Part 1 Of 2
Everyone has a favorite trip, right?
One where the sense of adventure may have faded some, but where the outright quality of riding brings you back time and again.
For me, fortunately one of the most spectacular motorcycle roads on the planet is but a days trip from my garage door here in “Yakimania” (Washington State), and that day can be not too shabby in itself.
With only three days to burn this fall, I pointed the DL1000 south on US-97 ‘till the only crossing of the Cascade Range not yet done beckoned – “Screw Eureka, you can sleep in Crescent City instead… smell the roses”.
So, it was west on OR-126 at Redmond, through the neat little theme/specialty-shop town of Sisters, and over McKenzie Pass on the class A+ twisties of OR-142. Goood Tiiiimes!! I’ll be back
At the crest, the Pass is one huge pile of volcanic lava rock. The pavement winds capriciously through the tortured landscape, it’s smooth organization eerily set against Mother’s chaotic art work.
Adding to the weirdness, thick smoke from the seasonal logging slag fires:
N-wd, the Dee Wright Observatory at the Pass:
Fast forward for some very interesting, near triple digit slabbing on the “Fiver” (not by me of course… crazy Orgigonials
) to the city of Grants Pass and the turn off to US-199, a great section SW-rd out to the Pacific coast.
And here we are again, Almost Heaven, at about the OR/CA line. I’ve been stopping here since I was a kid, but like a tree that dies one limb at a time I’d not noticed the decline until this time through… “Almost Dead” more like it, like “Almost” all these old places in the west, a victim of large fuel tanks on fuel efficient vehicles, and strategically located, chain-operated fast food and lodging:
W-wd, across 199 – Café Closed… a head stone for an era lost in time:
Onward, the CA portion of 199 is the best. Not much time for sight seeing whilst twisting down the Smith River Canyon, and then the punch-line – the final six miles of surreal twists as the roadway is crammed in between the giants, under the gloomy canopy of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods.
The end of a perfect day, touring duties done, tank charged and ready, snugly installed in my favorite economy motel in Crescent City, I’m eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s ride down “The Beach”.
Early to rise. B-fast at Mutt-D’s (I know, but gastro insurance, tourcraft, etc.). A gorgeous 3-hrs S on the 101 in a sunny 70F weather bubble (these are expected in the fall season, and was waited and planned for) puts us here, on the Eel River, just N of Richardson Grove, the only redwood close-encounter left on 101.
I almost always stop to see what’s new, and because after the constant conifer green since home, my desert soul just needs some fkggg color
W-wd, they were making one of those movies out back, you know the one… the vague shots of the guy in the fury suit ….
N-wd, Chief Yakiman meets Chief Kaw-liga, “poor old wooden head” (I gave him a kiss, just cause he never got one. This, after the finger gestures with Fury Suit (he started it), well… they asked me to please leave
Skip another nine miles S to Leggett, and the north terminus of famous CA-1 North (of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge)
E-wd, turned around for a shot back at the signs at 101:
As anyone who has ridden the next 22-miles on CA-1 back out to the ocean will attest, this is one outrageous mf – hardly ever out of 2nd and 3rd, revs to redline, part of the game is to resist impulsive breaking and control the bike only with the hands, the ears, the butt, the knees…rpms and compression breaking… do the dance. Here’s where all those years of skating pay off, too – don’t force the momentum, just control the flow. The Strom loves it.
By the time we hit Westport, the first “town” of any size out on the coast road, it’s back to tour mode, breathing normal, adrenalin level mitigated. Time to drink in every minute of the road right at the edge of the great hydrosphere, the world of our spawning. Who knows when we might get back here again…
SE-erly, turned around for a shot at Wages Creek canyon loop, just N of Westport. If you want to see the pampas grass in full fluff, remember, go in the fall:
N-wd, back at Westport:
N-wd, just S of Westport:
Same as above, S-wd
30-minutes more of this outstanding stuff brings the beautiful little coastal city of Fort Bragg, and a natural for an F & F stop and to stretch awhile.
Before heading out for Mendocino and other points south, I made a call home to see if she still loved me. She said she did, but she’s been known to lie
. Guess I’ll find out in a couple days when I try the key in the door
.End Part 1 of 2.