Trip to MotoGP Laguna Seca with my son - 2013 Edition - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Trip to MotoGP Laguna Seca with my son - 2013 Edition

2013 – MotoGP at Laguna Seca! Last year my son and I were not able to make our annual trip to MotoGP because of my wife’s surgery. This year however, the stars aligned and we were once again able to gear up and getaway for a few days. It was nice to get out of the heat in the valley and have some quality bro-time.

At 8:00 on Saturday morning we were all set to go. We packed just what we needed for a 5 day trip on the road. Packing light with Jr. is easy. Packing light when my wife and I travel – not so much.
All ready to go.






We hopped on Freeway 99 and road the slab to Highway 152. Nothing real exciting on either of these stretches of road, and we have been on them a million times. But I do enjoy seeing the farmland and this has always been the quickest way to get where we were headed.

We rolled into Los Banos and had to make our customary stop at Starbucks. Coffee is always good and a butt-break every now and then is also appreciated.

Thirty minutes later…


Which meant it was time to hit the road again.
Highway 152 into Gilroy has always been one of my favorite stretches to ride. The slab is good, the twists and turns are fun on the V, and the views are awesome. We got into Gilroy and headed for a burger joint I had researched, Cafe152 Burger Company. We both enjoy a good burger and I tracked down a local joint that seemed to be just our kind of place.



It was everything we were hoping for. The service was great, atmosphere was casual, and it was absolutely one of the best burgers I have ever had. If you ever get a chance to go there, try the BBQ Bliss burger – amazing!


After a relaxing lunch, we were back on the bike and heading to Monterey to pick up our tickets at Will-Call. After that, we headed to Cannery Row for “Race Night On The Row.” We hit Cannery Row at about 2:15pm and eventually found a place to park. At 3pm Cannery Row is closed to all vehicles other than motorcycles. Signs are everywhere warning that cars will be towed if not moved before 3pm. Some did not heed the warnings.

This minivan had Harley’s in front of it and Ducati’s behind it. Tow truck driver did a masterful job of dragging it out to the cheers of onlookers.


Some nice bikes on the Row.



We played around Cannery Row for a bit and watched at more and more bikes showed up. I had researched a tourist place called the Mirror Maze that we went to check out. Basically this place is a maze of mirrors and colored lights. The object is to enter in one side and find your way out the other. Jr. was very good at it, I was not. I ran into walls, used a few bad words, and had to be rescued by Jr. a few times. The shot below isn’t great, but it gives you an idea of what we were dealing with.


Few shots from Cannery Row.




The weather was turning cooler, and we had already had a long day, so after a few hours we were back on the bike and heading to Gilroy to our motel. When we do our “bro-trips” we always end up staying at Motel6. I know they aren’t for everyone, but for us guys, they fit the bill. And the Motel6 in Gilroy is fairly close to the motorcycle enterence at Laguna Seca, and is more affordable than the places in Monterey and Seaside.

Home Sweet Home for the night.


Enjoying a few beverages. Note: Not all of the drinks in his hands are is – one is mine!


Sunday morning started early with a 5:30AM wake-up call.


Followed by breakfast at McDonald’s.


And then we were off to Laguna Seca. The motorcycle-only entrance to Laguna makes for a great little ride to the track. Winding around the older parts of Fort Ord is fun and you get to see some of the old buildings that are wasting away since the military base closed. We made it to the track and parked in the Red-9 reserved parking. In the past, we have used the Green-4 reserved parking, and I think we will again. Red-9 is not quite as convenient .


One of the best things about going to Laguna is meeting new people. Here are a few of my new friends.


We walked around the marketplace for a bit, and then hit up the Yamaha booth to pick up some souvenirs for Jr. He is a huge Lorenzo fan, and he needed some new swag.


Then it was off to the grandstand to watch the race. When I bought our tickets I decided to try to Turn 11 grandstands instead of Turn 4,which is where we have gone in the past. Turn 11 has the advantage of being at the Start/Finish, but I think watching the race action from Turn 4 is better.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Waiting for the race to begin.


Riders lined up for the start.


I am a Rossi fan, and Laguna is a great track for Yamaha, but Marquez and his Honda were just too good this year. Marquez pulled off a pass on Rossi that was very reminiscent of what Rossi did to Stoner in 2009. Didn’t take any pictures during the race. Too busy cheering and having a good time with Jr.
Marquez won, Bradl second, and Rossi made the podium with a third place finish. Great race all around. Pedrosa and Lorenzo rode injured and got through the race safely. Marquez seems like the guy to beat, and at only 20 years old, he might have a very bright future in MotoGP.

After the race, definitely needed some food. Does this look like an $8 hotdog to you??


Few shots of Laguna.





At this point, it was time to head to Ducati Island. The Island is always an experience. Exotic bikes, cool atmosphere, and a great place to hang out. The Island was fun, but not as exciting as in the past. It might have something to do with Ducati not renewing Hayden’s contract and the fact that the Ducatis have been pretty dismal in MotoGP the past few years.

Jr. planning our assault on the island.


The Island.



I made some more new friends while on the Island.


These ladies were assuring me that my wife would be so much happier on the back of a Ducati Multistrada 1200. I even had one picked out!


Reality set in, and I realized that returning home on a new Ducati would ensure I would not have a home to return to. My wife and I have friends that are good attorneys and I might like a new Ducati, but I love my wife more, and I love having a house to live in. So it was time to leave the Island and hit the marketplace again.

Another new friend.


We wandered the marketplace for a bit, and then it was time to hit the road for the ride back to Gilroy. We had an absolute blast at MotoGP this year. Getting out of Laguna was a bit complicated since the motorcycle-only exit had to be closed down for a while due to an accident. Later we found out a rider over-cooked an off-camber turn and struck a tree. Unfortunately, he lost his life in the process.

We eventually made our way back to Gilroy and hit Cafe152 Burger Company again, and then headed to Motel6 to call it a night.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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We slept in the next morning and finally were ready to hit the road at 10:30AM.


You might wonder why my face is so red. It is not from embarrassment from making so many new friends the day before. My face is red because I was an idiot and neglected to put sunscreen on the day before. Bad mistake. Especially since I work for Kaiser and one of the departments I help manage is Dermatology, and I had a meeting scheduled with the department 3 days later. Was not looking forward to going to the meeting with my face peeling!
The agenda for this day was to hop on 101 South and head to Pismo Beach for some fun on the dunes. We make a quick lunch stop in Salinas at Carl’s Jr. and then motored on down to the coast.

Gratuitous shot of the Versys.


A few short hours later, and we hit the Central Coast.


The previous shot is very special to me in many ways. When my mom and dad lived here, I didn’t stop to enjoy the beauty as much as I should have. I wish I had. I did enjoy the beach when I lived with them when I was going to college. I played volleyball on the beach, occasionally surfed by the pier, and from time to time, I would go to the beach to study. The pier holds a few memories too. My dad and I walked it a few times when the Pismo Beach car show was going on. And one of the best memories of pier took place on the end of it. At the end of the pier is where I proposed to my lovely wife on New Year’s Eve 1994! She said yes, and 3 kids and lots of memories later, I still love her as much as I did that night.


We checked into our motel – you guessed it –Motel6! Yeah!


We relaxed a bit, went swimming, and decompressed a tad before heading off to dinner at one of my favorite places,F.Mc Clintocks in the Village of Arroyo Grande.




Then it was back to the motel to relax and rest up for the next day’s adventure. That adventure consisted of riding ATV’s on the Pismo Dunes. Big time fun!

Tuesday morning started bright and early since we had an ATV reservation for 8:00AM. We rented from Steve’s ATVs in Oceano, and they had a great Early Bird deal that was well worth it.

Jr. getting some last minute instructions before we were turned loose.


At the entrances to the dunes.


Then the fun began!!





Four hours of fun eventually came to an end. The dunes are a giant playground that goes on forever, and we did our best to explore as much as we much as we could. But given that the area is over 5 miles long and spans 1,500 acres, we barely scratched the surface. It was incredible being out there. I loved chasing Jr. around, spinning donuts, wheelies, and being stupid-crazy. We also had a few minor incidents that left us each with a few minor injuries. But I’m not saying who did what!!

It was lunch time, so we went to another one of my favorites from my past, Garlands.



The rest of the day consisted of swimming, watching t.v.,reading, dinner. Tuesday, day 4 of our journey was over. We were both a bit beat and went to bed rather early.

Wednesday morning started around 9:00AM as we enjoyed breakfast at Denny’s. Then it was time to start thinking about heading home. We loaded up the bike, pointed it north on 101, and headed back towards the heat of the Central Valley.

Rest stop in Paso Robles.


The remainder of the ride was rather uneventful. We stopped for a break in Kettleman City, and then banged it on home. 2 guys, 5 days, 678 miles, and a million memories. My son is my wingman and I feel very blessed to be able to spend time with him like this. This was the longest trip we have taken together on the Versys, and it was flawless. I think the key to a trip like this was not the planning, not the photo ops, not the experience. The key was marrying the right woman many years ago. She lets me pursue my passions. Thank you, honey.



Until the next adventure…
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 07:08 PM
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 07:33 PM
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Looks like a great time. Just teach Jr. to smile!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 07:56 PM
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great tour, yummy food and great bike & bikers!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 11:50 PM
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Well done!

And not to sound corny, but great to see a family man spending some awesome fun times with his son! And you love your wife!

You are a wealthy man!





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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2013, 11:58 PM
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Looks like a ton of fun, great job.

Always trust your cape.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2013, 05:01 AM
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Great pics. Looks like you had an awesome time, burgers looked to be your favorite food.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2013, 08:06 AM
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Looks like a great trip. Looks like it Won't be long before junior can inherit that versys and you can get that Ducati! Teach him how to ride!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2013, 02:49 PM
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