Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day 4 - Oh, where art thou, end of the world...?

The titles for this post could be many. "How to ride off road with a Harley and a Sport Bike" or "Is that road really closed? I mean, really?" or "We don't need no steenkin pavement" or ... well, I think you see where I'm going with this.

Wayne decided he wanted to get a really early start yesterday and since I'm an early riser, I nodded in for heading out early. Turns out we were the only two. The rest of the guys wanted to sleep in a bit then get breakfast. That's cool. Wayne and I got on the road at about 6:30, stands up and rolling. We decided to bag I-5 and find "the back way out of town". Please don't ask me road names. Red-something road eventually led us to a road that looked promising, if not ideal.

We decided to stick with the road as it was heading in our basic direction. We wanted to get to somewhere South and West of Red Bluff, but try to avoid I-5 if possible. Once on the road, we decided the best bet might be to head to Covelo to pick up Rt. 162. Yeah, that was a good plan. On paper. By OUR reckoning (and hey, this is our adventure, so that's what matters most) Colvelo is actually an ancient Chinese-Mexican word for "Nowhere".

The road to Covelo (nowhere?)

"... gravel to the left of me, gravel to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle..."

We spent maybe 1/2 hour on the road and decided to stop to talk it over. We were both all for heading on, but neither of us wanted to be to blame if we got horribly lost or stuck on a dirt road in the sequel to The Hills Have Eyes.

"We sticking with this road?" "I guess. You want to?" "I guess, how about you?" "I guess." -- We're nothing if not decisive!

On the upside, if we were going to be taken hostage and eaten for dinner by crazy mutant zombies in the middle of nowhere, at least we had some excellent scenery.

I'm really sorry I don't have pictures for this part. I still haven't bought a new battery for the camera yet. Slacker! It was around this time that Wayne confessed to me that he has this certain... irrational?... fear of cows. He made a perfectly logical argument about growing up on Long Island and to him, wild life was the occasional squirrel, and dogs were about as big an animal as he was willing to put up with. Ok, I hear the words, Wayne. I truly do. That's all I'll admit to. Bigsmile So we get back on the road, this loose, dusty, sloppy dirt road where traction was at a bare minimum and we're riding along like first-timers. I hang back a bit to keep out of the dust cloud and Wayne disappears around a bend and behind a hill. I'm maybe 30 seconds behind him. A few seconds later, I hear this strained voice over the radio... "chris.... CHRIS!!! Where are you, man? I need some help here." Great... mutant zombies. Or he dropped his bike in this sloppy road.

Trust me, either of those would have been preferable to what I witnessed when I came around the bend.

There's Wayne, frozen in the middle of this road. Shaking. Two full grown, fierce-looking, killer attack cows are staring him down, trying to decide just how to kill him. Or eat him. In which order. Or they were just too dumb to get out of the way of his bike. I won't pass judgment. I honestly and truly hope Wayne posts up about this before the shock wears off. His descriptions of his fear and reaction are nothing I can duplicate. Simply awesome.

I try to prod him to just roll up and blow his horn, and I can see he's having none of it. These cows have to move, or he's going to kick over my bike so they'll eat me while he gets away. I took the only action I knew would get us out of this dangerous, life-threatening situation. I rode up to the cows and revved up my Harley's throaty V-Twin engine. The pipes on my Harley are the original pipes and even with that, they're a little too loud for my liking. But thank goodness I had this cow-taming machine with me today. The cows heard the engine and wandered off the road enough to let Wayne and me pass. They knew they'd been beaten. This time. Chalk one up to Mr. Darwin and the opposable thumb!!!

We rode on and about a 1/2 mile later, two other cows were on the side of the road staring us down. These were behind a wire fence but Wayne was convinced the fence wouldn't hold and they would stampede out to get us. He led a spirited run out of the area after that. We escaped with our lives and learned that Loud Pipes do, in fact, save lives. Honest and for true. Wayne lived today because I have a Harley. Wink

We finally found a little bit of pavement thru' this small town and pushed on. Hey, that was a nice mile or two. We found a road that looked like it headed over to where we wanted to be and took it. It started out as tight packed gravel or chip seal that didn't seal. Wayne was leading and pea-sized gravel was kicking out of his tire, even though traction was good enough to ride at a normal road pace. I wouldn't want to try to ride 'fast' on this road, but it was certainly good for regular road speeds. For a few miles. Then it turned to loose gravel. Then to dirt. When we passed some ranches, we noticed that the owners must pay for their own chip-seal to be brought in. Each ranch had a nice section of road for about a 1/2 mile in each direction.

We turned off this road on to "M-4", a road that heads directly to Covelo through the mountains. Excellent. We'd been riding dirt for quite a while by this point, so another dirt road up over the mountain couldn't be a big deal, right? We were an hour or so in to a 67? mile ride to Covelo. On dirt. We're doing fine. We wound up the mountains and found a small, simple, easy-to-miss sign that said the road to Covelo was closed. Nah... it's probably fine. We pushed on. We passed a section of the road that had construction cones up and saw that a full half of the road had simply disappeared. Either washed out or fell victim to rock slide, but there it was, a whole-lane notch taken right out of the road. We figured this is why the road was closed. A car going by would be a tight fit, but we were on bikes and had more than enough room. Push on, we shall!

A few miles later we were back on chip-seal road and stopped for a break. Water, rest, pictures. We looked down on a beautiful bowl-shaped valley. You could feel the heat coming up from the valley, but it was still comfortable where we were.

We got to talking and Wayne tried to explain the whole fear-of-cows thing further. "You don't understand these creatures man. They have teeth that can crush rocks. And they attack slow." Ok, that last part about attacking slow. I completely lost it. I was half-way thru' my magnum can of Arizona Iced Tea and in mid-mouthful he pulls out that crazy sentence. I'm here to tell you - exploding Iced Tea thru' your nose in a fit of laughter... not good. I don't know if it was the ginseng or the honey, but wow... that just hurt. I couldn't stop laughing. "They attack slow, man! You don't even know!" Priceless! I laughed for the next hour about that one.

Me and my iced tea - pre-nose spouting.

We mounted up and continued up the road. The road was starting to get a whole lot rougher. Old pavement, ruts in the dirt, wash holes the size of VWs, the whole mess. Oh, and rocks... lots of big, scary rocks, trees blocking half or all of the road... all the stuff we adventure-riders love when taking our machines off roading. Crazy

"C'mon... we can make it!"

Another 10 miles or so at our break-neck pace of 10, maybe 20 miles per hour, we stopped for another rest at this local mecca. Two dirt roads intersect here, one goes off to parts unknown, the other continues on towards our destination.

M-9, another top-notch road like M-4. We'll stick with what we know, thanks!

Wayne in his best cow-hunting attire. All pictures from this day are from Wayne's camera.

I'm pretty sure that having my Harley this dirty will get me kicked out of the Harley club!

Another 5-10 miles up the road we come to a situation. We round a bend and there's a car in the road. Sort of. Actually, it was hanging off the mountain, barely on the road. Looks like it got stuck in now and the people had to walk out. Things were melting ok, but clearly it was impassable. For mortals. But we're ARCPosse. We HAD to do what we came to do, right?

The road is totally impassable for street bikes. Right?

The car was barely hanging on, the left-rear wheel clear of the road, the right-front wheel in the air. The car was sitting balanced on two tires. Wayne experimentally lifted the corner and he could have rolled the car right off the mountain if he wanted to. Yikes!

The snow mound there is about a foot to a food-and-a-half deep. More than we could ride through. But right by the car it was only a few inches. We huffed, we pushed, we held the bikes up from falling, and eventually got them both through, leaving mere millimeters between the bikes and the car. SUCCESS.

We rode on.

For about an 1/8th mile.

To an 8-foot wall of snow. Ok, THAT we're not trudging through. No way. Turn around and go past the car again, which was still a lot of work, mind you.

Well, there's another road (name/number unknown) that splits from M4 and heads towards the same direction as Covelo. Let's try that. We ride back about 3 miles and take the turn. Maybe a mile up the road, which was the worst of the rutted and pitted roads yet, we came upon another block that we couldn't get past. No snow this time at least.

Ok, Ok... we get it. Road Closed. Ok. Fine.

Yeah, we're not getting over that one.

We turned around and eventually came down off the mountain. At about 12:00, high noon, we're riding down this dirt road on the way to Orlanda for lunch when we simply HAD to stop and take a picture of this.

Wayne giving the ARCPosse symbol of protection so the mutant zombies or witches or whatever did this won't eat us.

A fox or coyote in the center, dressed up for partying and his two rabbit henchmen, all neatly tied up on the fence.

I don't know who's back and I don't know what they want. But I want to leave now, mommy!

After lunch we rode down I-5 to Rt. 20 (NICE road!), then down 101 into San Fran, then down to Palo Alto to bed in at the Travelodge. We went out to a local brew pub and met up with Roger (QuietRider) and Eric (Desmo) and had a great dinner, then back to the motel to crash.

A long, long, long day. Horrible roads, hot, dusty, even frustrating at times. And I wouldn't have traded it for anything. THIS is exactly what I wanted from this trip. Just a little out-of-the-ordinary stuff. What a fantastic day!


Gruney1 said...

Causes And Treatments for Phobia Of Cows
Phobia of cows is a form of animal phobia, which disrupts the normal flow of your life.

In such a phobic condition, you feel helpless and immobilized and tend to run away from the situation.

Such phobias are relentless conditions of fear and anxiety and have possibilities of returning and recurring at different stages of your life.

Phobia of cows originates from actual experiences in life. For instance, an incident of a cow chasing or charging an individual makes him afraid of the animal. After that, each time he sees a cow the person feels that the cow would abruptly attack him all of a sudden.

A cow is a domestic animal and it is an essential part of human life. In reality, a cow is a meek and docile animal and it is not at all aggressive in nature. Therefore, phobia of cows is quite unnatural and somewhat irrelevant.

However, it is part of human nature to be afraid of things or beings, which are dissimilar to them in appearance or nature. What you do not understand or what overlap your rational sense makes you feel afraid and worried.

Some of the common symptoms of phobia of cows include:

Excessive sweating
Dry mouth
Heart palpitations
Inability to speak or think clearly
Fear of death
Sudden madness
Loss of control
Sense of detachment
Full blown anxiety attacks

Phobia of cows is an intense condition of fright or dread of something, which does not have the power, or capacity of causing any sort of actual danger or threat.

What is most pathetic is that most individuals are aware of the fact that their fear is unnatural or irrelevant but they are unable to escape the condition and feel terribly ashamed of themselves.

They are not only afraid to see a cow but the mere thought of they might see a cow horrifies them to such an extent that they suffer from panic attacks and ruthless anxiety.

There are many ways to treat phobia of cows, such as Neuro Linguistic Programming and energy psychology

It is indeed unfortunate that cow phobia therapies require months and even years to show results and in the process, the victimized individual has to be exposed to the phobic condition repeatedly as part of the treatment.

In reality, cow phobia can be cured just within a few hours making use of the right methods and with full co-operation on the part of the individual.

Several drugs are often prescribed for phobia of cows but none of them is without any side effects or withdrawal symptoms. On the contrary, drugs and medicines cannot eliminate fear and phobias.

They can at length suppress the symptoms of the condition to make everything seem normal and under control through essential chemical reactions.

Nowadays Self-Help NLP techniques are being introduced that would be able to train your mind and thoughts about cows so that you may feel different and restrained about the animal.

Charles said...

That is some funny, funny stuff there.
Just posted a new image for your group t-shirts on STN. If you aren't too wasted from your riding, you should check it out tonight...

Charles said...

Here is the link to the image (hope it works):

eclecticdawn said...

It certainly sounds like the adventure is in full force. Cars clinging to the side of a mountain, crazy cows, a cranky Harley (nice diagnostic job,BW!!), boulders and trees on a dirt road...
Thanks for sharing your adventures with everyone! A great read, fo' sho'!