10 January 2009

Volume 1-9

Dec 29 - Mike and Vicki (A.K.A. Temple) spent five days on the road in January 2009 with their Bronson Bike. They packed up at Livermore, California and went to Stockton by way of Holt which was the train station in the Pilot movie, visited with the Postmaster who remembered the filming in 1969. In Stockton they visited Aguirre’s Motorcycle Restoration shop, Manny has been building bikes for 26 years at this location, and loves the old stuff and custom bikes. They spent the night at Motel 6, next to the 24 hour truck wash with the bike just outside. (50 miles)

Dec 30 - In the morning the guys at the truck wash were happy to provide and air hose to top off the tires, it was foggy and they proceeded south on South Airport Way to Highway 33 which follows Interstate 5. In Los Banos, they called Jerry, hoping he would be there, but just missed him. So on to Hollister, on highway 152/156 which is the Pacheco Pass highway. The old 1970 Sporty climb it and purred for more. They rolled into Hollister and an older lady in a Cadillac pulled along side, rolled her window down and hollered, “is that and ironhead?” – Sure is! They stayed at the Cinderella Motel; the lady who runs it for the last 23 years has a Harley Hog parked by her apartment and loves bikes. They walked down to Johnny’s Bar and Grill on Main Street which is famous for Johnny (Marlon Brando in The Wild One, a movie in 1953 about bikes and is credited for establishing the mystique about anyone who rides a motorcycle). Mike spent the evening indoctrinating everyone at Johnny’s in the art of Then Came Bronson. (107 miles)

Dec 31 – New Years Eve – Out of Hollister on highway 156 to San Juan Bautista and the old mission, and turning south and climbing the San Juan Grade road, this is the back door into Salinas. It was a beautiful sunny day to view the ranches and cattle country. On through town and highway 68 took them west to highway 1 on the coast at Monterey. From there they headed south to the Bixby Creek Bridge, and became the first Bronson Bike since 1969/70 to cross the bridge. For a quiet New Years Eve evening, they stayed at the Big Sur Lodge, famous since 1908. (81 miles)

Jan 1 – New Years Day – Headed north on highway 1, they stopped and bought gas at the gas station in Carmel Highlands which is the same one in Episode 24, 99 Mile Circle. Turning east on the Carmel Valley Road it was another beautiful day for the next 70 miles to Greenfield and over highway 101 to enter King City the back way on the Metz King City road. (93 miles)

Jan 2 – The weather forecast called for rain, but the sky was clear on Bitterwater road going east on county road G13. At highway 25 they turned north and stopped at Pinnacles National Monument, visited the ranger station and bought some water proof matches. Rain was in the air and as they pulled into Tres Pinos a light rain was falling, they gassed up and the two guys in the mini-mart remembered Then Came Bronson and recognized the bike. They reversed course south on 25 to county road J1 which would take them east to Interstate 5 and the flat valley roads north to Santa Nella. The light rain continued all day and J1 is a long lonesome highway, the only option was to keep going. In Santa Nella they check into the Motel 6, hot showers and wiping the bike down were the priorities, then shrimp baskets at the truck stop. It was a long day, and by now Temple earned the Iron Butt pin. (144 miles)

Jan 3 – Up early with a sunny but cold day, they headed north on highway 33 from wince they came, running out of gas near Stockton, but the reserve kicked in and a gas station appeared. They headed east on the,California Delta Highway and turned south and went to Tracy, and pulled into the Holiday Inn Express. They have stayed there before and the folks were interested to see their bike. (105 miles)

Jan 4 – Cold and clear, they took the back door into Livermore over the Patterson Pass road and rolling by the many windmill farms. The Sporty was glad to be home to his barn in Livermore after the final 28 miles.

The trip was over, and after 608 miles Mike’s Bronson bike has won its right to wear the All Seeing Eye on its gas tank, the Sporty braved the Long Lonesome Highway loaded down to the max. The bike now awaits the Bixby Creek 40th Anniversary Ride and hopefully meet his cousins from Maryland and Texas at the Bridge this coming March 21, 2009.

Until then, You Hang In There, and I’ll see you on the Long Lonesome Highway!

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