This past weekend I attended another enjoyable end of the month Ride & Campout Meeting at Plasket Creek, located six miles from Gorda, California. As usual this was a very well thought out, coordinated, and managed event. I am always amazed how the BMW NorCal motorcycle club organizes interesting rides month after month, and year after year; for 50 years. This is certainly a testament to the quality of members, leadership, & support. And our main goal to self actualize by enjoying our lives by riding motorcycles and appreciating the outdoors with like minded people.
Over the past year and a half that I have been a member there have been some events that stick out in my mind. The 49er Rally’s in Mariposa, the Range of Light / Gypsy Tour, the election campout at Finnon Lake, Death Valley Ride, Song Dog, Bodega Bay; all the End of Month Campouts and second Sunday rides. In short, every ride that the NorCal Club has organized that I have attended. It seems that I invariably experience a new road or area that I have not known before. I did not think that would happen since I have been riding a motorcycle since 1966 and grew up in Northern California. The rides are rich in quality, scenery, and challenge my riding ability.
The only thing I have enjoyed more then the ride is the people I have met. I have found that the members have a variety of life experience, riding ability, mechanical expertise, and they are willing to share all that information. This makes our gatherings and evening bonfires very interesting. The stories and tall tales are always a source of information and interest. As one story finishes another member has a similar one but only bigger and better. I also learn more about riding techniques. Some of our members have been to riding courses and are willing to share that information. If you are having a problem a member can and will help solve the problem. Or at least give free advise, (and sometimes it works…).This past Saturday morning I woke up at 6AM to join the December ride to Plasket Creek Campground. As the alarm clock sounded its wake up ring I rolled around and turned it off. I laid there for a while thinking of the ride to Morgan Hill and seeing familiar faces. I still had a few things to pack, (food, camping gear, and maybe motor oil just in case). After washing up and eating scrambled eggs, I was ready to venture to the garage to finish packing and tying everything on the bike. Oh good, ready to go – finally. The R100 airhead started right up. It was rare’n to go. After stopping for gas I was on the freeway heading to meet my riding buddies in Morgan Hill at the Dunnes Restaurant. I arrived in plenty of time since there was no traffic on 880. There to greet me was Ed Perry and John Ellis, my old riding partners. Of course it was good to see Cliff Dunn, Russ Drake, Joyce Sampson, Alex Rodas, and the rest of the ten members that went on the ride. The food was pretty good and all went well – there was no food fights or loud belching.
Joyce Sampson was our tour captain for the ride to Plasket Creek. After the riders meeting we were off to Heckler Pass and down to Watsonville. Down Hwy 1 and off to Molera Road past all the meticulous rows of planted strawberry’s and beautiful soil that was tilled and ready for planting. The valley is so lush and picturesque. We continued on toward Salinas and had a rest stop by Fort Ord. We continued on our journey toward King City. The road paralleled the mountains (Sierra de Salinas). We met a few tractors and workers that waved to us on our way. We gassed up at King City and Joyce went shopping at Safeway for food and beer. Now we took off toward Jolon on road J14 and turned into Fort Hunter-Liggett and onto Nacimiento Road, (or Nasty Tomato as Russ Drake calls it). This road wound through a beautiful valley in the Fort and twisted and turned toward the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. As we crossed a narrow bridge we began to climb into the mountain. The terrain was heavily wooded and the road had tight and twisty turns. It was challenging and very interesting to ride. As we climbed up and up the mountain we traveled at a quick pace. Oh no! As we made a turn there was a car that had stopped and was backing up in front of Joyce. It appeared the driver did not see Joyce or our group that had quickly stopped close to the car. After honking horns and yelling a bit, the driver stopped backing up. Whew – tragedy over… We continued up the hill and enjoying the ride. When we reached the top the view of the Pacific Ocean and the coastline was spectacular. Oh my god what a beautiful sight. This is the reason I ride and am a member of the NorCal Club. As we continued down the mountain it was difficult to keep my eyes on the twisty road because the view was so fantastic. We turned onto Hwy 1 and shortly reached Plasket Creek Campground.
The campground was on the side of the hill so there was a slope, but not to bad for sleeping. We had a good informative meeting that was chaired by Bill Lopez. The evening bonfire was roaring thanks to John Ellis and company. There were plenty of stories to go around. I had the privilege of talking with a new guest and his wife who had just moved here from Washington State. After a good night sleep I made breakfast, ate, packed up, and headed home on Hwy 1. What a great ride with virtually no traffic, go figure…Fred Montano