a motorcycle journey 2up

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fortuna, CA to Redding, CA

Day 30 - June 29,2010
Mileage Today: 313
Total Trip Mileage: 8,440

The perfect days keep piling up, and today looks to be no exception. We are eager to get moving today because it looks like it will be a long one. The plan for today is to find the “Lost Coast Highway” and take it South down to the beginning of the “Avenue of the Giants” and ride the Avenue back North. After we finish riding through the “Avenue of the Giants”, we will head East towards a planned destination of Redding, CA.

So, the “Lost Coast” is an undeveloped stretch of coast a bit South of Eureka, CA. The terrain was too harsh, rugged, and costly for the state to build a large highway through, so the highway (Hwy 101) treks East for a bit to go around. This leaves a large area of wide open ranch land that butts right up to the Pacific Ocean, and is only accessable by a very narrow, poorly maintained road. It was the best thing ever!

See for yourself:

I don’t know if you remember those commercials on TV about the “Happy Cows” that make better cheese because they live in California, and it is absolutely perfect. This is where the “Happy Cows” live for sure.

A minor mishap -

Usually Nikki takes pictures with the point and shoot digital camera while I drive. Occasionally we will come to a spot that we may want to get off the bike and use the tripod, use the other camera, get a different angle, ect… I park the bike, we get the shots, then continue on. Done it a million times (or at least 82). But remember I mentioned that the “Lost Coast Highway” was really narrow, right? So, I was making sure I got all the way over, as close to the ditch as possible, when the bike fell over and shucked us both off into the ditch.

It actually fell over a few degrees past horizontal. It was hilarious! We were in the middle of nowhere (or so it seemed) with no one to witness our debacle, we could really laugh about it and document it with photos.

BTW Nikki is still buried in the ditch in this pic - have a closer look ->

We eventually got the bike turned right-side-up, finished laughing, and press on.

Continuing down the road we get our first glimpse of the coast line:

It was hard to believe you were actually in a place like this, or that a place like this still existed, in super developed California no less.

We soak it in for a while…

Turn our backs to the Ocean and begin to climb back into the mountains to intersect with the “Avenue of the Giants”.

Came across a couple on a couple of KTM motorbikes, one of which had a flat front tire. We stopped, lent some tools, and made sure they got it all changed without any problems.

(we figure we could use all the extra Karma points just incase)

Time for lunch.

Then to the “Avenue of the Giants”

The “Avenue of the Giants” is actually a 30 mile section of the old Hwy 101. It meanders through several groves of Redwoods and Giant Sequoias.

Simply amazing…

Just to give you some sort of scale.

The tallest Redwoods here tower to a height of over 350 feet.

By the time we got done with the Redwoods, it was already 4pm, and we still had a ways yet to go. We gassed up and hopped on Hwy 36 East. This road was 150 miles of hairpins, steep grades, and switchbacks. I am glad we were on a motorcycle, but it was still hard work, and by the time we arrived in Redding we were beat - or at least I was.

Landscape is starting to dry out.

This will be a theme for the next couple of days as we head into some high deserts.

Taking a break.

We are No Tell - Motel-ling it tonight. It is nice to have TV and a proper desk to type this blog on. Tomorrow we head into Nevada, and what I fear will be triple digit heat.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prospect, OR to Fortuna, CA

Day 29 - June 28, 2010
Mileage Today: 320
Total Trip Mileage: 8,127

Today we are headed back West to the coast in Southern Oregon where we will pick up Hwy 101 (Pacific Coast Trail) and follow it into California. We camped last night about 60 miles outside of Crater Lake, near the town of Prospect, OR. We studied the maps a bit in the morning and decided on the route that would be the most linear move West (as opposed to the more obvious route that would have taken us Southwest), which would give us more time along the Oregon coast as we headed south. The route we chose was called “Bear Camp Coastal Trail”. It was basically a series of Forest Service roads from the town of Grants Pass to the town of Gold Beach. We weren’t really expecting such a great ride this morning.

I will let the pictures set the scene:

A wrong turn (or perhaps *missed* turn) led us a few miles in the wrong direction, but with weather and scenery like this, who cares?

Some flora we found along the way:

Eventually we made it through the trail and out to the coast:

We worked our way down Hwy 101 and entered California.

The views from the highway were incredible…

Then we found a nice campground just outside of the Redwoods State Park, where we will head tomorrow.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Cascade Locks, OR to Prospect, OR

Day 28 - June 27, 2010
Mileage Today: 355
Total Trip Mileage: 7,807

Sunny from the start this morning. That has not happened in quite sometime. We had a pressing matter to attend to this morning.
The problem: When we arrived in Bellingham, WA off of the ferry there were no “Washington” signs, and as you may have noticed, we like to take our picture in front of those signs. We do have a contingency plan to deal with such an event: take the picture of the sign when you leave the state. There were 2 problems with this.

1. We were on I-205 (the equivalent to 635 in Dallas) with no good place to stop.
2. When states are bordered by rivers, they tend to put the signs on the middle of the bridge that crosses that river. Again, no good place to stop.

The solution: Well, as luck would have it, we camped on the Columbia River last night, and that just so happens to be the border between Washington and Oregon. There just happened to be a bridge back across to Washington that we had spotted the previous night while out looking for some dinner.

It was a small local highway, totally do-able.

Too bad they put the sign in the worst possible location, but we made it work (thanks gorilla-pod):

Once that task was completed, we headed back to the interstate via some lovely state highways:

We burned down I-5 for a while, then took some more state highways towards Crater Lake. This is where I encountered the longest straightest road I have ever seen with my own (personal) 2 eyes:

We make it to Crater Lake National Park and start climbing in elevation to reach the summit and view the lake.

Perfectly smooth water. Craziest, most intense blue I have seen, and still snow everywhere.

The reflections were amazing.

Some more angles, as this was the highlight of the day:

And some shots from the way out to find camp:

Beautiful accommodations this evening courtesy of Oregon State Parks:


Kalaloch, WA to Cascade Locks, OR

Day 27 - June 26, 2010
Mileage Today: 391
Total Trip Mileage: 7,452

We woke up a bit later than normal this morning. I guess we are still a bit used to Alaska time. We did our regular routine of packing up and loading the bike, but now we have added a new item to the list of morning tasks - locate a Safeway. This has been the single best find for breakfast this trip. We are able to get some muffins, coffee, wifi, and gasoline all in one stop.

A bit of a cloudy start out of Kalaloch…

… but today we are headed inland to visit Mt. St. Helens, and they say all you have to do is travel a bit in to the interior to get out of the cloud belt.

Beautiful, warm, sunshine:

(and Mt. St. Helens in the distance)

The 50 mile ride from the interstate into Mt. St. Helens Park is incredible. You climb up 4,000 feet in elevation on a twisty mountain road. It wasn’t long before you could start to see the remnants from the eruption in 1980.

The above pictured river valley was filled in width debris from the collapsed peak, after the eruption, to a depth of 600ft in some areas, totally burying the river. Over the past 30 years the river has started to cut a new path.

Side view of the Volcano:

We continued on to the Observation Center on Johnston Ridge. This was the location where a USGS Vulcanologist was monitoring activity within the Volcano when it actually erupted. He was overcome by the pyroclastic flow, but he managed to send out a distress call; “Vancouver, Vancouver this is it!” (<-click for more info)

The view from the observatory is the familiar one, the huge crater left from the eruption in 1980.

After the eruption Mt. St. Helens had lost 1,300 feet in elevation.

Downed trees that were within the blast zone of the eruption still lay blown down in the direction of the blast:

It was a bit surreal being in that close of proximity to something that is capable of causing so much destruction. Not to mention this thing was also actively building lava domes from 2004-2008.

So, we have been gone for about a month now. We have gone about 7,000 miles. I am tired, Nikki is tired, but I didn’t realize how tired the bike had become. As we were pulling out of the parking spot at the observatory Mr. V-Strom gets all narcoleptic-ey and decides right then and there that he is taking a nap.
I then kindly asked the people picnicking at there car directly adjacent to my sleeping V-Strom if they would take our picture.


Only the second drop of the trip. I would have guessed it much higher.

Then we hauled out to find some camping. We crossed into Oregon, where we found our site, and set up our tent…

under a canopy of tall trees.


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