What a different experience we had this year. The group
consisted of Steve, Travis and Myself. We determined to leave by 10:00 but I
left my house at 8:00 to go to Steve's which is about 5 minutes away. I had a
cup of coffee there and Travis showed up not too long after wearing his '04
shirt. Steve rolled the Indian out and we didn't waste too much more time before
taking off. We had decided not to traverse Pacheco Pass on the way there but
instead to go through the back hills via Panoche road and come up into Hollister
from the south on hwy 25. The departure from the Merced area was the usual route
but after getting to Los Banos we went south on Hwy 165 instead of West on
So we started out an after we had gone ten or fifteen miles, Steve asks Travis if he would like to try the Indian... (like he has to ask...) He looked to have enjoyed it very much! We headed west out from Merced on Hwy 140 to Hwy 165 South across the wetlands. Steve noticed that my taillight was a little loose so we stopped to snug it up a little... Nothing like riding with brothers willing to step up and lend a hand.
Anyway, we rode into Los Banos to go to Ryan's Place for breakfast. There were several groups with the same idea. After some eggs and sausage we tooled over to Golden Valley Harley Davidson just a block away behind the Denny's. Groups were leaving as we arrived. Golden Valley HD were having their first anniversary observance. I bought a pair of riding gloves as my old ones were falling apart and was presented with a cloth shopping bag as a gift... the wife loved it. (She was under the weather so did not come along this day). There were some nice bikes there as usual, both inside and out. We saw one springer softail ridden by a lady that drives for the Burbank studios on her way up to Oregon I think.
After a bit it was time to head out again so we rode back to Hwy 165 and headed south once more. On this leg we had the road all to ourselves, heading out through farmland towards the rolling foothills of the coastal range. We came to where 165 meets the 5 and took the frontage road south for about 8-10 more miles before we had to get on the interstate for the last few miles to Panoche road. There's a gas station there and the peanut tank on my Sporty needs almost constant attention so we stopped to get some fuel.
We headed out down Panoche road and were taking our time. A few groups passed us, some of which we ran into when we got to the Panoche Bar. (Taking pictures while we are riding can be a little problematic as evidenced by a video clip I shot on Panoche road which I could not finish and had to just let the camera hang down while I dealt with the driving chores.)
The story was the same at the Panoche bar, some folks leaving as others were arriving. We had a soda and chatted with some of the other riders and after a bit rode on. Parts of the road from there kinda reminded me of the section of Hwy 66 between Kingman and Oatman, AZ. The rest was classic California hills. And with that comes deer; He jumped out across the road and we were fortunate not to have hit him. I caught a shot of him going toward a copse of trees where he stopped. I got a couple of shots of him there but they aren't the best.
Steve's drive belt guard broke so we stopped to remove it... No big deal, we rolled into Hollister as other's were riding out and stopped off at a Starbucks for a cup of joe and to take a break. We saw a couple of bikes there and those shots are included below.
After the coffee we went downtown and parked at the bottom of San Benito, next to one of the dressiest Sportsters I have seen. Then we walked up one side and down the other, hitting the vendor tents and checking out the hardware. The police presence was significant, though I did not see any unwarranted hasselling. Well, we strolled, shopped for t-shirts and patches and checked out the scenery. Unfortunately not the same amount of scooters but we still had fun... and there are still more things to do and I'll have more shots on the next page...
Travis ran into a friend
The interstate can be seen on the right
Who's this guy? He keeps sticking his face in the camera...
And if your watch TV, I gotta say, the Dish Network offer is a good one. If you have been thinking about a change do us a favor and give Dish Net a try... you will be helping the cause.
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