June 5th ride to Santa Maria
by BHC Bob

At 9 AM, all participating riders met at Cycle Gear anticipating the excitement that lay ahead in the coming hours. Pete had promised a day worthy of bragging about for months to come. By 9:30, we were ready to roll. In the group were Kathy on a VLX, Sunshine on a brand new Shadow Tourer, Mark and his beautiful daughter, Elise, Richard, Beverly, Ron, Hector, BHC Bob, and our Road Captain, Pete. Another rider, The Juice man, met with us but had pressing business in Palm Springs. Had a real nice paint job with Naval Orange graphics.

Off we ventured behind our leader heading up Route 5 what seemed like forever. I felt as though we were about 3 miles from Sacramento when we finally turned off at the Frazier Park turn off just beyond Gorman. Mind you, I had already put on over 100 miles just to get to the embarkation spot. Anyhow, westward we followed our leader to a bike trail turn off near Ozena, where we were going to stop for a little picture taking.  Kathy had never ridden in the dirt before, and her VLX never lay in the dirt before. Both of those oversights were cured in a blink of an eye. A quick overview by Ron assured little damage was done except for bending of some pride. Most of us have had the same experience at one time or another and we all assured Kathy that it was just part of the learning experience. Several of us manly men rode the ladies bikes out to the street prior to continuing down the road. Sunshine required no help. She is a very experienced rider. At some point, we ended up in the right direction and traveled down 166 through the Sierra Madre Mountains over some very beautiful scenery. On through the Los Padres National Forrest, across the Twitchell Reservoir and into Santa Maria.

After gassing up, Pete led us to the Country Kitchen restaurant in beautiful downtown Santa Maria. After an hour or so of camaraderie and food, we discussed our route to return to Newhall.  Extensive discussion and map review revealed that the best way was the most direct. Straight down 101 to 126 and home to Newhall. On the south side of Santa Maria, I eyed one of those mileage signs that said ď149 miles to VenturaĒ. My bum cried out ďNo! No! No!"  Now Iíve got over 300 miles with 200 more before my day is over. (Groan) Off we went until we reached Los Cruces. There we took a break while our president gave the Road Captain a few pointers on lane safety, or something to that affect. Hector, Mark and Elise didnít stop and presumably continued on home. Mark wasnít feeling well and was anxious to get back home. After running around the bike a few times, back on the road we go, continuing on to Ventura, Santa Paula and finally, Castaic Junction where the last of us say our goodbyes. Richard and Sunshine continued onto the 5 and their final destinations. Bev, Kathy, Ron, Pete and I stopped and bid our farewells. The day was very memorable. I enjoy the company and the ride. Looking back, we were enjoying talking so much at the Cycle Gear parking lot that Pete was having a difficult time getting us under way. I see many of you so infrequently, that I get engrossed in all the topics that Iíve missed out on. All of your friendships mean a lot to me. I wish I lived closer so that we could be better friends. But then, you all would have no reason to ride to Laughlin.
In Summary, I think Pete did a great planning job in the short time he had to get it together. I hope the annual Laughlin Tour in October will be as successful. Bye the way, I started the day riding at 6:30 AM, and ended arriving back in Victorville at 9 PM. Put on a total of 522 miles for the day. I think Iím qualified for the Iron Butt achievement award.