Tag: california2008

California: Caution – Bear Crossing

California: Caution – Bear Crossing

I will be the first to admit that I will say things like, ‘Oh, bears are so cool. I’d love to see a bear!’ In passing these comments are meaningless but when you really consider seeing a bear close up, you just might feel entirely different about it.

When we were riding through Sequoia National Park I made it clear to Kenny that I needed a little space from the group. When you’re used to doing things on your own, stopping and starting a train of people can feel a little claustrophobic at times. With that, off I went on my own.Β  The gang still behind me but out of sight, I slowly moved along up the road towards the Giant Forest Museum feasting on the wonder of my surroundings.

As the road climbed and rounded a curve in my left peripheral vision I saw something brown bound out of the foliage. Given my limited scope of animal exposure, I had assumed in that split second that it was a deer. I came to an abrupt, shaking stop in the middle of the the uneven road and nearly dropped my motorcycle. My arms had instantly gone to jelly. Standing there momentarily was a small bear. It was about 20 feet away from me. I was stunned and completely startled. My auto-piloting brain was frightened.

The bear didn’t really think much of me and didn’t linger. It scurried its way up the banking on the right side of the road and slowed its gate to a meandering stroll. I could see a green tag on its ear as it turned around to look at me. I sat shaking in the middle of the road. Kenny pulled up along side of me and I pointed to the bear and he was able to grab a quick shot with his camera.

Bear spotted on a motorcycle trip Sequioa National Park

Its not a perfect shot – but its enough to say ‘look what I saw!’ My first bear. And in hindsight… hopefully my last from that close up.

California: Missing the Beauty of Big Sur

California: Missing the Beauty of Big Sur

Tonight I said to Kenny, ‘When do we leave for California?’ I swear, it already seems like it was 5 years ago that we were there and I haven’t even been home for a solid week yet.

Though each morning I’ve gotten to see the giant pinecone I brought back for Chloe in the middle of the kitchen table and it makes me smile. I’m not ready to let the feelings fade away yet but each time i reach out to get a firm hold on them, it seems like they are a little more gauzy and slip through my fingers just a little bit easier. I guess that’s why I keep going through these 750 pictures I took, trying to keep the vividness.

View along the California coastline along Rt 1 Laying on a rock in Big Sur
View along the California coastline along Rt 1 View along the California coastline along Rt 1
View along the California coastline along Rt 1

‘….I miss you…
I’m goin’ back home to the West Coast.
I wish you woulda put yourself in my suitcase…’

– Coconut Records

California Dreaming: Willits to San Francisco

California Dreaming: Willits to San Francisco

June 20, 2008 – Willits to San Francisco

There was a little bit of a sting to leaving Willits. This was our final day of riding in California. We had to be back in San Francisco to return our rental bikes by dinner time. Though another beautiful day of riding along the serpentine tarmac of the coast lay ahead, the ride was tinged with the sadness of knowing that the trip we had been dreaming of for so long was nearly finished.

We headed west towards Fort Bragg and began our easy-going meander down the coast. Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

We stopped along the way, enjoying the views and visiting the lighthouses at both Point Cabrillo and Point Arena and having a bite to eat in Mendocino. Onward we went, heading back to where we’d started from in San Francisco.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse

When we rode inland off the coast, the heat felt like a punch to the gut. One minute we were cruising along in the mild air of the coastline and then WHAMMO!, it was H-O-T. We’d passed a bank sign while making a pit stop that read 114Β°.

I saw Greg put on his signal and move to the shoulder. Flat tire! The sun and the heat were merciless while we were standing there on the side of the highway. It felt every bit of that 114 degrees we’d seen earlier and then some. Thankfully, this roadside repair was done in jig time using the fabulously small and flexible Slime compressor and a Stop & Go Tire plugging kit.

The irony of getting a flatΒ  at the Lucky Drive exit was not lost on me πŸ™‚

Bike repairs in 120 degree heat outside San Francisco

With Greg’s tire plugged, each of us was hot and admittedly cranky but we were back on our way. The big red bridge though beautiful was like a dagger in my heart. Our ride was over. In what seemed to be the blink of an eye, we were pulling our bikes back in to the garage at Dubbleju.

Back to Dubbleju

How could 9 days have passed so quickly?


California Dreaming: Mount Shasta City to Willits

California Dreaming: Mount Shasta City to Willits

Thursday June 19, 2008 – Mount Shasta City to Willits

We left Mount Shasta City early on Thursday morning with the intent of stopping in the city of Redding so that I could visit a bridge built by one of my favorite architects; The Sundial Bridge by Santiago Calatrava.

Sundial Bridge by Santiago Calatrava

While I was standing in the visitors center reading through the travel brochures for the area, I happened to pick up a pamphlet that listed scenic motorcycle rides of the area in it. With no further plan for the day, I figured – What the hell – and suggested we give the ride a try.

The route took us out along Route 36 heading back towards the coast and the city of Eureka. It was FANTASTIC!

Along Route 36 outside of Redding

Kenny must have done a really good job on babe’s balls because our luck continued with another paper directing us down through Ferndale and on to Matole Rd. to enjoy the Lost Coast.

The Ferndale Inn

The Lost Coast

Our travels took us to Willits as night fell. We pulled in to a motel in the dark, covered in night time bugs. It was a most spectacular day of riding.

California Dreaming: Crescent City to Mount Shasta City

California Dreaming: Crescent City to Mount Shasta City

Wednesday June 18, 2008 – Crescent City to Mount Shasta City

Heading south from Crescent City on 101, we moved through the big trees. There was a layer of fog that seems to hang in their tops. It created a very soft, surreal feeling in the woods.

Riding through the redwoods from Crescent City

Of course we had to stop in Klamath to see Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at the roadside gem The Trees of Mystery. Kenny rubbed Babe’s giant blue balls for good luck. And wouldn’t you know it? We had good luck for the rest of the trip.

Paul Bunyan and Babe in Klamath California

We left route 101, and headed east into the mountains. We traveled along small canyon roads towards the town of Forks of Salmon. The turns just kept coming and coming and coming. The dry, narrow road edges falling away in some places. We didn’t see any other cars or bikes.

Heading towards Cecilville we were really in the middle of nowhere and nearly out of gas. A quick look at the GPS said that the nearest gas was just a few more miles ahead. This time relying on the GPS let us down. There was gas here. About 3 years prior.

GPS says there is gas here. I think not.

Kenny and Greg walked up the road to a cluster of houses to see if they could by gas from whomever lived there. I stayed back with the bikes, wondering if they would be coming back or if some crazed lunatic would be heading down the road in their place. This overactive imagination of mine can really get the better of me sometimes. I was relieved to see them heading back down the road with a full gas can.

Mount Shasta in the distance

Thankfully we were back in business and continued east heading towards Gazelle, Weed and on to Mount Shasta City where we stayed for the night.

Tourist trap tree trimming The people of the woods welcome you A road of endless possibilities
Heading towards Gazelle California Dunsmuir Caboose Motel Old Building on Gazelle Callahan Rd

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