 and goes through the park. It looks like I am one of the first to show up. When I get to the gate, there's no one there and no instructions for what to do if you have a park pass. Being a law abiding citizen, I drop in a 'receipt' with my pass number on it and move on along.  
  The temps are cool enough that I stop and put on my rain jacket again. After the temps in the valley, it's a problem that I'm glad I've got this morning.  
  It's just so nice to have this lovely highway and scenery all to myself after three days of lots of company and construction zones on the slab. It's times like these that really bring the joy of motorcycling to me.  
  As I pass an area that was burned out, it reminds me of the tragedy of it and makes me a little bit sad for the wildlife that may have suffered.  
  We climb our way past 7,000 feet and SweetTreat never stumbles. The views are just magnificent from up here.  
  The road is one of lazy sweepers which are perfect for an ST1100.  
  It's a little bit of a visual shock for this Tennessee hillbilly to see snow on the roadside in June.  
  And up past 8,000 feet, the snow gets deeper and I'm sure glad they've kept the road clear.  
  I can't imagine how much snow they get up here in the dead of winter. More than I've ever seen in my lifetime I'm sure.  
  I find it just a little different riding the twisties between the snow banks - in June.  
  What really surprises me is that the lakes are still frozen over. However the signs do warn that the ice is thin and little water peeks through in some places.  
  As we make our way down, the snow tends to thin out quite a bit.  
  But in some of the gullies it's still lying in wait for the next one.  
  When I come to this, I back off as I cannot tell for sure what part is ice and what part is water - not something I want to figure out in flight with no guard rails.  

I've often asked myself

"Just how many pictures of a snow covered mountain do you want?"

but I'm still fascinated by them and I still take pictures.

  It's a pleasant run with about the only people around being those that work in the park. It's nice to be able to just pull over and take a shot without being concerned of sometime taking you out from behind.  
  As I pass by this spot, it appears to have some sort of thermal activity going on. It is thrashing around fiercely and reeks of sulfur as the snow melt flows into it.  
  Soon I'm out of the park and to the end of highway 89. It's been a great run but now I'll be getting back into some heat.  
  Highway 89 t-bones into Highway 36 and takes me by the Battle Creek Vista Point. I figure since it's just me and I've got the time, why not check it out.  
  It gives you a good view down ...  
  and up the valley.  
  As I move on down the mountain, I find the turnoff that will take me back to Highway 44.  
  It takes me through the booming metropolis of Manton and on some 1 1/2 lane roads.  
  After this stretch which makes for great riding during the day, I decide that this will not be the way to come early in the morning in the dark when I leave out tomorrow. The road surface is a little too unpredictable and the quantity of wildlife would be way more than I want to deal with.  
  Soon it's back to Highway 44, back down in the valley, and back to the heat.  
  When I get back to Russell, Mocha wants to know why I was out riding instead of petting her. She thinks that my priorities are all wrong.  
  But after a qualifying belly rub ...  

she deems that I am worthy for her to jump up in my lap so I might make amends.

Jay lets me know that they have my old seat done so they bring it out and I 'test sit' it. It sits just like a dream, so I go back in and get all settled up with what I owe them. Jay is going to ship that seat and the other backrests to me so I won't have to haul them back home. Their customer service, care, quality of work, and products are all great. I've been treated more like a friend than a customer - even by Mocha.

  But she is so thoroughly exhausted after supervising the humans in the making of my seats and stuff that she has to settle down in the executive lounge area for a much needed nap.  

Today a Canadian couple has come in to get a new seat for her dual sport. We talk a little about our various rides and I give them my website address. As I tell them -

"It'll be good for a few laughs on a rainy day when you get bored."

Every since I got that BLTA, I've been jonesing for their New York Strip Sandwich I saw on the menu back at the Old Mill Eatery. With all my business taken care of at Russell, I tell Jay with a grin -

"If you are ever in Tennessee, I know a few roads."

I wish them well and I'm off to seek nourishment.

  When I get there, they're open and I'm in like Flint.  
  What a killer sandwich it is with another washtub full of fries. It's a tough job to dispatch it, but I'm up to the task at hand.  

And what better way to finish up a great meal than with another great chocolate shake. Once I settle up with the server lady, we talk a bit about motorcycling. She rides a Ninja and asks me about the Russell seats. I tell her that they are well worth the money if you cover any distance at all. She tells me -

"I really want to go to New Zealand one day" after I tell her about my trip down there.

I encourage her -

"Don't wait too late. It took me from 2009 to 2014 to pull it off, but I kept planning and saving until it happened. You don't know what the future holds so make that plan so you can pull the trigger."

I wish her well and then waddle back out to SweetTreat to head for Redding.


Knowing I will probably be leaving before the breakfast stuff is set out tomorrow, I remembered to grab what I needed when I had breakfast this morning and stash it in my room. The only thing missing is milk for the cereal so when I fill up for the evening, I pick up a half gallon and a snack. With that great lunch, I know I'll not be very hungry come supper time. I fix my route for tomorrow to be a bit more direct and do some more electronic chores. After a little milk and my snack, I hit the sack early and am swept away by the slumber monster in short order.