Motorcycle Riding Season is Officially Open!

IMG_4931.JPGYeah baby! Michelle and I fired up the bike yesterday for our first ride of the year. Oh man it felt good! Not only to get on the bike and ride, but to also spend some much needed time together. We really haven’t had any alone time in months, and with my trip to Africa and her traveling for work, there’s been more time apart than usual. So we fired up the Road Star and headed up to Sonora for the weekend.

It was a little chilly as we headed up 99 to Merced and then cut across to 108, but we survived and pulled into Sonora just after lunch Saturday. We stayed at the Gunn Hotel, which is a neat old building, well over 100 years old. Our room was a large one, facing the street on the second floor. Very cool since we had a balcony where I could sit and smoke a cigar. It was actually really a plush room furnished with antiques and our own fireplace. Unfortunately, the fireplace had been bricked up, but they placed the heater vent in it, so I guess you could crank the heat and pretend it was a real fire… I don’t know. Regardless, it was a nice room.

Now I’ve been through Sonora several times on the bike but this is the first time I’ve ever stopped for any length of time. As we rode up we noticed a gal walking around in this outlandish clothing… all different colors and her hair was done up all crazy, and I’m thinking to myself; This is gold country??? Well, after we checked in we decided to walk up the street and check things out and as we walked in front the building next to our hotel, a whole bunch of other crazy looking women came out! Well, it was then we realized that our hotel was next to the local theater. These gals were actresses heading home after a performance. It was all starting to make sense now.

Sonora is a cool little town. Like most mountain towns it’s full of artsy fartsy shops and goofy clothing stores selling crap I couldn’t see ANYONE wearing… except maybe the local theater group. But there’s always great places to eat and drink. I have a certain penchant for hole in the wall bars so we stopped in this one place to have a beer. Honestly, it had to be the weirdest place I’ve ever ordered a beer. On one wall they had fishing gear; lures, poles, etc. on the back wall they had guns and ammo, and the other two walls were the bar. It was the redneck bar extraordinaire. Get your drunk on and your ammo all in one place. I’ve also never seen so many deer heads mounted in one building. Oh, they had a jackalope head mounted too. Nice touch.

We didn’t spend much time there. I spotted another hole in the wall a block down called Zane’s Iron Horse. Doesn’t that sound appealing? So we walked over there. This place was much better… for a dive bar that is. Honestly, I don’t know why I like places like this. They are small, dark, smoky (nobobody obeys smoking laws here). but I like them. It’s just kind of cool to hang out, have a brew, people watch, and spend time talking. I guess they also bring back memories of a lot of fun gigs for me. I could really feel the urge to get behind the drumkit that was sitting on the tiny stage there. This place had a pool table as well and so Michelle and I just had the best time shooting pool, playing 80’s songs on the jukebox, laughing and just having fun together. And that’s what vacations are all about.

We didn’t spend our whole day in dive bars though. We actually went chocolate tasting at a place called Yosemite Fudge. The woman there could have been the inspiration for Mike Meyers Coffee Talk lady. She was incredibly nice though and makes some AWESOME fudge. We also went wine tasting at a place called Muir Hanna Vineyards, which is actually owned by descendants of John Muir. I don’t know if they know anything about the wilderness, but they sure make good wine! We also ate at an absolutely killer restaurant called the Diamondback Grill. Now, we looked this place up on Google but they’ve moved since then, so if you go up to the restaurant and it’s empty, head up the block to the new address. It’s a great place to eat and they have a great wine selection as well.

So it was a fantastic weekend away together, and we did some great riding too. On the subject of riding, next weekend Freedom Riders is having a charity poker run through the Blossom Trail. If you have a bike, you’re gonna want to get in on this one. Have a great week!