Four Corners & a Stinger

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ikeya-Seki, May 30, 2019.

  1. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
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    New Hampshire
    Maybe a little refresher on role & responsibility would suffice. I’m in Big Bend now and it’s breathtaking.


    #41
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  2. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    One of my favorite parks, I can only hope that you get to see some mexican black bears. They are not that big, but, an experience to see. My kid has eagle eyes and we saw them 2X as a result. One crossed out path.
    #42
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  3. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
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    Day 18 & 19 in the books.

    After a few back to back long days and that oddball experience at Ratcliff Lake - aka “big squat”, I felt in need of a break. Tuesday’s objective then was simply to check into a comfortable room in Austin as early as possible and put my feet up.

    The ride from Davy Crockett National Forest to Austin wound up taking a little under 400 miles and started out in what I would call a hilly section of Texas with the first hour or two of riding marked by plenty of turns through green trees and grasses, cattle ranches and farmland. Overcast skies kept temps in the 80’s all morning and 90 didn’t show up until after 4. The riding straightened out and sped up closer to Austin and I was checked in at the Doubletree around 6-6:30. I laid low, had a couple beers and a quesadilla at the bar and was asleep by 9.

    Wednesday was a great day. The ride to Big Bend was pretty much a haul and by the time I put the kickstand down for the last time, I’d racked 590 miles. Most so far on this trip.

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    For most of the ride I was just pleasantly surprise how green things where. The deluge of rain in June has rendered the landscape awash in color, and the palate is green. Add that everything that pollinates is in bloom and it looks like someone splattered the place with crayons. I went over a bunch cool bridges - one with a flotilla of sand bar partiers below so huge, there was a inflatable fantasy land, really. I went through some canyons and some wide, wide open grazing spaces and eventually stopped at the Amistad National Recreation Area that features a huge, aqua colored reservoir. I ventured down the shoreline on Diablo East, naturally.

    I was greeted by my first encounter with a tarantula. I’m not sure what kind it was, but it was Texas big and I got a few pics to recount the event. After a short stroll and a look around I saddled up and pointed at Big Bend.

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    The sun was slipping by the time I made the turn south into the park’s entrance and that was before the 64 mile ride in. Fuel up, you’re gonna need it. With the sun slinking down, the earth rising up to Mt. Emory’s 7825 feet in the horizon, shadows popping everywhere and the entire place going whack-o-nuts from all the rain, and I might have been riding into the pages of Narnia. The golden light, the range of color, the texture, sky and and atmosphere - the sound all clicking just right made the ride in on highlights of my life. It was that good. Don’t even get me started on the stars.

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    I’ll end here and continue when I can.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #43
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  4. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Really enjoying this report, thank you!
    #44
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  5. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day 21 & 22 in the books.

    Nuts & Bolts: 6817 total trip miles. Around 370 yesterday. Change oil only just after 6k and Mark from Autozone was great at accommodating my sidewalk maintenance. Rear tire is nearing its end and the front is okay. Lost a GoPro. Mount snapped, possibly at speed.

    Lost a day there at Big Bend somehow. A quick note or two about Big Bend before I move on. I stayed in the Chisos Basin campground which essentially sits inside an ancient caldera at about 5700 feet. Most campsites have a concrete pad with picnic table and pitched roof. I got in after dark and settled for sleeping directly on the picnic table. It was quick and made for a great star show.

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    On the second night I’d planned to try my hand at night photography but was hampered by a combination of my unwillingness to saddle up and leave the campground and my new camp neighbors late night revelry. It was their first night in camp and they were having a good time and had I more energy, I would have joined in. It wasn’t so much their noise as it was their lighting - bright and 360. I don’t think the were aware they were the only ones with lights on. Anyhow, I held out until after midnight and got some a shot or two the best I could. I used my Ram mount as a tripod. Worked great.

    The next morning we chatted and they were clearly just having a good time and excited to be in the park. I gave them a solar shower I’d acquired and really didn’t want - they were staying a week and could probably use it.

    The ride out of Big Bend was easy with one border check along the way. Texas is so long and strait sometimes that I just feel like I’m sitting on the bike more than riding it. Not a big fan.

    Next up was Carlsbad Caverns in well, Carlsbad New Mexico. I was five hours too early for the famed bat exodus, so I settled for a 700 or so foot elevator ride down into the cave. Big. That was my first impression. I’ve been to Mammoth Caves and caves in Arkansas and this one was largest. Pathways are smoothly ramped with handrails and there’s lots to catch the eye, but the monochrome lighting got a little stale. Arkansas has some color tones that really make the structures pop.

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    Carlsbad itself is in the midst of an oil boom and the evidence was everywhere. Tons of heavy equipment, fast driving pickups, lots of dried mud and other shit on the roads and the wreak of oil left no hard feeling as I moved on. I was told rooms are 300 a night and I believe it. Corporate makeshift camper parks were everywhere. Get it while you can I guess.

    I rode 500 plus miles that day and landed in Alamogordo and decided to get a room. Turned out to be a good choice as the desk clerk, Mark was very helpful and not only got me a decent discount, because of a room snafu, he also upgraded me to a nice suite. It was comfortable and needed the rest.

    The next morning I took a stroll though White Sands National Monument, which in it’s own was is very impressive, but having visited before I made this trip a short one. After I started heading toward the Gila National Forest en route to the Apache National Forrest where I am now.

    I rode about 370 miles in all with plans to camp at the Apache Trout Campground but was curtailed by fatigue, weather and time.

    What a great day of riding. Once I busted through the bullshit of Las Cruses, I rode the valley road up to the 180 - a nice winding and little traveled road. It climbs its way through the Gila Forrest where a fire had left trees limbed and scorched at the bases. This effect made the views more interesting to my mind. Temps were in low 90’s but not uncomfortable. Dry heat as they say. Storm clouds were building.

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    I continued on the 180 until cutting across the 78 to the 191, a road that had looked particularly appealing on Google Earth. I’d stopped at little country cafe and had a great burrito before continuing. My waitress cautioned me to have plenty of water, food and gas as opportunities for supply are sparse. I almost stayed on the 180 as it would have cut 2 hours off my ride and put me at camp by 6ish. But there was something nagging about that 191 that I just had to get some. So I did.

    First, the ride over on the 78 was crazy because you drive past and literally through two of the largest mines I have ever seen. So big, there are rest stops for viewing them. Once there was a mountain, then there wasn’t. Big industry here.

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    So here I am camped along the 191 (which turns out is called Devil’s Highway old Rt. 666 - no joke) in the Granville campground and just now the sun has found the top of my tent. Good thing, it needs a little drying out. Rain showers had been falling all afternoon - the kind you can see falling from clouds - and a couple got me, refreshingly. But now I was climbing and twisting my way to 9000 feet on balding tires, I was tired and lightning was starting to crack. Wouldn’t you know it, the next turn was Granville.

    I set up my tent in the rain, which is why I bought and brought the damn thing. It’s a Redverze Solo tent and I typically use the “garage” for shaded use, but this time I did wheel my bike in and was able to finish breaking camp in the dry. I liked it.

    Rear tire just under 7800 miles.

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    Today I will drive in the direction of the Grand Canyon and see what happens.

    Ikeya-Seki, out
    #45
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  6. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day 23, 24& 25 in the books.


    Nuts & Bolts: 7820 miles total trip. 653 longest day to date (in the end, I took a short cut to avoid the 666). MPG: 41 for the desert. Max elevation: 9200. Min elevation -124 Max temp 115 sustained. Min temp: 47 - same day as 115. National Forests visited on this leg: Gila, Lincoln, Apache, Tonto, Coconino, Prescott, Kaibab, Cleveland.

    In the morning after the rain, I took my time getting re-situated and letting my gear dry out, tent especially since I tackled that last. Still, ground splatter and silted, it left me the added chore of cleaning kit before repacking. Nothing worse than fine sand or mold to destroy the seams of things. End result, clean dry gear, dry roads, ten o’clock launch - an unusually late start.

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    The 191 pretty much lived up to its reputation as the Devil’s Highway owing not only to the hairpin, off camber turns but also for the patch work here and there that left pea gavel in many of the turns. I caught one such patch and my front tire slid about six inches before hooking up again and left me puckered up a bit. I was in a fairly deep lean angle - you know the feeling. So there was that going on. Otherwise, it is an excellent and exciting road leading through alpine forest up to over 9000 feet. I believe the entire route runs Mexico to Canada. The sky was clear with views to match and I took time to warm up some soup at one of the turn-offs, getting a few good shots too.

    With a few connectors the 191 eventually puts you back on the 280 west and moves through the Gila National Forest and into the Apache. I worked my way past Sedona and into Flagstaff before moving onto the Grand Canyon. Sedona was visually stunning with its painted mountain backdrop. The colors layer like carnival sand in a coke bottle. I think I could live there.... were it not for the droves of tourists.

    Another day of more than 450 miles of riding found me ending at the Grand Canyon Inn at the junction of 180 & 64 about 24 miles south of the canyon. The place was surprisingly quiet and the modest room comfortable and cool in southwestern style, but the best part was parking just outside my door. I felt comfortable leaving everything in place and unpacked nothing but a quick change & shower kit. At 5:15 the next morning I was Grand Canyon bound. Early start.
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    No doubt a fantastic sight, the Grand Canyon needs no description. Everyone pretty much knows about it and it’s a huge tourist destination. Not my kind of experience really, but I felt obligated to take a peek. And that’s all I did. Even at just past 6 in the morning folks were stacked at Mather’s point. I need two weeks to explore, maybe more. Or a helicopter. Still, I grabbed a few good shots and was headed back in a little under an hour. The Grand Canyon was always a bonus and never the goal. I would have left feeling a little let down - kinda like seeing the massive parking garage at Mt. Rushmore - but just as I was exiting the park, I was greeted by a massive bull elk. Majestic.

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    With my next stop, Coronado, a full 668.2 miles to my southwest, making it there in daylight meant only one thing: a long, long day of riding of probably fast riding. And that is exactly what it was. And it wasn’t.

    The Road to Hell: That’s all I can call it. It’s funny how a string of coincidences can sometimes spin itself into a good yarn.

    I guess for me the foreshadowing begins with the ride a few days earlier into Amistad on El Diablo East. It’s just a little gravel spur leading to the reservoir, a sun-baked almost blindingly white hard pack road leading the edge of a sheer 80 foot or so drop. Stairs lead to a wooden jetty resting on quarry green water below, all of which creating an almost surreal landscape. There is a quality to the light that somehow exposes everything for what it is, everything not in hiding. That’s how it felt, how it felt then when I knelt down to poke the back of the tarantula I took for dead sprawled out on the concrete pad under the picnic table.

    It looked shriveled and dried out, definitely dead. Its belly was much lighter in shade and looked as if a bird or something and pecked clean its edible parts. I was just about to put a finger on it when it, well.....elevated. It just self animated, rose up and raised its front two legs in defense, just like in the movies. I was tricked. I blamed it on the light and thought no more of it.

    Big Bend, and the desert especially, can put the zap on your and change your frame of thinking, creep into your head space. The heat, the dry almost sweet aroma, the bizarre and oddly shaped plants, the wind and the hollowness of sound can all cast their own kind of spell and can play tricks with your sense of space and distance. Think mirage.

    Feeling an intractable pull to route 191 to only later learn it’s true name from a tobacco chewing gas station attendant - herself a rider - only added to the myth forming in my mind. Next, I buy a breakfast sandwich and an orange soda from the Circle K with a ten spot and my change is exactly.... you guessed it, 6.66. A grin might have formed on my face on and my allegorical radar was switched on.

    So riding fast through Skull, descending the mountains and skimming over roads covered in Biblical amounts of tar snakes, twisting through Joshua Tree National Park and on through triple digit temperatures in a landscape hard. barren and strange, I let my mind wander all the way to Mecca and beyond.

    At one point, in the middle of Joshua Tree I had stopped to enjoy the view and reset. Of course, as it seems always the case when I pull off into a vista, the next car that comes along - the only other car in the entire park along this million mile road in the middle of hell - and inevitably pulls in and parks precisely next to me, in all of the whole giant patch, right next to me. And this women in a grey flannel shirt, black leggings and flip flops steps out and says in a vocally fried voice, “Aren’t you hot?” To which I reply directly into her knock off aviators, “I’m at home here.” She cocks her head as the passenger door opens and out pops a skinny, long haired girl in shorts and a t-shirt - maybe eleven or twelve - carrying a bright pink hula-hoop and then skips out into the desert to start it spinning. The whole show 25 feet from me.

    “You’re all dressed in black, aren’t you hot?” says the aviator lady raising her camera to her face and directing the hooping girl into frame.

    “Only if I stop moving,” I say. “I’m well ventilated,” I say as I pull on my last glove and press the starter before disappearing into the next curve.

    Why, in the entirety of this godforsaken hell hole, do people always have to stop right next to me, why next to me? I thought about Joshua and is supposed role as a spy in the Bible.

    Between the Twiight Zone circus display, my GPS telling me the trip will take 668 miles, an oven roasting 115 degree cross wind by the Salton Sea and all the while Ensenada billowing a tower of back smoke in the horizon dead ahead - all of it together had me convinced somehow I was on the road to hell.

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    I had to put the brakes on at one point - for a bit of stretch really, 93 miles to be exact. Between Lake Havasu and Twentynine Palms, the stretch across the Coachella Desert twists through some of he most bizarre and usual rock formation I’ve ever seen. It looks like frozen twisted lava sprinkled in reds and greens, yellows and more. The asphalt between had been freshly pebbled and oiled and ran like a ribbon of black snake and encourage spirited riding. And at first, that’s exactly what I did.

    Curves spaced out in perfect throttle rhythm put me in the groove and kept the visual surprises coming at a relatively quick clip. The next being my diminishing fuel range. I had 93 miles to go with a 101 mile range and falling. With 81 miles to go, I had 94 mile of range, and at 75 I had 81. Let me just say It took a lot of self discipline to set the cruise control on 65, put my feet up on the highway pegs and save fuel. Then again, the alternative didn’t look too pretty.

    Later I would come to the sobering conclusion that in California at least, there is a better place and it starts a little east of Julian and much close to the sea.

    Much like it began, my day fished in the twisties. The ride to the coast along the 78 is, to the best of my knowledge, set in the Cleveland National Forest and winds it way through mostly pine and oak canopy and hangs on the steep, hillside edges of postcard perfect enclaves like Ramona and Julien before depositing you in to the concrete concourse to the ocean. Navigating San Diego’s mesh of freeways en route to the Coronado bridge is an exercise of head swiveling, eye darting throttle and brake work, but the reward is the soft, arching journey over sky painted bridge and into the golden simulacrum of Coronado. It’s paradise.

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    So here I am back in a familiar place, amongst good friends and free to shake the curse of the deserts and the road to hell.


    I’ll be at Joe & Andrea’s though the 4th of July festivities, swapping sea stories and making coleslaw while I fine tune logistics and trajectories for the next leg of the journey.


    Ikeya-Seki, out.

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    #46
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  7. slime

    slime Healing nicely

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    655
    Location:
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    Nice!
    #47
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  8. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,032
    Impressive writing sir! Much appreciated.
    #48
  9. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day’s 26 -29 in the books.

    Trip mileage: 8050 total. 170 from Coronado. Front tire is pretty good, I hope to get another 1k out of the rear. It’s getting close.

    I’ve put a few roots down in Southern California so it’s always been part of the plan to slow it down here and enjoy the company of family and friends.

    An old shipmate and good friend Senior Chief Joe Kane insisted that the Independence Day celebration on Coronado Island was a sight to be seen and I’m glad I took him up on his offer to stay through to see it. He and his wife Andrea are great hosts and know the island well. It’s always a good time with them and their son Sebastian too.

    June gloom had recently started lifting and sun and low 80’s were the backdrop for the stay. The parade, beach, bbq & fireworks headline the festivities on the 4th and folks take it pretty seriously, lining up as early as 4:30 in the morning for a perfect parade viewing spot. Parking is tricky to near impossible with virtually every spot filled. Houses, golf carts (so many golf carts) and people alike are regaled in red, white and blue galore. Moods are great and spirits are high. It’s just a fun time. Joe made a call and we were invited to watch fireworks from the flight deck of the USS Nimitz, CVN 68. One of Joe’s fellow Combat Camera Specialists met us onboard and led us to a VIP viewing area complete with steel beach refreshments.

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    What’s better than watching Fourth of July fireworks against San Diego’s skyline, the shimmer of the bay from the flight deck of a nuclear aircraft carrier? How about seven simultaneous & synchronized at once? Amazing. Patriotic.

    On the 5th I fueled up at NAS and took off for Imperial Beach to claim corner #3. It’s just 10 miles south of where I was and fairly familiar turf, so after a few photo ops and my obligatory sticker, I turned it around and blasted north.

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    I hate the 5, the 405, the 101 and pretty much all California freeways and I like them even less riding a motorcycle. The one silver lining I guess is you can use the HOV lane and well, lane splitting. I do it. It’s tight sometimes on a loaded out GSA so I take it easy and keep the speed differential close. When cars are tight, it’s more predictable. Note: some highway patrol seem to have no problems, but at least one does - pinched me off the bastard. There are other ways around.

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    I stayed with family in Palos Verdes and my father in law Bill as aways did a good job of filling my belly with plenty of calories for the road. I’ll use that energy to make a stop up in canyon land before turning west toward Pismo Beach and riding the coastline north.

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    Not much to say about the freeways out here except to keep your head on a swivel, watch out for debris and go just a little faster than the cars around you. I’ll be back on better roads soon enough.

    Ikeya-Seki out.
    #49
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  10. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Days 30 -32 in the books.

    Total Trip: 9175 miles. Roughly 1000 miles up the California coast. New benchmark for Dirty Girty: 60181 miles. Good girl.

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    Only a 70 mile hop or so separated the South Bay and my next stop in Agua Dulce, a small desert community northwest of L.A. An old high school friend has an off grid compound - a sort of base of operations for his contractor business. The landscape is marked by large rock formations, desert chaparral and the space between places. It’s a nice place to get away from the frenetic pace of city life.

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    After some good conversation, a great steak & potato dinner and some evening desert philosophy, I packed up my kit and made for the coast.

    The ride to the Pacific along the 150 took me through Ojai and then up the 33 n into the Los Padres National Forest and then to the 166 west to water.

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    The 33 is a winding mountain road that climbs to nearly 5000 ft (maybe higher) in the Los Padres National Forest and then drops down into a black, green and golden desert landscape. The transformation in both landscape and temperature from coastal to desert is stunning and abrupt. There is an indication on my GPS it might be the case, but to witness it is something entirely different. I’m glad I wore my Evade heated shirt. Off/on/off/on..

    Long distance views reveal mountains carved by erosion, twisted by geologic forces and colored by rugged and scrappy desert plants. All of it sun baked to a crisp. I shared the road with a few cars and trucks but with turn outs and passing zones, moving forward was easy enough. 55 mph standard limit on most roads.

    Once I found the coastline and Route 1, my tracks didn’t venture too far the water. My GPS was set to avoid highways and at times it seems to include Rt 1, and other times not. I am not sure I got that fully sorted out, but I did find a few scenic byways and loops that I may have otherwise bypassed.

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    Sure, the Tail of the Dragon is a tight and twisting road worthy of its lore, but after riding nearly a thousand miles of California coastline, I can honestly say it’s among the best riding I’ve ever done. Changes in elevation, landscape, ocean views, road conditions, vegetation - all of it is a constant discovery. Every corner and turn out and little seaside town offers something to behold. I’ve done it three times now one a bike and it seems new every time.

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    It took a full day of riding in 60-70 degree weather sometimes in clouds and fog, once in a while in sun to make it to the Portola Redwoods State Park where I camped for the night. With the sun in set mode the last 60 or so miles in La Honda along the Skyline Drive and other roads were a challenge to say the least. Speed limits hover at 25 mph for these at times only 15 foot wide goat paths with asphalt. It’s good that practically no one but residents are on the roads as it’s like riding a Slinky in the dark. Part of what made it so cool was from time to time a cloud bank would appear in one of the many gorges on the Pacific side lending a mystic vibe to the scene.

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    The ride to Eureka was similar if not more “northern” in nature than what I had seen already. Trees become taller and stouter. Moss and lichen color more branches and stones and the roadside ferns and other fauna are jungle like in size and color. Gas stops are way far apart and having an 8 gallon tank took the worry out of even the longest stretches.

    Eureka itself needs more exploring and maybe more explaining. I didn’t quite get it, but I didn’t stick around long enough to get it either. My first take is that it’s an old coastal city with a long west coast history. There are Victorian style houses, an active seaside and lots of hotels, strip mall & fast food business as well as hints of an artistic bent with mural painted buildings and craft beer breweries. I also saw littered streets, a significant homeless population occupying cars, motor homes and even a few cardboard boxes. I didn’t stay to get a full picture, but Eureka strikes me as a place a lot of folks got off the bus.

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    I’m in Medford, Oregon now with plans to change tires, motor oil, filter and final drive oil. I’ll also take the time to resupply at the local sporting shop - one thing being a new headlamp. Mine fell apart several thousand miles back and a flashlight tucked into my hat ain’t cutting it. I’ll get some Jetboil fuel and some good local coffee. Tammy, another one of my old high school classmates lives here and we’re having a good time catching up. She tells me of a hot springs nearby that I just might check out if I get all my maintenance complete.

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    Next, I head to Gold Beach and then up. I plan to camp a night or two in Oregon before pressing north to Washington and Blaine. I’m on track to be in Alaska sometime in the last week of July. I hope the fires I’ve been hearing about are in check by then, but that may be optimistic. Is there any other way?


    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #50
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  11. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Days 34 & 35 in the books

    Chasing down tires at the UPS store, picking up some motor oil, a catch pan and a few other supplies at the Autozone took me to noon before I dropped Dirty Gerty off at Hansen’s in Medford for a tire swap. They charge for a full hour of labor but put right into the schedule and I was rolling on an new Michelin Adventure on the rear and a Michelin Anakee Wild on the front.

    Immediately I noticed the handling difference. Where the Adventure front was a lot more willing and the Wild needing more steering toque to throw around and acts a bit more twitchy to my mind. By the time I scrubbed them in (50-70 miles) I was already used to the difference. I had complete confidence in the tighter turns and also noticed how the larger knobs do a better job of negating small bumps and ripples. They do howl some, but I tone that down by pinching my eardrums. I don’t mind it; I just enjoy the sound of Gerty’s steady airplane-like beat. She a go’er. Know what I mean?

    The ride out of Medford was a reverse course along the Illinois and Smith rivers except I stopped this time at the Hiouchi Cafe for some lunch. I had a bowl of chili topped with raw white onion and shredded cheddar. My waitress helped me out by explaining that Hiouchi is an in Indian expression meaning “blue water.” This made sense as the flow and pools of the rivers there were a stunning color of sky, magnetizing my eyes to them at every break in the trees.

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    The Siskiyou National Forest, at least the parts I rode through might consider a name change. I am thinking maybe the Dank National Forest. The aroma, the fragrance, the smell..... no, not even the odor; it’ the wreak of cannabis permeating the air that should give this forest its name. Man it is dank with the stank of bud. It smells like skunk juice but not quite so sharp - pungent but not eye watering. The first couple farms are kind novel and make me realize what a green new world we live in, but after a while the dank wreak is so dominant in the air I began to realize that the other smells - the more subtle blossoms of pine, wildflower blooms and grasses are lost under the mask of dope. The Dank National Forest. That’s how I’ll remember it.

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    Gold Beach in Oregon, all the beaches in southern Oregon for that matter are as pretty as a postcard. Yellow sand beaches, huge rock formations - some so close to shore they are only islands at high tide punctuate the horizon in dramatic form. Sand dunes, tall grasses and a full scatter of flowers give color and context to the immediate shoreline where tall, forested and rocky mountainside otherwise pushes all the way to the sea.

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    Low slung clouds and steamy banks of fog jostle in constant blowing wind. It’s like always fighting you and never and advantage. I’m in a peaked helmet and the constant buffeting proves to be a workout after a while. There is a sweet spot just behind my windscreen, but even setting there has it’s drawbacks. The scenery makes it worth it.

    I made a stop to catch some photos about halfway between Gold Beach and Port Orford, the official end of the Trans American Trail. I’ve been in these parts before. I like it here.

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    As every one of the state campgrounds (I have a pass) that I came to were full to capacity - missing one by a single camper - I took one of the camp host’s advice (see, most are great) and opted for a BLM managed campground - Edson, I think - where I pitched my tent for a whole 4$. That left me enough scratch to spring for a 7.99$ rack of ribs at Ray’s Food Place and Hop Valley Bubble Stash beer. I bought a can of beans too, but they wound up breakfast.

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    The campground is basic, but well managed with cut grass, fire pits, concrete formed picnic tables and a clean, but non-flushing outhouse. Potable water. When I arrived somewhere around 3:30 p.m. there were at least 7-8 spots left, but by the time I set up my tent and made the run to Ray’s, it too was full. I’m finishing up here, letting the sun do its job on my gear and then packing up to head north. Don’t know how far I will make it today, maybe out of Oregon, maybe not.

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    Btw, this is the second time I’ve arrived at an Oregon campground and found the fire burning in the ring. And you wonder why they have so many forest fires........ dank brained?


    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #51
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  12. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day 36 in the books.

    Nuts & Bolts: 9590 odometer. 220 for the day. 43 mpg. 37/43 psi. Rear tire pressure sensor is still intermittent. Sunny start to the day. Dewy.

    After yesterday’s late start - it was fully noon before I left the campground - I filled up with gas and started again for the coast route north. Roads were windy but not tight, with speed limits of 55 and below. The new tires are all scrubbed in and aside from the howl of the Wild up front, invisible in the right way. Dirty Gerty is running smoothly if not chugging a bit more fuel as she works against the natural forces of Oregon.

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    Hills of course, but mainly wind. Lots of wind. There’s something unsettling about it really. The sheer volume and relentlessness of the blowing wind here shapes the landscape in an unusual way. I suspect as much the inhabitants as well. Everything jostles and yields. Trees grow with branches, leaves and needles swept back away from the sea like the hair on Don King. Grasses bend, fold and march in wide swaths, holding tight to the ground and everything tall is angular and aerodynamic or short and mailable. Fiercely ridged or readily pliable: anything in the middle is death by wind.

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    It beats on sound too, the wind. It catches all noise here and smashes it and rips it, pulling it apart until it too sounds like wind and wave. Only birds and foghorns seem to know the free & open channels and are able somehow to pierce the air and transmit their calls and signals. I’m not quite sure yet if it is soothing or unsettling to me. It’s deafeningly quiet in once sense, yet thunderously violent underneath - a white noise of raucous natural power. I wonder too how it must shape the people who live here the way landscapes tend to do. My guess would be hard with softer center, flexible but planted. That’s kinda how it works, right?

    I took a short walk along one of the many gorgeous beaches and got some photos of starfish and anemone in the tide pools. Muscles, clams, snails and other carbuncles cling to every open inch of rock carpeting large swaths. Seaweed and anomie, crabs and all the typical creatures you would expect are in abundance here. It’s just a raw, earth meets sea kind of place. I like it.

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    Owing in part to the late start and the pressing need to find an open campground, I didn’t cover much ground, only about 200 miles or so. Still, it was after 5:30 by the time I crossed the causeway bridge onto Whalen Island’s county campground. It was full too like the rest but the camp host took pity on me (see they are usually awesome) and found a patch of grass under a craggily old pine tree that seems to have never grown up. A good match I’d say.

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    The particular spot turned out to be a good one as it’s at the out of the way end of the campground in an oddly enough, wind blocked location. I still hear all the wind, but now it seems a ways off, like a ceaseless highway. The birds here are locked into their channels and twitting away. I’m on the west end so the morning sun is just now doing its job of drying my tent and gear. It will be a much earlier start today and I expect to be in Washington tonight.

    ED713591-57D1-401F-8996-9762E0556B1E.jpeg

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #52
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  13. Osrui

    Osrui Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    15
    Have a terrific trip. I did the Four Corners trip in 2013, all 48 states in the CONUS in 2014 and all 47 of the National Parks in the CONUS in 2017. Sounds like you're doing it right, all backroads if possible and visiting friends/relatives. Be sure to blog so you have a good record of the trip, that way you can relive it every few years!
    PS. I did the National Parks trip on a green 2014 BMW GSA just like yours.
    #53
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  14. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day 37 in the books.

    I followed 101 for most of the ride up from Whalen Island to Washington with a few deviations. I took the Lewis and Clark road at one point, a 20 mile or so winding loop up over some hills and through timber stands. The timing was fortunate as Sunday traffic was starting to stack up and as much as I enjoy a good passing lane, it becomes pointless when your just jumping cars on a ten mile train.

    The weather could have been as much the traffic culprit as anything. It was perfect. The sun dominated the day warming wind gusts and illuminating the sea. Views were out of this world and I took time to stop and throw the drone up. I was surprised by the relative calm and flew for about 10-12 minutes without a hitch. Even though I had stopped at more of a fat shoulder than a turn out, as is aways the case my bike and drone quickly became a tourist magnate with some European family pulling up for pictures. The view to the sea was more of a drone spot so they didn’t stay long.

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    I stopped at a small cafe called Wanda’s in the town just past Cosmopolis starts with an A.... Aberdeen maybe... anyhow I waited for about 10 minutes for a table and had a cup of soup and a sandwich while I uploaded some stuff to the internet and scoped out my drone pics and videos. I still haven’t looked at all of them, but what I saw looked promising.

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    Traffic thinned out as I pushed north and at times I barely saw another car. The GPS put me in Olympic National Park before dark and my hope was for abundant space at campgrounds. My plan was to stop at the fist national campground and see what happens. I figured something would work out, and it did.

    Short on supplies, I stopped in at one of the few convenient stores where I picked up a package of Ramen noodles, a small bag of Lays potato chips, a Snickers bar and a 20oz Heineken. Just the essentials. I tried to get some good local intel out of the store clerk, but probably owing to him being from China, I didn’t get too much. He seemed to only know of one campground on the “South Shore, two miles down - take a left.” No amount of probing produced anything more.

    As I was leaving the store, a man in a ball cap, t-shirt and jeans asked if the bike out front was mine and probably noticing my riding gear, went strait to “Thank you for your service.” He had seen my Vet plate. “My honor,” I told him and the next 90 seconds of conversation led to me following him back to his in laws to set up camp for the night.

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    Chuck led the way about three or four miles down the road to a roadside spot owned by Gary and Carmen intended for touring bicyclists to pitch camp and rest for the night. There is a level grassy area flanked by fencing on one side, Gary & Carmens home on the other and nicely landscaped tree line into forest at the back. There are three mini fridges with a few community supplies inside, a very clean portable outhouse, a couple of picnic tables, some chairs and a swinging bench. Coffee too.

    Chuck invited me to use the shower and clean up, which I did. I also managed to wash a shirt in the sink and hang it to dry on the fence by my tent. Another fella showed up looking like Al Pacino in Serpico days - Tony I think was his name - with some more plants and flowers for the landscaping and went to work on that while jabbering with me. After a short bit he went off to get his race motorcycle and some of his homegrown. He said he wanted to know if I’d ever tried Washington weed. I told him I hadn’t. He came back with a tricked out Honda sport bike and a half a handful of wet homegrown. He meant well.

    Today I am fixing to make it to Blaine, possibly scope out a view of Mt. Olympus and if time is on my side, slip into Canada. Things are about to stretch out. Here we go.


    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #54
  15. goldenrev

    goldenrev New Dream

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    419
    Location:
    N. CA
    Hi There... I really appreciate your writing style, it is a true pleasure to read your report, and your photography & choice of images is wonderful as well. Did you blog on any of your previous trips (I a not seeing them here on ADV rider)?
    #55
    JoeRocks likes this.
  16. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day 38 & 39 in the books

    Today brought somewhat of an easy, tree lined ride with open breaks and views to the ocean. When I say tree lined, I mean mainly huge spruce trees on both sides of the road so full and bushy the bottoms are massively pruned - hacked really - to allow cars to pass or they would otherwise swallow it whole. Lowly motorcycles run low on the sun scale as scarce light filters down. This also seems to make the breaks and views all the more interesting.

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    I took some time to ride up and do some exploring at the Hoh Rainforest National Park. Blue waters over grey stone, bleached tree carcasses & trunks, tall pines lots of mosses ferns. Huge spruce trees and shady glades. The little Hoh lived up to its name and appeared very much like a tropical oasis of sorts. Bushy ferns, pine needle and fern leaf carpets, and some kind of moss or lichen growing on the tree branches lent to an other worldly feel. I came close to pitching a tent right then, but it was far too early and I wanted to cover some ground.

    And if the tunnel like feel to the main road wasn’t enough, I lost gps signal on Nav V and never got it back (that might be partly Garmin’s fault). The weather was cool and a bit grey on the way in with a light, misty rain on the way out that gave way to blue sky and sun.

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    The afternoon stayed pretty much the same all the way to Neah Bay, the furthest point north on the road. This part of Washington is a lot like Maine but the roads are dimpled more than heaved, as if patched with out the patch. There are also many horizontal skips and dip where my front tire would skate along launching in mini wheelies all afternoon.

    Neah Bay is a Makah Indian Reservation with a strong connection to fishing, and maybe a touch of tourism. It was not crowded at all. It’s not big. It a small port town with a few shops and businesses. The waterfront held the action from what I could see.

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    On the way out of Neah Bay I stopped to fly the drone for a few minutes and was impressed later by how blue the water along the shoreline appears. It’s a very deep, ocean blue. The shoreline is rocky and cleaved, but only a miniature version of Oregon at best. Nothing much tops that coastline. Just the same, it is beautiful and feels more accessible as well. The salty aromas of sea were abundant as were piles of oyster tailings and boat yards.

    View attachment 1789438


    On ferry from Port Townsand I met at dude on a KTM who offered a place to stay but I opted for the Navy Lodge at NAS Whidbey Island, mainly because I was so beat and also I prefer to go on base when I can. The room was modest but complete and I topped my tank at the NEX in the morning before heading to Blaine, Corner No. 4.

    View attachment 1789922

    I made it to Blaine, the fourth corner of 4C&aS, in time for lunch and a beer. I shot the shit with a few of the locals and one fo the fun facts that proved to be true was one cannot find a Blaine “sticker” anywhere. True.

    The border crossings took about 45 mins mostly waiting in line and was pretty routine except the agent asked me to open the auxiliary tool box on the bike to ensure I did not have a handgun inside. Sherlock.

    Steep 7% grades, tall, bald faced mountains and the mighty Fraser River distinguishes the ride up the Fraser Valley to where I am now at the Skihist Provincial Park Campground. I didn’t get to see as much of the river on the way here last night, but I hope to today as I make my way toward Prince George.


    Ikeya-Seki, out.

    Attached Files:

    #56
  17. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Day 40 & 41 in the books.

    Steady breezes throughout the night kept my tent dry and made packing up in the morning a snap. I was done and ready to turn key in 48 mins. That amount of time can easily double if I have wet gear, make a breakfast for take time to write, but on this particular morning, I had the urge to make time. I was ready to roll out of the campground by 8:30 and just about to do so when the campground host stopped at my site to bring me my change. I had over paid by 1$ Canadian. Can you believe that a campground host that cool?

    I rode along the Fraser river again, but this time somewhere along the route the river changed color from a muddy, silted brown to a pale jade or turmaline green, still just as turbulent. My guess is the logging probably influences the water color. The sky was mainly light grey, hinting at rain, spitting a little but not threatening to pour....yet.

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    Tons of great spots to stop and take photos were left untouched. The light was off. Sure, there is something to catch even in this filtered light, but the tops of the mountains were all cloud wrapped and just enough vapor in the air to sour the attempt. Later, when a few breaks opened up, I did snap one shot of a mountain that had just about every color in the box: purple, orange, greens, yellows and a blue river to boot. Color is something that strikes you in these parts, especially when the sun’s involved. But that, as it turns out would take a while.

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    Sometime around 1 p.m. the weather ahead started to look mean. The mist was now a steady spray and the roadway was now officially wet. I switched Dirty Gerty into “rain mode,” tightened up my collar, and switched on my heated shirt. Love that thing. Love, love, love my heated, chest and back warming, smile making, heated shirt..... anyhow. Not a moment too soon either because about 45 minutes to an hour south of Prince George, the horizon went from grey to stonehouse black and she opened up. Big time.

    Sheeting rain, wildly fierce winds turned in no to time to pelting hail and sky streaking lightening. And there I was helmet turtled down, visor locked, knees squeezing the tank surfing forward like a fish swimming into the mouth of Jaws. I kept going though, of course pretty much speed limit too. There was nowhere else to go. No bridge to duck under, no church to hide out in, no rest area alcove - nothing. At one point, the wind was gusting so hard, white caps were literally blowing across the roadway. One gust took me from left lane to right, nearly sweeping Dirty Gerty’s little baby tires right out from under her.

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    Somehow I pushed on until the the first motel at outskirts of Prince George popped into view. I should add that the last straw was more a 99% lack of visibility more than the weather itself that made me stop. But I did, and by 2:30 I had called it quits and checked in. I had plenty of drying out to do, some mapping and laundry so it turned out to be a good move. Plus, because of such an “early start” lodging, I was up before dawn and out the door by 6:30 the following morning.

    I set my GPS to Whitehorse, but seeing how it was more than 1000 miles down - or up the road, I just used it as a North Star for the day. The sky never opened up again like the previous day, but the sun never made an appearance either. Still, patches of rain, soaked roads and the constant 50 degree temps made for a gloomy ride and mood to match.

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    Not long after joining Route 37 a sign appears warning drivers of wildlife, in particular bears. Well, it was a good thing. Seven black bears. I saw seven black bears in that two hour stretch. And although I did not see it myself, the flagger at the bridge construction site informed me their Wildlife Observer had been keeping an eye on a big brown bear all morning. So, yes, bears. Plenty. Sadly though, one of the bears in my count had just been hit by what I am going to guess was a logging truck. I must have been one of the first to arrive in the aftermath as bear parts were strewn about. So, that was kinda grizzly.

    I rode and rode and rode thinking - no, pretty much hoping - that if I rode far enough north I’d eventually ride into sunshine. And I did. After about 600 miles of riding and pit stops, the sky cracked at the sun came down to work its magic.

    Temps rose up to the mid 60’s, the mountain peaks began to appear, the road all but dried out and the vibrant and intoxicating colors of British Columbia began to take stage. Every imaginable shade of green in thousands of different textures, browns and reds, and yellows and who knew beige could be so interesting and varied? I suppose Eddie Bauer maybe, but to me it was all eye candy. I stopped at a few places to stretch and take some photos. It was so nice, so refreshingly pleasant to be back in the company of the sun that I continued on for another 150 miles to the Nugget Cabins in Yukon Territory just as Route 37 meets the 1 and settled into the bunkhouse for night. After a plate of spaghetti and two beers, I was out. 754 miles in one day.... personal best for me and Dirty Gerty........ what a girl!

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    I don’t think it ever got dark last night. Maybe it did. It was light out when I closed the lamp at 10:30 and light out when I woke up at 3:30 to take a piss. It’s new to me - all day sun - but I kinda like it. I prefer light to darkness.


    Ikeya-Seki, out.

    Attached Files:

    #57
  18. rtcoker

    rtcoker Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    Smokies
    Great pictures, even without bright sunlight. You have a knack... and your prose complements the digital.. keep it up, enjoying this thread
    #58
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  19. The Gymmy

    The Gymmy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Virginia
    Fantastic ride report - keep it coming. Love the trip so far
    #59
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  20. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,405
    Location:
    Here, but lost. Am I lost if i know i'm here?
    Man, your writing is brilliant. Your photos are fantastic. I'm hooked on this RR.

    I keep tryna tell people that Highway 1 is a national treasure. I still need to take it further up, past central California though. Now that i'm in TX I regret not doing so while I lived in Los Angeles.
    #60
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