Friday, November 4, 2011

Mission San Luis Rey and a 60th Birthday

Yesterday was The Male's 60th birthday.  And, in a completely not-to-character decision, he actually took the entire day off work.  Incredible!  He decided that he'd like to go for a ride down to the next mission on our list, San Luis Rey, in Oceanside.  And, he wanted me to go, too! 
Which, if you understand him at all, is a huge decision.  He is ever fearful that I'll get my self killed on his watch.  Which is, frankly, a reasonable concern.  Our ride involved 70 miles one-way, of mostly freeway riding.  And, he wasn't at all sure that I could keep up freeway speeds, and thereby not get run over by a semi, so you can see what a sacrifice he made...
We mapped out our route, got geared up, and headed out.  It was a gorgeous day to be out and about, with a clear blue sky and perfect temperature.  We got gas first, then on to the 405.  We stayed in the right-hand lane as much as possible, going a respectable 60MPH.  Respectable for me, at least.
It was wonderful to not have to stop at stop lights over and over, to just sit and ride.  Of course, I stayed vigilant, and have the sore neck today to show for it.  But, it was so much more pleasant than city streets.
We made it to the mission in a little over an hour, got gas, and had lunch before we began our visit.

The ride back was a little more tense.  The traffic started to bunch up about 20 miles from home.  And, as I get more tired, my stops tend to get sloppy.  I was dreading stop-and-go traffic for 20 miles, and I could easily see myself dropping the bike.  But, all my slow-speed training came in quite handy, as I only had to come to a complete feet-down stop twice.  One of those stops, I stalled the bike.  But, it was easy to get going again, and the traffic wasn't moving much, so I didn't cause a scene. 
One of the little joys of riding is catching scents that you wouldn't get in a car:  sizzling french fries, eucalyptus trees, the ocean...  But, there are others out there, like skunks and pot.  Yep, amazingly enough, not once, but twice, we passed drivers, windows down, smoking a joint!  On the freeway!  Be careful out there, friends...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Gang of Three takes on Palos Verdes

So, yesterday, our son, The Professor, came down to our house on his bike, a Vstrom 650.  His family drove down, and The Mama was very nervous, watching The Professor ride while she drove!

After lunch, while the family took naps, The Male, The Professor, and I headed out on our bikes for the loop around the Palos Verdes peninsula.  Once you get past the congestion and general ickyness on PCH (the Pacific Coast Highway) and up into the rolling hills and horse country of Palos Verdes, it's a lovely ride.

Usually, there are stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, but not for today.  A very low, dense, fog had come in off the ocean, and there just wasn't anything to see until we got nearly all the way around.  It was cold and damp, too; quite the change from down on PCH, where it was sunny and in the 70s.
We stopped at our usual lookout for a stretch and a snack, and we were able to see a bit of ocean.  Then, back through San Pedro, up the 110, to PCH, and then home, 52 miles in all.
Uneventfully and safely! 

Before we left, The Professor took The Mama around the block a few times.  She liked it!
All suited up and looking appropriately tough.  (Ha!)
At our usual look-out point.  Not much of an ocean view, I'm afraid!

Aggg.... Helmet hair!

And, today, I'm paying for that ride through that chilly damp fog.  I woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat and tried to ignore it, but today, I'm in the full grip of something nasty.  Still in my jammies, which is probably more than you wanted to know...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fourty-four Miles to San Gabriel and Home

Today was a beautiful day in the neighborhood: mid-seventies temperature and sunny skies.  The Male and I decided to take the opportunity to head north to Mission San Gabriel.  We've been to San Juan Capistrano and Santa Ines, and this one is right here in our back yard, so to speak. 
We decided to keep off the freeway, and instead, we headed up on Highway 19, Rosemead Blvd.  It goes right by the Whittier Narrows Recreational Area and dam.  We'd never seen either before. 
We found the Mission easily and parked under a big tree for the shade. 
 These grounds are not a beautiful as San Juan Capistrano, nor as historically charming as Santa Ines.  The plants were more along the lines of native, rather than ornamental, flowers and cactus.  That being said, we enjoyed our visit. 
 We were simply amazed at the size of the grape vines; you wouldn't be able to get your arms around the trunk of the largest.  They were started from seeds, rather than cuttings, so the grapes are exceedingly tiny and used only for making sacramental wine. 

The little museum is crammed with artifacts and The Male could have happily spent the entire day there, reading every little handwritten note.
We wandered the grounds, and then went out to the bikes for our lunch, waiting for a wedding to conclude so we could go in the original church.
Back to the grounds, where the wedding was still going strong.  It had been over an hour by now.  I felt sorry for the bride; her feet were probably hurting!  But, that gave me a little more time to seek out some photo opps.

The wedding finally concluded, and we went in to the church.  They were busy in  there, taking down flowers from one wedding and putting the next wedding's flowers in their place.  We didn't linger long.
Then a walk around the outside grounds, and home safely, and thankfully, once again. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Riding into the Sunset

The Male finally let me out on my bike again.  It's been a while, and I am rusty.  However, in my defense, I did an amazing parking job in our driveway today.  So what that it was on the wrong side.  It was still amazing.
So, to bring you up to speed: We went out this afternoon for a little 17.5 mile run to the barber shop. I felt a little shaky starting out, as it's been over 2 months since my last ride. But, a few times around the block, and I was feeling more confident.  We stopped to get gas first, and then headed out.
I need to remember that we have Bluetooth, so every little "oopsie" I utter is heard. And, that just makes him worry even more, "You OK???"  "Yep; just caught my toe on the peg." Et cetera.
It was a lovely afternoon, and the breeze felt great through my Joe Rocket mesh. Like every other afternoon ride, though, we come home into the setting sun.  Makes it a little trickier to see clearly.  So, we just ride like the old geezers we are. And, we made it home safely.  Again. For which we are thankful.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

86.4 Miles and Only One Near-Death Experience

So, we're making great progress!

The Male, however, is still a little shaky.

We headed out today for Cook's Corner, a famous motorcycle hangout in Orange County.  Now, mind you, we weren't actually going to stop there.  Heavens, no,  We'd be exposed as the fakers we are faster than you can say, "I'll have the biggest tattoo you can draw!"

Getting there necessitates a bit of freeway, 22 miles, and then a long stretch along a winding, rural highway.  That part is truly lovely.  But, once past Cook's Corner, where I DIDN'T lay down my bike at the 90 degree corner--how embarrassing would that be?--the road gets even windier, with 3 really, really sharp turns.

And, I over-shot one.  Big time.  There were a few cars behind us, and I felt a little crowded, so I was probably going too fast.  Honestly, I don't remember.  I do know that I was too close to the inside of the curve, so it was very tight.  I probably would have been OK had I been on the outside of the curve.

So, I didn't make the turn and instead, shot over into the other lane.

Where, LORD be praised, there were NO oncoming cars.  Oh, I will be having flashbacks about that for some time. 

The Male was more than a little upset.  He gets that way whenever I almost get myself killed.  So, we pulled over by a park, had some water, and tried to shake it all off.
But, it took the fun down a notch or two.  He kept asking all the way home, "Are you doing OK?" 
And, I was.  Really.  I got up to 70 MPH on the freeway, a new record for me.  Didn't pop the clutch, kill the engine, drop the bike, or anything but that one itsy-bitsy mistake.  So, now can we all just move on? And, never mention this again.  Great!

Monday, April 11, 2011


We finally got in a little ride this weekend.  It's been rainy, we've been busy, and there hasn't been any thing to report!
But, yesterday, we got out for a 30-mile round-trip.  The Male needed a haircut, and I was promised a paleta for tagging along, so I saddled up.  We also picked up a few more (kiwi, mango, cherry, coconut, and berry) to deliver to a friend for his birthday, too. 
The weather was gorgeous; 66 degrees and sunny.  The traffic was light, and I stayed upright the entire way.  I always feel such a sense of accomplishment when that happens...  The only little hiccup was not making a tight enough turn into the barber shop's parking lot.  But, I just had to back up a bit and turn a little more, and viola'!  And, in another little victory, we both managed to park correctly, backing up against the curb. 
And, I thoroughly enjoyed my sweet potato paleta after dinner!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wow! I've been gone a while, haven't I?

After we got back from Alaska, life kinda went a little crazy, and riding had to go by the wayside for a bit. We skipped our holiday ride tradition on Thanksgiving and Christmas (we had quite the houseful), but we did go out on New Year's Day. Just a little ride down PCH to get my bearings again. And, it was wonderful. After such a long break, I was expecting to be quite rusty and off-kilter. But, no; it was probably the most relaxed I'd ever been on my bike. Oh, it was glorious, I'm telling you! The weather was beautiful, just a little cool, the traffic was light, and it was great fun. I took this photo with my iPhone, trying to get myslef in the mirror, but I couldn't see from the glare from the sun on its screen! That's my saddle bag instead!

Our next ride was Super Bowl Sunday. We were invited over to watch the game with some dear friends, and since we wanted to get out on the bikes that weekend anyway, we suited up and rode over. It's only about a 10-mile journey, and we've done it before. One time, to deliver some of our favorite Mexican ice cream for her 50th birthday. (If there's ice cream involved, I'm there!) We hadn't planned on staying for the whole game, but that's exactly what we did.
We scooted out right at the end of the game, hoping to get home before all the crazies who'd been drinking their favorite beers all afternoon hit the road, too. And, by that time, it was completely dark outside. I've never ridden in the dark. The Male wouldn't let me, so this was Big. Gear on, we headed out, only to have to stop one block away to clear the fog from my windshield. We started out again, and I had to keep my visor up so it wouldn't fog up either. I was glad we didn't have too far to go.
Note to self: clean windshield and visor and apply anti-fog stuff.
Then, just this past weekend, we got out again. Our church is looking at a new place to lease, and I needed a few more photos for a slide show. Once again, it was off south on PCH. What we didn't realize is that the road we planned to turn inland on didn't go through to PCH. We went farther than we planned, but when we did turn inland, it was through an area that neither of us had ever been to before. It was interesting and lovely and I didn't mind getting lost at all. We did finally pull over and got out The Male's iPhone to find out just where we were. (I think we spent a lot more time "exploring" before we got iPhones.)
We found our destination, I took my photos, and we went home yet another way we'd never been before. That's been the unintended consequence of riding: finding areas in our own city that are new to us. But, really, I'd like to get out of the city sometime soon!