• 08 Jan 2016 6:17 PM | Anonymous

    Happy New Year!  Longer days for longer rides.

    Thanks again to Joyce for leading the November (Dec 5) ride to Plaskett Creek while I steamed across the Atlantic. And thanks to Fred Montano for writing the trip report. Word is that it was a nice spot, and we’ll keep it in mind.

    The January 30 meeting will be at Arroyo Seco Park group camp in Los Padres National Forest. We haven’t used that convenient winter-spring site since the 2013 freeze out because of fire restrictions. This (wetter) year, fires are allowed in designated campfire areas. I will lead the ride, starting at Flames Coffee Shop, 7170 Santa Teresa Blvd, San Jose; Breakfast at 8:00, engines at 9:00. Dress warm and watch the web site and Meetup for late weather-related news.

    The Feb 27 meeting will be at Fremont Peak SP. March will take us to Furnace Creek, where we have 2 group sites and 2 individual sites for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights; the meeting is on Saturday, Mar 26.

    The April 23 meeting will be at Black Butte Lake, near Orland (not Lassen); I’m hoping to see some water in the lake. May brings the 49er in Mariposa.

    The June election meeting will be at Calaveras Big Trees, near Arnold. I won’t be seeking a third term, but I will provide the new captain with camping reservations at least through the Oktoberfest.

    Enjoy the ride!

    Ted Crum, Tour Captain

  • 07 Jan 2016 1:13 PM | Anonymous
    Three tribes of Native Americans—the Ohlone, Esselen, and Salinan—are speculated to have been the first people to inhabit the area now known as Big Sur.

    The first Europeansto see Big Sur were Spanishmariners led by Juan Cabrillo in 1542, who sailed up the coast without landing. Two centuries passed before the Spaniards attempted to colonize the area. In 1769, an expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá were the first Europeans known to set foot in Big Sur, in the far south near San Carpoforo Canyon. Daunted by the sheer cliffs, his party avoided the area and pressed far inland.

    Portolá landed in Monterey Bay in 1770, and with Father Junípero Serra, who helped found most of the missionsin California, established the town Monterey, which became the capital of the Spanish colony Alta California. The Spaniards gave Big Sur its name during this period.  Along with the rest of California, Big Sur became part of Mexico when it gained independence from Spain in 1821.  In 1848, as a result of the Mexican-American War, Mexico ceded California to the United States

    From the 1860s through the start of the 20th century, loggers cut down most of the coast redwoods.  After a brief industrial boom faded, the early decades of the 20th century passed with few changes, and Big Sur remained a nearly inaccessible wilderness. As late as the 1920s, only two homes in the entire region had electricity, locally generated by water wheels and windmills. Most of the population lived without power until connections to the California electric grid were established in the early 1950s. The California coast south of Carmeland north of San Simeonwas one of the most remote regions in the state, rivaling nearly any other region in the United States for its difficult access.

    The state first approved building Route 56, or the Carmel-San Simeon Highway,to connect Big Sur to the rest of California in 1919. Federal funds were appropriated and in 1921 voters approved additional state funds. San Quentin Prisonset up three temporary prison camps to provide unskilled convict laborto help with road construction. One was set up by Little Sur River, one at Kirk Creek and a third was later established in the south at Anderson Creek. Inmates were paid 35 cents per day and had their prison sentences reduced in return. Locals, including writer John Steinbeck, also worked on the road. The road necessitated 33 bridges constructed, the largest of which was the Bixby Creek Bridge. Six more concrete arch bridges were built between Point Sur and Carmel, and all were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. After 18 years of construction, aided by New Deal funds during the Great Depression, the paved two-lane road was completed and opened on June 17, 1937. The road was initially called the Carmel-San Simeon Highway, but was better known as the Roosevelt Highway, honoring the current President (Franklin Delano Roosevelt). Actual cost of the construction was around $10 million. The road was frequently closed for extended periods during the winter, making it a seasonal route. During World War II, nighttime blackouts were ordered as a precaution against Japanese attack.

    The route was incorporated into the state highway system and designated as Highway 1in 1939. In 1940, the state contracted for "the largest installation of guard rail ever placed on a California state highway", calling for 12 miles of steel guardrail and 3,649 guideposts along 46.6 miles of the road. After World War II ended, tourism and travel boomed along the coast. When Hearst Castleopened in 1958, a huge number of tourists also flowed through Big Sur. The road was declared the first State Scenic Highway in 1965, and in 1966 the first lady, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, led the official designation ceremony at Bixby Creek Bridge. The US Government designated the route as an All American Road.

    Bixby Creek Bridge, also known as Bixby Bridge, is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge in Big Sur, California. The bridge is located 120 miles south of San Francisco and 13 miles south of Carmelin Monterey County along State Route 1. Prior to the opening of the bridge in 1932, residents of the Big Sur area were virtually cut off during winter due to the often-impassable Old Coast Road that led 11 miles inland. At its completion, the bridge was built under budget for $199,861 and was the longest concrete arch span at 320 feet (98 m) on the California State Highway System. It is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world and one of the most photographed bridges along the Pacific Coast due to its aesthetic design and location.

    Edward Perry, Historian

  • 07 Jan 2016 12:48 PM | Anonymous

    I think all of us can read the tire sizes on the side walls, but do you know what all those other numbers and letters mean?  There is a lot of information there, but it’s all in code. Let’s start with the size. Do you have an older bike and your tire just has a dash (-) between the width and aspect ratio? That means something! It’s the construction code and here’s the brake down:

    Now how old it is? Find the DOT number, then look at the last four digits. They represent the week and year of production.  For example, a date code of “4510” means the tire was produced in the 45th week of 2010.

    One of the more critical marks on a motorcycle tire is the rotation arrow(s). Always insure the tire is turning the proper direction for best traction and water dispersal.

    Next is the max inflation allowable by the tire manufacture. This is for a cold tire carrying its max load, and may not be the recommended pressure by the motorcycle manufacture for your load. Check your owner’s manual for that.

    Now let’s check the tire’s load rating and speed. Find a two digit number and letter not part of the DOT number. The number is the max load rating at max pressure, and the letter is its max speed rating. Note that tires with a “W” or “(W)” speed index are identified by a “Z” before the construction code in the tire size designation. Also if one intends to run at or near the max rated speed, then max load must be reduced.

    Speed Index Chart:


    Speed: miles per hour

    Speed: kilometers per hour


    99 mph

    160 km/h


    112 mph

    180 km/h


    118 mph

    190 km/h


    124 mph

    200 km/h


    130 mph

    210 km/h


    149 mph

    240 km/h


    168 mph

    270 km/h


    Over 168 mph

    Over 240 km/h


    186 mph

    300 km/h


    Over 149 mph

    Over 240 km/h

    Just two more things; don’t forget to check for those ware bars as you use up the tread. But the most important thing you can do for your tires is, inflation, inflation, inflation! Get a good gage and use it often for best traction, and tread life. 

    Happy New Year – Ride Safe!

    Steve Kesinger, your Safety Guy!

  • 09 Dec 2015 12:58 PM | Anonymous
    This past weekend I attended another enjoyable end of the month Ride & Campout Meeting at Plasket Creek, located six miles from Gorda, California.  As usual this was a very well thought out, coordinated, and managed event. I am always amazed how the BMW NorCal motorcycle club organizes interesting rides month after month, and year after year; for 50 years. This is certainly a testament to the quality of members, leadership, & support. And our main goal to self actualize by enjoying our lives by riding motorcycles and appreciating the outdoors with like minded people.

    Over the past year and a half that I have been a member there have been some events that stick out in my mind.  The 49er Rally’s in Mariposa, the Range of Light / Gypsy Tour, the election campout at Finnon Lake, Death Valley Ride, Song Dog, Bodega Bay; all the End of Month Campouts and second Sunday rides. In short, every ride that the NorCal Club has organized that I have attended.  It seems that I invariably experience a new road or area that I have not known before. I did not think that would happen since I have been riding a motorcycle since 1966 and grew up in Northern California. The rides are rich in quality, scenery, and challenge my riding ability. 

    The only thing I have enjoyed more then the ride is the people I have met. I have found that the members have a variety of life experience, riding ability, mechanical expertise, and they are willing to share all that information. This makes our gatherings and evening bonfires very interesting. The stories and tall tales are always a source of information and interest. As one story finishes another member has a similar one but only bigger and better. I also learn more about riding techniques. Some of our members have been to riding courses and are willing to share that information. If you are having a problem a member can and will help solve the problem. Or at least give free advise, (and sometimes it works…).

    This past Saturday morning I woke up at 6AM to join the December ride to Plasket Creek Campground. As the alarm clock sounded its wake up ring I rolled around and turned it off. I laid there for a while thinking of the ride to Morgan Hill and seeing familiar faces. I still had a few things to pack, (food, camping gear, and maybe motor oil just in case). After washing up and eating scrambled eggs, I was ready to venture to the garage to finish packing and tying everything on the bike. Oh good, ready to go – finally. The R100 airhead started right up. It was rare’n to go. After stopping for gas I was on the freeway heading to meet my riding buddies in Morgan Hill at the Dunnes Restaurant. I arrived in plenty of time since there was no traffic on 880. There to greet me was Ed Perry and John Ellis, my old riding partners. Of course it was good to see Cliff Dunn, Russ Drake, Joyce Sampson, Alex Rodas, and the rest of the ten members that went on the ride. The food was pretty good and all went well – there was no food fights or loud belching.

    Joyce Sampson was our tour captain for the ride to Plasket Creek. After the riders meeting we were off to Heckler Pass and down to Watsonville. Down Hwy 1 and off to Molera Road past all the meticulous rows of planted strawberry’s and beautiful soil that was tilled and ready for planting. The valley is so lush and picturesque.  We continued on toward Salinas and had a rest stop by Fort Ord. We continued on our journey toward King City. The road paralleled the mountains (Sierra de Salinas). We met a few tractors and workers that waved to us on our way. We gassed up at King City and Joyce went shopping at Safeway for food and beer.  Now we took off toward Jolon on road J14 and turned into Fort Hunter-Liggett and onto Nacimiento Road, (or Nasty Tomato as Russ Drake calls it).  This road wound through a beautiful valley in the Fort and twisted and turned toward the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. As we crossed a narrow bridge we began to climb into the mountain. The terrain was heavily wooded and the road had tight and twisty turns. It was challenging and very interesting to ride. As we climbed up and up the mountain we traveled at a quick pace. Oh no! As we made a turn there was a car that had stopped and was backing up in front of Joyce. It appeared the driver did not see Joyce or our group that had quickly stopped close to the car.  After honking horns and yelling a bit, the driver stopped backing up.  Whew – tragedy over…  We continued up the hill and enjoying the ride. When we reached the top the view of the Pacific Ocean and the coastline was spectacular. Oh my god what a beautiful sight. This is the reason I ride and am a member of the NorCal Club.  As we continued down the mountain it was difficult to keep my eyes on the twisty road because the view was so fantastic. We turned onto Hwy 1 and shortly reached Plasket Creek Campground.

    The campground was on the side of the hill so there was a slope, but not to bad for sleeping. We had a good informative meeting that was chaired by Bill Lopez. The evening bonfire was roaring thanks to John Ellis and company. There were plenty of stories to go around. I had the privilege of talking with a new guest and his wife who had just moved here from Washington State. After a good night sleep I made breakfast, ate, packed up, and headed home on Hwy 1. What a great ride with virtually no traffic, go figure…

    Fred Montano
  • 16 Nov 2015 1:19 PM | Anonymous

    Still glowing from Oktoberfest?   Great location, food and volunteer teamwork made the Oktoberfest 2015 one to remember!  No significant events on the financial side.  The BOD is working with Tom Connolly, our 2016 49'er Rally Chair, to develop the budget and the underlying list of activities for the event.  Our state and federal taxes need to be filed prior to November 15th (ugh...)  Russ Drake graciously volunteered to publish the club directory for 2016 and we download all the member data from the new club website.  Speaking of which, we cut over to the new site on November 1st.  The initial release looks familiar but with added features: member logon, access to confidential club documents (meeting minutes and financial records), member directory, view purchase and payment history and more!   Buddy Scauzzo (Advertising Chair) has offered to update the banner photos more frequently.  Ed Perry (Historian) and Rick Klain are collaborating to bring to life the club history with lots of photos, videos and old documents.  If you are interested in helping with the website this is a great time to get your hand up!  If you have questions about the club finances shoot me an email at treasurer@norcal.org and wherever you ride, think safe!

  • 16 Nov 2015 12:45 PM | Anonymous

    It’s axiomatic that nothing brings a crowd like free beer, and the Oktoberfest that Dan put together on October 24 proved it’s still true. Or it could have been the great catering, huge campground, the big fire pit with hardwood cut by Mike Huntzinger and hauled by Andy Anderson… I’m pretty sure most of the 91 (!) attendees had a good time.

    After securing the Rancho Seco site 6 months ahead, I planned a tour that included a stop at Clearwater Lights, whose bright spots and Free Lunch (at their open house) seem popular with our riders. The route started up Highway 160 from the Railroad Café in Livermore with 18 riders, the redoubtable John Ellis riding sweep. Hwy 160 was single-lane at Threemile Slough, but my circumnavigation of Sherman Island paid off by putting us at the head of the line where a cooperative CHP unit and a friendly flagger (I think they all ride) put us on our way. We stayed at Clearwater until the raffle proved a Norcal bust, then took a loop through Gold Country that carefully avoided the great roads that Russ used last month, coming to camp via Shingle Springs, Plymouth and Ione. Highlight: Salmon Falls Rd.

    Our next, December 5, tour will be to Plaskett Creek, on the coast between Big Sur and San Simeon, with Joyce Samson conducting while I cruise the QM2 to England (cheap in winter.) There has been a change in the January campout. The site we had planned for at Laguna Seca will be closed for the off season, and the staff decided (they didn’t mention it before) that only 2 bikes can park on a 32-foot RV pad. The Jan 30 meeting is moved to Arroyo Seco, site of the ’13 freeze out. As Arlo said, I was “runnin’ out of time.”

    February 27 is Fremont Peak, March 26 (25-27) is Furnace Creek, April 23 is Orland Buttes at Black Butte Lake (named after a favorite beer, NOT in Lassen.) The June 25 Annual (election) meeting is TBA, but probably at Manchester KOA.

    Enjoy the ride!

    Ted Crum, Tour Captain

  • 16 Nov 2015 11:12 AM | Anonymous
    It’s fall now and temperatures are dropping with the days getting shorter so I think a review of Hypothermia is in order, as here in the Golden State we ride all year around. As you may know, this is the loss of body heat to the environment and lowering our core temperature. Mother Nature has equipped us well to deal with cold climates, but could never anticipate the wind blast form a moving motorcycle! That’s why our fingers and maybe feet too will get cold first.

    Here’s what webmd.com has to say about it: Initial symptoms include intense shivering and teeth chattering. As body temperature falls further, shivering stops and movements become slow and clumsy, reaction time is longer, thinking is blurred, and judgment is impaired. Not good! Here’s a handy “Chill Chart” just for us riders. Note that even at 45* and 60 MPH it will feel 32* to exposed dry skin. Being wet will make it even worse!

    Layering garments under our riding suits works well to insulate us and electric heated clothing is available too. So dress appropriately and keep warm. Ride Safe!

  • 16 Nov 2015 11:03 AM | Anonymous
    October has come and gone as well as a fantastic Oktobefest.  Over 90 people came out to Rancho Seco to celebrate the founding of our Club.  We gathered around an epic fire ring, feasted on burgers and brats from Culinerdy, washed it down with cold beer, and then slept it all off a grassy campground.  It was great to with so many smiling people that lingered around the next morning for coffee and pastries.

    We honored Alan, Carol, and Chris with 50 year plaques during the Members’ Meeting.  Those that didn’t get honored during the Meeting are the people that have volunteered in various positions throughout the Club’s history.  Many people have served through the years in various capacities: Board of Director positions, Chairs for all types of things, Newsletter Editors, Advertising coordinators, and just helping out whenever we call for help.  I apologize for not directly recognizing the efforts and contributions of all that have served the Club.  The work everyone has put into the Club makes it what it is, and for that, thank you.

    I’d like to particularly thank the following people for helping with Oktoberfest: 

    • Firewood:  Andy and Mike
    • Drink transportation:  Mike
    • Registration:  Barbara, Randy, April, and Rai
    • Flyer:  Wynne

    Our website has undergone a hosting change with the addition of a member management piece. Everyone in the club now has the ability to visit the club site and update your own contact information.  Doing this is a step in the direction of reducing the effort needed to keep our membership directory current.  Additional features will be added to the site as JV continues his project.

    Tom O’Connell has taken on the task of ‘49er Chair for the 2016 Rally.  The Board of Directors tasked Tom with increasing the attendance of the ‘49er.  With a relatively early start and a foundation in place from the previous rallies, I believe 2016 will be a great event.  We’ll have several opportunities for volunteers to assist with the planning and advertising of our Rally very shortly.

    The Newsletter now has a new editor.  John Ellis has taken over the position from Warren Barnes.  As a reminder, we are always looking for content for the Newsletter.  If you’ve been somewhere, ate something, bought a gadget, or done something fun or especially stupid, write a few lines about it and send it to our editor.

    December marks the month of the Holiday Party which will be held at the Blue Pheasant.

    Location:  Blue Pheasant 22100 Stevens Creek Blvd Cupertino, 95104

    Date:  December 19th 6 PM.

    Cost:  $30

    White Elephant Gift exchange after dinner.  $20 is the recommended cost.  Cash bar before dinner.

    Food options:

    Pasta Primavera served with fresh seasonal vegetables sauteed with garlic, fresh herbs, and white wine severed over linguine

    Broiled Salmon:  Fresh king salmon broiled to perfection and topped with a fresh dill sauce

    Chicken Bouna Donna:  sautéed boneless Brest of chicken with prawns and roasted red peppers in a sherry wine sauce.

    Prime Rib of Beef:  Au jus served with fresh horseradish

    Dinners include mixed green garden salad, potatoes or rice, fresh vegetables, French bread, and a desert.

  • 30 Oct 2015 6:59 PM | Anonymous

    Most of us at one time or another join in on the club’s group rides, whether it’s to a campout destination or the tour after our second Sunday breakfast. There are also shop rides sponsored by one of our local dealers, or just going somewhere with a friend. In each of these cases, unless equipped with wireless intercoms, there is very limited communication between rides while under way.

    To that end, our friends at MSF has put together some hand (and foot!) signals to help keep the group informed as to what the leader is saying to the rest and why. Print or tear out this handy chart for your tank bag or where ever it’s convenient. Add to this the basic hand signals you learned in Driver’s Ed. Years ago; remember? Left, right, and slow/caution? So the next ride you’re on, if the rider in front of you starts waving his arm you’ll know what he’s saying! Now let’s ride!

    Steve Kesinger; Your Safety Guy

  • 30 Oct 2015 6:52 PM | Anonymous

    Of the fourteen or so trans-Sierra passes (*), one is not paved - the Henness Pass Road. Interestingly, the past two club meetings were at campgrounds which were roughly at either end of the Henness Pass Road. Stampede Reservoir, the location of our August meeting, is near the eastern terminus of the road in Verdi, NV. New Bullard's Bar Reservoir - September's meeting site - is about four miles from the village of Camptonville, CA - the western end of the road. Any claim of riding all the trans-Sierra passes must include the Henness Pass - in my opinion.


    Originally a trail first used in 1849, the Henness Pass Road stretched over the Sierra Nevada via the 6700 foot Henness Pass, down the ridge between the North and Middle forks of the Yuba River. 

    The road route is believed to be designed by Patrick Henness in 1849 or 1850. In 1852, construction on the primitive road made the route over Henness Pass into a toll road passable for wagons. Records show that as early as 1850 the road was already heavily used. By 1859 the rush for gold in California was waning. By mid-year, silver was discovered near Reno, and the exodus of miners from California to the big Comstock Silver Bonanza was on.

    Henness Pass Road, with its easy grades and established mining camps and stage stops along the way, became one of the more popular routes to the Comstock. Traffic along the road became so heavy that it was suggested that freight wagons travel by day, and passenger stagecoaches at night. Demands for road improvements were constant. Numerous companies were formed in the late 1850s through the early 1860s to construct new portions of the road as well as to make improvements on the existing road.

    The Comstock mines in Virginia City, isolated in the high desert, were served only by supply wagons that by necessity had to cross the Sierra Nevada. While the mines flourished, so did the freighters and stages that used the road. But, as mining production dwindled, the boom turned to bust. Then, with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1868, the need for horse drawn freighting over the Henness Pass Road became obsolete almost overnight.

    During the 1950s, the federal government planned to realign and widen Highway U.S. 40 over Donner Pass to Reno. A group was formed whose proposal was to have a modern highway follow the old Henness Pass route instead of the U.S. 40 route. This proposal was not accepted, and Highway 40 eventually was replaced by Interstate 80 over Donner Summit.

    The Route

    Starting from the west, there is a paved alternative at the western end of the road called Ridge Road. It starts at Highway CA-49 just south of Camptonville, and reconnects to the Henness Pass Road about 18 miles to the east. Don't miss the left - then right - turn on Pliocene Ridge Road at the turnoff to Forest City. Continuing straight at this intersection will take you to the town of Alleghany. About three miles east from this intersection, the Pliocene Ridge Road reconnects with the old Henness Pass Road. Another two miles and the pavement ends. Here, the road splits in a fork. The right-hand fork is the old Henness Pass Road. Of course, the paved Ridge Road aside, the purist GS rider will want to take the entire length of dirt on the old Henness Pass Road beginning in Camptonville.

    Continuing east from the end of pavement, about 15 miles of dirt road follows until arriving at Jackson Meadows Reservoir. Here, there is another paved alternative all the way to Hwy CA-89, but the original dirt section closely parallels this paved section. A short distance south on CA-89, there is a sign at the turnoff to Kyburz. The old Henness Pass Road continues east through Kyburz, which is another point of historical interest. The road is gravel and dirt the rest of the distance through Sardine Valley to the intersection of county road 270 near Stampede Reservoir.  Then continues on through Truckee Meadows and Dog Valley to the eastern terminus of the road at Verdi NV.

    No tour route from Tuco would be complete without a recommendation for food. In Camptonville, there's "Burgee Dave's at the Mayo" - a tavern located in the old 1850s Mayo building - a great place for lunch before the ride, or to end a ride if coming from east to west on the Henness Pass Road. Outside dining is available, and beer and wine is served.

    There are numerous points of historical interest along the Henness Pass Road including the gold rush towns of Forest City and Alleghany. As a history buff, I recommend checking them out. 

    For more information on the Henness Pass Road, Forest City and Alleghany I recommend the US Forest Service - North Yuba Ranger Station in Camptonville at the intersection of Marysville Road and highway CA-49. Call 530-478-6253 for business hours. The station has detailed brochures which are attributed to the information I wrote here. Glenn Sundstrom - the district supervisor and resident Archaeologist - is a wealth of local historical information about the Henness Pass and the Gold Rush era.

    (*) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sierra_

    -- Tom 'Tuco' Harris


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