Eroica California route maps

Thank me by sending gift coupons for McBrewski’s. I have saved everyone the trouble of downloading the GPX files and pumping them into a GPS system. Here are maps for the 3 Eroica California routes that you can view with a browser:

If you’re using a hand-help device with an integral GPS system, go to the Eroica California routes page and download the GPX files.

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Out of the Saddle – Classic Corvairs

Driving into LA today I went directly to San Pedro for an afternoon open mic at The Corner Store. The weather people said rain-rain-rain, so I did not bother bringing a bike with me, just a guitar. Down the street from the music venue there is a park that I have cycled past many, many times, and today there was a flock of Corvair vehicles on display in the lot. Cool! I love the way those old cars look, even if Ralph Nader branded them unsafe at any speed.

There were two generations of Corvair body styles for the passenger vehicles, also a mini-van version. A nicely maintained or restored one, lowered and with fancy wheels and fat tires, is really chic. Check ‘em out below. Many of these appeared to be works-in-progress, but some looked pretty sharp.

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Eroica California website is live

Eroica California will take place during the second weekend of April, in and around Paso Robles, CA. Eroica is an event for vintage bikes riding as many dirt roads as possible. Check out the website that just went live – http://www.eroicacalifornia.com/

SLO County dirt road riding

SLO County dirt road riding

I’ve managed to entangle myself into this event as the volunteer coordinator. We need lots of folks to help out during the weekend, both at the HQ park in downtown Paso Robles, and out on the route at various rest and water stops. If you are interested in volunteering, ping me by email – velobum@gmail.com .

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Above the Clouds

If you are fortunate enough to live in or visit a place that has significant vertical relief, you sometimes have the opportunity to ride above the clouds. It might take a bit of effort to make the climb, but the effect is worth it. Today I rode well above the clouds at 38000 feet. Take that Strava!

Granted, it didn’t take me much effort beyond using my SWA Visa card enough to earn a free flight, and, as the comedian Louis CK said, “sitting in a chair in the sky.” But effect was well worth it. On my way to Seattle, somewhere over southern Oregon:

SWA 209

SWA 209


SWA 209

SWA 209


Reminds me of a day in the Pyrenees circa 2003 reaching the Pico de Gorramakil:
Pico de Gorramakil

Pico de Gorramakil

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It’s the Law

Steve and Evan stopped by the Law

Steve and Evan stopped by the Law

When you ride Peachy Canyon Road in the viney hills west of Paso Robles CA, the wine hawkers are happy to see you stop in and do a tasting. Maybe even replace your bidon with un bouteille de vin for the return trip. This morning I rode with Steve Davis and Evan Eberle from downtown Templeton, but most of the tasting rooms were not yet open for business. Nonetheless, the Law made us stop. We got away without a breathalizer test.

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Standing Next to History

I was standing in line at Staples, an oh-so-modern instantiation of the capitalist concept of making money by helping people. They were helping me get my Christmas cards done by printing 8.5×11 color copies of the yearly photo collage I like to include with my cards. But first, as with all good things, I had to wait. In line.

There was an older gentleman (I should say EVEN older than me) in line ahead of me, and it appeared that he had a similar project in process. He was holding a copy of a holiday letter with some pictures included, waiting his turn to get copies made. So I got to chatting with him about what sort of activities were included in his letter. Oh, this and that, and taking a long, scenic drive to and from Idaho where he went to the funeral of one of his wartime buddies.

Oh my, just the kind if story I like to dig into, and he was happy to oblige. Allow me to point out that, since this is a biking blog, a bike does make an appearance at the end.

Douglas Skyraider

Douglas Skyraider


He, George Marrett, and his Idaho friend, had been Air Force Skyraider pilots flying missions over North Vietnam during that conflict. One fateful day his friend took a catastrophic hit and had to bail out. George stuck around to watch his friend float to the ground, then hightailed it back to base. His friend spent five years as a prisoner, enduring significant amounts of privation and punishment that left him with lifelong disabilities.

As George was telling me this tale, I glanced up at the cap he was wearing and noted that it was embroidered with the name “Howard Hughes Corporation.” Oh my, another topic of discussion, given that I started working at Hughes Aircraft Company back when it was still a private concern. Eventually I retired from the same derivative entity, now a part of the Raytheon Company.

George had worked for Hughes a few miles away, at the Culver City site. “Work” is a lame description of what he did for Hughes, since he was one of those Right Stuff guys, a test pilot for the company. He was also a test pilot at Edwards AFB before he flew in Vietnam, piloting some of the fastest jets in the world. Crikey, the guy has his own Wikipedia page. He also has written several books about military aviation, as well as a book about Howard Hughes, and was a consultant for the movie “The Aviator”, which was about Hughes. Check his book page at Amazon.

Hughes by Marrett

Hughes by Marrett


Despite all his participation and expertise in historic activities, despite his success as an author, the people he has met and his high-level life, he seemed pretty humble as I spoke with him. And like the best of accomplished, yet humble people, he also asked about me. So of course, we got to talking about bicycling.

Turns out, he is a cyclist too, riding with groups out of the K-Man shop in Atascadero. But he said he’s had enough of going fast, he’s riding a comfort bike nowadays.

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Chaussettes de la Saison

A holiday present for myself from the Dollar Store

141_0009

I rode out to the east side of Paso Robles this morning, just a’wandering, and headed down Penman Springs Road thinking about maybe fortifying myself on a cool day with a glass of hearty red wine at Clautiere Vineyard. Alas, those French… closed for the holidays.

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