Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Long Way to San Fran

What started out as another blistering day in the northern Sacramento Valley ended in a chilly, fog strouded entrance in to San Francisco via the Golden Gate bridge. Too foggy for any good pictures to be taken, especially from the Marin headlands. In between was 416 miles of some of the best riding I've ever experienced.

On Sunday we road Rt 36 from Fortuna, CA on the coast to Red Bluff at the very northern end of the Sacramento valley. It is 140+ miles of motorcycle nirvana. For those who ride, and have ridden in the smokies of NC and Tennessee, it is Deal's Gap and the Cherohala (?) Skyway all wrapped in to one. Sections are vast sweepers taken at speed and others are tight, technical mountain switchbacks. I not yet know of anything on the east coast like it. And the scenery is magnificent and so very different from the coast to the valley. On the western end by the coast it like a very twisty country road, at its end is vast grassland dotted by small scrub and trees of a variety I don't know.

Today's (Monday's ride) again encompassed a wide variety of roads and scenery, from the rollings grasslands and what I think were olive groves outside of Corning, CA to the mountain passes down in to the Napa and Sonoma wine country, back out to the coast, passing among the red woods. There is just too much to list here... and so many pictures. I really wish I had video to share of the roads we had the most fun on. Here is but a small sample, including some of my co-riders who are enjoying themselves a great deal:
Flat Stanley hanging out at Crater Lake National Park. It has to be seen to appreciate the mirror like effect of the water. Wow. The road up to the lake was also a blast. If I remember corretly, elevation was about 7000+ feet. We were there on Saturday

Early on Monday we headed in a general SW direction to head for the coast without riding back over 36 to cross the mountains. This was along a very rough paved/gravel road that lead back in canyons. Based on the cattle and horses among the pastures I'd say this was ranching country. Not long after this picture was taken we road up and over the canyon to the valley to west. There was no good place to stop and take a picture...I can't begin to explain what it was like, but when I say canyon, I mean it. The road was more gravel/dirt than paved and only a car width wide. We averaged about 20-25mpg. Not exactly what expected but wouldn't pass up the experience. Certainly improved my riding ability on "less than ideal road conditions"

Gumby is all smiles after the blast over Stewarts Valley Rd. Another uninterrupted road of squiggles that leads from the southern end of Lake Sonoma to Rt 1 on the coast. Why are there no pictures of the actual road? Because I didn't want to break the zone I was in riding this. It's some of the best riding I've ever done.

Flat Stanley sees the California coast line. This is along the PCH south of Stewarts Point. Adrian is giving Stanley a helping hand.

Tackling the PCH. We're headed off to Palo Alto to bed down for the night. It's already well in to the afternoon and there is still well over a 100 miles to cover. It's foggy along the coast and the temps are considerably lower than inland. A welcome break. This is Adrian, Bob, and Keith threading their way southward.

I failed to mention at the beginning of the post that Chris and Wayne had their own adventures for the day as they looked for other ways to cross the mountains. From what I heard over dinner the post will be very much worth reading! Glad to say they made it to Palo Alto not long after we did, a bit dusty and rather worn out but all smiles. I didn't know you could do adventure-touring with a Harley Street Glide (Chris' bike); learn something new every day!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So what are you, a gang or something?