45 Days on a Gen3 Hayabusa - 2023 Pashnit Touring


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Prolog: Prepping the new Pashnit Gen3 Hayabusa for touring

In case you missed it, Last 2022 season's 12,000 miles of touring on a Hayabusa

Last year's Ride Season wrapped up with the tour alumni presenting me with a 20th anniversary helmet they all collaborated on and had made. It was an honor to receive the Shoei Neotec II helmet from them. It’s also really exciting to be on a brand new 2022 Gen3 Hayabusa for my 20th anniversary season of running the tour business. We did our first tour in 2004, and it’s been the time of our lives ever since that first ride.


Here’s the plan: It’s ambitious. I’ve never managed this many tours in a season, never done more than 12, and for 2023, I’ve planned out 16 organized motorcycle tours starting the tour season earlier and ending later in the year. Every tour I’ve offered is sold out, and our tour groups average about 8-14 bikes. Lot of work to set all this up, so far, I’ve booked about 425 hotel rooms for this coming ride season. Some of these tours are 12 days apart. That means I’ll get home on a Sunday and have another tour I’m leading the following weekend. I leave the bike packed. I need to be able to just pull on the leathers, start the bike and head out. I’ll lead all 16 tours except one, the Death Valley ride in March I’m going to have to miss.

2023 Tour Dates – 20th anniversary season of Pashnit Motorcycle Tours
Feb 17, 2023 - EL DORADO
Mar 10, 2023 - DEATH VALLEY
Apr 14, 2023 - CHINA PEAK
Apr 28, 2023 - PARKFIELD
May 05, 2023 - SEQUOIA
May 26, 2023 - RACE TOUR
Jun 09, 2023 - SIERRA NEVADA
Jul 14, 2023 - COAST RANGE
Aug 04, 2023 - THE PACIFIC
Aug 18, 2023 - CLASSIC NORCAL
Sep 08, 2023 - SOUTHERN SIERRA
Sep 22, 2023 - MYSTERY TOUR
Oct 06, 2023 - YOSEMITE VALLEY
Oct 20, 2023 - CENTRAL COAST
Nov 03, 2023 - MARIN

After a very long wait because of reasons - nearly four months - my new bike finally arrived in California from Virginia


Prepping the new Pashnit Gen3 Hayabusa for touring


The ‘22-‘23 winter here in California has been crazy. At present, nearly 60 feet of snow in Tahoe and also at Mammoth. There's so much snow, our Governor activated the National Guard. There are crews running around shoveling off the roofs of buildings, fearing they will collapse. From one extreme to the other, in March 2022, I was able to ride over the Sierra Nevada Range due to lack of snow, this year I’m having to adjust routes to avoid weather and the huge amounts of snow above 8000 ft. June 2023 we’ll just have to see how that develops as that’s the first time we’ll attempt to ride the Sierra Passes.

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El Dorado Tour

People say you can ride year-round in California. Which is basically true. The first couple years I lived in California, I didn’t own a car, so yes, it’s possible. Rain or shine, I rode the bike every day.

But planning a motorcycle tour many months in advance for February in the Sierra Nevada Foothills is a huge gamble. It could be sunny & warm; it could be snowing. One of those two. The first time I tried this in 2020, the ride cut short due to an inbound storm. So, it was a huge gamble to plan a ride in mid-February, but I couldn't have timed it better, especially with another big winter storm inbound over the same region. My gamble resulted in 55-degree temps and sunny all weekend for our ride, making it feel like California springtime all weekend for a route centered around the Highway 49 corridor, Placerville to Jackson. This road is called the Golden Chain Highway, as it linked all the tiny settlements established in the 1850s gold rush. However, this ride will stay within an elevation band between 1500 & 3000 ft offering up an endless plethora of twisty backroads. I had warned the riders in advance this would be a backroads tour.

The plan was to ride 48 different roads, just on the first day. We call them goat roads, as in, fit only for goats. As in, lots of single lane paved roads. Zero people, fun stuff, but not for everybody. But the riders seemed to pay heed to my disclaimers and showed up on an RS, (3) BMW GSs, the Tenere, a Tiger and a Gen3 Hayabusa(?) Makes perfect sense!

It’ll be the maiden voyage of my brand new (to me) Hayabusa. I told the riders at our pre-ride safety brief it’s a new bike, I’m gonna be pretty slow today. They all laughed & asked how many miles have you put on the Hayabusa?

About 200,000 I said.

48 roads in one day

The fun part is our start point, Shingle Springs, (yes, they used to make shingles there in the olden days) is only 35 miles away from our end point for the day, Jackson. Now that's called the long way round.


This old map dated to 1928 is of the Sierra Nevada Foothills, this will be our playground for the weekend.

We're starting at Shingle Springs at top left and headed for Jackson in the middle. Not too far apart. I used to live in Camino (at the top of this map) when my kids were young and this region was my backyard.

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I was pretty excited. I've put maybe 10 miles on this bike so far.

First tour of the season means seeing the guys again. Bruce, Mark & I have been riding together for over 15 years.


While my tours are mostly 95% repeat business, I get one or two new riders on each tour. Chris & Yeni rode up from SoCal to join us for the first time. They were each on their own BMW GSs.

The beard is coming along nicely, thanks for asking. My wife actually just cut two inches off the bottom.

The new Gen3 runs perfect, sounds delicious and looks awesome. I bought this bike sight unseen in Virginia from an ORG member and shipped it to myself in California. A couple mods later, and we're ready for touring.

The plan is to spend 45 days touring on this bike and ride 15,000 miles this year.


One interesting thing about this bike is it has a cut seat, the previous owner re-shaped it and stapled it back together. The curvature actually works surprisingly well compared to a stock flat seat.

1588 miles

Nice cozy group of 7 bikes to start the 2023 ride season

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Our start point in Shingle Springs is at 1300 feet in elevation, the very edge of the Sierra Foothills, and the terrain here is of rolling hills with lots of short backroads.

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We've gotten immense amounts of rain this winter (and more on the way) and the foothills are glowing in color.


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Brandon Rd is a single lane backroad with no other cars on it to start our day.
This is the road is where I bring all my bikes for photo shoots or to get cool shots of the bike.

20 years ago, my '00 on Brandon Rd - see that tree?

My '08 on Brandon Rd - same tree

My Gen2 had 900 miles on it when I took these. It's tradition.


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Making our way over to Coloma, I had planned on skipping this as most of the guys had been there already, but Chris and Yeni hadn't been to the Marshall Gold Discovery Park, site of the first gold discovery in 1848, so we made a stop there anyway.


And of course, what anchors the town of Coloma, is the replica of the sawmill


The river is lower, but a few weeks ago, there was lots of flooding here


The American River was about 10 feet higher and there was still debris everywhere.

This road is known as Darling Ridge. It's an OHV area outside Georgetown, and there are dirt bike trails everywhere through the national forest around here.


Does it look like a road you would take a brand-new Hayabusa on? This bike does all things well.


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Just when you think you've had enough of the single lane forest roads, we pop out onto the main highway, and it's a fast curvy ride into the American River Canyon and back out again into Placerville. Twisty canyon road at top right is Rock Creek Rd over to Mosquito.



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As you descend into the American River Canyon, there's another side road that rides along the wall of the canyon high above the river known as Rock Creek Rd. It leads to the last single-lane wooden suspension bridge over the river still in operation. A modern bridge is planned to span the canyon 600 feet over the river and replace the old wooden bridge.



But Rock Creek Rd was closed due to a landslide. Next time. It's super twisty and zero guard rails.


The single lane suspension bridge is very cool, but its days are sadly numbered.


The plan is to start building this soon.