Since I was up later than I had planned, I decided to sleep in a bit this morning, until 8am :). When I was loading the final items on the bike, random stuff kept coming up that I needed to take care of, ie, putting away the laundry that was in the dryer, emptying my trash, etc. You know, all that stuff we usually put off. Finally at 11, the bike was packed, all of the random crap was done, and it was time to head out for the big trip…to the gas station. I was on reserve!
So the 101 is our version of the downtown freeway. We all know it and hate it as the commute to San Francisco or San Jose. 101 and I are going to be spending about 800 miles together, from the Bay Area to Aberdeen, WA, just south of the Olympic Peninsula. Traveling up to San Fransisco was fairly uneventful. The Golden Gate had a ton of fog around it so the bridge crossing was surprisingly cold.
At the bridge I ran into a father and daughter that were riding their bikes on a trip not so different than mine, but headed to the east. One of the things that I enjoy about the bike is that it usually lends itself as a conversation piece, especially when it’s covered with a bunch of stuff. They offered to take my picture!
After crossing the Golden Gate, we’re back into suburban freeway mode to wrap up the other 1/2 of the bay area. As Marin yields Sonoma county, billboards change from used car ads to come taste our wine ads. Mondavi, Kendall Jackson, and the other main ones are all there.. It has been a while since I had been in this area. Passing Healdsburg reminded me of the Adventure Canoe Trip as well as the ride out to Ferrari Carano with my Folks. I highly recommend both as Burke’s runs a great trip and the gardens at Ferrari are second to none.
At the Mendocino county line, the freeway is just about gone and the road changes into a mix between two and four lane bliss. All is good, however since the road meanders to the east, the mercury starts to rise. In Ukiah, the temperature is nearing 100 degrees. I needed some chain oil, so I stopped by to see the folks at Lost Coast Suzuki. I spoke with the sales manager and found out that the heat is not going to abate for another 100 miles. I forgot to bring rags (and they were even on the list), so they threw in a couple free!
Mark and I had a hunch that the Taco Bell in Willits was one of, if not the best Taco bell out there. We rode into that town a few years ago after a long ride and gave the Bell high marks. Deciding that that hunch needed to be proved out, I made a border run. The food was as good as I remembered it (though 100 degree heat and 180 miles can do that to a guy). The heat started to break near the Humboldt county line. The highway makes it trek through redwood groves as it parallels the Avenue of the Giants and the Eel river. Taking the Ave provided some much welcomed shade as it’s in the thick of the redwoods.
I made it to Eureka (I found it!) about 6:45 in the evening and found a local microbrewery to grab some dinner at
Lost Coast Brewery is right in downtown and looked to be a pretty hip spot. The food was a solid B+/A-, but the service was C-. You could tell that it was one of those places where they knew if you were local… I can’t rate the beer, as I still had miles to ride, but they looked good.
I was bouncing between staying in Eureka (320 miles) or rolling onto Crescent City (400 miles). I decided to go for it as I had about 90 minutes of daylight left. This part of 101 runs through some spectacular scenery as it varies between dense forest and ocean. The sun was setting so the sky was filled with all kinds of blue, purple, and pink. The fog was coming in as well so the colors all blended in across the sky.
All the fun of motorcycle travel was now in full effect. It’s been a 400 mile day, which is long for me as my prior max is 350. I can’t find the hotel and I can’t easily look at a map as that’s in the side cases. I realize I just drove by it (after getting on the wrong freeway for a nice 5 mile detour). 80 miles ago I decided to pass on camping as the thought of sleeping on the ground was growing less appealing. I was glad I did. Next up… the Oregon Coast.
In case your wondering the connection… US101 in on the peninsula is the Military Servicewomen’s Memorial Highway. From San Francisco to Oregon, it’s the Redwood Highway. Yes… I know a Danism.