My riding group went down to the Pacific Coast and back on Sunday, August 4. It was a 338 mile round trip for me, which is not a bad ride for a single day. We typically log between 220 and 250 miles on our one-day rides.
It was a reunion of sorts. One of our members, Brandon McKee, was rear-ended on his Harley last year and hadn’t rode with the group since. Another member, Danny Underwood, went through a months-long period of financial difficulty and was unable to keep up the licensing fees on his Road Star. It was a pleasant surprise when both of them showed up at the meeting point in San Bernardino, the parking lot of Chaparral Motorsports, at 7:00 am.
During recent months, most of the rides we’ve made have only been attended by three of us; Mike Harmon, Tim Devantier, and I. It is a small group. We’ve never had more than 12 riders on any given ride, and usually only 5 or 6. But there is a certain comfort in a small group, a certain degree of safety. After eight years of riding together, I know what they all are likely to do in any situation at any given speed.
We made a point of staying off the freeways as much as possible for the first 200 miles of the ride, taking secondary roads through the San Gabriel Mountains, the Upper Desert (part of the Mojave), and the coastal range of mountains to Ventura, California, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. After spending some time in Ventura Harbor making photographs and having a beer or two, we made our way down the coast road, Highway 1, through Malibu, then cut through the mountains via Topanga Canyon Road to the freeways that would take us back to the Inland Empire.
Both Tim and I had recently stocked up on 120 film, Ilford’s Delta 100, so we were shooting with our TLRs (Twin Lens Reflex cameras), his Mamiyaflex C2 and my Yashica Mat 124. When loading film after the first roll through the Yashica, I managed to jam the take-up spool and couldn’t see the problem, so I switched to the Nikon N90s SLR. I quickly discovered the (operator) problem with the Yashica after I got home, of course.