Just got back late last night from a 7 day solo tour of NoCal. I have a few hundred photos, and I'll post some of them up in the next while.
A few things were different about this trip than one's prior, in that I trucked my bike to a friends house in Fortuna, and also had a GPS unit for the first time.
I will say that I was a bit of a snob about guys trailering bikes around and using gps units, but I am thoroughly converted. I am so glad that I trucked the bike there... 13.5 hours to Fortuna, as I arrived much fresher than having ridden down there via I5, or wasting time riding the coast of Washington and Oregon. I've done those several times, and I don't think I'll be putting bike rubber to those roads again. The GPS unit was very handy (Garmin GPSMap 60cx) primarily for being able to pan on the map in the middle of nowhere, and see if some sideroads were deadends, or perhaps worthwhile diversions to see something different. I disovered some small towns, lighthouses and freshly paved twisties via that method.
I won't do a day by day route monologue, but I will highlight the roads that i covered, so that if anyone has questions, you can ask for more info. I rode some of them in both directions as I looped around, covering the following counties;
Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Tehama, Glenn, Butte, Lassen, Plumas,
Shasta, Sonoma, Colusa, Sutter and Sierra.
This covers land from the border, south as far as Stewarts Point (north of San Fran) and east withing an hour from Reno, NV... and north to Lassen to the park gate, which was closed to vehicle traffic due to snow still.
199 - Redwood Highway
101 - Pacific Coast Highway
Forest Service 1 (Titlow Mtn Road)
Cape Town (Lost Coast) to Honeydew, then south to Shelter Cove
Alderpoint Road (Bridgeville to Garberville)
Avenue of the Giants
Branscomb Road (Westport to Laytonville)
20 (Willits to Ft. Bragg)
Mountainview Road (Pt. Arena to Boonville)
Skagg Springs Stewarts Point Road
29 Kelseyville to Lower Lake
49 Yuba Pass
Oroville Quincy Highway
Somes Bar - Forks of Salmon - Callahan
NorCal is such a paradox in riding. High Speed MOTO GP paved roads and Goat Trails. Blistering heat and freezing fog that required heated gear to be comfortable. I can honestly say that at some points I was completely sick and tired of riding twisty roads, wanting to be able to relax... but there was not much of that to be found. There was little traffic for the most part... and only required about 20 double yellow passes the entire trip. Most to courteous drivers who were getting the hell out of the way.
There were no performance awards from the CHP, and I only encountered perhaps 15 or so cars the entire trip. There was great camping at Humbolt Redwoods State Park, Russian Gulch and Clear Lake. Be forewarned about Clear Lake, there was lots of rattlesnakes and scorpions, so I didn't dare get shizzled and take a whizz in the woods.
I honestly can say that I encountered about 3 sportbikes the entire time, about a dozen sport tourers, the same for dual sports, and some Harleys mostly in the more populated areas.
I ran into 6 CHP officers on Harleys on Mountainview Road... I was heading east (uphill) at a pretty high rate of speed, they were coming south (training I think) I waved... none of them could even take their hands off the bars, they were busy trying to manhandle their iron horses to worry about me. The road to narrow and downhill with switchbacks to even turn around and come for a chat. Later I laughed about the encounter, the only people I saw on the road... and as I got off to take a photo at a bridge, dropped my bike... breaking the end off the clutch lever, and having a shit of a time tryin g to right a fully loaded bike. But all is good.
If you are thinking of riding the Sierra mountains, note the following. There are four roads running up into them... 32, oroville/quincy, 70 and 49 yuba... they are best ridden uphill.. AND two are better than the others.
If you can only ride the area ONCE, take the following advice. Ride 49 Yuba from Nevada City up to Calpine. BEFORE you get on that road, take the cutoff that runs through a town called "rough and ready", freshly paved, but not fast, it's a great little tire warmer for what is to come. Take 70 past Quincy, then come down 70 to Oroville (this is where you look for Cherokee road) IT'S A SWOOPY ROLLERCOASTER RIDE. From Oroville you will head back up the Oroville Quincy Highway to the Sierra's.. then back through Quincy and down 32 to Chico. I road it both ways, that is the best method for SURE. Oroville Quincy and Yuba are the best 2 of the 4, and the Quincy took my vote as one of the best on the trip. I could have rode it all in the left hand lane, and nobody would have hit me. ZERO cars for the entire ride. It's a LONG road.
All the coastal roads were great... 36 was fantastic and reminded me of why it's rated so highly.. perhaps the best in North America. BUT, it has a dangerous section between Wildwood and 3 cutoff to Hayfork. A BCSB group ride might end up in someones death on that road. Newbies need not apply.
Forest Service 1 was good but snowed in on top... and the rest of the goat trails were fantastic.
Those who know the area can go ahead and ask further, those of you who have never been there... you should make the trip.
The biggest problem you encounter is when you come home... and you wonder just what you will do for the summer to entertain yourself. There is no slice of pavement in our dear province that comes close to evoking the shit giggling grins that were under my helmet.
Endless twisties, spotty traffic and great weather. I burned up 3/4 of my tires, drank some beer, lived like a hobo and smoked some marlboro's. It was one EPIC trip worth repeating. I think I'll do it again in September.