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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by pne, May 26, 2013.
Thanks for the update! I love Crater Lake also. :)
If you're passing through Saskatoon and need a place, PM me.
Next up was heading back East to the coast to check out Redwood National Park. I was glad to get back on the 101 and see some more coast, the fog lifted and I was treated to some splendid views.
I planned to make camp in the park, but a $35 camp fee made me balk. I'm of the opinion that camping should be cheap or free, not motel money. The guy working the station was kind enough to give me directions to a great little free spot to pitch a tent, just at the base of one of the sights I wanted to see anyways, the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. Driving up this little beat up road to the grove was like stepping into Jurassic Park. All of a sudden I was in the middle of dense fog and huge trees, trying to pick my jaw off the ground.
I walked up to one of the giant trees to give it a hug, but changed my mind after I realized it was covered in crawlies.
This one was funny, I read the sign showing some of the wildlife in the area and a blurb about banana slugs. Thinking I'd have to look pretty hard to find one of these things, it hits me that there is a nice fat one crawling on the sign itself, probably saying hi to his 2D buddy.
There have been many spots on this trip where I've stood in a stunned silence, just appreciating how special of a place I'm standing in. This is one of those spots.
that night was the first attempt at stealth camping. Technically I was on private land so I was a little nervous, but when I rolled in there was a group with a subaru who also pitched a tent which eased my mind a bit. Riding along the banks of the creek was nerve wracking. Loose marble sized rocks and some really choppy terrain led to the closest flat area where I could erect (hehe) my tent, and I had a few nervous moments. The duke is very top heavy with the improvised luggage, so once it starts to tip it is hard to stop. More on this later.
I managed to avoid mishap, and probably today this has been the roughest offroad I've done on the duke as in places I was hanging up the belly pan.
It got dark quick so I skipped the camp fire, scarfed down a couple of granola bars, and went straight to bed. A couple hours after dark, I hear a pickup truck coming up the creek bank. Hoping its not the owners, I peer out of my tent for a look. A beat up truck stops 20 feet from my bike. I'm thinking wtf do these guys want? I start reaching for my flashlight and bear spray. All of a sudden, buddy lights up a joint and his friend cranks up the subs, booming some crappy music. Fantastic. They sit there for another half hour getting high and listening to shitty music. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with weed, but why you would want to pull up to a motorcycle and a tent in the middle of nowhere and spark one up, I can't quite comprehend. Especially when they could have drove a few hundred yards down the road instead of waking up someone sleeping in their tent. I briefly considered going outside and telling them to get lost, but decided not to start any trouble, as I am in the middle of nowhere and there are at least 2 of them and one of me. Fortunately they finished their business and drove off shortly afterwards. So there was the drama laden first stealth camp experience. Sadly this was the first but not the last time stealth camping bit me in the ass...
Your pics are terrific and thanks for posting; I am gleaning a few good ideas here. My wife and I kick off our ride in Portland in just under four weeks and we are enthused and inspired by reports like yours. (Although my wife will NOT camp anywhere! lol)
You've learned well . . . . . .
The place here that you've captured (Hiway 20)is precisely the spot where a young Australian bloke (bicycling) was squashed like a bug:eek1 back in the late 90's as a huge boulder fell down from above; notice the hiway no longer skirts that cliff . . . . . . Thanks WADOT !
anyone in southern CO or northern NM willing to host a guy over the 4th of July weekend? Being a Canadian I've never experienced this holiday but I am guessing most camp grounds are going to be packed. Not really sure what to expect so I'm really hoping to hook up with someone who can show me around. If I can't find anything I'll probably try to grab a motel in Taos so I can walkabout that evening.
Here is our picture of or noble rider at our "tent Space" near Redding, Ca
Awesome trip. I just got back from a similar trip a few weeks ago. I'm starting to see a trend as I am also an engineer experiencing a 1/4 life crisis. Have fun!
That thought, pictures like that-yeah, I'm subscribed.
Have you thought about figuring out how to pack your weight lower on the bike?
Good RR & quite nice pics as well :-d
The donkey in your first post made me laugh and I love your story telling style
Beautiful pics too. Thanks for sharing!
Great read. I'm in.
I think you've already passed through Denver. Too bad, I'd have happily put you up and bought beers.
oh ya... that was the morning after a nice cool AC'd room and a few cold beers. As I recall I was not smiling when I pulled in, in 108 degree heat.
nope, and the saddle bags have been disintegrating as well, serves me right for buying some cheap $30 bags. One method that seems to work is to just throw stuff out. I left that silly folding shovel at a campsite, never did bury any poop with it. Tossed a bunch of cold weather crap, and just about everything in my toiletries bag besides toothbrush, soap, and TP.
So I left the story off on the coast at redwood national forest. That morning I packed up my shit and continued south, next stop Redding. I headed East on 299, it was foggy and cold along the coast, but once I started heading inland it got hot quick. Pretty soon I was peeling off layers and sweating profusely. 299 is a great road some awesome views and great twisty sections. Unfortunately there is a few miles of the highway that is missing, and you are rerouted through some crappy gravel bypass that has apparently been this way for awhile. Maybe this will get finished soon because I would have loved to ride this road all the way through.
Anyhow I stop in some small dot on the map to fill up, and I see a guy on a harley stopped on the side of the road on his cell phone. Go inside, pay for gas, pump gas, notice he is still sitting there looking pretty sorry for himself. So I walk over and ask if he needs help. He hits the starter and we hear clickclickclickclick. "I think the batteries dead" Yea that sounds pretty dead to me. But I reassure him that we will get this thing started. Since we are at the top of a gentle hill, I tell him I'll just give it a push start.
So he gets on the bike and starts duck walking, and I get behind it and put my weight into it. Holy fack. I don't know my harleys but this thing is fully dressed with hard cases, and feels like pushing a car. Slowly... he starts rolling down the hill, and lets the clutch out in 2nd gear. The bike stops dead. I've never seen that happen before, no skid, not a sound, just stops DEAD.
Awww man, can we try it one more time please? I think he puts it in 4th this time, I feel really bad for him now. Ok, sure. I start pushing again, and I really give it my all this time. As you can tell from the pictures I'm not a big guy, so as I'm doing my best strongman impression this thing is maybe approaching 10mph at best. He lets the clutch out and the same thing happens again, it just stops dead.
Facking fack, I'm pissed now, really sweating and panting. We're about 3/4 down the hill. Ok fine one more time. He puts it in 6th gear, we do the whole dog and pony show again, and this time it turns over once. Literally it gave the most pathetic *whump* and then stops dead again. So what else could I do, I apologized and left him on the side of the road for dead. (not really, the tow truck was on the way).
So on to Redding. I was not prepared for the massive heat wave I was about to ride into. As I got closer to Redding I was close to passing out on the bike. I stopped a few miles outside of town and ran into a pond on the side of the road where one couple was wading. They gave me a funny look as I wade in there right beside them in black cardhartts, solid leather jacket, and gloves. I give myself one of those elephant style baths but I'm dry again by the time I hit town.
Since it was around lunch I decided to run up to Lassen to escape the heat. I had to squid it for this section, as I was definitely suffering from heat exhaustion in that dumb dainese solid no-vent no-perf jacket I had on.
Lassen is kinda neat, not the jaw dropping scenery I had been experiencing, but some pretty views. This huge rock was tossed here from the eruption. I think it was called Hot Rock
Here's a pretty view going up the pass:
My photography skills need a bit of work:
I forget what this spot was called, but there was a trail head that lead to some interesting views and some hot springs that was closed. Maybe it was hells something or other. Someone might know this?
Also kinda noteworthy is a few more miles down the road, there's a spot where sulphur ponds are bubbling out of the ground. I didn't take many pictures here because it smelled like a big nasty cloud of fart, I just wanted to leave ASAP.
That evening I returned to Redding (where it had not cooled down by much) and stayed with goldenrev in his penthouse suite. Boy was I glad to be indoors with the AC on. goldenrev's wife also showed me a lemon/orange/grapefruit mutant tree that I thought was super cool. And a bonus, she has a miata which is A+ in my books. More on this later...
From Redding I headed West back to the PCH on 36. Golden had recommended a particular road to follow, placenta? patina? platina? Anyhow, mother of god this road was twisty. It just kept climbing and climbing, with tight corners marked for 15mph. At first I had a shit eating grin on my face, but after 45 minutes of riding through this stuff I was beat. The road is so twisty there is not even a spot to pull over and take a break. I really missed the supermoto in this section, that would have been a hoot without all the luggage. The super duke handles well, but with all the bags strapped on the back, it feels exactly like an awkward bike with 70lbs strapped to the seat would.
Continuing on 36 was an awesome road as well, variation from tight to medium speed corners, and a short section of a few miles with no center line.
As I got closer to the coast, I saw a ton of cruisers. Some kind of redwood rally was going on and the roadside bars were packed. Something weird happens as you ride near the coast, which as a canuck from the praries I'm not used to. In a span of about 2 miles, the temperature dropped from the 90's into the low 70s. It felt like hitting an invisible wall of cold air, but I had to pull over and get some layers on.
From there I rode thru the Avenue of Giants, which I hate to say is not that impressive besides a few spots where you can get some good pictures. I was expected to see some massive trees, and there were a few, but these redwoods were mostly tall. These pictures go against what I'm saying, but take my word for it, these particular trees were the exceptions. Plus I was trying to make them look as big in the composition. But if you want to see some real girth, err that sounds wrong. If you want to see some real fat wood, go to kings canyon national park.
I kept riding down the coast with plans to stop in Mendocino. When I got to Fort Bragg, I realized I had no cell coverage and no way to contact the guy I was meeting there. I stopped to chat with an old geezer and his wife who convinced me their 150cc honda scooters were highway worthy. And then tried my luck at the Beach Comber motel.
I'm looking for a room for tonight, just one. "Sir we have one room left, but we advise people to check out first because it is quite small. Normally we charge $120 but I could discount it to $70." Ok. I grab the card key and picture some kind of haunted broom closet. I open the door and it's a normal room. Even had fancy organic soaps and shampoo in the bathroom, this place was trying really hard to be upscale. So I walk back to the front desk, "Yea you're right, it is awfully tiny, (does he know I've been sleeping in that tent strapped to my bike?) can you do any better on the price?
"I can do $50." Sold!! Not a moment too soon, as I hand him my credit card another biker walks in asking about a room. Sorry guy.
View from the pedestrian path behind the motel:
Posing outside the front door:
Ill be watchin this one