Friday, February 12, 2016


It had been a week since the big Triumph took up residence in my garage.  It was to be an unseasonably warm February day – unseasonable weather is common this time of year – and I had a few errands to conduct.

The first errand:  My daughter had owned a bike for about six weeks a few years back.  Just enough to give her “street cred” when recommending a road.  “Have you gone out Sweetwater Springs yet?” she asked.  That was good enough for me.

Sweetwater Springs is an historic district off Westside Road a few miles west of Healdsburg.  The pavement is about two-and-a-half paces wide and is maintained – in some spots. 

Spring grasses sprout bright green mantling the rolling hills.  I’ve left behind the verdant vineyards of the Russian River Valley and entered cattle country.  A committee of two greets me, first posing, then approaching nearer.  Whistling at them through my full-face Shoei avails nothing so I waste little time in motoring off.

Atop the next grade rests a barn cooperatively built decades ago, I image.  I snap the picture you may have regarded at the top of this post.

A mile or so further, a sign warns that the road is going to get narrow and steep.  A ten mile-per-hour pace is suggested.  From the pastureland I’ve wound down into the course of a small stream which provides the perfect environment for a stand of redwoods.

Another two miles on, I find myself departing the now and entering the past.  I discover why they call this the “Historic” Sweetwater Springs area.

The second errand:  I am compelled to see how the beautiful new mount tackles the scenic, sweeping curves of California’s State Route 1.  Quite favorably, I discover. 

The torquey 1700cc engine almost convinces me that the only gear I really need from the tranny on this road is third.  And the seat!  The motorcycling press unabashedly uses superlatives to describe its comfort.  I don’t much care for superlatives, but after several hours on this saddle this day, I believe their enthusiasm is more than justified.

A small cluster of modest abodes rests east of the highway on a bluff north of Bodega Bay.  A sign indicates one of these is on the market.  And I’d love to have the ocean lull me to sleep through an open window of my very own.  Did I say the place is modest?

The view down the street is spectacular.  Ocean beaches and publicly maintained trails atop bluffs are literally moments away.  I’d easily find a way give $199K for this fixer! 

I stopped and nabbed a flyer.  I did suggest about two hundred grand didn’t I?  Good, because $699K seems a bit steep.  I’d have to give up a number of really bad habits to make ends meet at such a price.  Like wine, whiskey, eating and purchasing a new motorcycle now and then.

The third errand:  North of Jenner is a switchback turn with a wide gravel apron I call Portrait Point.  No one else does, but I do.  This is because every motorcycle I own (and some I don’t own) have their portraits taken here with, as a backdrop, a sinuous Highway One carving its path above the Pacific’s rocky shoals.

Archive:  The aforementioned daughter's Duc.

Current event

The fourth errand:  A loop through the early springtime palette of the Russian River Valley will always make my to-do list.  The historic Hop Kiln winery (recently purchased by a bigger outfit) maintains a rustic tasting room in what may once have been a facility built to support a different industry.  The grounds are beautiful and warrant a stop.

The low late-winter sun affords an interesting dance between light and shadow, accentuated by the mustard vintners grow between the lines of grapes – the mustard to be mulched under supplying nutrition and moisture retention to the vines as their fruit develops.

My list of errands complete, I return home with little to show for my efforts but a grin that may take some time to fade.  All-in-all, a good day.

© 2016
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. Nice report! The new bike looks especially nice glistening in the sun, doesn't it? - Bill D.

    1. Yeah, Bill. And I am amazed at how easy it is to transition from the sport or adventure posture to that which this bike requests. I am very pleased with this acquisition.

  2. Beautiful pictures! Love the photos from the mountain side. Thanks for the post!

  3. Gorgeous winter day for a ride.

    I like that you have named Portrait Point. It makes a very nice backdrop to the machines.

    1. When you're in the area, I'll point it out to you...