Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: July 2017


NorCal Revisited Part 2: Breakfast, Homework, and San Rafael

Day 2 was a "homework and chill" kind of day. Since I'm currently in grad school and taking an online class during the summer, I had to complete the weekly readings and assignments while I was up here. Thanks to my laptop, wi-fi, and remote access back to my desktop PC at home, I was able to finish most of that within the course of five hours and a bunch of social media time killing in between.

Eleanor took a break today. Considering that Petaluma is significantly cooler than the inland route of I-5, I think she enjoyed the change of pace as well.
But before that drone, I joined my friend for an early morning breakfast at Hallie's Diner in Downtown Petaluma (125 Keller St, Petaluma, CA 94952). I had cornbread pancakes, chicken sausage, and eggs for breakfast. Those pancakes were so tasty and filling. I had never enjoyed cornbread pancakes before and now I want to make them. After this and a load of coffee, it was off to work on that. I won't bore you with the details of that, but let's just say that creating databases with minimal instruction would've been difficult if this process and related software weren't part of one of my jobs.

Once my friend came back from work, we jumped in her car and drove down US-101 to San Rafael to meet up with another old friend for dinner at Sol Food Restaurant in its downtown district.

How far is it to...? Never mind.

Reunited and it feels so good!
For dinner, I ordered the pork chops with black beans and a split of garlic plantain and regular plantain with a side of salad and pickled onions on top. This was very flavorful and a lot of food for the price. Not pictured was the mango tea that topped off this very large and delectable plate.

After dinner, we headed over to Double Rainbow Cafe to have some post-dinner coffee and catching up on life. I learned about several short-term car rental services that were available in the Bay Area because of the shortage of space and the fact that many people up there don't have cars because it's just too damn expensive. This is a beautiful place but man, the property values here are through the roof.

Speaking of inexplicably high property values, my next stop in this vacation journey will take me to San Francisco and visit particular parts of the city to revisit old haunts and create new memories. I did enjoy my time here in San Rafael and would definitely like to revisit the place again someday.


NorCal Revisited Part 1: Riding through the broiler.

I had a chance to escape from Los Angeles life for a while, so I jumped on a very much repaired Eleanor and headed up north to the Bay Area to recharge myself. However, to pull that off, she and I had to blast through a little bit of hell...more like 430 miles of it.

My return up to Northern California will be the first time I've done so since 2011. As I progressed through this trip, I was able to revise a few stories and memories that had stemmed back to 2007 and a previous life.

The traffic wasn't anything unexpected leaving LA on the 405 North. Temperatures on I-5 started off nice in the 70s, but as soon as I reached the Grapevine region, it had suddenly risen to the 90s, forcing me to pull out the evaporative cooling vest to supplement my Fly Racing Flux Air Mesh jacket that I had chosen to take up with me instead of my standard Aerostitch Roadcrafter jacket. To top off the set was my Camelback Rogue 70oz Hydration Pack filled with ice water. There was no logical way that I could survive the temperatures with my standard, in-town gear, so out came the hot weather accessories.

The ride up was hot and uneventful. Eleanor had no issue blasting past the trucks and the cars, maintaining constant speed the whole time. I was really happy with my shorter Cee Bailey windshield that I had replaced my old one with, and its additional thickness and weight kept it from flopping around in the gusts. I only stopped a few times to get gas, soak my cooling vest, and refill my Camelbak. However, I did take one special break in Gustine/Santa Nella, CA to Pea Soup Andersen's to revise a memory from a previous journey to the location in Buellton. Thanks to that trip, I now have officially been to both locations in California!

Hot soup during this time of the day? If it's split pea soup, hell yes!

Exterior of Pea Soup Anderson's in Santa Nella/Gustine, CA.
I made it to my first stop, Dharma Trading Company in Petaluma, CA, by around 2 PM (I had started riding around 6:30 AM.) to visit my friend and pick up the key for my lodging. She had kept a sign that I had sent to her a couple years back that was passed on to me by another friend. Considering that she works for a dye company, it was so fitting that she had this displayed prominently in her office.

I was zonked after that 430-mile ride, so I had a fried chicken sandwich at the nearby Pub Republic before heading back to the house, unloading my gear, and relaxing.

Once my friend came home from work, we walked through Downtown Petaluma and had some Mexican food. Honestly, the food was pretty forgettable as the shrimp did not have to be that salty at all. But we did stop by a 7-11 to get Lotto tickets and an It's-It ice cream treat. This is one of those regional things that I had heard of but did not get the chance to try until now. I think it will be slightly mandatory for me to have at least one of these every time I come up to visit. Besides, every good motorcycle ride has to end in ice cream. That's a very well-known unwritten rule!

The next day required me to take care of business and get some grad school homework over with. Read on...