We had 6 Indians, 1 Harley, and 1 BMW on the Norm Beam Memorial ride this year. The
group gathered at The Diner of Los Gatos, anticipating a 10:00 am departure. OK,
no one really anticipated leaving at 10:00 am because we’ve never left on time before.
After a couple of late arrivals finished a quick breakfast we gathered in the parking
lot and stood around waiting for someone to take charge. Our starting point and
destination were predetermined, but we needed a route. Eventually Curt Hansen called
the group together and a route was chosen. Kennedy, Hicks, McKean, etc., then West
on Mt. Madonna Rd. Curt would lead the group to Mt. Madonna Road and Mario would
take over at that point. That was pretty much the last time Curt and Mario saw each
other until we all stumbled into each other in San Juan Bautista. Some of the group
made a stop in New Almaden and checked out the house Norm grew up in – also where
Mike stepped in cat crap. Mario and his small group of followers (including the
chase truck), unaware of this impromptu stop, continued down through the Almaden
Valley, leaving the main group behind. The chase truck caught a wheel on a rock
on Hicks Road – this was the only mishap on the entire ride – bent rim but no air
loss. We all took the back roads and rode over Mt. Madonna to Watsonville. There
are several one-lane construction zones on this road, so we had to wait for our turn,
but all in all it wasn’t bad. The scenery on Mt. Madonna Rd. is great. We ate at
Dona Esther in San Juan Bautista (Jardines was a 1 hour wait, and they had a wedding
going on). The food at Dona Esther’s was pretty good! After lunch we gathered at
the Valero station in San Juan and took a group photo before heading for home. Our
plan was to head up 101 to Gilroy and then take the back roads past the reservoirs.
Had to lane split from San Juan to Gilroy on 101. Not sure what the total mileage
was for the ride, but Bill Huth reported he clocked about 225 miles round trip from
his house in San Mateo. We had no break downs and no lost riders. And I didn't mean
to leave out Curt. Curt got stung by a bee.
All kidding aside, weather was great, company was great, and the back roads were
good. Thanks to Al Hudson and his son Kyle for once again manning the chase truck!