Restoring a 1973 BMW R75/5 Motorcycle

February 11, 2007

Setting sail on two wheels

Filed under: motorcycle — Penforhire @ 3:35 pm

When I woke up this morning this was the view outside my window.


Rain. Bleh. I live in Southern California. It doesn’t rain much and I know it barely holds a candle to proper rain in much of the USA. But I got used to 275+ sunny days a year. Sue me.

Well Joe called the ride organizer and they said they were not a bunch of pansies so the ride was still on. Today’s ride was hosted by the Pasadena M/C club, celebrating their 100th anniversary (and 30th annual poker run). Gary never confirmed he wanted to go so I knew he was a bail-out in this weather. He doesn’t like the wet traction of his current tires. Darn. Now we’ll never know the temperature (only Gary’s bikes have outside-temp thermometers).

I bundled up and rode over to Joe’s in some light drizzle. Joe geared up and we headed out route 60, right into the teeth of today’s storm system. It may not rain too hard in So Cal but we were getting about as much as we ever do. I’m going to say we rode through 1″ of rain. I kept humming the theme to Gilligan’s Island. I figure I’d be the Professor, despite wanting to be Mr. Howell. Joe mostly noted where his 25 year old Belstaff jacket leaked.

I figured the rain would let up as we went East so I wasn’t wearing my worst-weather gear. I was fat, dumb, and wet (no, not entirely happy). But I was warm enough thanks to my Gerbings liner and some V-Strom hand-guards I fitted to my FJR. After my Held Profi gloves soaked through getting to the start I switched to Gerbings heated gloves. Ahhh, much better. We passed a handful of horrific vehicle wrecks, mostly upside down or wadded up, all being attended to by the CHiP’s. Folks in So Cal have no clue how to drive in the rain. We were passed by many wide-tired cars and trucks doing way more than hydroplaning-speed.

The start of the ride was way out in Beaumont, cow-country about an hour’s ride toward Palm Springs. Here’s a shot of our wet ponies at the start.


The mood was even more somber than the weather at the start. Joe Usatin had passed away, a heart attack, since our last ride. He is the fellow who was riding that BMW with the monster Lightforce lights. We did not know him well but we knew him. He was one of the most active long-time organizers in the SC-MA.

The ride itself was fairly entertaining since it rained for about half of it. I’d just get used to being dry and it started up again. The route took us over Ortega Highway and through Trabuco Canyon, ending at Orange County Honda. Here’s one of the checkpoints, Hell’s Kitchen on Ortega Highway.


Some people say Hell is overcrowded but I can tell you there is plenty of room in their kitchen today. The only bikes there were mine, Joe’s, and some other fellow who was part of the same club ride. I’d never seen the place so empty on a Sunday. The Lookout Grill was similarly devoid of bikes. Gee, I guess the cruiser-guys don’t want to rub water spots off their chrome and the sport-guys can’t get enough traction in the wet? I shouldn’t make too much fun of them. It turns out only nine brave souls went on our poker run today!

Here is the ride pin.


Sometimes we really earn these, like today. The club is talking about running the exact same ride in a week. So High-hand/Low-hand prizes and the 50-50 raffle are not yet resolved. I might have the low hand. Using a spinner system at checkpoints to “draw” cards, then indexed to a hidden random points table (netting 1-52 points) , I drew 2, 3, 22, 35, and 2 points. Regardless, we are not likely going on next week’s re-ride because we’re already scheduled to go on the SC-MA Sweetheart Ride next Saturday. Besides, the fair-weather crowd will not earn the proper road splooge that we got all over us today!


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