Sunday, April 15, 2007

2007 April 15 - Panoche Road

{CLICK on photos to view full size images}

Six (6) riders and bikes today. Three more than expected, kewl.
Cranky, of course - San Jose
Prunedale, was always gonna make it - Prunedale where else
VSP, the instigator - Stockton
Paul "Happy Wanderer" - Monterey
Lars - Hollister and soon to be Salem, OR
Gar, made it at the last minute - Santa Cruz

Cat and Top Dawg both had last minute items come up so could not make the Ride. Both had emailed me that they were in other ways tied up {but not tied up to each other}. Tiny also emailed me. His bike is still in the shop getting new rubber and some warranty repair.

Paul, Cranky, Lars, Gar, Prunedale at the former City Gas, now just a 76 station in Hollister.

Paul and Lars suggested we start by taking Cienega Road to Pacines and Panoche Road. Good choice. The road goes to the Hollister SVRA so we had a couple of pick ups loaded with dirt bikes pull over for us on this road, nice. It is a fun road but too much traffic going to the Dirt Track.

Here is Lars {today's Ride Leader} leading the pack at the start of Panoche Road.

This is the only shot of 8 that I took over my shoulder where I captured any bikes. The other 7 photos are of my helmet, the side of the road and the sky. Actually I barely got the bikes in the frame, but with Photo Studio I can make it look like the bikes are centered.

Lars or Prunedale needed to lead this ride since both have been over it many times - but the key reason is that they are both smokers. This is a smoke break along Panoche Road at a really scenic spot.

Cranky, Prunedale, Lars, Gar and Paul "Happy Wanderer"

Panoche Road had the gravel washed away by yesterday's rain and was in better shape than a lot of the roads that I have ridden. There are a few bumpy sections, but Lars would crank it up if the road was decent. It is a very remote section of California. Very scenic with a few ranches along the way.

The bikes parked in front of the Panoche Inn. {my little thumper is alone on the left - none of the big bikes wanted to be near it :-) } I would have ridden right past it. It is along a straight part of the road with no warning of its existence.

Gar fiddling with something as Lars kibitzes.

Panoche Inn's owner and his wife.

Interesting wood bike inside the Inn.

There is a BBQ on April 28th at the Panoche Inn. Here are the outside tables.

A shot of Panoche Road to the east from the parking lot of the Inn. Just a few hundred yards ahead we will turn north at Little Panoche Road. Panoche Road continues to the east, but turns to a dirt road very quickly and remains dirt for about 15 miles.

Little Panoche Road has some straights some twisties and is a fun little short ride of about 10 miles. The we get to I-5 and the WIND. The bigger bikes are okay, but I am riding a little F650 thumper that weighs in at under 400 pounds. I am riding at a constant lean angle.

Lars turns off I-5 at the Hwy 165 exit to Los Banos and I take the lead over to the Wool Growers Inn and LUNCH.

A staged photo of da' gang at the bar of the Wool Growers. {Lars had made a bee line to the Men's Room} The owner of the Panoche Inn had mentioned to me that the Iturbe family has the WG up for sale. After lunch I checked with Mrs Iturbe who was tending bar and she confirmed that they are trying to sell it. Crumb, I hope this does not mean the demise of another Basque restaurant.

Here is Paul at the entry door to the Dining Room.

Sunday is the only day of the week that the WG is open continuously from opening to closing. Tuesdays through Saturdays they open from 11:30 to 2:00 and then from 4:30 to 9:00. This ride was scheduled for a Sunday because we got here at 2:40PM.

Just sat down.

Same time as the picture above this one.
Just finished ordering.

The crew. Taken by a customer seated next to the crew........ Soup and Beans. This is one of Cranky's photos.

Finished the soup and now eating the salad and drinking the wine.

This is Prunedale's plate with a lamb chop, beans and chicken and rice. His other lamb chop is on the other plate. He did not have room on his plate for any of the wonderful cooked in lard French Fries. The French Fries taste the way they were meant to taste. After all this is a French Basque restaurant.

Look at the bones left on Lar's plate. Man can that old guy eat...

A quote from Paul "Happy Wanderer":

"And the FOOD! Ah, wow. I'm glad I took a picture of those lamb chops. I showed my wife and explained to her all the other food that came with it. She said we ate enough for three meals. "

After lunch Lars has to fix his right exhaust pipe where the retaining bolt for the strap had become loose. We say our good byes and Cranky and I head off to the San Joaquin Valley Veteran's Cemetery near Santa Nella. The other four head down 6th Street {alternate name is Main Street} heading for Hwy 152.

This was a good day.

Don "Very Short Person" Inamasu
VROC #5569-R
Stockton, CA 95219