From 100F to 60F in three hours (185 Miles)

I was tired of being in such heat. The Sacramento valley sun was in full force pushing temps over 100F during the day. It was time to find some better weather. My helmet was starting to get a bit of well, funk, in it so it was time to air it out! The air conditioner works pretty well, but never use too warm or too cold air on the helmet. Stressing out the foam with extreme and sudden temperature shifts would be bad.

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So after getting all my gear down and loaded onto the bike I roll it back for departure. I noticed it was harder to push than normal. At first I thought it was just extensive oil drag. I then saw that the tire was flat! :(. Ugh! Not the way I’d like to be at my furthest point from home on a Sunday for a holiday weekend.

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All the bike shops would be closed for at least two days. I had a patch kit with me and it was just going to have to work. I was not staying in Red Bluff for another two days.

The first time I rode CA-36 I didn’t like it. The road has a somewhat mischievous side to it with a few sudden changes in direction hidden behind small rises in the pavement. Also there are a few places where the road gets narrow in a hurry. As I’ve ridden it a few more times, the road gets easier to predict and thus becomes more fun (for me). The section between Interstate 5 and US-101 has been hailed by many a rider as the road of all roads. It’s 140 miles of very technical riding. It traverses 4 counties: Tehama, Shasta, Trinity, Humboldt. The ride through Tehama county is the fastest section with a lot of quick turns and very little elevation changes. Agriculture is king here and the roadside confirms it. The Shasta County section is the smallest. The road quickly starts climbing into the mountains. As your palette is just about wet, the Trinity section begins.

The first stop of the day was Wildwood which is right near the Shasta/Trinity county line. The owner of the store is a huge motorcycle buff so the store has a bunch of motorcycle paraphernalia around. There is one on the sign, a few for sale around the property if you’re looking for some cheap wheels, and one in the store.

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It looks like the store owner was into racing of some kind, but I was never able to confirm that. The one key point is that the store has premium gas. CA-36 is 140 miles from Red Bluff to Fortuna. Gas isn’t readily available at all hours. Do check with the Wildwood store if they will be open if you are traveling off hours.

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The next 50 miles is all about, technical, alpine canyon carving. The Trinity section has many high mountain views and is my favorite section of the highway. As Trinity ceeds to Humboldt, the mountains fade for a more Mediterranean climate. The views are expansive with very little tree cover. Often you can see the fog bank rolling in. About 20 miles from the junction of US-101 there is a nice section of deep redwood forest. It’s truly awesome.

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There was very little fog in Fortuna. That was a very welcome change! Lunch was at the Eel River Brewing Company. Overall, very good year after year, but prices have shot way up over the past year.

Eel River Brewing Company (C is average. No grade inflation here):

Category Score Comments
Seating NR Came off hours, but it never has really been a problem for smaller groups. Call ahead for larger ones.
Atmosphere B Tons of places to sit, both inside and outside.
Wait Staff C+ Good folks, but very much on par with “your standard restaurant”.
Food A I really like the food and brew here. I had a fair number of miles to go and beer isn’t served in small quantites here, so alas it was a pass. They cut the meatball sandwich which was awesome. The pulled pork sandwich was good though.
Value D+ They have really gone up in the past few years. Dinner is about what you’d pay in San Francisco. Seems high for the area, but not bad for those used to bay area prices.
Overall B+ Solid performer that’s always been on the menu since I started riding up in this area in 2008.

After lunch I checked the tire and I had lost a few pounds of pressure. It was also significantly cooler. Bringing back high school chemistry (PV=nRT), it wasn’t clear at cursory glance if I was leaking air. I wanted some time to explore Trinidad, so cut the miles short today. I was planning to do FS-1, but with a down tire, I figured I’d leave it for another trip.

185 miles for the day.

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