Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Apr 19 - Top Dawg's Ride to Calistoga

2009 Apr 19 - Top Dawg's Ride to Calistoga

{Click on any photo to view the full size image}

What a turnout. There are 25 or 26 bikes at the Jelly Belly factory parking lot in Fairfield, CA.

Ron "Valdez" Faubion and wife Patty and Chloe from Sacramento rode down with Alex and Jennifer riding a Harley Classic from Rancho Cordova, Uncle Bill riding a VTX 1800 from Carmichael, and Les from Folsom on a BMW K1200LT. A recently relocated VROCer, Richard Headley from Auburn with Texas plates on his VN900. Our Canadian rider Jim S and Cat from Oxnard. Sherm And SAG from Oregon. Slots from Reno. Josh his dad and brother-in-law from northern Sonoma County. Jazzhound from Berkeley. Cranky, Jest, John P, and KC from the San Jose area. Nite Lite, Linda and son Brian from Petaluma. David J and Bruce "Bigg Twin" from Yolo County. Uwe and Rad from Pacifica each riding their own bikes. And our fearless leader Top Dawg and wife Cathy from Atwater. And I may have missed someone {or two}.

Uwe and Rad after buying some Jelly Bellys

My favorites -- the Belly Flops. $9 for a two pound bag OR 10 two pound bags for $50

Bigg Twin, Slots, Jest SAG and Sherm

Jest and SAG. That is SAG's new orange Road Glide.

David J, Bigg Twin, Uwe, Rad and Jazzhound

Richard H, the Sublows and Slots

Cranky, Ron "Valdez" and his wife Patty and Chloe

Top Dawg handing out route maps

Top Dawg's wife, Cathy

There are so many bikes that we split into two groups. Top Dawg leads the first group of bikes with David J riding sweep. And I lead the second group with Nite Lite riding sweep. Since I am not sure of the first part of the Ride Route I take Group 2 straight onto I-80 and head to Pleasant Valley Road.

Top Dawg meanwhile heads to Mankas Corners and to his first break spot.
Top Dawg's first stop

My group's first stop and TD's second is at Monticello Dam. This is the dam that created Lake Berryessa by stopping up Putah Creek.
The "Glory Hole" at Lake Berryessa. This acts as the overflow valve for the lake. we are in a drought situation and the water levels throughout the State are very low.

The "crew" at Monticello Dam

Top Dawg and Cathy at Monticello Dam

TD takes a longer break at The Corners. The General Store is open again. It has gone through many changes of ownership and has been closed for over two years. It just opened last month.

I take our restroom break at the Turtle Rock Bar and Grill which is a few miles further up the road than The Corners.
John from San Jose

Alex and Jennifer from Rancho Cordova under the dollar bills in the store

Jim S and Cat at Turtle Rock

The last leg of the Ride to Buster's is Hwy 128 to Silverado Trail and into Calistoga.

Over Sherm's head along Silverado Trail

The weather is in the mid 80's and lots and lots of motorcyclists and autos are out for a ride in the Wine Country. The parking lot at Buster's Southern BBQ is full. I make one pass and have to go back out to the street and come back in the lot to find a place to park. We squeeze into every space that we can find. But everyone finally parks their bike.
The bikes are squeezed in

Valdez, Les, Chloe who rides in Patty's jacket, Patty and Cranky

Cranky's lunch. He ate every last bite.

We know Uncle Bill crowded in line :-)

Josh and his dad

Uwe has a side order of hot links along with his sandwich

Here is KC eating his lunch

Slots and Jest

After lunch there is little interest in going further for the short second half of the Ride. Some have to return because of circumstances others are tired. Anyway Cranky leads a group of six back out Silverado Trail to points south and east. Here is what he has to say:

So 6 of us headed out after much of Don VSP's tutoring .. Did I say that I'd remember??? and headed back instead of on to Sonoma and the Chocolate Cow for Ice Cream...

After that sandwich, noooooo *!)!_*%! way!!! GBG Fantastic... food!!!

Anyway... with great trepidation... headed down the road and got lucky, got on the Silverado trail... doin' fine.. got into Napa on 121 and we stayed together..

On to the junction where we turn off 121 to get to 29 / 12.. I thought we were doing good... looked back Rick was there... looked further.. no scoots.. geez...

John, David J... What happened? Where did I !!)$*#!$_ UP!!!???
Rick and I got back to 12 and on to 680... yup, I )!)*%)!)#$% that up toooo, but not toooo bad.. sigh...

I hate being in front!! Hope you guys made it OK! You were close to Vallejo.. that would just cost you some miles... sigh
Richard and Cranky checking out their route home

Ron and his Contingent are heading north on Hwy 29 to Clear Lake then over Hwy 20 to Hwy 16 and through Cache Creek Canyon back to Sacramento. You can see photos on Sherm's Blog since Sherm and SAG also headed out that way, but continued on Hwy 20 to I-5.
Sherm's Blog

KC, Top Dawg and Cathy, the Sublows, Josh and his relatives also head home.

There are only 6 bikes that continue on and two of those are going to split off early and head to Hwy 101. So I lead Uwe and Rad who are splitting off at Porter Creek Road to Hwy 101 back home to Pacifica. Only Bigg Twin, Jazzhound and Slots remain to ride a few wonderfully picturesque roads. Calistoga Road into Santa Rosa, Brush Creek Road, Bennett Valley Road and Warm Springs Road. At Glen Ellen we stop to drop Slots off at Jack London State Park. We decide not to stop at the Chocolate Cow. So Bigg Twin, Jazzhound and I continue on Arnold Drive and work our way to Hwy 12 just south of Sonoma. Bigg Twin and I wave good bye to Jazzhound as he continues down Hwy 29 toward I-80 and Berkeley. Bigg Twin and I make the left turn to continue along Hwy 12.

Then this happens as seen through Bigg Twin's eyes:
Don lost me at a light on Hwy 12, he split the lane at the light and I got caught up by 2 slow bikers and a car. I saw Don way up in front by the time I got to I-80 so I just headed home.

I close with Jest's words about today's ride:
what a glorious day for a ride eh? deep blue sky, no wind, warm....was only hot if standing in the sun in leathers, but a very comfortable ride....that area is gorgeous, was still all green, the forested hills, canyons, lakes, streams, the dam, can't ask for better....i'm not huge on twisties, but seemed to have a lot of my fave, those you can glide in and out of in middle gears...

and great to see so many old friends, and meet quite a number of new ones today.....

life is good in vulcan land....:)


Post script: Here is a photo taken by KC of the "Mothball Fleet" near Benicia:
.....Link to a SF Chronicle article

This is just a few miles from the Jelly Belly Factory



  1. Great write-up, great ride, and really fine folks. What a pleasure to ride with you all! Thanks for a memorible day of riding and of course eating :) ValDez

  2. Don, thanks for all you do to keep the NORCAL VROC so active! This weekend was just perfect!