Day 12
June 22nd, 2002
Redwood City, California

After a good nights sleep, we were up early and heading to Dennis house.  Dennis and I planned to spend the morning cleaning and detailing our bikes.  My bike was really dirty and I had 4000 miles of grime and bugs to clean.

We got side tracked and never got around to the wash job.

I introduce my wife to Dennis, Norma and Tommy.  She thanks them for taking good care of me on my western trips.

Soon, Richard, VJ and Jerrol Olson arrive.  Jerrol is a transplanted mid westerner, trying to make do in Southern California.  He is a member of the ST bbs and well known around the Bay Area riders.  Besides, he's a good guy with a bike like mine.  Cranberry.  The fastest STs.  Also on the scene is Bob, and his red BMW RS.  A good friend of Dennis's, I remember from last year. A fun guy.  

Dangerous Don, has a prior commitment, and can't make the ride, but will be at the pool party later.
After the introductions Debbie gets on the back, and I follow the brothers to Alice's.  The weather is good in Redwood but looks to be cloudy in the coastal hills.

I remember this ride from last year.  A pleasant, friendly ride.  The others go ahead, I will bring up the rear.  Debbie gets kind of uneasy if I lean.  I have the saddlebags off, and that helps.

​From L- Dennis, Guy, Richard, Jerrol
We have a nice ride among the trees and narrow roads leading from Dennis house to Alice's.  It was really the first time my wife has enjoyed being on pillion.

At Alice's the fog has greatly reduced the number of bikes out.  Last year on sunny day the place was packed.  I love the atmosphere at Alice's.  It is the first time Debbie has ever been exposed to such, and she likes it.  We posed for a picture.
A bicycle race is in progress, and if you had bike, you were attendance.  Thousands were out.

I recall sharing the road with a cyclist on a long uphill.  I rode amongst them because they gave me no room to go around.  The finish line was at the top of the hill, and this guy was on his pegs for 2 miles working his way up as fast as he could go.  He crosses the line gasping for air, and starts to coast.  A organizer barks out, "clear the road", and this guy shouts back "gimme a f ing minute"  He was pissed, and I was laughing.

Dennis took us to a state park so Debbie can see the Redwood trees.  A nice place.

We leave Alice's and strike out for the coast, but not before we stop for a taco at a local place Dennis knows.  They pump gas and serve Mexican food.  The place is not much too look out, but man they make good tacos.
Following local roads, our group soon lands on the beach and Debbie gets to see the fog canopied coastline.  The have a phrase out here, I think its "marine inversion, or inversion fog" if you come to the Bay Area, make yourself aware of that phrase.

We take some pictures then head back to Dennis' for the BBQ.

Entering Redwood the sun is out, and the temp is warm.  Richard returns with his charming wife.  Don and Joyce also arrive.

Debbie can not get over how pleasant the weather is.  Sitting outside under a umbrella in Alabama is not something you do this time of year.  Too hot and muggy, not to mention a mosquito feast will take place.
Jerrol bags on me about my dirty bike and says I need to clean it up.  

Don and Dennis throw some keys on the table at me and say they are mine. 

"noooo these ain't my keys"

"better check again"

"I'm telling ya they aint mine"

"better check out front"

Out front I find a new helmet lock on my bike.  Not sure how that came about but I thank everyone.  I was very surprised.  These guys are the best, and I use the lock almost everyday.  A most handy item.  Thanks.

Richard also brought some nice gifts.  He printed the GG pic on high quality photo paper and presented it to me.  I also have that pic in metal and pencil sketch.  All are framed and displayed in my study or my office at work.  Thanks brother, I know that was a lot of trouble.  He also presented me with a San Jose Fire Dept.  T shirt.  I collect shirts from as many departments as I can.  He did good.

Richard also shows us the streaming video he took of our ride through the Avenue of the Giants.  From the camera view you can see our bikes in mid flight among the Redwoods.  Inspiring.

VJ and his wife are also in attendance.  Another charming young lady with a infectious smile.  I recall sitting next to brother V and swapping Clint Eastwood movie lines.  Like this one from Josey Wales in his confrontation with the bounty hunter-

"It's a livin"

"dyin ain't much of livin boy"

We dive out on Dennis burgers made famous from last years get together.  Talk about your big burgers.  I estimate we had 10-12 folks at the BBQ.  If I left anyone out I apologize.  I was having such a good time, my mind goes blank.
 A great time was had by all.  Dennis knows how to have a good pool party.

The party broke up by late afternoon.  I said good bye and shook hands as each friend left.  I am sorry I only get to ride with them once a year. 
Debbie and I returned back to the Comfort.  We stopped at the store to pick up few items, and to make sure I had all things I needed for the trip back east.

On the way back I asked Debbie if she understood the brotherhood a little better.  She said yes, but was still at a loss as to why strangers can just ride up and be accepted.  I said-

"that is not always true, among those that ride only part time or a few thousand miles a year the attitude is different.  For those that have a passion for, it is much easier.  They understand what it must be like to be a long way from home, on a bike, surrounded by strangers.  My time here is among my friends and brothers, my time  between here and Alabama, I am alone, isolated, and vulnerable.  As you can see these are good folks and I would like them even if they didn't ride, but riding is what brought us together"
Dangerous Don, after a big lunch
"yes they are good people"

Back at the room, my wife asks for a t shirt to sleep in.  I toss it to her and hear-

"ewwwwwwww whats that smell"

"I dunno, watcha mean?"

"smell this t shirt"

I did and it smelled just like my tent.  

"dang baby I slept in that shirt in Yellowstone, that's what the inside of a tent smells like"

"you mean you ain't washed this since then?"

"well no, you don't wash stuff on the road till it gets REAL dirty, and sleeping 1 night in it doesn't qualify it for a wash"

"nevermind I brought something from home"

"ya mean ya ain't gonna sleep in MY shirt?"


"I met a girl in a VW bus that said she would"

"well then tell HER to get her butt over here and remove it, cuz its stinking up the suite"
We watched HBO and went lights out about 30 minutes later.

All pictures courtesy of Richard Follen