"Tour de' California - September 2010"
planning stages...

Since my Triumphs in Taos (TnT) Trip did not go as planned, I'd decided that I really needed to get out for a Overnight Ride somewhere before I went “postal”. The TnT ride was to take place the 2nd weekend in September, 9/10/2010 to 9/12/2010. As I'm sitting at home wondering what exactly was wrong with my Sprint, I knew I would go nuts if I didn't get out for some sort of an Overnight Ride. Fortunately I had the Daytona to ride. I started to review my Calendar to see what dates/weekends I had open for such an excursion.

Between NFL & NHL games (I have Season Tickets for both Sports) that were coming up as well as other events/dinners/party's that we've already agreed to attend, my options were limited. It boiled down to basically only two weekends being opened between now & the end of the year... September 17th-19th or October 1st-3rd. Since I was itching to get out on the road, I'd decided on Sept 17th-19th... that & it was the following weekend after the TnT fiasco.

On the following Monday after the TnT mishap, I'd immediately asked for Friday off of work & explained how desperate I was to hit the road. Work’s first response was I was scheduled to be on call for the week including the Weekend. Crap, time to start dealing with the person who would be On-call the week after me. After a couple emails and a phone call, I was able to swap On-call weeks with another Engineer. Awesome! My week just improved dramatically. Next item on the agenda, where do I ride to?

Some of the destinations that popped into my head were the following:

  • The Original Trip to Taos, New Mexico. Sure, it would be a week later and I would be riding alone. I'm sure I could find a friend or two in New Mexico that would have join me for a day or two. Taking this trip would allow me to experience the same roads that my Friends just rode & were bragging about.
  • How about Colorado? I had invites from some of the TriumphRat.Net folks that meet in Taos to come up to Colorado to meet & join them for a ride. I did have a blast in Colorado during my 3 day ride there in July 2009. This could be a contender.
  • The AzRatPack.Com group was having their monthly ride the same weekend. Their plan was to ride out to Southern California for the weekend. Other than that, I didn't know much about it... no route info, no game plan, notta. Well, that's not exactly true... I was told by the group leader to "just show up, you'll have a good time". Well, I'm not much for one to just show up not knowing what the game plan is. If I decide to go to SoCal this weekend, I would come up with my own route & plans.
  • For 3 years in a row I would meet some friends in San Diego & head up to MotoGP at SECA while riding along the Pacific Coast Highway. I've never stopped to take any pictures or even enjoy the PCH while riding with this group. It was always a long standing tradition that the last one to Monterey would be picking up the bar tab for the evening. No way was I paying that bar tab.
  • Last year in October I rode up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with two other friends. We went up through Payson, Strawberry, Clint's Well, along Lake Mary Road to Flagstaff and then up Hwy 89 to the North Rim. I could do that and continue up through Utah and go across Hwy 12 and come back down through Monument Valley. I'd rode through this area in May 2008 with the AzRatPack.Com Group and had a Wonderful time.

I had plenty of options and wasn't sure what area I wanted to head to. I knew no matter where I headed to, I would have a Great Time. I'd decided to sleep on it and decide in the next day or two.

Well, after thinking about where I wanted to ride, I decided it would be best to try visiting someplace I haven't been to before. Immediately I started thinking about visiting some National Parks. I started looking at the map to see which Parks were within reach for an enjoyable 3 day ride. For some odd reason Yosemite National Park & Death Valley National Park struck a chord with me. Maybe it was due to a recent article that I read online about some newly discovered negatives that may have been some of Ansel Adams work and Death Valley has always been a winter destination that I wanted to ride to. Granted it’s not winter at the moment… on the flip side, it’s not the dead of summer either.

Now that I have a destination in mind, which route do I want to ride to get there? I’d figured since I was heading up to Yosemite NP, why not head over to the Coast to take a leisurely ride up Hwy 1. With the fact that I will be riding alone, I could take my time & enjoy the trip, stop where I want, when I want. The game plan is to ride over to LA, up Hwy 1 to Monterey, cut over to Yosemite NP, across Tioga Pass, down to Death Valley, over to Vegas, across the Hoover Dam and then back to Phoenix… approx 1630 miles. Not a bad weekend ride. My overall game plan is to get up shortly after sunrise and ride as much as I can before sunset. Hopefully be checked into some Motel/Hotel before sunset, eat a decent dinner and review pictures that I take during the day. I planned on using two GoPro camera’s that would be mounted on the bike, one in front and one facing the rear as well as a point & click camera for when I stop for breaks & photo opportunities’.

To get the maximum amount of saddle time out of my weekend of riding as well as to enjoy the PCH in the day time, I’d decided I should head over to the greater LA area on Thursday evening after work & spend the night. This of course would be a wise decision instead of leaving Phoenix at the crack of dawn on Friday and try to make it up the PCH before sunset… although I bet the PCH is just as beautiful at Sunset as it is during the day. With this decision it will allow me to ride up the PCH during the day on Friday, get to Monterey in the late afternoon and then head toward Yosemite NP and get a hotel around Merced, CA for the night. Then on Saturday, get up and head to Yosemite before the masses get there and overtake the place. Looking at the map I see 3 roads that lead in and out of Yosemite NP, Hwy 41, Hwy 120, and Hwy 140. I plan on zipping in & out of the park a few times so I may enjoy all three Hwy’s before I start to head across Tioga Pass. After heading across Tioga Pass, I would head down Hwy 395 stopping in Bishop for the evening. Get up Sunday, cut through Death Valley, head over to Vegas for a picture of the “Welcome to Vegas” sign with the bike, ride across the Hoover Dam, and then head down Hwy 93 back into Phoenix.

Easy enough, sounds like a solid plan…

>>Thursday, September 16th, 2010

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