I’m storing my bike in San Francisco this winter so I am taking a four day trip.
Part One: Google Map of Blaine WA to Covelo CA
Part Two: Google Map of Covelo CA to San Francisco CA
Full write up of the trip is at the bottom.
I’m storing my bike in San Francisco for the winter this year. For years I’ve contemplated doing this and its time to do it. If I get a ride or two in over the off season it will be well worth it. This will be a solo one way trip. I have not done a solo trip like this before, it has always been group rides. Most motorcycle riders do ride on their own so I might as well go for it. I left at 830am and I had about twenty rain drops to contend with. It was sun the rest of the day. I opted for the Port Townsend ferry so I could bypass the I5. This is a great route but the ferry does hold you back from making good distance. I stopped by the Ridge Motorsports Track while their was a track day. I chatted with a few familiar faces and then was on my way again. Once I hit the 101, traffic was a little heavy. It’s the Labour day long weekend and everyone is getting in one last summer hurrah. There are some great sections closer to the Oregon border so it’s well worth the exposure to the traffic. In Astoria I was looking for some clam chowder but a quaint Mexican joint caught my attention. The day was getting on so it was time to for the final 100 miles. I had two great sections of road coming up, hwy 202 and 53. Hwy 202 was had a great surface and was did not have too many surface problems. It was also extremely quiet and I did not have to pass any cars or worry about any coming my way. Just the way I like it. Hwy 53 was equally as good but the surface had a few more divots and frost heaves to contend with. What a great way to finish the day.
When I arrived at the Horse Tale Flats BnB, they recommended some good places for dinner so I went to the Tsunami Grill in Wheeler. Since I was on my own I sat at the bar. Sitting at the bar is somewhat of a rarity yet it’s a great experience. I ordered wild turkey and coke, and began planning my route for tomorrow. Soon after I started talking to the person next to me and she was a local resident. Her husband was busy so she decided to have dinner up at the bar. We had a great conversation and she was extremely proud of her five kids. They were grown up at this point she already had eight grand children! She took a phone call from one of her kids and I proceeded to talk to the person to my left. He was asking about my motorcycle and was eager to tell me about his restoration project for a ’74 triumph. The bar is a great place to sit on your own. Lots of interesting people out there. I headed back to the bnb and was shown around. This bnb is exactly how it would be if I was staying a friends house. Great place and friendly hosts. Once I settled in I was offered a beer and they taught me to play the card game, hand and foot. They were regular card players so I stood no chance. Like the conversations earlier at the bar we exchanged our stories. What a great way to start the trip off. Great roads and great new people.
I awoke to the smells of breakfast being prepared and I was in for a feast. My hosts had outdone themselves by making a fritatta, fruit salad, english muffins with fresh jam, and bacon. I will not be leaving hungry that’s for sure. They also brewed up some coffee and used their tap water to make it. Their tap water has quite a bit of sulfur so it smells and doesn’t taste very nice. However, it makes a good cup of coffee! The sulfur takes the acidity of the coffee right out. So you’ll get a smooth cup of coffee every time. There was no way I could eat everything so they packed it up for me and send it with me. As I left to start my day made sure to convey my gratitude. The experience is far better than any hotel could have offered. I made my way south towards Lincoln City and enjoyed the many great views the Oregon Coast has to offer. I took the exit towards Siletz and relived good memories from the explOregon trip a month ago. In Siletz I missed my turn and ended up getting onto the hwy 20 earlier than planned. I paid for it as a wasp found its way into my motorcycle gear. At first I thought it was just a odd pain but then I got the second sting. I pulled my zipper down to let the air flow in and hopefully flush it out but all that did was get me a few more stings on my back. At this point I was irate and that is just what six wasp stings will do. I found a safe enough place to pull over and could not get my leather gear off fast enough. This soon presented me with another problem as I wear one piece leathers, I was now just in my underwear on the side of the road. I put on some shorts to appear less strange and tried to find the offending beast but I could not. The wasp was either buried in my gear or I had managed to get rid of it. I stomped on my gear, rolled it up tightly, searched around. nothing. I carefully put my gear back on and hesitantly rode off. After about 10 minutes I assumed I was safe. Which I was. I hope I don’t miss another turn on my trip. A quick gas stop and it was off to Alsea Hwy which has some of the nicest banked corners I’ve ever ridden. It is hard not to act like a hooligan through that section of road. Next up was a very quiet, small road and that I enjoy at a lower speed as it truly is a place I want nothing to happen on. I stopped for a break in Monroe where there was a local gathering. I quenched my thirst with some Kombucha from Kore Kombucha, I tried some young whiskey from Hard Times Distillery, and played with some ferrets from a local shelter. It was perfect. I sat down in the Kombucha tent and planned my route to Medford where my next BnB stay was. It was 2:30pm and according to my GPS I still had 267 miles to go. I had already travelled about 200 miles and the thought of another 267 miles was a little much. It was warm too so I knew the fatigue would set in before I arrived. Onward with a new arrival time of 800pm I meandered my way through some very nice back roads and miles were disappearing nicely. One piece of road that is worth mentioning was south of Veneta, Wolf Creek Rd. When I came up to the I5 is was for a short distance. As I was coming up to Cow Creek Road. I tried to ride this road a month ago in explOregon but we were turned away due to the large forest fire. As I continued down the road it was pleasant but the sun was starting to disappear. I felt I should take it easy as the risk of hitting deer goes up at sun down. Well into the road I came upon a road closed sign. Not good and turning around made me cranky. For some reason I pressed on remembering I had good luck ignoring a road closed sign last time. I took it slow as I did not want to appear like a complete idiot if I told to turn around. I soon realized why the road was closed before. This forest fire burned almost everything. Right up to the tops of the hills and mountains. The air was clear but the smell of burning remained. It is strangely beautiful as the blacks, reds, deep yellow, and occasional green make it appear as a highly saturated fall season. As I carried on I came upon the fire camp and every in there had a look at me as I slowing rode by, I gave them wave like I was supposed to or something and thankfully no one gave chase. I came upon the road closed sign on the other side and breathed a sigh of relief. While the road was forgettable, experiencing the devastation first hand was incredible. Back on the I5 it was sunset and it was nice to have the final 50 miles as direct as possible. Before my arrival I picked up some ice cream as it would be the perfect thing to have on a warm, long day of riding. I arrived at the Harlow Garden Home BnB at 8pm as I said I would and it was now dark. My hosts showed me my room and I immediately went to the shower. Cleaned from today’s journey my plan was to go face first into my pint of Chocolate Peanut Butter Haggen Daz ice cream. Before I could do that a cold IPA beer was offered and they were serving up soft shell tortillas with beans, rice, fresh veggies, and salsa. It was enjoyed sitting outside by the fire amongst the roar of chirping crickets. At this point I was completely relaxed and feeling great. It only gets better as instead of just having high end ice cream my hosts offered up homemade peach pie (with peaches from their tree) for dessert. I’m stuffed! Today was a long day and ended off perfectly. After the two BnBs I stayed, I don’t think I could go back to hotels.
I had another long day planned at 450miles so I thought I should take the quickest route into California. While taking hwy 238/199 into California would be nicer than the I5 to hwy 96, I’ll save time taking the I5. Before I started my day my hosts made me sweet potato waffles with peaches and yogurt. Right from scratch. Again, these BnBs exceeded my expectations! It was warm out already and the chill, morning air did not last. There is something special about crossing into California on a motorcycle. As a motorcyclist you are either riding in California or planning your next trip to California. I have ridden hwy 96 before but not for a few years. The road started off with a few dead dears. I wasn’t in my usual ‘go’ mode and I was enjoying the ride. The peaceful moment was disrupted when a deer emerged from the river below. I slowed down, focused away from the deer which moved me into the rightside of the lane, and got back on the throttle. The deer darted across the lane and I hit it. A loud crack and a small jerk on the handle bars and it was over. I stayed up. I pulled over to take a breathe, calm down, and see the damage. At first I didn’t see anything but I then it was obvious where the impacts were. I hit the deer’s right hind leg with my front tire and it’s hip with the front of the bike. The fairings were cracked and some pieces missing. Not bad! I got back on the road and my head space was not in the right place. I extremely hyper vigilant now and it didn’t help that the first road I sign saw was a Elk Xing sign. It took me about 40miles to get back into it. Towards the end of hwy 96 I was ‘feeling it’ again and rode as if it never happened. I took a right onto hwy 299 and headed west to the coast. From there it was fairly uneventful until I reached the Avenue of the Giants. This is a scenic road through some of the biggest trees in the world. You don’t want to ride to fast through here as there is not alot of give in those big red wood trees. It’s a welcome detour from the 101. At the end of this road I passed Leggett and kept going to hwy 162 to Covelo. This is a one way road that is highly rated. I went up most of it and enjoyed the entire road to myself. I arrived in Ukiah at 7pm and picked up dinner. Tonight I’ll be couch surfing! I joined couchsurfing.org before I left and someone was generous enough to offer a place to stay. I’ll admit it is a small leap of faith staying with someone you never met before but there is community based around this idea. My host just has gracious as my two BnB experiences. There was no social awkwardness and I’d lucked out staying here. My host was a dedicated democrat and his place was decorated with various 2012 Obama campaign material. This included a life size cardboard cutout of Obama himself!
I thanked my couchsurfing host and got an earlier start on my day. Ukiah is the perfect starting point as it is surrounded by all the great coastal roads of NorCal. The road to Boonville was my first great road of the day. Since it was earlier I took it easier as the roads had not yet warmed up from the sun. I stopped for a coffee in Boonville. I headed south soon after and spent the rest of the day in nirvana. I crossed back over the 101 and road the best piece of road for the entire trip, hwy 158. The hill climb up through the various hillside vineyards was spectacular, the road surface phenomenal, and it was a ten for ten on technicals. At the top the road surface diminishes to poor as it is a county line so I coasted down. I worked my way through wine country and made it to Calistoga. From there I made way back to the coast and was treated with the worst road of the trip. the road to Stewarts Point was complete crap and had me screaming in my helmet for this injustice. It just wouldn’t end. I was convinced I was in some riding hell but it did end and I swore never to ride it again. At this point the day was getting on and I had a fair bit of distance to go. I rode south on hwy 1 and was treated with more scenery and great roads. Some of the views are breathtaking. I was fatigued halfway through so I made my way to the 101 to get to San Fran. Since it was the Labour day long weekend , traffic was heavy. I lane split all the way to the golden gate bridge. I took the obligatory pictures at the golden gate including the ones riding over before getting to my destination. I met Adam at his tattoo shop as he was just finishing up. He knows the city well so we ripped it up pretty good and I felt as I was in scene from the movie Bullet. Great fun.
The next day Adam took me to a small spot north of the golden gate bridge where we had breakfast. He showed me a fantastic piece of road. It makes me insanely jealous to know that roads like this exist so close to cities. It was a perfectly short ride and my total trip miles landed at 1,585. I flew home later in the day and with it being such a quick flight it hardly seems I traveled at all. It took me four days to get to San Fran and only a few hours to get back home. It seems strange to be separated from my bike but its in the right place. Door to Bike is about 5 hours. It take me a few hours to get to the good stuff back at home so really the extra amount of time is well worth it. This is a great idea.