Sep 102012
 

Post lunch at Bren­t’s in West­lake — Nan­cy with her award win­ning home grown toma­toes

I rode my trusty motor­cy­cle down to Nan­cy’s in Ven­tu­ra late this morn­ing. After a nice vis­it with she and her sweet­heart Lar­ry, Nan­cy and I drove on to Bren­t’s in West­lake for a fan­tas­tic lunch of Ruben’s all round.

Post lunch Nan­cy ordered a bunch of stuff to take away, hence the $85 total bill. Bren­t’s has a spe­cial menu with lots of check­box­es for just such occa­sions but one thing that need­ed to be hand entered was Lar­ry’s request­ed slice of choco­late cake.

Not famil­iar with Bren­t’s? Click here to see what they have to say for them­selves.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Mar 232012
 

Jeff and I have had the plan and tick­ets to see the Thurs­day, 3/22 Bru­ins Sharks game for a cou­ple of months so it was very excit­ing when the date drew near. After check­ing the weath­er I decid­ed to ride up on the Suzu­ki, leav­ing Tues­day around 2:00. I rode up to SLO on 101 then turned onto Hwy 1 stop­ping in Cam­bria for two small pies at Lin­n’s (one olal­lieber­ry for imme­di­ate con­sump­tion, one rasp­ber­ry lemon meringue for lat­er — see above) along with need­ed petrol for the bike. It was almost 6:00 as I left Cam­bria, my ener­gy ebbing so anoth­er four miles had me stop­ping for the night with­in the San Sime­on line of motels.

The next day held per­fect weath­er for a ride up the Big Sur coast­line into Carmel and Mon­terey then on to San­ta Cruz for a late Thai noo­dle lunch. After lunch I con­tin­ued north on Hwy 1 anoth­er 35 miles to Pescadero then turned inland and climbed through the inter­est­ing towns of La Hon­da and Wood­side to get to Sky­line Boule­vard for the scenic, ridge­crest cruise back south to San Jose. I had time for a renew­ing show­er and the rasp­ber­ry lemon meringue pie before meet­ing Jeff at 4:30. His and Carey’s high rise, “The 88” con­do com­plex, is only three blocks from my motel so we eas­i­ly joined, had a nice vis­it with Carey in their home then a tour of the build­ing, a walk around down­town San Jose get­ting to see some of Jef­f’s favorite haunts, favorite bike stores, and favorite bur­ri­to places with one each of same for din­ner.

Game day I spent explor­ing more of the down­town area includ­ing vis­its to the “San Jose Muse­um of Quilts and Tex­tiles”, “The San Jose Muse­um of Art”, and “The Tech Muse­um of Inno­va­tion”. Jeff and I met around five, he wear­ing his #88 Sharks jer­sey. Then it was off to “Hen­ry’s World Famous Hi-Life” for din­ner and a start on the evening’s and jour­ney’s focus, The Shark-Bru­in ice hock­ey game.

Lots more images and expla­na­tions are in the slideshow.
Click on the mon­tage above to jump to its start.

Or click on this line to jump straight to the evening’s start at the famous Hi-Life


[slideshow­pro type=“video” url=“http://ashecoutts.info/ssp_director/albums/album-48/lg/MVI_0033__640-360__AndroidPhone-360p-Widescreen_29-97.mp4” preview=“http://ashecoutts.info/ssp_director/albums/album-48/lg/2012–03-21__PiedrasBlacasElephantSeals_Video-Image__640-360.jpg” width=“600” height=“337” controls=“true” autostart=“false” ]                A lit­tle video of the Ele­phant Seals fool­ing around at Piedras Bla­cas

 Posted by at 1:30 pm
Mar 092012
 

A glo­ri­ous warm morn­ing prompt­ed me to get on the Suzu­ki and start off on the Carp, Ojai, Cuya­ma, San­ta Maria, Los Olivos, San­ta Bar­bara loop. Near­ing Ojai I stopped to check the iPhone’s brows­er for “Ojai Val­ley Taxi­dermy” then plugged the result into the gps and rode on over. Own­er Chuck Tes­ta, upper left above, came out for a nice vis­it. If you don’t yet know about his viral YouTube stuff click here to see my favorite of many vari­a­tions (it’s had 730,000 view­ings).

After my vis­it with Chuck it was an 80 degree spin up beau­ti­ful High­way 33 pass­ing the orchards of the San­ta Bar­bara Pis­ta­chio Com­pa­ny which are just bare­ly with­in San­ta Bar­bara Coun­ty on the far north­east cor­ner. A few more miles on High­way 33 then a left turn west onto High­way 166 where I was ready for lunch. Alas my lunch goal was the “Ran­cho Nipo­mo” restau­rant rec­om­mend­ed by friend Car­ol Carter, cur­rent­ly 65 miles on down the road. So I motored on, final­ly arrived, and ordered the deli­cious house spe­cial­ty; a pulled pork sand­wich with the cole slaw right in there with the 18 ingre­di­ent sauced pork, YUM.

Sati­at­ed and hap­py I remount­ed the Suzu­ki, for­tu­nate­ly still there since I’d left the key in the igni­tion in my hur­ry to quell my hunger. The weath­er and traf­fic con­tin­ued ide­al as I head­ed south on 101 to Bet­ter­avia, Fox­en Canyon Road, and High­way 150, on over the pass and home. Arriv­ing home I care­ful­ly pulled the Suzu­ki up onto its cen­ter stand and lubed the chain while it idled in first gear. A com­plete day. Click on the four shot mon­tage above for some more images of the day pre­sent­ed in groups of four. Click on the left or right side of the four­somes to move to more shots.

 Posted by at 4:35 pm

A Motorcycle Adventure in Mexico!

 All Categories, Mexico - 2011, Motorcycle Riding  Comments Off on A Motorcycle Adventure in Mexico!
Jan 252011
 

I rode my Suzu­ki V‑Strom from San­ta Bar­bara to Las Cruces, New Mex­i­co to meet six oth­er men for a 3,778 Mile, 6,981 KM, adven­ture into Mex­i­co. This mon­tage has a shot from six­teen of our days. I have cre­at­ed a sep­a­rate blog con­tain­ing lots of images and details. Click any­where on this mon­tage to be tak­en there.

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Jan 042011
 

I was almost set to ride off this morn­ing, I just need­ed to push the Suzu­ki out of the garage and down onto the dri­ve­way (a total of 15 feet) so I could close the garage door. So I thought I’d  just leave the bike in neu­tral while I put down the stand, not some­thing I had yet done on the slop­ing dri­ve­way. How did that idea play out you ask? Pret­ty much as depict­ed in the left image above.

But ANON! I was able to com­pose the right image by myself with­in 5 min­utes  (cam­era shots and out­takes includ­ed there­in).

This morn­ing’s pro­duc­tive new tech­nique was to lift the bike using the han­dle­bars. This allowed some sort of ful­crum action that made right­ing the bike a man­age­able lift by me alone. All pri­or times I’ve attempt­ed the lift cen­tered between the wheels as my mind some­how cal­cu­lat­ed that as the most bal­anced way to right it. Bal­anced or not it makes the lift greater than one I can per­form alone. So much for mind over mat­ter.

Today’s insight was nur­tured by Ian’s help­ing me to right the bike after I fell in the mid­dle of the San­ta Ynez Riv­er on our Decem­ber 10, 2010 out­ing. I was doing my part using my stan­dard cen­tered lift while Ian just grabbed onto the rear most part of the bike and seem­ing­ly pulled the bike up by him­self. I was very impressed at the time. So this morn­ing after again try­ing my futile cen­ter tech­nique I recalled Ian’s effort and tried to right the bike from the back cor­ner.  This was more than I could man­age but when I shift­ed to the front of the bike using the han­dle­bars I was able, with rel­a­tive ease, to pull the bike up.

After my delayed start I had a won­der­ful ride down to and through Cal State Chan­nel Islands, some pok­ing around in the San­ta Mon­i­ca Moun­tains, through Thou­sand Oaks then north to High­way 126 and along 150 and 101 home. An inter­est­ing day see­ing ter­ri­to­ry I have not seen since bicy­cling through it in the 70’s along with some alto­geth­er new.

I am very relieved to know I can right the bike alone as this has been an ongo­ing anx­i­ety when I’ve been off explor­ing by myself.

 Posted by at 2:10 pm
Dec 122010
 

2010-12-12 Tom and Ashe ride to Carp then back with the Big Dogs
Tom and I biked from his place on a won­der­ful, clear morn­ing. We decid­ed to head up to Moun­tain Dri­ve, along moun­tain, through Mon­tecito, and into Carp.

Our out­ing seemed to be run­ning true to norm until we start­ed home from Carpin­te­ria, turn­ing left on the south­ern access to Padero Lane and cross­ing under the free­way. There we dis­cov­ered scads of police cars and police motor­cy­cles. Ask­ing a ques­tion or two we found that this was all sup­port and prepa­ra­tion for the “toy run”. After a moment or two of scratch­ing our heads won­der­ing what that could mean here came hun­dreds of motor­cy­cles up San­ta Claus Lane toward us. We stopped, grabbed our cam­eras, and start­ed shoot­ing and wav­ing to all the rid­ers.

We rode up Padero Lane to its end near Sum­mer­land then crossed over the free­way and rode along­side the moto cir­cus the mile or so into Sum­mer­land (as seen below). We con­tin­ued our reg­u­lar route, i.e. over the Sum­mer­land hill bike lane, by the Bilt­more, the bird refuge, and along Cabril­lo to State arriv­ing there pri­or to the car­a­van. So we road up to De la Guer­ra and stopped for anoth­er pho­to shoot. What a fun out­ing and day!

Riding into Summerland with the Big Dogs

Rid­ing into Sum­mer­land with the Big Dogs

 Posted by at 8:30 am
Dec 102010
 

2010-12-10 Ian and Ashe ride up Oso Canyon
Leav­ing Ian’s we rode over San Mar­cos Pass, out Par­adise Road, then up the Oso Canyon dirt road. Sev­er­al sec­tions along the road were a big chal­lenge for me on the V‑Strom due to the steep­ness of some hills as well as sec­tions that were a mud­dy clay from the recent rain and there­fore very slip­pery. Ian gen­er­ous­ly rode my V‑Strom up my most chal­leng­ing of these slip­pery hills, spray­ing me with chunks of mud as the rear tire spun for trac­tion and off he went, kind of fun actu­al­ly.

We went in five or so miles with me enjoy­ing the chal­lenge and scenery but con­cerned the entire time on the com­ing out part, i.e. going down the steep and slick mud­dy sec­tions we’d gone up. Anon, when we turned around Ian offered to ride the V‑Strom back out to the pave­ment while I rode his Suzu­ki  DR-650 sin­gle. What a gift, thank you Ian!

The dif­fer­ence between the bikes is night and day on the chal­leng­ing dirt sec­tions. On Ian’s DR you sim­ply point the bike where you’d like it to go and it does exact­ly that. The V‑Strom is much more mas­sive and just not intend­ed to be a per­former in the sit­u­a­tions we were encoun­ter­ing. In the slick/clay/muddy stuff it starts to squir­rel around and the next thing you know you’re almost side­ways. This would be a total kick IF it was as easy to pick up as a bicy­cle.

Today was my first day fool­ing around with my new moto/camera mount on the V‑Strom so I took scads of videos, e.g. I videoed our entire ride from my house to the San­ta Ynez Riv­er. So be fore­warned, click­ing on the above mon­tage of us could be anal­o­gous to watch­ing The Ten Com­mand­ments in 10 short snip­pets. The good news is you have com­plete con­trol, you can fast for­ward and watch just enough of us to skirt the edge of bore­dom.

On our way out I sug­gest­ed we cross back and forth over the riv­er a few times so I could cap­ture videos, both fol­low­ing Ian across the riv­er as well as ones where we’d start on oppo­site sides and pass each oth­er in the mid­dle. Great idea Mr. DeMille but there’s just one slight prob­lem: the cam­er­a’s 4GB mem­o­ry was com­plete­ly filled before we even start­ed all the back and forth busi­ness (hind sight obser­va­tion).

To cap off our futile film­ing of our­selves, our last cross­ing entailed Ian com­ing toward me from the far side of the riv­er while I rode toward him attempt­ing to direct him with one arm while han­dling the V‑Strom with the oth­er. Alas, I some­how turned too quick­ly or spiked the throt­tle just after we passed each oth­er and I went down right in the mid­dle of the cross­ing; splash, bonk, etc., etc. Ian was quick to help me up with the V‑Strom and after a lit­tle regroup­ing we start­ed for home.

All the way home I was think­ing that the cam­era had been record­ing all our fool­ish­ness so when I arrived home and got set­tled I quick­ly down­loaded all the data from the cam­era then clicked open the last movie expect­ing the fun per­spec­tive of me pass­ing Ian then going hor­i­zon­tal. Of course the actu­al last movie was before all the criss­cross­ing of the riv­er had even com­menced 🙂

 Posted by at 3:15 pm
Nov 072010
 

2010-11-06 Eric runs the Santa Barbara Marathon


The day fol­low­ing the marathon Eric was feel­ing good enough to take a leisure­ly 17 mile bike ride out to UCSB and back so we took the Mon­dia down from its bat like place­ment in the rafters and inflat­ed the tires. It also had a bro­ken front shift­ing cable which we eas­i­ly replaced then rode off toward UCSB.

When we returned we swapped bike gen­res and took the Suzu­ki over to Earl War­ren Show­grounds so he could try it out. We had a fun 10 or 15 min­utes until the care­tak­er asked us to leave 🙂

 Posted by at 4:00 pm
Oct 112010
 

2010-10-11 Ashe and Ian ride to Agua Caliente Spring


Today, the day before Ian’s birth­day, he and I went for a very nice motor­cy­cle out­ing.

I rode over to he and Rebekka’s home this morn­ing at ten. The three of us had a fun chat while we got ready to ride off then it was over to Gibral­tar Road, up to East Camino Cielo, and east for sev­en miles until the pave­ment end­ed. We had been here last year when I was new with the Suzu­ki and very wet behind the ears so we only ven­tured down the unpaved road for a cou­ple of miles before turn­ing around.

Today was much more fun and adven­tur­ous with me hav­ing the Suzuk­i’s new tires along with many more miles under my belt(??). Today we road 11.4 miles down the dirt high­way, all the way to Agua Caliente Spring, a place I have not known about although Ian has been there. It was beau­ti­ful back coun­try scenery all the way in and back and the spring itself was fas­ci­nat­ing with all its enhance­ments so far into the back coun­try.

Hap­py birth­day Ian and thanks for the great day.

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
Oct 072010
 

The cau­tion­ary tag on the label for the new tires sug­gest­ed that one should ride 100 miles care­ful­ly before start­ing to ride nor­mal­ly (uncar­e­ful­ly??). So, to get in some miles I decid­ed to ride up to Jala­ma Beach for a turkey burg­er lunch. While eat­ing lunch the idea came to return home by way of Refu­gio Beach, Refu­gio Road, and West Camino Cielo. In days of old I have rid­den West Camino Cielo sev­er­al times on my bicy­cle so I kind of knew what to expect but it would be new ter­ri­to­ry on the motor­cy­cle and cer­tain­ly a chal­lenge for me with the off-road part.

Here’s the view as I was eat­ing the deli­cious turkey burg­er at Jala­ma with a few locals mean­der­ing about hop­ing for a piece of the pie. The right image is an autum­nal shot I liked as I returned along Jala­ma Road.

Jalama Beach and along the Jalama Road

Up on West Camino Cielo now. The left image shows the nice 4 miles of sin­gle lane paved road pre­ced­ing the 10 miles sans pave­ment shown in the right image. After those 10 the road returns to pave­ment near the Gun Club.

Along West Camino Cielo


A panora­ma shot I took a lit­tle fur­ther up the road. Pret­ty day, no?

A nice panorama along West Camino Cielo


Alas, after I took the three images for the nice panora­ma I returned to the bike to notice the low fuel alert blink­ing at me. I was only 2.8 miles along the dirt sec­tion and had no idea how much there was to cov­er. Oh well, I decid­ed to push on rather than turn around (heck, I’d already seen that part). I had last looked at the gauge leav­ing Jala­ma and it seemed like lots was left to use and to go explor­ing with then 🙂

A nice panorama along West Camino Cielo


Twen­ty five min­utes lat­er I came to the most inter­est­ing part of the ride. I was mov­ing around a gen­tle right hand turn when Whoa Nel­lie! there’s water all across the road, con­tin­u­ing on around a slight left turn and up the road for about 35 yards. The water seemed too silty to see the road­way so I just head­ed in and tried to stay along the right side while hop­ing for no big rocks or dips under me.

About a quar­ter of the way through the water fea­ture I rode too high into the right side of the sub­merged road­way and spun the rear wheel to a stop. For­tu­nate­ly, I was able to hold the bike upright while stand­ing in four or five inch­es of water.

Once stopped and try­ing to fig­ure out what to do next I noticed that I could see the road­way through the water and that it was all smooth and not more than six or eight inch­es deep in the cen­ter, although quite slip­pery under foot and tire. It took me five or six starts and restarts before I got the bike mov­ing and under con­trol. I head­ed to the cen­ter of the road/pond for a ways then over to the left side as that was the first land­fall. You can see some of this here but the over­all length of the pond appears much reduced in this image than when one is stand­ing at the far end of it.

The Suzuki just after I was able to negotiate a large pond across the entire road


From the point I saw the low fuel alert I remained anx­ious about run­ning out as I was not cer­tain how long it had been with me when I saw it. In the end I got to the bot­tom of the pass and into the near­by gas sta­tion for a top­ping up of the tank. Run­ning the num­bers it seemed I still had about a quart left in the tank.

The skid plate I pur­chased and installed last year paid for itself today. At least four times I came down heav­i­ly on it and it was a com­fort to know it was not the Suzuk­i’s crankcase tak­ing such abuse.

Friend Steve rode motocross bikes in his younger days and was of a mind that my new TKC80s might per­form the same way at high­way speeds as his old knob­bies, i.e. be all bumpy and vibrat­ing. For­tu­nate­ly, the TKC80s only exhib­it a small bumpy feel­ing at very slow speeds and seem as smooth as the Suzu­ki orig­i­nals at any rea­son­able speed.

It was anoth­er 145 miles of fun, chal­lenge, and explo­ration in the local envi­rons.

 Posted by at 4:33 pm