We woke the next morning with the sun. It had been a rough night, as the first night camping often is. As we packed up, a bewildered woman in a Prius drove by. We live in a rural area too, and I imagined what I would think of seeing someone camping in a tent along the main road into town.
We had both been charging some electronics after parking for the night and there was a little apprehension as we pushed our start buttons. I never quite know where to set my choke, and fiddled with it a bit, but the starter pulled strong and with a little throttle it came to life. The BMW sounded a little more tired but it fired right up too. When Hans tried to pull out of our spot it stalled. It was slight hill, and a little soft but the bike seemed to not want to pull out of it. A couple more stalls and then a determined effort got the bike moving, but that was not typical behavior. Hmmm...
As we rode into Laytonville, we were glad that we stopped where we did. It seems that we found the only accessible flat spot on the whole road. The previous night as our Mountain House chicken teriyaki was steaming in its bag, I had thought of the fresh coffee and pancake breakfast I was gong to have in the morning. Yum! As we pulled into town I realized I wasn't going to get it. It seems that "Pour Girls Coffee" is the only game in town. Oh well, a sweet roll and a mocha will have to do! The pastries were a bit lacking, but the coffee was pretty good.
We gassed up and jumped onto Branscomb Road. I had never been on this road before, but had read about it on Pashnit
. It did not disappoint. It started out mellow enough, got a little more twisty as we started to see redwoods and then narrowed and climbed. What a fabulous road! It winded its way up to a view of the ocean where we stopped to take it all in. It was a great morning. The road twisted down and rode the crest of a ridge with more views through the trees. At one point there was a 180 degree turn and on the inside of the curve up on the hill was a large geodesic dome house on stilts, with another smaller dome room on the side. How very Mendocino! (not to mention the occasional skunky aroma that we rode through from time to time)
Here come the lemons-
While passing a car and pulling hard in third gear, Hans had felt his clutch slipping. That plus the difficulties in the morning did not bode well. The problem was that if we got into trouble, would his bike have the pull to get out? Maybe if we baby it we will be ok. We decided to keep going and see how it went.
We got to Usal Road and made the turn. Yay! We are here! We were headed up the first hill and about a quarter mile in this happened.
Hans hugged that inside ditch a little too close and when dirt turned soft it sucked him in. When Beemers motorboat on their jugs it means a whole other thing. They sure like to spin around on those babys! His nap was excusable. Mine? I claim invisible KTM vortex. Going slow uphill like I was I wouldn't think the front brake would have been a problem, but next thing I knew I was getting pulled into the side of the hill. I pretty much faceplanted into the weeds. I got up, and Hans was looking at me saying, "What happened to you?" I don't know, but that divot in the dirt tells the story.
We pushed the beasts up, but were leery about the BMWs clutch. It seemed to be ok, but would it hold out? We kept going. We dropped into the campground, then started to continue back up and out. Looking at the road ahead we stopped to discuss our options. If we loose a clutch on a 600 pound machine out there it will be a bad day. We decided to bag it. We would probably have made it just fine, but it wasn't worth it. We wanted this to be a fun trip, and constantly worrying about a slip into a ditch, or the next steep hill would not be fun. We live close by. Usal can wait. The plan was to find out where the closest BMW shop on our route was, find out what they could or couldn't do for us, and go from there. We headed back out to hwy 1 and turned north in search of a phone signal and wifi.