Joe Stephan #2

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(Joe Stephan is a friend who has played with racing and writing
all his life.  He has been kind enough to send some timely interesting
articles to me.  He has consented to my sharing these thoughts with
you our readers.  Evey)

Faced each year with a December 4th anniversary that will never
leave my life, I today made my 13th annual ride to commemorate it.
It was a stunning day on California's Central Coast, beautiful,
sunny and warm. After "harassing" the employees at Santa Maria
Harley and the next door Suzuki-Kawasaki Thorsen Motorsports it was
throttle-on down Highway 101. Once across the bridge I wound my way
up thru the back roads of Nipomo, before two stops in Arroyo Grande
to see "High Roller" and "Nomad". With neither of them home I
headed west down the main drag Grand Ave towards Pismo Beach. While
stopped at a light I chatted with another rider who also commented
on what a great day to ride.
About a block later, with the Pacific Ocean in site, it was if I
rode thru a wall or door into instant bitter cold. The sudden
change was startling. When I reached Highway 1, one of the 10 best
motorcycle roads in the world, I made the turn south. Though
Highway 1 is not twisty down here like it is up in Big Sur, it
still winds around with some beautiful high-speed sweepers. I had
those 100 cubic inches cranking as I dropped down off the mesa
headed for the farm/ranch town of Guadalupe (site of many TV
commercials and films ranging from Seabiscuit to the Rocky &
Bullwinkle movie). By this time I hit the high winds that were
driving the chill in right off the ocean. At one point I was
cranked over at a right angle trying to stay upright. With that in
mind, and a thick fog now spiralling in off the ocean, I decided to
skip my planned stop at a cafe there where I could get some real
Mexican food--not the "gringo-ized" crap most so-called urban
places dish out.
I felt like a pinball as I wove my way thru 18 wheelers from all
over north America trying to load up at the many agricultural
coolers present. I just beat the crossing arms coming down, which
allowed me just enough time to hang a right on Betteravia Rd and
race Amtrak as it sped down the tracks parallel to me. That came to
an end with a high-speed sweeper to the left which holds a nice
thrill. Right in the middle of the apex there's a railroad spur
that crosses the road to an old sugar refinery. Doesn't matter how
or at what speed you take it, hitting it produces both wheels off
the ground while leaned in to the left. With the kind of air I got
today I reckon I'm ready for the motocross track--better than an E
ticket ride at Disneyland! With the wind now at my back I was
I had planned to hit O'Sullivan's Pub (closest thing to a local
biker bar) on Santa Maria's main drag and visit the barkeep Deneen.
Her 13-year old daughter--who is just as ornery as mom--has been
kicking the boys' butts in local amateur motocross at the
fairgrounds. However, my thirsty big engine went onto reserve just
as I hit the city limits so I headed for home.
I couldn't believe how the day changed in just three hours time,
but that's a hazard of living here on California's central coast.
That was further driven home when I got in the house and took
 off my leather riding jacket. It wanted to stand-up by itself!
Like the Fryed Brothers biker band sing so well, "I Ride",
today for Jodie wherever she may be. I've learned since
just how very, very rare and very, very precious what you
 gave me is. Problem is, nothing but that will ever do again.
 Love & Respect from Blues