Saturday, November 10, 2012

I needed to visit the four Tour of Honor sites in Northern California and wanted to meet and ride with some guys out of Sacramento locally known as the Old Farts. Soooo, consulting the local crystal ball for weather, I decided the week of October 15 would be better than the week of the 22nd. That and some of the Old Farts would be out of town the week of 8 October sort of narrowed it down a bit.

Since I was on a rather tight schedule, I didn't take a bunch of photos but here goes...

I headed up US-101 for the Northbound run and had planned to come back down either by US-395 or PCH. However, I ended up returning via I-5 and cutting my trip short by a day.

I enjoy interesting cafes and other places. This cafe had a poker parlor attached to it. Atascadero, California, along Highway 1

The first location I stopped at was in Santa Clara - the Santa Clara Veterans Memorial. A quick photo and then find a place to sleep.

Before bed, I filled the tank. Using Gas Buddy on the cell phone, I found this place with relatively inexpensive fuel.

The next day was a blast up to Weed, CA and the Living Sculpture Memorial Garden by way of Santa Rosa.

The Pacific Air Museum was the next stop.

This was great! I'm a sucker for old aircraft and found a bunch of really cool stuff, including three of my all time favorites:

The BD is on my short list of fantasy airplanes to own. Totally impractical, very touchy to fly and a complete blast.

The F-4 holds a special place in my heart. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in the back seat of one after picking up the downed pilot of one from a beach in Vietnam.

Of course I always am drawn to the UH-1D/H models. I flew those in Vietnam for a couple of tours as well as when I got back. What a work horse. With continued upgrades they are still flying. Unfortunately the Army has seen fit to replace them with the Blackhawk.

Interstate 5 (I-5) up in NorCal is not the flat land boring I-5 we know and love here in SoCal. The scenery was great and riding up through the canyons was very nice.

On the road North out of Weed (CA-97) headed to the next stop.

The photo on the ToH site showing this memorial does not do it justice. Part of my brain was saying "Let's get this over and get back to lower elevations and rest". Wednesday promised to be a fun day and this second 500 mile day was getting tiring. Once I got there, however, I was totally blown away. I was unprepared for the impact his site had on me.

I parked at the Hot LZ and walked toward my destination.

Finally the unassuming entrance to my goal for this stop

Getting closer, it hit me what this really was

Sort of changed my whole outlook on the day. I spent a lot longer there in contemplation and remembrance. I left six behind on one day in 1971 - four pilots and two crew chiefs. Their bodies were never recovered even though we believe at least some of them started off as POWs. That was one of the not-so-good days from my tours.

Leaving the Memorial, I took this shot of the north face of Mt. Shasta. Nice peaceful vision to keep with me on my way back down.

A stop in Weed, CA. I mean, how could you not stop here?

Spent the night at Travis AFB and on Wednesday met up with the Old Farts for breakfast and a ride. I knew I had fallen in with a bunch of Yankees when I asked for Grits at the waffle place and was told they didn't have that on the menu.

Getting ready to head out...

I'm not real sure where all they took me

I know we went this way

At one point we came from there

And were headed this way...

Moving right along

Until we came to here.

This is the memorial to the five riders killed on their way to Hope Valley. Here is a blog like about this memorial --> Linky

We left there and headed toward Apple Hill for lunch.

No photos of lunch as I was too busy eating and enjoying resting my butt. Those old guys ride pretty damn good - and relatively quick as well. It sure helps to know the roads. Many thanks to Papa Ken and the boys for showing me some beautiful roads, welcoming me to the group, and some really fine apple cider.  It was pretty cool being the youngest in the group for a change  ;D

Here's a link to the map of the lunch ride. Pretty close to a 200 mile round trip. After lunch, the group broke up and I headed in to Sacramento to bag the last of the four sites I came up here for.  Papa Ken later gave me the following directions:

We did take the backroads to the outskirts of Auburn to tie in with 49.
Took that down across the American River up to Cool. At that point 193
to Georgetown and Wentworth springs rd. to Ice House Rd. down to 50 turned
east on 50 to silverfork rd. at Kyburz and went south to Mormon Immigrant and
the five crosses memorial, then onward to High Hill Ranch via Snows Rd. to Camino.

Back in downtown Sacramento - right across from the State Capitol building is the California Peace Officers' Memorial

I debated on staying another night at Travis, heading toward CA-1 and stopping by San Francisco, or finding my way over to US-395, but instead turned south on I-5 and slabbed it home, arriving somewhere around 1am.

1717 miles in three days or 28 hours of road time

The bike ran flawlessly, but I do need to either reconfigure my ass or the seat if I'm going to do many more of these multi-day 500 mile plus days.

I really love the Norge.  I could spend pages detailing why this is the perfect bike for me, but I'll just leave it at this - the ergonomics of this bike are perfect for me.  I love the sound, feel and responsiveness of this bike.  No, she's not the fastest in the group.  No, she's not the smoothest, nor the most plush.  But she handles very well, is comfortable on long rides (despite my minor complaint about the seat or my butt), loves twisty roads, eats up sweepers, gets pretty darn good mileage, and comes with ABS (that you can turn off when playing on dirt roads), an electric windshield, heated grips, and side bags as standard.  By the way, did I mention that I love this bike?