Tag: california2011

Kindness of Strangers: Mad Map Edition

Kindness of Strangers: Mad Map Edition

Mad Map Northern CaliforniaWhen Kenny and I were heading south on California 96, we traded places with another group of riders along the route a few times. When we stopped in Weitchpec for gas, they were not long in pulling in behind us. An FJR came wheeling in to the lot and parked closest to us. The rider swung his leg over the bike, pulled off his helmet and… is that Donald Sutherland?

“Lee” was a kindly man. He had a gentle but enthusiastic demeanor and looked you in the eye as he spoke. He and his band of merry men were tearing up the backroads on the last leg of their yearly week-long sojourn. Like us, they were heading back to the Bay area.

He asked where we were from and what would bring us to of all places, tiny Weitchpec. So, I told him that we were from New York and that we were just kind of bumming around for the week. He gave me a big smile and a handshake and said, “Well… welcome to California.” He then said he had something for me and walked over to his motorcycle.

When he came back to me, he handed me a Mad Maps – Northern California map and said “Enjoy our state.” I thanked him with my whole heart and he waved it off with a smile saying, “Hey, we’re all scooter riders.”

After we went our separate ways, Lee stayed on my mind for the rest of the day. He didn’t have to give me his fancy map, or be kind or even say “Hello.” But, he did. Now and forever when I think of that day, that tiny gas station in the middle of nowhere; every time that I look at my new map – I will think of Lee.

I was taught a lesson in that exchange. A valuable one. What you do and what you say matters to people. Even if you never see them again.

More Posts From This Trip:

The Recipe for Romance – Motorcycle Style

The Recipe for Romance – Motorcycle Style

Inn at the Lost Coast SignWhen some girls talk of romance they refer to things like candle lit dinners, wine and roses. Not, me. I found the ultimate romantic moment on our California roadtrip.

This recipe serves 2 motorcyclists:

  • Start with 2 motorcycles
  • Add  twisty roads
  • Sprinkle with curves to taste
  • Bake under the sun at 75 degrees for hours

The Inn at the Lost CoastWhen you’re done cookin’ on the twisty roads, add an empty Inn overlooking the ocean. Serve with a garnish of pizza on your room’s balcony and VOILA! Instant romance.

The Inn at the Lost Coast sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean 20 miles west of route 1 in Shelter Cove, California.

When we pulled up to the Inn the late afternoon sun was warm and the breeze off of the ocean was blowing steadily. We walked up the stairs to our room on the third floor, put on our shorts, ordered a pizza and just sat around enjoying the view until the sun dipped below the horizon.

Inn at the Lost Coast - Shelter Cove

We slept with the balcony door open, listening to the waves crashing against the rocks below all night.

Sunset Inn at the Lost Coast - Shelter Cove California

When we got up in the morning, part of me didn’t want to leave. I wished we could just stay put for one more day. Alas, the road was calling us to continue heading south.

The Inn of the Lost Coast
205 Wave Drive,
Shelter Cove, CA. 95589

Sights From the Road: Now That’s a Pinecone!

Sights From the Road: Now That’s a Pinecone!

I found this impressive cone laying on the side of the road in the Lassen National Forest.

Giant Pine Cone Lassen National Forest

Isn’t that something?

I was going to make a grossly inappropriate joke about it not being the size but the seed inside that counts – but then I thought better of it.

Lassen National Forest Sign

California Love: Sweet Moments in Ferndale

California Love: Sweet Moments in Ferndale

Redwoods on california route 36

Wednesday’s ride had Kenny and I traveling over a curvaceous stretch of California 36 from Red Bluff to the coast, where we stopped in Ferndale to have lunch.

When we pulled in to the beautiful Victorian town, I took a quick scan up and down the street and picked a place to eat. The winner was Poppa Joe’s.

When I opened the door and stepped inside, it was like walking through a portal to another time. Laid out like a typical olde tymey counter service luncheonette, I chose one of the tables in the rear corner so that we could get a good view of the place while we ate. Behind us were a few senior citizens playing cards at game tables. Straight-up saloon stuff.

Inside Poppa Joes in Ferndale California

Locals strolled in and out of Poppa Joe’s while we ate. Each time they did, the waitress or the woman who slung hash with love in her spatula addressed them by name. It did my heart good to be in a place that felt like a “real” piece of America; a place that hasn’t been sanitized for my protection. There was something that seemed long-lost and pure in that place. Something you pray can withstand the crush of “progress” and just keep on keepin’ on.

Ferndale California

After lunch, I stood on the curb next to my bike while Kenny was down the block. An older gentleman in a yellow pickup truck pulled up and parked in front of my bike. He got out of the truck, walked towards me smiling and asked where I was traveling from. From that opener – the next 10 minutes was like a song that summed up our lives as much as possible in that short amount of time.

He was a World War II veteran who moved around during the war but never lived anywhere other than that very town of Ferndale as a civilian. He told me about his children, asked about New York, and told me a bit about what he did during the war. He asked where we were heading and agreed that taking Mattole Road would be a great choice.

And just like that,… we passed through each other’s lives.

I could have talked to him forever. The whole time we spoke he smiled with his eyes. That is the kind of smile that comes from the inside out and gives you a hug. In that small sliver of time, he made my day with his simple joyousness. I can still see his face when I close my eyes.

Have you ever felt blessed to have met someone?

More Posts From This Trip:

%d bloggers like this: