California

2 Oct

I rode into California yesterday, along the Redwoods highway, October 1st in the afternoon. Later than expected because I took many pictures along the scenic coastal highway and back mountain roads.
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There are no trees like this in Ontario.
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I went a few miles up the steep Bald Hills Road to where I talked with a fire crew working on a small smouldering fire, pumping water about 3/4 mile from portable 1000 gallon tanks with huge puking trucks.
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I camped in Ferndale last night at the fairgrounds; huge place. I was without Wifi so behind in posting some pictures. Heres a great place for breakfast.
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It’s not rained here for a long time, drought conditions are everywhere, but this morning there was thick fog. Sometimes clearing with bright sun blasting through but occasionally I felt like I was about to launch myself off the road and over and edge into nowhere.
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I ventured to the lost coast, Cape Mendocino, the most western location in California on the Pacific and probably the least developed.
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I’ve copied part of my email that I shared with some riding friends from allover….
Jon, in West Virginia is better know as Dirt Dad:
There is a 100 km loop out here through “the lost coast” that gives a whole new dimension to the words “Ride with Caution, Technical Roads.”
Switchbacks with shoulders too narrow and steep for stopping to take pictures; so steep I’m not certain if I could have ridden them if Sammy was aboard. I nearly stalled out on one; although the Vstrom now with 167,317km on the odometer is running well.
From Ferndale CA to past the old Cape Mendocino lighthouse location. WooHoo.  It’s a very tough technical ride. Very poor condition pavement, potholes, cracks, and abruptly changing grades and irregular troughs and breaks due to slumps and slides. In a few cases the edge has eroded and disappeared over the edge. Apparently 4 active tectonic plates wreck havoc with this part of the world. There are some short sections of gravel and many types of temporary repairs, including the last 15 km of very fresh smelly tar and gravel not yet smoothed out. Only one very short section of guard rail in the entire loop! Crazy. Fog at the start, overhanging trees and unreal steep grades. The steepest that I have ever ridden. 100 km  ridden in 1st and 2nd gear, once or twice 3rd gear near the lighthouse where it’s flat close to the ocean for a couple of kilometers but too dangerous to maintain speed because of potholes. The potholes here are as hungry to eat my front wheel as the worst that I’ve dodged in Newfounland. Being at the old lighthouse location is magical. image

I marelled as well, remembering back to July 2013 at Cape Spear NL the furthest easterly point of Both America and thinking how many mikes that I’ve ridden in between. I know that I am a fortunate man to be able to do these rides and I have many people, friends and family, to thank for unquestioning support.
I stopped for a drink and snack at Honeymoon general store, what a collection of hang arounders, lots of pot, “best in the country, I’ve got work here, we’re trimmers, emerald triangle.” I was offered a hit by one of the stoned locals but graciously declined.
This amazing awesome ride ended after 100km and changed into a gentle slow speed smooth narrow paved road in the Humboldt Redwoods. Beautiful redwoods.image
I got a bit artsy with one of the redwood stumps, the tree had fallen and splintered exposing some beautiful colours.image

What A Ride!!!

At the end of a great day I camped at Grizzly Creek state park along hwy #36 on my way to Red Bluff.
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It’s mid afternoon now, enjoying the mother of all twisties, hwy 36. With a couple of side excursions and hundreds of pictures I will be spending most of the day here. I expect with local knowledge an experience a rider could double the posted limits; 55 mph with some corners at 10 and 25. I’m putzing along enjoying all of this place and the incredible road. The surface is in very good to perfect condition.  I’m my overall years of riding experience, in North America, throughout many states and provinces this is the best!!! Just come here, ride this #36 and don’t bother about leaving.
I found WiFi in red bluff at library, ok for email but sucky for sending pictures.

It seems that the bike was properly serviced and torqued together at Pro Calibre in Bend OR when I got new rubber and oil. It survived the Lost Coast.

My best to all,
Gord, aka 568V8, or “just trouble” to the staff at Romney’s Cycles.

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The day ended camping at Grizzly state park on hwy 36
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Wow, hwy 36 is a fantastic road to play on. This pic is about halfway along #36, you can almost see the big grin on my face in the mirror.
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This pic is for Mike who I met on the roadside looking for his cows; Ruth Lake. Hope you found some cows. About 200,000 acres were damaged by fires this past July and August, and I could still smell it.
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Many more pics to follow. I’m having difficulty posting from the library in Red Bluff so I might have to wait for better connection.
I’m motelling it in Chico for the night. Extreme winds started this afternoon and there is a hazardous warning out on the NOAA weather sitecwith respect to potential fires. Besides my tent might blow away again like it did this morning, but with me in it.
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On a paved backroad sideroad, Horse Ridge Lookout Road, following Mike’s suggestion, I followed to the lookout above Ruth Lake. I was fortunate to meet up with him, a wealth of information and I hope to keep a email connection with him. I often get overwhelmed with information, scenery and the whole excitement ofy ride.
My days are total concentration. I snooze, I crash. It’s that simple. But I love the ride; nothing compares to it except sailng close hauled in stormy weather with rocks and shoals closeby.
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One Response to “California”

  1. bikermissus October 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    No trees like that in Newfoundland either! Looks like you’re having a great trip, ride safe.

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