Friday, October 31, 2008

Adv #7 Continued....finishing the Pacific Coast Ride

So I had to finish riding down the Pacific Coast Highway, right? My season with Suntrek was finished, I had all of my riding/camping gear ready to go, and I met up with my buddy Chris Brockland who flew to San Francisco from Milwaukee just to rent a BMW 1200 GS and spend a week riding around with me and Peter. Date was October 19th.

We started with a quick run through San Francisco. Oh, and yes, I invested in a new helmet and jacket. Better stuff, more appropriate for the type of situations I'll get into down south.

We even had the chance to meet up with another old high school buddy of ours, Eric Baird. Eric, his wife, and two cute kids live just north of San Francisco. Good news is, Eric has very long arms which made this self-made group shot so possible and well aligned. Chris and I rode up to Mendocino County and Mendocino National Forest to chose a camp spot….. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t realize the people at REI had put the wrong size sleeping mat into his bag for him….
And then first thing in the morning, I got a call from another high school buddy, Jason Bolz, who had just read my blog and noticed that we was close to us while vacationing in Napa with his girlfriend, Katie. Sure enough, a quick & beautiful ride toward each other, and we were able to grab some lunch together in Calistoga. Small world….

So here we are the next morning, having caught a late camp spot on the Avenue of Giants to sleep amongst the beautiful Redwood trees with Peter. Good to see my riding buddy again after being apart for a couple of weeks!
Speaking of beautiful Redwoods, why not stop and give one a hug? They are so impressive….
….and they are SO tall. Most often, over 100 meters tall.
Our first day for the three of us riding together would prove to be one of those truly great days of riding. I had met Mike Alumbaugh back in August at the motorcycle shop, and we had talked about riding “The Lost Coast” as it is called in Northern California. The Pacific Coast Highway, (Highway 1) actually starts inland quite a distance, leaving a portion of the coastline practically untouched by cars, buildings, roads, etc. Mike was a local from the Shelter Cove area, he happened to know about the “Usal Road,” a dirty, rutty mess of a road that winds through the trees along the coastline. Never would have found the road on our own, so Mike joined us for what would be our first 33 miles headed south.
Quick shot of what part of the Usal Road looks like most of the way. It certainly gets more rutty, rocky, and difficult than this alot of the time though. On the big bikes, I guess we only averaged 15 mph.
Quick shot of what Chris looks like running back to his bike after a brief “dismount.” (Sorry Chris…had to : ) His BMW 1200 GS was a heck of a big bike to have a first off-road experience on!
The entire USAL Road ran along the coast, and occasionally we were able to pop out in the sun for a group shot.
Some other riders we came across (Kirk and Fritz from near Lake Tahoe) told us about a Navarro Ridge Road, which starts just south of Fort Bragg and winds for about 20 miles through the redwoods. More beautiful trails, and of course more abandoned cars like this one. Unbelievable the places some of these goofballs try to drive a car! Towing it out of there would have cost more than this piece of junk was worth, so I guess it will sit there for some time….
Nice little lunch spot on the beach right near the end of Navarro Ridge Road.

And here’s our lunch spot the next day in Point Reyes
Later that day, Hwy 1 merges into 101, which is essentially the Golden Gate Bridge on the north end of San Francisco. Yea, I’ve been there about a dozen times in 2008…..but it’s just a great photo opp!
Last night of camping with Chris, we stayed at a State Park just south of Santa Cruz. Sad to see you leave us buddy, but I hope you had a great week, and find another way to have such riding adventures. I know it got into your blood more than it was before……
Peter and I camped one more night about 45 minutes north of Monterey on the coast. He had different travel ideas for the next few days than I did, so he went east to see Yosemite, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree NP (places I had seen quite a bit of this year) and I continued down the coast. Poor thinking on my part, I forgot Matt Appel, my tent-mate and good buddy from Suntrek training was staying on his boat in Moss Landing just 20 minutes from where Peter and I last camped! So glad you caught my phone call Matt, and that we were able to hang out for a bit. It’s a vicious flex-pose like this one that gets you ready to chase the sea lions off the dock in the next picture!
I was a little late for the shot, but Matt charged them, and about 4000 lbs of sea lion jumped off into the water, barking and getting all testy with us.
Further south, the Pacific Coast Highway gets high enough that the intense fog is still below you.
And eventually, I made it to Newport Beach to visit with my old buddy Steve Tracy for a few days. Steve and I got to know each other through a mutual friend, Scott Parker, and we ended up becoming good friends when living by each other in Austin a few years ago. Pic is of his place, only about 30 yards from the sand of Newport Beach!
Exciting times....Steve had just ordered a nice new Trek Madone 5.2 road bike. Brought back some memories of riding with my Atlanta friends as we had fun putting it together.So on Friday, October 31st, I headed out for the rest of the West Coast ride. It was nice to ride through towns like Laguna Beach, and of Course San Diego. But this part of the Pacific Coast Highway isn't nearly as beautiful as what you see up north around Big Sur and the Bay Area. I took the last exit before the border....

So I'm not crossing the border at this time, but if you look closely, you can see the Mexican flag just above my thumb and just over the border from where I'm standing. That's it! From the farthest northwest point in Washington (Rialto Beach) to the farthest southwest point in California just below Chula Vista, I've ridden the entire west coast with my KTM.

I just heard from Peter that his girlfriend from Italy is flying to Phoenix November 15 through 23. Happy for him, but bummed that those plans pretty much wipe out our chance to go watch the Baja 1000.

In the meantime, I'm headed to Green Valley, AZ for November 5 through 9 or so, as my folks are flying in to visit while my Aunt Sue and Uncle Dennis are vacationing at Grandma's house there. I'm of course bummed about not being able to have Thanksgiving in Miami with the family, or Christmas in Milwaukee, so at least we get to visit now. More to be written once I leave for AZ!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice trip reports. We should do a ride sometime you are back in Milwaukee. We can take the Trans WI Trail (N to S all offroad) some weekend.