Today’s Mileage: 74 miles
Total Trip Mileage so far: 3605 miles
Just like last week when finally I met Jim Conner (2008 ISDE Club Team) for the first time, today is the day I will finally meet the Lipana family, Justin (2008 ISDE Club Team), Zach (2009 ISDE Club Team), Joaquin (Dad) and Anne (Mom). I will be having dinner at their house tonight.
I have decided that the rear tire I bought in Gunnison is not going to get me home and the OEM front is also showing a good bit of wear. So I am going to see if I can get a set of the new Michelin Pilot Road 4 tires – my PR3’s that I have had on the Ducati have gotten exceptional mileage and the new PR4’s are supposed to get even better mileage. I figure that the guys I am here to visit will know a good dealer or two and perhaps the tires will be in stock. If they are in stock, hopefully I can get them put on right away so I won’t have to wait until Tuesday.
I also wanted to visit Troy Swettenam and Rory Sullivan (both on the 2009 ISDE Club Team) – like Jim, Zach and Justin I have never met Troy face to face. I have seen Rory a number of times at several events. Unfortunately, Troy has a family committent that will take him out of town and Rory lives a little far off my path – however, I do plan to visit his father, Tim Sullivan near Salem after I leave the Seattle area. The same for Beth Neff, I don’t think I will be headed over their way. Also on the agenda is breakfast Saturday morning with Rory’s grandmother.
The other two main characters in this orgy of visitation are my old friends John Walsh and Roger Hagie. John retired from Suzuki and moved up to the Seattle area and Roger retired from Kawasaki and did the same. However, John had a family commitment back East so I am going to miss visiting him by a day or so. I will be visiting Roger on the way out of town as he lives on the South side of Seattle.
By far, the Seattle area is my busiest stop on this trip in terms of visitation – hopefully I get some of it accomplished.
Back to tires, I have talked to Joaquin and he suggests going to their dealer (I-90 Motorsports) where Justin used to work (and was one of their sponsors also). Since it is close to their house I tell him I will just go there rather than call. When I get there I go straight to the parts counter and ask about the availability of the tires, the parts guy seemed to already know what tire I wanted – he had them, I asked when I could get them put on…he immediately said, “now”. He took me over to service where the guy said he would get to it right away and while I was there did I want an oil change? I thought about it for a minute, it was a little early for a change but if we did it now I would not need to stop in the middle of the return trip and do it. Besides, it would never be easier for me – just let them do it and ride away…works for me! Then he mentioned that Justin Lipana had called ahead to make sure they would get me fixed up right away…yes, it is nice to have friends that have a dealer connection. The service guy recommends a good place for lunch down the street and I head down there – good deal – eat lunch and relax – they put tires on the bike and change the oil. Yes, it cost more than just buying tires but it makes for a relaxing day and a good feeling that I will leave set to make it all the way home without stopping for routine maintenance.
Right after I get back to the shop from lunch I get a text from Joaquin, he is off work early and heading over with his partner (I don’t think I mentioned that Joaquin is a motorcycle police officer). So I am sitting in the service office and in walk two motorcycle cops – the cavalry has arrived! Now I don’t have to worry about not knowing what Joaquin looks like – one is young and the other is about the age Joaquin should be…plus they have name tag on their uniforms.
We have a very enthusiastic meeting and immediately start talking – I can see we are going to get along just fine. Joaquin’s partner heads home and Joaquin suggests we take a long route to his house that will take us on a nice rural ride of about 20 miles. Sounds like a wonderful idea to me. My bike is just about ready go so I go and chat with the mechanic while Joaquin visits with the shop staff.
The mechanic did a great job and with my bike finished Joaquin goes over a few techniques the police use for riding together – it all makes very good sense and has obviously been well thought out. Now with my police “escort” we ride away from the shop. It is interesting to observe other drivers from this new vantage point – they all either slow down or yield to the police bike – since Joaquin is giving me signals to do things they probably think he has arrested me and is bringing me in on my bike…it is funny to think that…the thought generates a smile inside my helmet. I immediately observe that Joaquin is a very competent motorcycle operator and director of our travel. I feel extremely comfortable riding with him. The ride home was through countryside similar to mine at home, tree-lined byways that sometimes feel more like tunnels. Sweeping curves, nice cool air – you couldn’t ask for a better night.
We arrive in Joaquin’s neighborhood – I spot their house right away, the one with the enclosed race trailer in the driveway. We pull in the drive and Justin seems to appear out of nowhere, with Anne not far behind – handshakes and big genuine hugs all around – it is so wonderful to finally meet them all…except, Zach has yet to appear, he is helping a neighbor with a construction project but he shows up in just a few minutes – the same enthusiastic greeting. Well, we have all only been waiting about 6 years to meet. But by the time we get in the house and sit down it seems that we have known each other forever. I am not sure I have ever met an entire family that could make you feel like part of their life so quickly. We talked and laughed, food came out, we talked and laughed, food disappeared, we talked and laughed, pie came out, we talked and laughed, pie disappeared, we talked and laughed and laughed and talked. Bench racing and funny stories flowed in both directions. Justin has just finished college and is now working at Microsoft while Zach has another year before he finishes his mechanical engineering degree. Both boys have sort of put racing on hold while they finish school and secure jobs but you can tell they will be back to it. They both want to do the 6 days again.
You can tell this is a family that enjoys doing things together and things that they all have the same interest in. I also find out the Joaquin and I both lived in the Lancaster CA area at the same time around 1968 to 1974, of course Joaquin was in grade school at the time and I was in the air force at Edward AFB. I, of course, told the Sage Motel story…
I am so impressed with Justin and Zach and find their company so very enjoyable – however, I am of the opinion that they are the way they are because of the great parents they have. Watching and listening to the interaction between Anne, Joaquin, Justin and Zach, they all seem to have a great respect for one another and a commonalty of interests – it made for an awesome evening together. Of course, they may have all gotten into a knock-down, drag em out fight when I left but I seriously doubt it. Good people and I hope friends for life.
Unfortunately the evening had to end, but not without another round of hugs, handshakes, and photographs. This evening will not be forgotten and I will be back.