Chapter One (I figure ifn I cut this down in a part series then you can
read it without goin blind)
I headed back a full week before the beast was to arrive so that I
could chill the worries on my lovely new (86) 1100 Shadow. Unfortunately
when I got back to my Dad's little, tiny, minuscule, town in Northern
California I found my baby in severe need. She needed fork seals, a new
rear tire, a turn signal stalk, and an overheating problem needed to be
diagnosed. Oh woe was me......
Ok we are talking a town of 4000 folks here. Well I drove over to
the next larger town (maybe 10,000) and found a small, mom and pop,
motorcycle shop. Wonderful people, just not allot of parts on stock. The
ol Raven went to roost and didn't come back for 2 weeks (yes my vacation
was > only 4 weeks long).
Well I went to court and the ol Judge found me guilty of being a man
and told me that I had to give my no account ex-wife $1000.00 a month. Oh
nuthin like gettin it right where it hurts. Well that is almost half of
this military man's pay check for the month. So I will be headed back to
the states after here and looking for a better paying job. That sorta
sums up the divorce thing. I received one screwing after another losing every
battle and leaving with a real lost look on my face.
Fortune smiled and the Raven came out of the shop just in time to
help me with my frame of mind. I rode her home, gave her a much needed
bath, and put on her new windshield and bags. Wow was she pretty.
I had to leave her behind as I and my significant other (new wife to
be) headed off to Reno to be joined in bliss. The marriage went off
without a hitch (pun intended) and I carried my new bride over the threshold of
the Nugget Hotel and Casino.
Next Chapter (The ride to the Coast)
Ok when we left off my new bride and myself were in a Hotel in Reno:
We came home to my Dad's house the very next day and I changed the
engine and driveshaft oil. She then got a light packing in the bags of
raingear and such. Dad was bringing his HUGE trailer/motorhome thing so we
packed most of the stuff in there. Next day we headed out on 395 en route
to 44 and the first checkpoint of Redding.
We chilled while enjoying all the wonderful mountains and forests
through the Lassen National Park and stayed bundled up a bit since to us
SouthAmerica types it is cold in them there hills.
We arrived in Redding and the serious heat overtook us. We shed the
gear and happily enjoyed some warm weather. The bike was up there near the
end of the white on the ol Temp gauge (talked about in length by all) and so
I made a mess of overfilling the Radiator overfill. Really pissing off the
gas station attendant. Oooops. Fuel and a quick check of everything and we
were off again.
Dad wanted to stay in some campgrounds outside of Weaverville, but
Nohemy and I were having none of that. We wanted to see the ocean. All
decided that we would press on to the coast and Patricks Point campground
area (even though our reservation wasn't for two days). As soon as we
crested the peaks of the mountains outside Weaverville the air began to
chill again. Nohemy and I put all the shedded gear back onto our rapidly
Nohemy and I decided we were tired of driving my Dad's sedate 55 MPH
and we took the lead heading off to the camp area. We arrived in Arcadia
and waited for the arrival of the behemoth Dad calls a trailer. We gassed
up and walked around a bit and then sure enough it trundled by.
We arrived at Patricks Point campground and were told that we must
be crazy to think that there would be open spaces without a reservation.
Ooops. Well it was off to a private trailer park that charged way too much.
Still it was nice to be at the coast.
Next Chapter: The Stay At The Coast
Well as we left off we had made it to the coast and paid for the
reservation error with hard cash. We got into the state park campground and
finally got settled. I had a motorcycle tent that I bought off of a German
riding buddy of mine when I was in Kaiserslautern Germany and I was itching
to try it out with my new bride (tent was just big enough for two people).
Lets just say, it worked out real well...:)
The first day we headed off to the South and began to hit the scenic
towns along the route to Eureka. Hey I didn't write them down, but just
about every town along the way is worth seeing. One place had a movie
theater and court house built totally out of huge redwoods. Another had a
complete Victorian store front main street with all sorts of hand-made wares
We continued on through Eureka (saved exploring there for another
day) and continued south. We came upon a sign pointing us towards a scenic
Giant Redwoods drive, and pulled off 101. The exit lead right into the
Giant Redwoods. The road was new and in perfect condition and the trees
were all lined up with a river running off to our left. It was like riding
the bike into a huge security blanket. We stopped off at the "tourist trap"
shop and looked at all the strange things that a human being can do to a
redwood tree and get tourists to snap it up like rabid dogs. Of course we
got away unscathed....:)
The forest road led along for quite aways so we decided to pull back
onto 101 to see something besides trees. I noticed a beautiful lake and
recreation area and we pulled off to check it out. The rec area was a
private "for rich people" resort so we took pictures and rested the buttocks
for a little bit in the tree covered parking lot.
With the tired look upon my new wife's face I decided to head back
for the little tent. We mounted up and headed back all on 101. Along the
way we met up with a BMW K75 rider that rode along with us till it got
chilly. He and we pulled off to put on warm clothes and I found out he was
from LA. I told him he must be freezing with the little bikini fairing on
the BMW. He responded in the most affirmative. Well after dressing he went
off his way and us ours, and we began our journey back to the campground.
The rest of the trip back was uneventful but relaxing and we pulled
into the camp slot just in time for Dad to offer us up a wonderful Pizza
Next installment, The Next Days On The Coast
Well the rest of the 5 days on the coast were spent relaxing on the
beach and exploring the many roads up and down 101. If any of you ever get
the chance it is a must ride. Now for the trip back.
My SO and myself decided that we wanted to go back before Dad and
the huge trailer known as "The Palace". This mandated a 300 mile ride with
a huge duffel bag. Well there just isn't too many places on my ol 86 that a
duffel can sit. We started out with it placed between us and made it about
half way with this setup. We had to change because my new bride was getting
real grumpy and rethinking her commitment to this motorcycle stuff and I was
riding with the ol family jewels up on the tank. Let me tell ya, at the
midway point I was worried about function.....
Well we moved the duffel up on the tank and that pretty much solved
the problem for the rest of the way home. I was able to relax and ponder
the events of the trip and the sad realization that this would be my last
ride for another year. The drone of the engine seemed to soothe away the
stress that came from the divorce and the loss of a way of life. I had been
married for 13 years, pretty much my whole adult life. It had been a long
and scary process culminating in this last ride.
The bike looked a little like I felt, worn but still running
perfectly. She looked like she had belonged to an owner that hadn't
appreciated her worth, sort of like I had. She responded to the loving care
and work that I put into her while I was there and I felt that I could see
her bonding with me as if we both needed the attention. I plan on a
complete (as finances permit) restoration of this bike and she will never be
for sale. Maybe it is just the emotional cost of this whole process, but I
feel this wonderful cycle will appreciate me as much as I appreciate her.
Well guys and gals that is pretty much the "Readers Digest"
condensed version of the trip to my rebirth. I hope to share times and
stories with all of you when I get back to the good ol USA.
86 VT1100 "Raven"