Centauro Surfs up the coast

I picked up the new to me ’98 Centauro in So Ca.  Spent the night before with a brother on Balboa Island I hadn’t seen in 6 years.  Great to have Todd (RacerX), swing by and meet me where I picked up the bike.  Exchanged some particulars with the old owner and off we went.  Following Todd weave the LA freeway system was Great.  Todd promised to take it easy on me since I was from “Slow in Seattle” and riding a very different bike than I was used too.  Boy, if that was takin it easy I’m stink when he puts me to the test!  You boys in LA know how to drive them 6 lanes full of cars freeways!  Really though, it was very comforting to follow someone in a new “busy” area and on a monster Centauro.  (Hey, I’m used to a 70 Ambo and a Gold Wing, sure I had an EV for 6 months last year, but Holy, this Centauro is a breed of it’s own).  CA seems able to get away with driving faster on their freeways easier.  Anyhow, we met up with a couple other MGNOC SW email listers Richard, Kevin and Ed about an hour north.  Da boy’s took me on some Very cool local twistys in the Encino hills and ended up at a famous biker hangout called the Rock Shop.  The Encino hills are magnificent and absolutely exhilarating to ride.  Honestly, I didn’t get the full impact due to being my 1st hour on the Centauro but it was totally enjoyable.  I gotta thank Kevin for being my lead for most of the twistys – he was very aware of my newness to the bike as well as not knowing the roads like the others did.  It would have been way easy to Wad up chasing locals on strange roads and bike.  Thanks Kevin – you got a cool head.  Todd, Ed  and Richard wizzed away up front most of the time.  Ed had to do one of the roads twice, it was called “Stunt road”, his all time favorite.  I got a road or 2 out here in Washington for you to chew on Ed.   At the Rock Shop I was feeling sorry for Todd ‘cause I noticed the footpegs on his nice looking Jackel were broken.  Oh, it looks like Todd just Customized them.  You’d have to see and feel those asphalt ground down footpegs to believe that it is possible to lean a Jackel that much, that often.  They are hardly footpegs, more like stubs - Awesome. 

Time was my enemy.  I had to get to my Moms place in Florence Or. where my sister has been probably terminally hospitalized with advanced M.S. 


Da So. Cal boy’s and I only got to ride for a couple quick hours before I needed to get on my way north.  Most of them were able to leave me and make it to Billies wake.  Throughout the day I thought about Billie and all the other Moto Guzzi and motorcycle enthusiasts we have lost.  I’d like to think we honored them all with a good swift/safe ride through some of the countries most enthusiastic roads that day.  I often reflect on our dangerous sport and passion.  My relatives and mom in particular really hate that I ride.  I’ve been riding for 30 years and I’m not about to stop.  In fact, if I die by motorcycling I’ll have died doing something I truly love.  When I pass, those who want to do anything in my memory – Go Smoke your favorite road for me, that would make me happy.  MS is taking my sisters life painstakingly slowly – it is a horrible debilitating way to pass.  My objective for this trip is getting to Florence to help make a plan for her and my Mom.

I stopped to visit my other step Sister in Encino for an hour.  She served a great lunch and I got to meet my Nephew and his new wife.  It was again – too fast a visit, but I had miles north to go.  I spent the night in Los Osos with a cousin I hadn’t seen for 12 years and she also invited over a surprise visit from another Niece and husband.  Beautiful place; Morro Bay and area.  The weather had been fantastic, sunshine no fog, views typically incredible – oh, what I’d give for more time.  The longest stop I made was with a high school chum in Santa Cruz.  I couldn’t afford the time, but he and I used to be best buddies and hadn’t seen each other for 24 years.  Made a time mistake by going up Hwy 1 outside SF. – I knew it would be slow, but jeez, it was s l o w going.  Back up another great twisty road to Calistoga on 101 for another quick visitation.  The scenery of course was why I wanted to go that way.  I don’t get a chance to see CA often, and wanted to at least squeeze in some enjoyment during my travel to Moms in Florence.  I stopped a few more times to see old friends and a few relatives – 30 minutes here and there.  Made it to Florence in good time and spent a several days fettering out family affairs and hospital visits.  Not fun, but it had to be done.  That first day on the Centauro was somewhat sedate even though I did the Encino hills – being new, I didn’t push the bike around much.  Day 2 was much more comfortable and relaxing – oh, I suppose I can’t use the word comfortable when describing long distance on the Centauro.  Ooooooo, my butt burned!  Not a comfy touring machine.  I’m also not used to the positioning, no windshield, no throttle rocker, whine, whine, whine.  I survived the distances by the frequent stops to fill the gas tank.  Every 125 miles – 100 miles if I was doing 80 or so (I made sure the Centauro would break 100 – piece of cake).  Yeah, that 80 or so mph is the corruption those So. Ca boy’s had on me.  ( thanks ;)

The Oregon coast is just as spectacular but in a unique form.  The West Coast run is something everyone should do at least once in your life if at all possible.  Early on I found myself up on Hwy 101 and took Hwy 20 from Willits to Ft Bragg.  You Gotta Do this Road.  Man, it was sooooo much fun.  Then on the way north again from Rockport to Leggit Holy Moly – Rock my Guzzi.  These last 2 roads with nothing but twistys and nicely banked ¾ rounds is where I became one with the Centauro.  I hadn’t imagined a bike could feel that good.  I have a pretty decent rep for riding my loop frame, but this Centauro is truly awesome – no comparison – different world of riding.  The old owner set it up pretty well and the bike ran flawlessly throughout the trip.  I’d like to watch Todd ride some twistys on the Centauro, heck, I’d have liked to been able to watch myself – I felt supernatural out there.  (don’t tell my mom).  From Florence home to Seattle I wasn’t on much of a time schedule, just had to make it in a day.  On I5 it’s about 8 hours – so, I found some backroads and took 10.5 hours to get home.  Twisty ville most of  the way – just so much fun on a bike that Pulls like the devil and corners like crazy.  It’s yellow and I think I gotta name it “Lightnin’ or Thor. 

From Florence I got on 36 N. out of Maplewood.  Crazy banked twisty road for about 2 hours to 99W - no twistys there. Finally got to Hwy 47 which is a very good alternative to I5 bypassing all those big cities and dumping you right past Vancouver Washington.

Anyone wanting a good route to avoid all the Portland mess find 47 on your maps.  Well, from there it was the I5 slab home.  What a trip - and by slowly building up to the twistys and riding 1,474 miles on the Centauro – I think I’m nearly used to it now!  Where are those So Cal boy’s now!  Thanks to all who I got to ride with and visit.  My only regret is not enough time, not in the least.

See Ya,