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Just my ride up to Sonoma was interesting. Planned to meet Sean at the Hercules Starbucks at 11:30, so I left my place around 10:30. The sun was bright and warm, soaking into my black, leather jacket and helmet, warming my skull as I rode up 101 toward San Francisco. All very pleasant as I sang Beatles songs in my helmet and just cruised up the freeway. I’ve been on a huge Beatles kick lately. I’m not even sure what triggered this one.

From under the Grandstand. 🙂

First interesting part of the ride was crossing the Bay Bridge which I realized I hadn’t done in a while. So cool to see the new section so much more… “done.” It looks shiny and streamlined compared to the hulking girders of the old span. And, of course, whenever I’m dangling over the bay like that, I always think of earthquakes. I felt that being on the moto I’d be much more agile if things started coming down. Then I look at the massive structure surrounding me and think either one: this thing will never come down, or two: if the earthquake was big enough to bring this down… Why do I always get morbid? Anyway, the new section looks amazing. Can’t wait to ride on it.

The rest of the trip to Hercules is uneventful, but when I got there, what an awesome place to people watch. Sean was, as usual, operating on Sean time (he’s like a chick or somethin’, yo), so I sat and watched the people going about their business in the parking lot. Paunchy guy with long, long, gray hair chatting it up with everyone, a Latino kid was reading, or acting like he was reading, a sign outside a little grocery store for literally a half hour. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but his demeanor reminded me of when I was sent to sit in the hallway in 3rd grade, but pretended to be looking for something in case the principal walked by and asked me why I was out of class… “Oh, I dropped my lunch money out here and can’t seem to locate it in this clean, tiled, empty hall. I definitely wasn’t talking in class and you definitely don’t need to tell my mother about this.”

Sean finally arrived and we headed on over the Carquinez bridge and on to 37 toward Sonoma. 37 is a bizarre road that belongs somewhere in the South. It cuts through this marshy area, just skimming above the watery grasses and hummocks surrounding the Napa River. Just highlights another reason why I like the Bay Area. An hour in any direction and you feel like you’re in another part of the country.

Sean checking the schedule

I’d never been to Infineon before and I have to say it’s a pretty cool place. It was also cool because it was Friday and we were there to watch some practices and some qualifying, so the place was really empty-ish. Compared to the throngs at Laguna Seca, this was really pleasant. We could walk all over without lines of people, take photos from just about anywhere, everything was so clean and new looking, just a really nice place.

A little excitement when Alex texted me thinking he might be able to get me a two-up ride around the track, but, ultimately, that didn’t pan. Still thinking about paying whatever it is to do one of those follow laps at Laguna just to say that I’ve piloted around a MotoGP track. Yes, a track day would be better, but I’m poor.

Ultimately a good day at the track and I road home across the Golden Gate, stopped at Land’s End to take a few photos of the bridge and pretty much collapsed when I got home from all the riding and buzzing of motos. Awesome.

Here are some photos from the day:

The rest I’ll put in a gallery, but check them out. Only issue I have with the AMA is trying to figure out who everyone is. The top guys I can figure out, but after scouring the internet I can’t find a nice easy guide to who has what number on their bike. Really kind of a pain. Some guys I was able to piece together from other sites, but it became too much trouble. So photos include, but may not be limited to: Martin Cardenas, Tommy Hayden, Ben Bostrom, Larry Pegram (looking awesome on his new, blue, BMW), Chris Clark, Chris Peris, Josh Herrin, Dane Westby, Tommy Aquino, etc. I’m actually not even sure if I have a photo of Josh Hayes. If someone sees one let me know. He should be riding with the #1 plate, right? I’m ridiculous.

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