Monday, June 2, 2008

A beautiful morning in the Delta Area of Northern California. We have been riding through grape vineyards, and all sorts of agriculture so far. Some of the homes at the winery's are just amazing. We even passed one large vineyard that had roses in full bloom, planed in front of each row! I'm riding one of Don's BMW bikes, a 750K model. He's on his 900 Triumph. We're enjoying the scenery, on the way to breakfast out in the Delta in an old town named Isletown, a place that in the old days was inhabited by the Chinese.
The river is at a level with a lot of the fields. They raise orchards of many fruit trees, as well as vegetables, rice, and all sorts of crops. The levy's hold the river inside it's banks (hopefully) It's been a beautiful ride.
Downtown Isletown, California. It seems like we left the Golden State and went to Louisiana in just a few miles. Levy's and humidity from the wet lands, as well at the buildings remind me of the state farther to the East.
The owner of the Rivers Edge has this pristene Ural bike with Sidecar. He keeps it inside the restaurant.
Inside the Rivers Edge, or destination for Breakfast.
Don (vsp) waits for his breakfast. This is a colorful, friendly place, and the food is very good. Don eats here at least once a week. It's about a 45 minute ride from his house in Stockton.
Some of the stores in Isletown, in the Sacramento River Delta region.
This is a video store in Isletown. All the businesses are in old stores or houses.
This dove is sort of a wild pet at the Rivers Edge. Guess he/she hangs out here a lot.
Don's garage and "smoking room". I think he's down to only 5 bikes now, there were 7 in here the last time I came for a visit.
When we had breakfast in Isletown, the people at the River's Edge gave Don some fresh, still hot from the oven Cherry Cobbler to take to his mother. Like a good son, he delivered it. I may have not made it all the way home, but Don was afraid they would mention it to her, and he's have to confess . She has a beautiful large home, and is in great shape. Don and his parents have a VERY interesting history, I'd highly recommend a good visit with him sometime. They are really fine people.
We pulled into the Restaurant at 5:30 PM, ready to do some damage to the good Basque food!
Inside the main dining room of The Wool Growers, a favorite place of Don VSP's. It's in Los Banos, CA, and I recomment it highly!
This is what I came to California for, in addition for the NORCAL ride on Saturday. The completed Corbin seat for the Burgman.
A New York steak was my entree'. Don chose the roasted lamb. There were some pictures of baby sheep right over our table, you had to have a real hard heart to munch of the tender lamb. But, I didn't have any trouble with the lamp stew, the minestrone soup, the fresh home made bread, the green salad, and potato salad, Beans, French fries and all the wonderful basque condiments that came with it. Also the red wine, as much as you wanted, was included with the meal. Not a bad lunch
The Wool Growers, a Basque restaurant, has been in business here in Los Banos for over a hundred years! This is inside the main dining room. is a good link to Corbin's pages. This is the Hollister plant in California. As most of you know, Hollister was the town the movie "The Wild One" was based on, and also the beginning place of some of the 1% riders. It was all brought on by the media
Another inside view of Wizard's Cafe.
Some booths in Wizards cafe. Three walls are lined with booths, and there is a lot of seating in the cneter. The walls are covered with pictures and posters given to Mike by Politicians, Actors, Race car drivers and famous motorcycle riders. Even some personal ones from some of the better known groups we think of as Outlaws. He's been a friend of the California Governor for many years, he used to sell him body building equipment. (looks like it worked, or he would have been terminated:-)
One of Mike Corbin's personal bikes, the the one he rides the most. It's a Yamaha MR2 or something like that. This one came in from Belgium, with some sort of special import permission. It's not available here in the US. I noticed the tires were as worn on the sides as they were in the center, I think Mike likes to hit the California curves regularly. It was pretty 'tricked out' too !
6 AM on the 30th of May 08. I was the first 'ride in' of the day. They have 9 or 10 slots for ride ins, there ended up 6 today, all in by 8 AM. Here, they are removing the stock seat. The order as already gone in to production for the new one that will be built totally this morning from raw material here in the plant.
Mike Corbin and I have been acquaintences for over 20 years. It was nice talking about "old times" and how things have changed in the industry. Mike has come a long way, both in his business and his personal education. He has an MBA from Harvard (pretty impressive to me).
He's a very special person.
This lady keeps track of all the orders and where the parts are in sewing. They have over 20 sewing stations, all busy.
This lady collects scraps, then cuts them into small parts. She also used this machine to do all the material cutting. Nothing is wasted.
From the counter in Wizard's cafe. I had a good breakfast and lunch here.
Installing the first try. The writing says, "Ride in, Julio" on it. This one was rebuilt because of the rider backrest. It had a lump where the hardware was, and there wasn't much that could be done because of the frame of the bike. So, they took it out, and it turned out perfect. They left the passenger back rest hardware in just in case I remove the factory one sometime.
Corbin has a couple different styles of these 3 wheel cars. These are in his show room at the Hollister plant.
Tool boxes in the R&D department.
The final inspector. Each seat is checked by a quality control person at several stages, then if it gets this far, it goes through a final check before going out to the customer. There are lots of seats everyday that have to go back to be corrected or done over. They are totally into sending out products that are made as good as humanly possible.
No more "chopped" fiber glass. It's too messy, and harder for EPA permits to use the old style chemicals. This person has to know what he's doing, and get the job done fast, since it sets up very quickly as soon as it's mixed.
The foam is poured over the fiberglass with this machine. It meters the amount, and mixes it for the proper density. As soon are the right amout is in the seat, the top of the mold is closed and locked into place until the foam is cured. It only takes about 12 minutes.
Julio has been with the company for over 23 years. He' very knowledgeable in all the departments of Corbin's plant.
These ladies are expert "polishers". After parts are painted, and before the stripes or hardware is installed, each part is polished out to a mirror finish.
The 'Body Shop'. Not only do they make seats, but They make a lot of other fiberglass parts. They are constantly training people in this department, because as soon as they get some experience, a lot of them move on to automotive body shops.
Painter, pin striper. This person is one of California's best. He does beautiful work. He only used tape for the guide lines, all the stripes are done by hand with a brush.
Taken through a window of the paint booth. These parts have been totally prepared, and will be painted in a few minutes.
There are agriculture fields on two sides of Corbin's plant in Hollister. They are growing Onions in this one, looks like they are about ready to harvest. Then a different crop will go in.
The completed and installed seat. I rolled the scooter in at 6 AM, it's now 2 PM. Long day, but it was worth it.
The Corbin showroom entrance.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The seat project is finished, Suzy is loaded, and I'm off for new adventures for the rest of the weekend!
Don (vsp), Josh, Howard (Nitelite) and his son Brian. It was nice that Howard could come out and join us before we took off on the bikes. Josh was the ride leader of the day, since he lives close to the route we took and knows the roads. He's pretty new to VROC, and although he hadn't met any of us, he fit in fine and did a good job on the ride...Glad to have you in the group, Josh!
Uwe and Rad in the McDonalds parking lot. Note the nice riding came in handy and did it's job before the day was over.
Don says he'd like one of these, but he can't sit on it and touch the ground! The scooter has been performing fine, and the new seat fits me well. I put 240 miles on it Saturday. Was a real pleasure to ride.
A gas, potty and smoke break along Hwy 1, North of Bodega Bay.
A little blurry, but this is where Rad ran off the road. The ditch was pretty deep, and the bike flipped almost all the way around and sort of went up the hill. Highway 1 is pretty busy, there was a lot of traffic going by as we got the bike up and across the highway to park and work on it.
We all helped get the bike up right and across the highway. Fortunately, there was a place wide enough here for us to park and also work on Rad's BMW. She's one tough lady!
Being somewhat "vertically challenged", Don was having a hard time on the slope we had to park on. Too much lean for his little Beemer in the gravel. So, we found some used parts so he could put his stand down what at the scene of the 1st accident.
The bikes lined up at the first accident site. Rad wasn't seriously hurt, but I imagine she's sore today. The bike had some mostly cosmetic things, and was made ready to ride here at the scene of the small crash. We still had 12 bikes here.
Rad cleans and adjusts her mirror, and is ready to ride! The broken saddle bag is strapped on Uwe's bike, the broken turn signal is all taped back in place, the seats are back on the bike, and both bike and rider are ready to roll. She's a tough lady!
These were hanging on the fence at the end of the bridge in the next picture. I thought it was a head band or something, but Jost told me it was women's underware.. What!!!??? I've never seen undies like these! Surely he was mistaken!