Out Riding where we're riding…

Groveland Lunch Run

Anyone who has kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or has been anywhere near anyone in about the 1st grade recently has probably heard of “Flat Stanley.” In case you haven’t, here’s a quick summary from wikipedia: “Stanley Lambchop and his younger brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board by their Dad for displaying pictures and posters. He hangs it on the wall over Stanley’s bed. During the night the board falls from the wall, flattening Stanley in his sleep. He survives and makes the best of his altered state, and soon he is entering locked rooms by sliding under the door, and playing with his younger brother by being used as a kite. One special advantage is that Flat Stanley can now visit his friends by being mailed in an envelope. Stanley even helps catch some art museum thieves by posing as a painting on the wall. Eventually Arthur changes Stanley back to his proper shape with a bicycle pump.” This book, from 1964, sparked the Flat Stanley Project in 1995 where schoolchildren read the book and make their own paper Stanleys which they journal about and mail to friends and family in different locations. When Stanley arrives, he’s your guest to show around and make some pages to add to his journal including photos and stories about what you and he did during his visit. We were lucky enough to host a Stanley, who arrived on Wednesday. We decided we’d take him for a ride to lunch at the Priest Station Cafe in Groveland, CA.

We left mid-morning with a chill in the air that stayed with us until around Oakdale or so. Stanley was nice and warm in the saddlebag so he didn’t seem to mind. We rode past fields of almond trees covered in blossoms and open pastures with yummy grass fed beef – I mean, cows.  Once we got across the valley, the hills were green despite the lack of rain this year.  We rode up Highway 120 and once we got past lake Don Pedro, we took Old Priest Grade up to our destination.  This was a windy, steep, second gear affair which rejoined Highway 120 at Priest Station Cafe, where we planned on having lunch.  Stanley was happy to get out of the saddlebag at this point, and getting off the bike and walking around was welcome, for sure.  We had a nice lunch of bratwurst, home-made sauerkraut and red cabbage, and Spaten beer to wash it down.  We hung out for quite some time, the sun was out and definitely warming up the day.  The view from the deck was pretty spectacular.

Once we were done with lunch, we decided to go to Jamestown HD to see what was going on there, with a stop at the lake for some pictures.  Stanley had never seen the lake.  There were a lot of bikes at Jamestown HD, and we did a bit of shopping.  We wanted to stop for a drink and rode down Main Street.  We decided we would head back and stop at Knights Ferry, where I had stopped for beers many years ago.  I think we found a different bar than the divey little place I remember, but our stop at the 50’s Roadhouse was definitely worthwhile.  The house specialty is schooners of ice-cold beer, and the menu featured a bunch of burgers and other diner offerings with 50’s-inspired names.  Though tempted, we were still too close to lunch to try the food.  Another time, perhaps.  The service was friendly and entertaining, and we were informed that live music gets the place hopping from time to time.  Lacking proper identification, Stanley remained to watch the bike.

After we properly quenched our thirst and took some pictures of what appeared to be an alpaca (or a llama or other such fur-bearing animal), we started our ride back.  It was a mellow ride through the hills, and traffic had picked up, so we moved a bit slower than when we rode up.  We had a nice ride through the orchards and picked things up once we hit Manteca, traffic was pretty thick until we got on 205.  We moved along pretty well and kept up a good pace.  Right around Vasco Road on 580 we picked up a group of 7 riders with white helmets, a group of police officers.  We stayed behind them and got an escort at a nice 85 mph clip.  They dropped off a couple at a time, and we had one rider left when we stopped for gas in Dublin.  The rest of the ride was pretty fast and uneventful.  It was good to get home, we were all tired from the ride.

Posted from Coulterville, California, United States.


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