Nov 3, 2005 - Thursday
Palo Alto, CA To Sausalito, CA

Today is a maintenance day. New tires for the bike. An oil change. Look at the bike's speedo assembly (stopped working many miles ago but that is OK since I use the GPS for speedo anyway). New riding pants. New clear face shield for the helmet. Possibly some new gloves (the hunt for the perfect glove continues - I don't think they exist). Hopefully a new antenna for the GPS.

Big list.

Also tossed onto the pile is a visit to the folks on Husted Avenue (about a mile away) to say Hi.

My first trip to San Francisco (July 1988) was for a friends wedding. Tied to that was the desire to ride down the coast as well as to buy a Jeep - one with no rust. I had sold my 1979 CJ-5 Jeep just before flying out for the trip. Flight to CA was into San Francisco with the return out of San Diego. As I recall the round trip ticket was only marginally more expensive than a one-way ticket. Having a return flight was insurance should a vehicle purchase not take place.

I needed an inexpensive vehicle to get me from San Francisco to San Diego. Rental cars were too expensive. My next thought was to find an inexpensive used car - that's where the folks on Husted avenue come in. They had a 1968 Ford Ranch Wagon for sale. $425 was the cost. 108,000 miles, heavy 60's metal, manual drum brakes all around, automatic trans, power steering, AC (that worked!), AM radio. My thoughts were to ride the car down the coast - sleep in the back (or lay across the wide bench seats) - and look for Jeeps along the way.

The Jeep hunt was a bit of a bust. I would have to go back to the 1960's (if I recall correctly) to find a Jeep with an equivalent price tag to my 79. I didn't wish to go back that far in time though they didn't have rust.

Now what to do - keep this car and drive it back or sell it - quick - in San Diego. By the time a decision had to be made I decided to keep the car. I drove the all the way back to Illinois - and then around Illinois for the next 10 years - selling it in 1993. The wagon had 107,938 miles on it at the start and I sold it with 257,103 miles at the end. One short block motor and a few small maintenance things in its life. Even a dunking in the Rock River wouldn't stop it.

The pictures from that trip are here - a quick load for the four pages.

At the hotel, wireless net access available only if I had the laptop sit on the windowsill, I tried to research a place to get a GPS antenna. Several places, online purchase only, have them but no local shop was able to come up with one. Looks like the antenna purchase will have to be delayed. Pack and take to the road. First stop was Husted Ave.

Mr. Scoffone wasn't home but Mrs. was. We chatted for a few minutes and I was off again. I enjoyed the chat - nice folks.

Over at Road Rider Motorcycle Accessories Phil worked to get the tires changed - I dismounted the wheels and handed things over to him for the tire dismount, prep, remount and balance. A couple pictures of the tires were taken as well - the front was well baked while the rear was OK. 11.8 K miles on the front and about half that on the rear.

There was one road, Stewards Point-Skaggs Springs Rd, that runs from Stewards Point CA to Geyersville CA that I decided to NOT ride. It would have added about 90 miles to my route - 90 twisty miles. With the front as it were I think that should I have taken it the front would perhaps be showing some cord. Not something I wanted to run with.

While I had most of the tools needed they did have available one jack (hold the front of the bike up to remove the front wheel) and a wrench and rubber mallet to remove the axel on the rear wheel. A centerstand on the bike is a _really_ nice thing to have in situations like this (working on the bike outside of your normal garage).

Road Rider had a sweet selection of accessories and since my riding pants had, basically, completely given up the ghost this was a good spot to get replacements.

The Joe Rocket (v2.0's???) have these small toothed, rubber coated zippers that started to not zip. For some reason a section would not mesh together and that would be it - no more zipper. I tried tightening the zipper mechanism, cleaning the teeth - it would work for a short while then - no dice.

The right leg went bust before Seattle so when there I purchased a snap tool and snaps at a fabric store and simply used snaps down that leg. The front fly zipper had the zipper pull come apart in Anchorage. Some safety wire was used to pull that zipper open/closed until the zipper gave up the ghost. The thigh pocket zipper still worked. The left leg zipper conked out somewhere between Seattle and San Jose.

Some pants research online came up to say that the Firstgear HT Overpants were popular with riders. So off to take a look. I already had two requirements - big toothed zippers and full zippers down the legs. I wanted the big toothed zipper for more reliability (at least I hope). I need full lenth leg zippers (some only go from bottom of leg to near knee area) to get the boots through the pants as I do not wish to have to remove the riding boots each time I put on / take off the riding pants.

The HT Overpants generally fit the bill. They also have three pockets - conventional jeans style front and one rear. The JR pants had one pocket on the left thigh. The HT Overpants would be tops if they had one or two thigh pockets. The pockets are my only gripe - they are difficult to use. The front pockets are not suitable for a wallet as it "crunches" in the joint between the leg and torso when sitting on the bike. The rear pocket is fine for a wallet on the bike but it is difficult to use - near impossible with gloves on. The JR thigh pocket was reasonable to access the wallet with gloves on. One bonus is that the zipper style, large tooth, is what my jacket uses. I was able to zip the jacket to pants w/o having to change that zipper - nice.

I checked out other pant styles they had but these were the best choice available. Pick a size that fit - done deal. A picture or two of the old pants then a ceremonious trip to the dumpster (there is a website that people can make available used riding gear - for others to make use of - but these things were so spent I didn't want to even go that route). 

Pick out a clear helmet shield - ring me up scotty. Being able to see clearly will be such a welcome thing!

Lets not forget the gloves - there is perhaps no perfect glove. While the selection was large, and my testing of several went on for some time, I decided to hold off. What I have is not perfect but, well, the hunt continues. At some point, I'm fairly certain, I will be worn down and accept the fact that at least two pairs of gloves may be needed - warm weather and cold weather.

With those items taken care of and good-bye's to the crew and visitors I followed Phil's easy directions to a shop to get the oil changed - right around the corner - not but a block away. While the oil was changed I sat in the lounge and watched Judgement Day 2 (aka - stupid motorcycle tricks that are fun to watch other people doing).

That process taken care of - and a quick shot of lube for the side stand (it is _SO_ much nicer to use now - it actually moves when I kick it back - Thanks guys!) - I'm sure the bike is much happier with some fresh blood - I headed out.

Road Rider Motorcycle Accessories, Inc
2897 Monterey Hwy, San Jose, CA, 95111
Superbike Perfornance Center
90 Unbargar Rd, San Jose, CA, 95111

Since it was 4:40pm and all I had to eat today was a pop tart and GatorAide at the hotel - I was getting hungary. Denny's was up ahead - stoppage for food happened. I took the laptop and GPS in as I wanted to figure out a place to stay and do the website updates. There are a bunch of hostels in the city - but I figured, like Seattle, parking would be an issue. I checked out a few web links to the hostels and some mentined parking accommodations - accommodations that I didn't care for. I knew the hostel I stayed at two nights ago had ample parking right out the door. OK - no problem - now to process up from San Jose to across the Golden Gate Bridge - about 60 miles away.

As mentioned previously I am trying to NOT take any Interstate. The reason is that the scenery is more blah - the local flavor is washed out. So do I do surface streets - Route 82 or the "not listed as an Interstate but quite similar to one" US Hwy 101. A small mental debate ensued as the dinner was consumed and US 101 won out. I'm glad it did - lane splitting happened.

Lane splitting is a California thing. Often called a White Line Rule. Bikes can ride on the white dashed line between cars. On city streets they often filter up to the head of a pack at stop lights. On freeways they can, when traffic slows or stops, ride between the cars.

Lane splitting is new to me - something I've never done - but likewise something that is raved about by CA riders - something craved by other non-CA metropolitan riders.

I stayed in my lane - the far left HOV (carpool) lane - legal for cars with two or more persons or a single person on a motorcycle. Traffic was flowing fast. A bit getting used to - having the HOV lane scooting by at 55 to 70 with traffic in the other lanes rubberbanding (start-stop) at 40 to 60.

Traffic in the lanes to my right would be sailing along - mostly at the same speed as me (and the others in front of me and behind me) but then they would need to get on the brakes. A sea of red (it was dark out) would pop up. The first few times it would startle me to double check the traffic in front of me - I should be stopping too - but no - my lane just kept zipping along. HOV lane - sweet.

Eventually traffic clogged too much, along with the HOV lane ending, and I ended up being with the group. Foot down stopping a few times. Each time I'd be over to the right side of my lane looking at the gap between the cars in front - could I fit? I didn't budge - I stayed in my lane - going (moreso stopping) with the cages.

Then a couple bikes passed - splitting - making progress. Hmmm...  Nope - still not going to try it. Then another bike - Hmmm... I'm on the edge. A moment or two later - relase of the clutch, ease on the throttle and move over (checking mirrors first).

I was a bit nervous and tense - wideish bike with saddle bags and tent and sleeping bag hanging out. This is interesting. A moment or so later I could see that single rider ahead of me. I wanted to follow him and get some cues on etticute and technique. I'd see where when traffic started to flow faster (about 30 mph was my cutoff) he'd pop back into the left lane just like a car. At other points, while splitting, I had to slow down until two adjascent cars moved apart enough to allow me to fit between.

The tension from this action was reasonable - sitting in stop-n-go traffic was aggrivating. With time the tension would subside.

Lane splitting is cool. It's also safe. Some cars would, seeing a bike approach, move over to make extra room. Others would be too far over in their lane such that not enough room existed which at this point I'd strattle the white line just behind them until they made space - then calmly throttled on by.

Before long I was off the 101 Freeway on onto 101's surface streets. Through the city and onto the bridge. A few quiet miles later the hostel parking lot was had.

Waiting for the rail tram to cross

Front tire - well spent. Right about 11,800 miles.

The left side of the front tire (right side in these reverse pix) always gets worn more than the right side.
This may be due to three conditions - all with a basis in that I drive in a "right side of the road" world.
1) The crown of the road often gives a bit of an angle on the left side, 2) Left turns have a more un-obscured view of the road ahead (so I might take those corners a bit faster, scrubbing off more rubber, than the right-handers that are often blind) and lastly 3) Assuming an equal number of left/right turns are taken, the tire will spend more distance on the left turns - running a longer arc than a right hand turn.

Rear tire - a little life left but I'm going to get both done.
This will perhaps be the last tire change for the trip.

Joe Rocket pants
Well worn - zippers giving out. One last photo before the dumpster ceremony.

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