Another loop near Porterville, CA.

Friday, May 4th, 2007

So where were we?… Right now camped by Lake Success in a Corp of Engineer campground, very nice I have to say, my neighbor Ben arrived from Long Beach yesterday and I feel like I am watching his doings from outside a very clear window. I remember those days of three day weekends… wishing for good weather… determined for little sleep… and much riding crammed into those few hours of liberty into the schedule.

It is early in the morning… and it is… raining hard! He probably does not know that yet… his subconscience is most likely already taking the curves that we had planned going up to Sequoia to ride the road that parallels the South Fork Kings River. Tonight, dinner with some friends of his… I am just sitting back… I have a few years weekend ahead fo me, will see what the true plans are once the reality of the weather sets in.

I could handle for sure riding 198 again… stop at the Rock which gives a full view of the Valley…

That is the Moro Rock at 6725′ reached from the switchbacks of 198. I had no knowledge of it till my friend Peter pointed out that he could see people on the ridge, as small as the smallest ants…

I keep looking at the maps and still amazed at the number of incredible roads around here, surprised maybe that there is not much more riding going on and then again maybe there is… on the weekend. If we backtrack a bit from the last time we left off… after that great cup of Coffee…

And by the way, in response to a comment by Joe… we do carry plenty of water, 13 liters to be exact every morning, Spirit of course has his treats and so do I… we have a space blanket… and even two food rations that are left overs from the days in Louisiana when Walter wanted me to have them. You might remember that when we crashed , waiting for my friends to come and tow us back… we did have one! And I have to say… when you are hungry… it was good!

I do have a Thermos, I just need to make extra coffee to take some with us during the day and avoid such a distasteful incident!

So on our way back from the last ride we passed by Lake Kawaeh and being under the impression through my map that there would be some free camping on BLM land I started looking. No such luck… I did find the BLM land but, I imagine they do not want to be in competition with the many campgrounds around here… there were no sites… no fire rings… just the shoreline. As soon as the roads near the start of the Mountains, it is resorts after resorts, and most, well everyone at prices I don’t even want to know about!

California is a tough State to continue living as we did, but we will! No doubt about it… Just about anywhere else we have been lucky to find much free camping. And it is not as much as the financial status of it, but the vastness of the land and the knowledge that your neighbor is out of site. We are closer to the cities, next week we will be a bit east of Stockton as I understand in a real nice campground related to the Pashnit Motorcycle Forum, the price is right and fairly close to San Francisco and surrounding Cities where I want to visit a few times. Culture shock!… Maybe… maybe not.

Fast forward to mid morning, more like late morning, drinking coffee and chatting in Ben’s RV…

A giant mansion to me… only 25 feet… but seems as big as a castle! The rain is now off and on and as the hour went by, more off than on… We decided to take off, we just cannot sit here all day, even though I am sure we will never come upon a lack of conversation.

A small loop we decide on, called Yokohl Drive, a beautiful road at the foothill of the Mountains, which will take us to 198 and finally through 65 back here. Again a deserted road, yellow flowers are covering the hills, the roads are a bit broken up, but it does not matter, we are out riding, Spirit is hanging out, he is also excited about the ride as I am and feeling better by the day… I will even go as far as to say that he is back to his 100%… and that is a relief since our stay in Utah!

I ride fairly slow… I stop a lot… and I always warn any rider of those !… I have a system now… just wait for me at the next turn and all works out well that way… and it did. Ben was waiting at a main intersection… cell phone on… I was not that far behind him… he still works and it is Friday… business as usual?

By now it is early afternoon and hunger has been making its way for a while now. We decide on the day’s special… a heart throbber… lets double up on the cholesterol medicine… a cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. We could have split the lunch for sure… I am never learning my lesson of not eating much specially when riding… and again the anchor touched bottom on the way back to camp… dragging to say the least! But it was good… very good!

Watch out for Mr Turkey…

I feel like a climber waiting to climb Mt Everest on a good day… for me it is going back to Sequoia to spend more time, the day at least, many places I have not see and many roads I have not ridden. Maybe Sunday will be good. Tomorrow we are meeting a new friend in Fresno, and some Armenian friends of his… they want me to have some of their coffee. The fine grind coffee boiled with water… thick and muddy and potent as anything you have ever drank!

So early in the morning, rain or shine, that is where we are heading. With a big Armenian community in town we might even meet other members… I am looking forward to it, it is not an everyday happening. Maybe then a new tire at the BMW Dealer… I called for the price today and was taken back by it… even the mounting and balancing wheel off the bike blew me away…

I wonder how people are managing here! The price of fuel, food… it is all so above what I am used to.

I am hopping that Northern California is a bit more tame, there is so much to see!

The night is upon us… the campground suddenly has taken a different allure, there is a fishing tournament on the Lake as I also understand and honestly I miss the vast and empty lands that were offered to us not too long ago. But I think that is only a couple days away… The next campsite is already mapped, it will be quieter for a while I think… till the gathering next weekend which will put new faces behind the names I have been reading about.

Till then… you all be well.

Ara & Spirit

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Ara Gureghian 

853 Vanderbilt Beach Road #245

Naples Fl 34108                                                                                           

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