Fall ride to California. (24-30 Sep 2007)
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Thread: Fall ride to California. (24-30 Sep 2007)

  1. #1
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    HP 2

    Fall ride to California. (24-30 Sep 2007)

    This was the last 'long' ride for the 2007 season.

    During my ride to Laguna Seca in July (Here) I had issue with a tire replacement.
    This costed me 2 good days of riding in Northern California, which I was really looking forward to with the HP.

    So when a buddy told me that he was desperate to fill a week off at the end of September, I put work on hold, and took off again to get my Northern California fix.

    We left on the Monday morning not too early.
    Down I5 first and accross to Leavenworth for some classic German Sausage. A quick hope over the forest and into Ellensburg.

    I guess the first really cool road started with the Yakima canyon.

    It was just a perfect afternoon. Temperature, road surface, traffic, we had it all. In Yakima we then headed back west along US12. Stopping only for a quick look at Mount Rainier, as Darkness was approaching. We called it a night in Packwood WA.

    The next day saw a disappointing start, as we found out that the back road to mount St. Helens were shutdown during the week, for repairs. It worked just as well, as I was in need of yet another tire. So we spent the day in Portland shopping for goodies (New camera lens) and finished by another exciting I5 ride to Eugene OR.

    The next day we more than made up in terms of tiny twisty roads. I lead the way down some road I had discovered on my way to laguna.
    So eastbound along the Mackenzie river, then south to Westfir, via that awesome forest road, which I have now rename the roller coaster.

    Here is an interior view of the Westfir covered bridge with the new lens.

    We then crossed the Umpqua forest on a really tiny road, which was recommended by the BMW of Eugene staff that morning. Turns out that most maps are not updated yet as the road as only been completed (read fully paved) less than 2 years ago.

    Above the Umpqua forest (OR)

    We called it a night for good reason at the Diamond lake resort.
    The night and fuel reserve light flashing was enough to convince us to stop there.

    A fairly early start the next day, made for an awesome opportunity. Having crater lake almost to ourselves.

    Crater lake from the north east side.

    I felt extremely privilege to see Crater Lake under a perfect sky. The visitor center was already closed for the season. The wood stick marking the roads were in place waiting for the winter snow falls. At each viewpoint there was no tourist to battle with. My kind of tourist season.

    Here I was trying to spot any sign of life.

    The obligatory bike shot on the east side.

    We did took a break at the lodge before heading down to Medford.

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  3. #2
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    HP 2

    Part 2 and Conclusion.

    A quick boot down I5 lead us to the Klamath river and US96
    California at last. I was finally going to get my fix of those famous Northern California roads.

    A small bridge crossing the Klamath river.

    I was promised a great scenic road and I was not disappointed.
    I have read many stories on those roads leading to Happy Camp. and countless time there were stories of Highway cops hunting bikes. So somehow I did not let myself carried away too much.

    Unlike some ...

    We actually ended up going south on Scott river road to join back to Hwy.3 to backtrack towards civilization in Yreka for the night.
    I must recommend Scott river to any crazy Dual-Sport rider reading this. The first part will make you sick after only 2 or 3 miles. This is so tight that 2 or 3 gears would be enough. No need to say that the Hp was mighty happy.

    The following morning we again, gained time via I5 South to an isolated exit marked 'gazelle'. I was desperate to test the new 'Northern California Destination Highway' book claim that a road nearby deserved to be ranked #2 overall.

    Gazelle mountain pass. (CA)
    As you can see the road leading to the DH2 was in itself pretty wicked.

    Sadly, or happily for me, I have no pictures of the DH2. It was too much fun to stop. Sorry, I guess you should do your best to get down there yourself.
    The DH starts in Callahan (no Gas) and ends in Cecilville (No Gas) over a perfect blacktop. Then it is what the book call a Goat Trail to Forks of Salmon (no gas). The next section to Somes Bar (no gas) was in our humble opinion even better than the DH2 itself.
    Let's put it this way... I rarely giggle in my helmet. But this was too god to be true. We even commented that somebody at the DOT of California is a rider. There cannot be any other explanation.
    The fun ended there, as we headed back North toward Happy Camp (Gas at last) and we finally met our first Highway Patrol cop.

    Here is a section of the 'Goat trail'. I totally see why this road is a pain on a Sport bike, but on a dual... boy is it ever great.
    Warning though. This road can bite back. And a mistake could land you into some serious trouble. 100% concentration required here at all time.

    In Forks of Salmon, taking in some cool falls colors.

    Forest rat the way I like them. Those stupid rats are any rider worst nightmare. Some of this board have tested this for us many time before.

    It was the week of the hunting season start. I actually asked the hunters of this pick-up to lead me to the Gas station in Happy camp. I did not even realize right away that they had that dead deer in the back bed. Imagine my surprise after 2-3 minutes when I finally spotted the antlers sticking out.
    This was also one of those great moment which makes travelling in the States so cool. The guys were too happy to answer all my stupid questions, showing off their riffle, their bow and arrows, and describing how they killed the deer that morning.
    Check out the garbage and general junk collection in the back. BBQ, fishing roads, empty cans ...

    It was also a final answer to our biggest question since the start of the trip. No matter where we rode so far, isolated road or not, we saw no deer anywhere. And that was puzzling us.

    Anyway, shortly after Happy Camp, the fall weather finally caught up with us and it was already time to say good bye to California..

    The road heading North towards Grants Pass (OR).

    We ended up back into Eugene after a dreadfull and relatively wet ride up I5.
    It was Friday and we were already thinking to make it back to vancity by Saturday evening.
    I have a great Bike adventure story right there, but it would take me an hour to write it down.
    In brief. The following day Eugene College football was playing a big game against a California team. Off course we had no idea of it. So not a single room available in town. While at a gas station on the south edge of the city, I was pulling numbers from my GPS. And we dialed one last number. The lady who answered told us that the B&B was closed since 2 years ago. But somehow, my friend who is a real charmer, managed to get us invited to come over. We could not believe our luck. She even cooked a simple breakfast in the morning, all at no cost. I am convince that this would never happen while traveling in a car.

    Anyway, the next morning, the rain eased up. So we decided to head for some more twisties before crossing back into Washington state.
    Those twisties started in a little town called 'Sweet Home'. It took us along 'Green Peter Lake' deep into a forest only visited by hunters. Try it if you can, as the scenery and challenges are countless along there.

    Anyone want to attempt to ride that bridge ?

    The last picture taken along that little narrow road.

    Once we reached Detroit, we headed North on one last wicked road (Higher average speeds) to the outskirts of Portland.

    Then it was time to bot it home along I5. we managed to stay fairly dry till Tacoma. Then road in Seattle under heavy rain. We stopped for food, and discuss our options. Even though it was already dark, we decided to go for it as the rain had stop and the temperature felt mild.

    But off course by the time we reached the open space just south of the Chuckanut drive, the condition were monsoon like. Crazy side winds, and heavy heavy rain.
    We fuelled one last time in Bellingham, and then we splited. For some stupid reason I had put in my head that the Aldergrove crossing closed at 01:00 am
    So off course I was forced to go by Sumas. The problem was that by then the rain had become way more crazy and I was having serious trouble seeing the road at all. I basically rode blind for many many Kms.
    This was and still is the most stupid thing, I think that I have done so far.
    I should have called it a night in Seattle, and tackle the bad weather at day light. But if course in the spur of the moment nobody think rationally.
    I hope I learned my lesson for next time.
    This almost ruined my week ride... well almost.

  4. #3
    Newbie Poser Squid Array bafflebrain's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    here and there
    bad, m'kay?
    How you manage to 'put work on hold' so much I don't know.

    Nice ride report Bruno. BTW, where do you stash the camera on the HP2?
    "It's not my fault your slow!"

  5. #4
    Ride to you limits Array clutch's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    Lower mainland why who wants to know???
    To big and to fast for you
    Awsome trip.. Reminds me of the Canada Day one Me and two buddies of mine went on.. We just did WA sate, but I connected to allot of what you say about the "general People" of the states. Man some of the most friendly I have met..
    We are doing another on Canada day, instead of 3 days we are doing about a week, so we will mostlikely be in the same area as you were.. Cant wait..

  6. #5
    Slug 87 Array Slug87's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    HP 2
    Quote Originally Posted by bafflebrain View Post
    How you manage to 'put work on hold' so much I don't know.
    - I quit my rat race job in 2005 after my separation. (note that my ex is 100% responsible in motivating me to get my Rider license B4 we separated. For some weird reason I was always a bit scared of bikes)
    - Downsize my living quarters, by getting a super cheap rent in the burbs, and found somebody to pay my condo by renting it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bafflebrain View Post
    Nice ride report Bruno. BTW, where do you stash the camera on the HP2?
    The Nikon goes into the Tank bag.
    No other alternative. It is a pain as I have to stop a lot more with the HP than the previous GS. I missed my old Coolpix which died during a ride. It was very compact but slower than my current D70s off course. Stupid Nikon do not make those anymore.

  7. #6
    Melodious Array Brendan's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    Green Dolphin St.
    Here is a section of the 'Goat trail'. I totally see why this road is a pain on a Sport bike, but on a dual... boy is it ever great.
    Ha ! You should try it on a wing ! I'm just glad I didn't meet any oncoming traffic.
    Great report and awesome photos as usual Bruno !
    Well weathered leather, hot metal and oil, the scent of country air ....
    Sunlight on chrome, the blur of the landscape, every nerve aware .. !!

  8. #7
    Mortgage Pimp Array J_Scott's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Whistler, BC
    I'm just here for the intelligent conversation.
    Bruno, your reports are amazing.

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