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Posing with conviction
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5,397 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As some of you know I planned this trip within 36 hours of departure. So not much prep time. I do appreciate the tips I got from some of the veteran tourers. Some of it helped me greatly.

Day 1 940K

Day began at 5:10 am. Packed up and ready to go from the evening before. Left home to catch the ferry to the mainland hoping not to find any deer jumping out of the bush as they do around my place at sunrise or sunset.

The ferry is on time and the sky is quiet and clear sky with sun. Warm weather in the forecast for the whole trip. Rolled the dice and did not take any rain gear with me. Probably really dumb idea but I got away with it. Hit a huge thermal inversion as I approached White Rock with visability about 10 to 15 feet. I went into White Rock to get gas and actually got lost/disoriented in the fog but only for about 20 minutes. Crossed the border without any anal cavity search or silly questioning. It was around 8 am.

The I-5 was bleak and wet for another hour and a half using my fingy to squeegy the mist off the visor. Most annoying. I was following a few cars that were moving faster than the normal flow and enough that if the popo were to nab people I wouldn't be first in line. One thing. One of the cars had a very low-on-air rear tire and he was weaving in and out of the traffic lanes putting lots of stress on the tire that was being squeezed out between the tire rim and the road. It was only a matter of time. "Booooom" My head goes down and me along with about 4 other cars are showered with stinky exploded tire shit. I veer over immediately away from the car that is wobbling at mach 2 off to the shoulder and manage to get along my way without any incident. I realize my camping out behind this dude was a bad idea... Lesson learned.

Things started to get OK by Seattle and the sun broke before Tacoma with the temps jumping from 10 Celcius in White Rock to 30+ for the remainder of the day. I could put away the electric vest. Seattle and Tacoma are nice looking cities from the highway. That's saying a lot for the I-5 which is an interminable piece of shit that it is.

Had to find new rubber and I knew that I couldn't ride the whole day without the tire change. Thumper mentioned a place in Eugene. They said couldn't do it till the following day went to a place in Beaverton recommended by Flax. On the way to it I passed by a Vietnam memorial in Beaverton. I would have liked to check it out but I was on a mission and a timeline on this first day to kill both Washington and Oregon, the police states. After some negotiation, once I arrived at the bike shop in Beaverton, I managed to get a new set of Qualifiers put on. No Powers left in stock. Beaverton like many places I passed in Oregon was like stepping into a time-warp. Post-war American architecture and values. Found a Starbucks though and all was right with the world. Even a bike I could lean against while mine was in the shop. Pure bliss. Their Classic Coffee Cake though isn't quite the same as ours. Coffee is still the same old burnt shit.

When I went back to the shop I began talking to the service counter rep. I asked him about the police in Oregon. "So what are the cops like here?" "If they catch you over 100 MPH they will throw you in jail, take your licence and probably take your bike. People around these parts are sick of seeing punks on bikes just like yours tearing up the streets." I thanked him for the warning and accomodating me on such short notice. I was off again...to a telephone to order up a radar detector and had it delivered to my dad's place in California to pick up in a few days.

The Dunlops I liked immediately. The rubber seems harder than the Powers particularly on the sides but they seem to adhere as well. Hard to tell though without thrashing them which I didn't.

Something I noticed right away on the trip was that being on my own I felt pretty vulnerable. If I got into an accident I would be relying on strangers to help me out. If I got stopped by the police I could get ass raped with no witnesses. This kept me pretty honest with my riding. As well I couldn't afford huge roadside tickets and having no radar detector just left me feeling like I didn't want to ride faster than the traffic by more than a few kilos. In fact I used faster cars as radar rabbits as much as possible. This saved me from at least 1 ticket probably a few. The highway traffic cops were crafty sitting at the end of long deserted stretches with their lights out just waiting for people to gun it...

The first day ended near the south end of Oregon about an hour or so north of the California in Grant's Pass which would set me up nicely for day two, riding the coast. Spent the evening about 2 hours watching documentaries on the Sept 11th bombing and medicating my sore wrists with coolers and beers. Even though I spent the entire day on the slab it was a good day. I met some interesting people and knew that on my way back I was going to rip up through the interior roads of Oregon and Washington state and see some breath taking sights... which I did.

 

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Posing with conviction
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5,397 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 2 825K

I brought a bunch of video gear which I didn't have a chance to test out before I started the trip. Had big plans. Brought a really nice boom mic to strap on the back for the exhaust sound, a lipstick camera a nice jib arm setup so I could hang the camera out in weird spots but it all came to crashing halt when I tested the unit out in Grant's Pass. The tape transport couldn't handle the jostling even riding around at 30K on well paved highways. Oh well...

As I was taking the video gear off my bike a fellow biker comes out of the room next to me and we start yaking it up. He's just come up from the Grand Canyon on his Harley and other guy comes up and says ohhh another BCer! My goddammed wife wouldn't do the vacation on the bike so we are caging it. He's about 65 years old. So these guys are giving me all sorts of good advice on where to go. The fellow from BC is telling me about this place called the "Lost Coast". It's a section of the coastal road system just below Eureka that is reported to be amazing and largely unvisited by tourists. First town on The Lost Coast is Ferndale. You will see it on your maps. More of that later.

I left the older guys chatting about bikes in the parking lot of the hotel as I wanted to get moving. I decided there that I was going to attempt to do The Lost Coast and a few of the roads in between the coast and the I-5 as I made my way down.

Things started off nicely. Weather was good. In the low 20's and sunny. Went through some really spectacular tall opulent redwood forests as I approached the coast towards Cresent City.



Traffic was light but I didn't get the sense the tourist season had ended even though it was the week after Labour Day.



When I got to the coast I was hit with another thermal inversion which is just a pretentious way of saying fog. Every fiber of my being was hoping that this would be short lived and I wouldn't have to bail on the coastal riding.



Unlike the previous day the visability through the fog was doable. I still had to be cautious going into the curves but I could maintain a speed around 80K and still be safe. The fog stayed with me pretty much to Eureka, just above where the famed Lost Coast trail was but as I rounded the area where the peninsula was I could see that the fog had completely enveloped the area where I wanted to ride.



I had to make a quick decision. Continue going the coast in the fog or find some interesting interior riding. I went for plan B and it wasn't so bad. I headed down 101 which runs paralell to the coast but inland about 30 to 50K, passed the Lost Coast, passed Fort Bragg and Mendocino opting for the 101 route which is really well engineered twisty highway going through a mixture of redwood forests and some elm groves which are so typical of the California landscape. Fairly late in the day I decided to make a break for my Dad's place which is kinda south of Tahoe or southeast of Sacremento. This means I would have to high tail it through some good interior heading roads and bomb down the I-5 for an hour to Sacremento and then bomb through the wine fields and old gold mines of the Sierra Foothills all hopefully before dark sets in.

I took highway 20 over from highway 101 leaving it at Calpella. Really interesting road. Again well engineered and the landscape is varied weaving between and around lakes with the largest being Clear Lake. The roads are endless twisty from tight ones to medium sized broad sweepers and through the undulating grass covered hills and the signature Oak trees that pepper the area. It was a mezmerizing few hours. A road worth putting on the list for California trippers. You could continue taking it through to Yuba City then on to Tahoe but I took the I-5 south to Sacremento. Once I got to Sacremento it was rush hour. I managed to find my exit to the Sierra Foothills and all became right again. Stopped for a quick bite. Gave the counter guy some money. He throws a quarter back at me. "That's not real. It's fuckin fake man." "Oh sorry it's a Canadian quarter." "Yeah its fake."

By the time I finish eating it is about 10 minutes from dusk. But the air is so warm and still and the roads are so new and well markered that I know this is going to be a great and memorable way to end the day. If you haven't been for a ride through the Northern California interior this is an area you have to check out. The roads in the Sierra Foothills like most roads in California are in perfect or near perfect condition. Their tax base allows for a high level of road maintenance. The road I hit, HIghway 16, to Jackson was freshly paved within the past week and they had just put up the reflector markers in indicate where the road paint was to go so it looked like I was riding through a video game. You couldn't see the road as it was fresh black asphalt with just the markers visable. The air was almost at body temperature so you had this incredible sensation of near weightlessness careening through the gentle twisties behind the vineyards of Sutter Creek and beyond. Just before I ended up at the destination I came across a highway work crew that had bank upon bank of these super high intensity lights on. Looked at first like a night-time movie shoot. Apparently this is quite common for roadwork to be done during the wee hours in California. Turned out this road crew was not working for the State but for a Casino. They were repaving a road cadillac style in the middle of nowhere to this casino... The day's riding ended at 9:00 pm at my Dad's. Time for a beer and some conversation.
 

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Melodious
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498 Posts
Nice write up ... be sure to post days 3,4 and 5.
 

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Banned
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2,578 Posts
:devillook ...You're pushing me over the edge. But I don't mind. :)

I'm on vacation -supposedly a time to relax- but since both 'Escape Plan A' and 'Escape Plan B' have fallen apart, I've been miserable and bored to tears. Plan A was to go to Nova Scotia for the 'Festival of Speed'. But it was cancelled, leaving me stuck with these vacation dates. No problem: Plan B was a riding trip (south) ...but then somebody tried to steal my bike and it's been in the shop since before labor day weekend. I rode so little all summer (work demands :firemad) and now my 'vacation' is slippin' away. I'm more stressed out as each day passes. Or 'was'...

:angel

Today I learned my bike might be ready tomorrow afternoon (re: attempted-theft damages finally fixed at $3K'ish :rolleyes) and there's nothing stopping me from...
:noevil

:) Keep writing. Mention a few roads. ;) Leave a trail of bread-crumbs... :D

:coffee
 

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Posing with conviction
Joined
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5,397 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Tony, I haven't finished yet. Been swamped with work over the past few days. And yes, I am glad I made it back in one piece. I did see a couple of those skid marks you were mentioning a few weeks ago. Washington and Oregon have some remarkable roads. Later :)

Chaz, the season IS NOT over despite the general tone around here. Still many weeks of riding left. The glass is half full, not half empty!!

EDIT:

Charles. Reread your post. Man is that ever a bummmmer. The weather is picking up for the rest of the week. 3 words. Mt. Saint Helens. Everything should revolve around that if you have 3 days. Can be done in 2. Throw Chuckanut in as well.
 

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Ride the winds of change
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1,994 Posts
Andrew

Go to SBNW in late August next year. Then you can ride the east side of Mnt. Saint Hellens many times. The road past Windy Ridge to Randle has many invisible bumps. A sport tourer does very well in that area over a sport bike with the softer suspension.


I'm very partial to riding down the Cascades in Oregon though.
Its just amazing whats offered to us by riding a few days.

Scoot
 

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Mmm...beer
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2,144 Posts
Sounds like a great trip.
 
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