IT’S TOUGH TO RIDE A NICE MOTORCYCLE and not be stopped from time to time for conversations with a total stranger. Outside of the other day over near Clear Lake when an aging man in house slippers wandered across the street, engaged me about my BMW and then tried to panhandle me for “enough money to, you know, get a hot dog or something,” conversations usually start with the bike and may move on to topics or those proverbial points unknown.
Two gentlemen approach from the west on bikes – one on a Cannondale the other, I think, on a Novara from REI. (I find I know bikes, but I don't really know bikes.)
|Berryessa's Glory Hole|
“How far to Davis?” asked one. “And is it down hill?” chimed the other.
“We’re thinking of taking the Pleasants Valley Road,” one said as the other looked at his watch.
Having just ridden it myself, I explained that such a detour would add quite a bit of climbing and mileage if Davis were the goal.
The first one looked at the GSA. “Trade ya,” he said with a grin. “I’ve got a Dakar at home.”
“Can’t do that,” I said, “but I can put one of you guys on the seat backward and you can take footage of the other one coming down the hill. That’s what bicyclists like BMWs for, isn’t it?”
THE GENTLEMEN, probably each eight or ten years my senior had pedaled west from Calistoga. I calculated that this had involved more than a little up and down and was glad my bike was outfitted with a motor.
|October 2010 - file|
“Yeah,” I said, remembering about my days as a classroom teacher and preparing (like a fool) to show off a bit. “Seems strange to build a dam and hold up all that water where the crust moves around so much. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live down stream.”
“Mid-Atlantic ridge…” I began.
“…Nope. Now out eighty miles west there in the San Andreas rift zone, there’s where you’ll have some movement. Wouldn’t be smart to do a reservoir like this there. And yeah, I guess it does start back in the Atlantic, but the critical movement is on the coast.”
I decided to shut up and listen. (This is rare.)
|Layers - tilted layers|
I thought I knew most of this stuff, but in no way did I know it like this biker.
“Those rock slides you see every once in a while along here? Exfoliation.”
“The onion skin effect?” I asked.
“Similar to the granite in the Sierra. Except not technically onion skin because the rock isn’t…”
|Courtesy US Geologic Survey Bulletin|
AT LENGTH, his partner tapped his watch and asked if I could recommend a lunch spot, stopping the geologist mid-sentence.
|A view toward the San Andreas Rift Zone|
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