From May 16th to 22nd I took a ride down to northern California. The goal was to ride the awesome roads around Redding and Fort Bragg, while taking a fairly direct route down there.
For those of you just looking for pictures, the link is at the end of the post.
For anyone interested in doing a similar trip, here are the original routes I had planned:
I ended up running into some road/gps/mechanical issues, so this is what I ended up doing.
By the numbers:
Day 1: Vancouver BC - Manzanita OR, 560 kms
Left the house at about 8 am to catch the 1030 ferry to Port Townsend, was stopped and searched at the border (1 hour delay) so I ended up taking the noon sailing. After eating in Port Townsend it was down the 101 (DH22) to Shelton. Weather was gorgeous and traffic was light so it was pretty fun. Was planning on taking Lost Lake/Cloqualum Rd. (DH 72) to Elma but ended up on the road to Matlock and then on to Brady. Very few corners and clear-cuts as far as the eye can see made this road very forgettable. Hooked up to the 101 again (DH16) and headed down the coast to Manzanita. I camped at Nehalem Bay State Park, which was a nice campground right on the coast ($24 dollars a night, showers etc). Zipped into town after setting up camp and had a decent burger and some good beer at the Sand Dune Pub.
Day 2: Manzanita OR - Gold Beach OR (via crazy detours), 520 kms
Started the day with a jaunt down the 101 before stopping in Lincoln City for breakfast. East Devils Lake Rd just before Lincoln City is a fun little detour with some decent 25mph corners. From there it was a nice little zip down to Toledo on Hwy 229, before getting back on the 101 to Myrtle Point. The road from Myrtle Point to Powers (Hwy 542) was really fun, with decent twisties/pavement and no cars. From there I planned on heading through the coast range to Glendale, but the road was washed away, so I was forced to take ~20 mile detour on a really nasty gravel road to Agness. I ran into some locals on the gravel road and they were shocked that a sportbike was up there, and offered me a beer in Agness. I politely declined and decided to head back to the coast. Stayed in the Chinook Inn in Gold Beach (~60 dollars a night, fairly clean, etc) before walking to the Sea Star Bar for a sandwich and a couple beers.
Day 3: Gold Beach OR - Fort Bragg CA, 510 kms
Started the day with a fairly long stretch down the 101, but I was getting excited as I got closer to northern Cali. After eating in Eureka, it was off to Ferndale and Mattole Rd. (DH64). I'm still not sure how I feel about this road. The upside is it's twisty, remote, and very scenic, but the downside is the pavement is atrocious. If I were to do it again I would probably just ride the first 5-10 miles from the south end, this is a one lane stretch through a gorgeous stand of redwoods. From there it was the Avenue of the Giants (DH66) to the 101 and then down to Leggett for one of my favorite rides ever, Hwy 1 to Fort Bragg (DH5). After my shit-eating grin wore off I set up camp at MacKerricher State Park ($35! dollars a night, not quite as nice as Nehalem Bay, but decent and still about half the price of the cheapest motel in town). I went into town and tasted some beers at North Coast Brewing (one of my favorite breweries) before getting some delicious pizza and chatting with some locals.
Day 4: Fort Bragg CA - Coffee Creek CA, 650 kms
What a day! Probably one of the best days of riding I've ever done. Perfect start to the day on Hwy 20 to Willits (DH32) then up the 101 again to the start of Hwy 36. Hwy 36 is amazing, all the way to about Platina, after that it gets pretty tame. After zipping through Redding (it was crazy hot, like 100 degrees) it was up the 299 (DH33) to Weaverville and Hwy 3 (DH18). If you're heading up this way make sure you gas up/eat in Weaverville cause there's no real services until you get to Etna. I managed to get a microwaved burrito at a KOA campground on Trinity Lake before camping at the Trinity River campground ($10 dollars a night, only outhouses, no potable water).
Day 5: Coffee Creek CA - Medford OR, 290 kms
Got a nice early start to the day, and had an amazing time riding both Hwy 3 and Cecilville Rd. (DH2!). The road has some really nice elevation changes, good pavement, and beautiful scenery. There's absolutely no services around here though so make sure you have gas, etc. My bike started acting a bit wonky around the summit, which has happened before at elevation (aftermarket pipe), so I turned up the idle a bit and that seemed to fix the problem. Gassed up in Etna and was heading up the I5 when things started to get worse - rpms inconsistent, fuel injection light coming on. Stopped at a rest area and checked fuses, etc before continuing on to Medford, where I was going to try and find a shop to take a look at it. Unfortunately it was Sunday and no motorcycle shops were open til Tuesday so I decided to head towards Eugene. My bike ended up dying about 5 miles out of town so I had it towed to the Honda dealership and ended up spending a couple days in the Motel 6. Got it looked at first thing Tuesday morning by the really nice service manager named Herb. It was a loose electrical connection, and I was relieved it wasn't going to be an expensive fix. I had a bit of a negative experience with the owner of the dealship, he gave me shit for chaining my bike to his fence outside, saying if it set off his alarm he would've had it towed.
Day 6: Medford OR - Vancouver BC, 950 kms
Was back on the road by noon Tuesday and by this time the weather had taken a turn for the worse all the way up to Vancouver. My original plan was to head east of the I5 into the Cascades, but by central Oregon I hit some pretty nasty rain, and wasn't about to follow the storm east. I decided to try and push through all the way home, and after 10 long hours of soaking wet I5 riding, I made it back and was glad to sleep in my own bed. Unfortunate ending to the trip but I got to ride all the good roads in California that I set out to, so can't really complain.
Hwy 229: Lincoln City - Toledo OR
Hwy 542: Myrtle Point - Powers OR
Hwy 1: Leggett - Fort Bragg CA (still my favorite)
Hwy 36: Fortuna - Platina CA
Hwy 3: Weaverville - Callahan CA
Cecilville Road: Callahan - Cecilville CA
PICS are here (click slideshow in top-right corner):