Sunday, April 2, 2017


…skip one good riding day
and you’ll always be one behind…

Somebody’d reported yesterday that there were acres upon acres of California poppies carpeting the rolling hills along 128 in the Yorkville Highlands.  Perhaps there’d be lupine, too.  Either was good enough to set me on a renewed Saturday ritual.   

Back the Subaru out of the garage, center the big Triumph, give it a thorough spring cleaning – it could sure use a bath…

Polish this beauty until I can see my reflection in the paint and the chrome blinds innocent passers-by.  Then set off to check out those flowers.  At least that was the plan.

After backing the Sube onto the street, I automatically, and needlessly hit the down button for the garage door opener and entered the house without hearing the BANG!  Ten minutes later, armed with a bucket of warm water and a bundle of soft towels, I hit that button again.  Buzz.  Nothing. 

And again.  Buzz.  Nothing.

I pulled the release to manually raise the thing.  Wouldn’t budge more than a couple of inches.  And when I let go, the door slammed back to the floor.  My fifteen or more minutes of trouble-shooting and WD-40 brought me no closer to a solution.  Bang!  Buzz.  Bang!  Bang!

The cacophony drew interest from my bread-baking wife indoors.  In seconds, she pointed at something above the garage door and asked:  “Does that spring always look like that?”

It’s been a longer-than-usual non-riding season.  The weather gods had dumped record amounts of rain on northern California this winter and the medical gods put me on the DL for six to eight weeks recovering from some knee work.  So when the weather turned very, very nice, and word was afoot that the hills were carpeted in wildflower burst, I didn’t need any additional encouragement.

California’s State Route 128 heads west from US 101 at Cloverdale twists over a rugged volcanic ridge and into Mendocino County (where the pavement is much better) before dropping into the Yorkville wine-growing region.  There, wide sweeping turns invite an easy throttle and thanksgiving for spring riding days such as these.  Boonville is a nice waypoint for coffee.  And there there’ll be that carpet of poppies.  Plus if I choose to motor further, an hour will see me touring the spectacular California coast along highway 1.  I’m due!

Well, maybe not.  The T-bird is trapped.

According to the video, changing the tension springs on a garage door is about a one-hour task.  It requires few tools and just a bit of safety precaution.  Parts are less than $150.00 and the company is now custom-making the springs to the specification I ordered.  With enhanced shipping, the kit should be here by the end of the week.

Just as those poppies and lupine begin to fade.


Notes:  The tension spring video:

…and it turns out, the garage door can be opened manually – it takes two people to do this – but the busted tension spring will not allow the thing to stay open without the application of some remedial physics.  I’m leaving things status quo until the parts arrive.  Makes for a better story.

But, I did manage a wildflower fix by hopping on the old Peugeot - better therapy for the knee, anyway - checking out offerings in our small downtown and it’s hinterlands.  Thus, these:

Showy loco – perhaps

Red bud

Desert star – maybe, maybe not.

Something yellow

Vinca – beautiful, but invasive: not native to the west


California poppy

© 2017
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. At least you still got to see some wildflowers.

    The redbud bloom is pretty. We have two forest pansy redbuds in our back yard and they are just starting to bud up. We are lucky if they bloom without the rain rotting them before the leaves push them off.

    So I guess you couldn't get the Triumph through the garage door into the house and then out the front door huh? Something tells me your wife might frown upon that even if it would fit. :-)

    1. Big blue doesn't bend quite enough... :)

  2. Hi Mr. Brilliant!
    I came across your post about the lupine field on Beeks Bight, Folsom Lake in 2013. It looked amazing! Do you happen to know if the lupines are blooming right now? Or should I wait until the middle/end of April to visit the place? Thanks much!

  3. This first week in April? I'll bet they're spectacular right now! Wish I were living closer!

    1. Thank you! I'm from Elk Grove. I'll drive to Folsom this weekend!