Delusions of a never ending road to glory filled my head as we pulled away from Ryan’s home in Potrero Hill at noon on Friday. Destination: Adventure, had been on mind for weeks and I was just glad to finally get rolling. As we cruised South on the 280 toward San Jose we passed under a few dark clouds and a drop of rain as I prayed that it not serve as a harbinger of things to come. The skies cleared and we were soon south of Hollister cruising the familiar back roads of Route 25 towards King City, making great time across the landscape just outside Pinnacles National Monument.
By 4, we passed through the small hamlet of Santa Margherita en route to our first real taste of adventure. Here we stared Route 58 right in the eye. With the sun at our backs, we headed out for 110 miles due east that were nothing short of incredible. The road starts off with beautiful sweepers through sleepy California Ranch country and flows into the San Jaoquin Valley, where the tarmac is so straight you can see for miles and miles. Rolling hills keep speed in check and allow time to take in the panorama. With the low sun casting long shadows at our feet, we pass over McKitrick summit on a road good enough to be a racetrack and notice the large number of Porsches and sports cars out for an evening romp. This is oil country! We see derricks pumping black gold from the earth, yet nary a gas station in sight for over 90 miles. Am I about to run out of gas?
We pull into the town of Bakersfield at about 730PM, showing remarkably little fatigue, and were treated to premium motorcycle parking at the brand-new Holiday Inn Express. We find accommodations more than acceptable, but dinner proved to be the real treat! Across the street from us was none other than Buck Owens Crystal Palace! Yes, that’s right boys and girls, live country music and line dancing accompanied by some legitimate BBQ. I’m not sure if I enjoyed the rack ‘o ribs or doing the electric slide more. Oh, if only wife could’ve seen me! From the stage, the singer asks if there are any birthday’s in the house tonight. Why, yes, I shout “RYAN!” He’ll be 34 on the morrow, but may as well start celebrating! Food coma sets as the day caught up with us and we were both fast asleep by 10PM, dreaming of the horsepower heaven we would explore in the morning.