Grumbler's note: It was during the 70s when Jack and I happened to own a
pair of identical 1973 Triumph 750 Bonnevilles. Mine was bought in Salinas
and his in Santa Cruz. One of our favorite rides were the overnighters to
It's a typical midsummer Friday evening at the "shop" in Santa Cruz and we
just got our weekly payola cashed, spent some on parts for our bikes as
needed and the rest stashed in our pockets for the weekend. This time we are
going to have a new rider with us on our weekend run, a dude called Mike
from "over the hill."
He rode with us from time to time, the small stuffs like the coffee shops
runs and Friday and Saturday main drag scenes. He always wanted tag
along with us when we go on our overnight runs.
Mike just got his 68 TR6R out the San Jose shop just a few days earlier.
He had 10" extended forks installed.
"I sure hope you got the hang of your Trumpet with the extended forks?"
I asked. "Yep!" "It's not that difficult." He'd replied.
I can't speak for the rest of the "custom bike riders" but it took me a month
or so to master the extended forks on my previous bikes, there are some
This weekend run will separate the "Boys from the Men." We all laughed
together slapping each other backs.
Our weekend rituals started at noon after I finished work on Saturday.
Destination: One of our favorites, the "Big Sur/Carmel loop" via south on
#101, west on #41 and then up the coast highway #1.
Half a day of freeway flying today, then a full day's ride of combination
of straights and curves the next day. That just tickled me pink!
We open our throttles and roared down the ramp onto the freeway.
Happy days are here again!
The traffic was light since most the tourists were at the beaches/boardwalk
at this hour. Fine with me, more road for us.
Mike was doing just fine, freeway flying was the easy part.
We would run abreast in pairs as one of us takes the point but when we are in
town or hitting the curves we then go to the staggered position.
We had to dodge in and out among the slow moving cars that were laden
with tourists gawking at the country side on the old two lane highway from
Watsonville to Castroville then on to Salinas. I guess they really like
We topped off our tanks and stuffed our face with junk food in Salinas and
headed south on #101.
Freeway flying was the name of the game, we never saw under 70 mph till
our next pit stop.
There's a stretch from Soledad to Greenfield where the westerly winds are
just out right fierce.
Mike had problems trying to maintain a straight line. Matter of fact! He
was bouncing from one side of the freeway lane to other. Chuckling, we
backed off to watch his acrobatic feats. These winds are trouble for any
light/meduim weight bikes. Sheeesh!
At times I had to bank a 60 degrees into the westerly winds. The winds
would just quit for a couple of seconds then you will find yourself diving into
the shoulder/embankment if you're not keen on your recovery. With the stock
Bonnys, we had a little more control.
About 40 miles south of King City we pulled over at a rest area to have a
"smoke break." As we were checking our drive chains and sprockets, a lone
Harley rider rumbled in and parked next to us in the lot and we kinda admired
it since it was a full dressed 62-64 Duo Glide Panhead with clearing lights
if my memory serves me correct.
The mysterious helmeted, full dressed leathered Harley rider killed the
motor, still sitting in the saddle seat, took off his helmet. I was shocked
that the guy was ancient!
We had short chat, he came from Ben Lomond which it was a stone throw
from Santa Cruz. His plans were that he was headed for Mexico then back
home. He rode non stop from his home to this rest area via the San Jose route
and needed to take a leak bad. So, off he went. That pushing 175 miles! While
we make our pit stop almost every 90-100 miles. Tough old bird isn't he...
He was walking slowly, stretching his back, taking the kinks out his joints
and then as he approached his "Hog" we can see that his inner energy was
bursting out of his weathered shell.
We would BS some more. Then he said, "Time is a wasting" and sat back on
I just couldn't take it any more and bluntly asked, "How old are you?"
He laughed and he said "I'm 80."
He put his helmet on, kicked started his "Hog" and said, "Have a good day!"
Slammed the shifter in first gear, he lurched forward and took off heading
We were standing there in awe as he was shifting up the gears then
disappeared over the freeway ramp.
We finished our smokes and hightailed it back on #101 then turned west at #41
Now we're back on a two way highway heading for the coast. About halfway
to the coast we pulled into a state park with facilities.
We rolled out our sleeping bags. Had canned beans/hotdogs for our supper.
Very traditional, huh?
After we ate the air was getting thick with gnats and soon the mosquitos will
follow. "What' the f---!" I exclaimed and crashed in my sleeping bag to get
away from them. Gawd! I needed to sleep badly...
The sun was about to set you and Mike somehow woke me from my deep
sleep, telling me that you guys wanted to get the f---- out of here due to the
intense infestation of the bugs, and go to a motel that we had passed a while
back on 101.
Hell! My body was like a sack of cement and refused to budge. So, I just
buried my face further into my sleeping bag to get away from the gnats and
went into a dream...
Sunday morning arrived, the sun was breaking through the eastern hills.
I used the camp facilities to somewhat clean myself up and packed my sleeping
bag and cranked up my "Bonny." Let it warm up till it doesn't sputter and die
when I let go the throttle. "They abandoned me last night," I mumbled. "What
a pair of turds," I added further. But I forgave them as I rode out of the
Happy days are here again! (I just can't get that song out of my head)
Now, #41 is not bad piece of work for one who wants to really crank it on the
wide easy loping curves. Since there was no one on the highway this early,
I'm flying through the curves.
Before I banked into the curves I would down shift, keeping the throttle wide
open and when I'm at the apex back off the throttle a click or two as needed,
then throttled it wide open and up shift as I exit the apex end of the curve.
Hence, I'm using the motor for my braking and steering control. My speed
doesn't vary to much from 90 mph to 100 mph on these type curves and road
Fifth gear on these Bonnys are worthless for powering in and out of the
curves. I never use it unless I'm on a cruise mode above 60. Heck! I can see
more top end with fourth. After the warranty lapsed I'm going to do some
serious calculations on changing sprocket ratios but for right now I'm
enjoying what I have.
My next pit stop was on the Coast Highway, north of Morro Bay at a 7-11
store. I made sure my Bonny was visible from the highway so you and Mike
could spot it.
I had the usual, junk food (cinnamon rolls, etc.) and coffee.
About an hour later, we're gassed up and heading north to big Sur.
Mike insisted that he take the "point." That's okay with me since the first
leg to Lucia has long loping curves and his bike can clip along fairly good
Ahh, but Mike was still not sure of his ride, we kinda of backed off and
hoped that he'll pick up speed down the way but that never happened. Boring!
I did see some scenery that I've missed from before. I guess there's a time
to slow down and stop to smell the flowers. Yeah, Right! Not now... HA! HA!
Toward noon we passed Lucia, we had enough gas this time, we made our pit
stop further up the highway at a small trading post, "The Post" in a village
called Post. One can't forget that place.
We parked our bikes along side the others in front of the store.
It's one of the "fav spots" for one who wants to scope at all types of rides.
A little while later some of the "Cafe Bikes"(Hondas and Kawasaki's) pulled
in from the South. Hmmmm... We nodded to each other and knew that we had a
race in store for us.
After we had lunch, real food this time, the Cafe Bikers and us Trumpets
Riders fired up our bikes and look at each other and they took the lead while
we lagged behind but not too far. Mike didn't have a clue on what's
Bang! The shear explosion from all the bikes exhaust pipes were deafening...
The race was on and you took the point and we edged closer behind them. On
the straights they certainly rule in that department. They can reach their
top end of 110+ in matter of seconds from the 50 mph curve exits.
We can only hope to see 100 mph by the time reach for the next 50 mph
A few miles up the coast there are S curves that are little more twisty and
doesn't have the long straight ways. HA! That's where we had them. We
switched positions and now we are nipping on their ass and won't let up.
We really couldn't pass them due to the on coming traffic and it would have
been suicidal to even try. Eventually they were burned out muscling their
rides and let us pass. We kept going for about 10-15 miles up the coast but
they couldn't keep up and we lost sight of them.
We turned into one of many look out points on the sea cliffs and had a smoke
break. We had lost Mike when we hit the second curve leaving Big Sur.
I did see him once. He was slowing down after he exited the first curve as
we were on the straight way entering the second curve.
Later on the Cafe Riders buzzed by, waving, we returned their wave in
We must have waited for 20-30 minutes and Mike didn't show.
We decided to go to a Convience/gas store further up the highway in Carmel
and wait for him there. Heck! We were thirsty and hungry from all the
exitement/smoke breaks we've had.
Finally, Mike motored by, looking at our direction but not acknowledging that
we even exist. I guess he was pissed, half cocked, etc. He was known for his
bursts of anger, at times it was comical to me.
We tried to catch up with him but the evening fog was rolling in, slowing us
down. Seems that he went east from Castroville heading towards 101 then
north to San Jose while we were heading for Watsonville/Santa Cruz.
Needless to say we arrived safe and sound. We had put on 320 miles on our
odometers in the past 30 hours or so.
As I set my weary bod on my bed I was thinking about Arroyo Seca for our
I went into a dream.
Note: Mike traded his TR6R for a down payment for a box stock Kawasaki 1000.
Mike never rode with us again.