Thursday, May 22, 2014

Best day on bikes! (Eureka to Point Arena)

Another early morning. 6am and the curtains are drawn. It's very dark in the hotel room with only an edge of light escaping through the curtains. Yet, I am awake and thinking of all the fun we had the day before and imagining the fun yet to be had.

Kris is up. We shower and make coffee with the included micro coffee maker. This room actually has non-dairy creamer in it.

We decide to bring food back to the room for blog posting. Breakfast is continental and surprisingly tasty for an inexpensive hotel in the ghetto.

Bellies full and blogging done, we load the luggage on the bikes which, surprisingly, are still there and all of our detachable items like heat controllers, camera and phone mounts, etc...still intact and hit the road. Destination, Lost Coast!

We only had a loose idea of how to get there. 101 south to 211 to Mattole Rd. No exit numbers or turn by turn directions. Having my phone mounted on my handlebars was emmensily helpful for navigation. We missed our exit, turned around and got on what we believed to be the correct road. This lead us to a little town in the middle of some farming lands called Ferndale. The buildings were turn of the century old west style in various states of repair or disrepair. The map called for turning on Wildcat Rd. but a road sign didn't exist. After a few wrong turns we, by process of elimination, found the road we were after. Kris said, "Perhaps it's that sketchy road we passed." And man, was she right!

The road to the lost coast is bad. Really bad. It's steep, very windy, cracked, broken, patched, undulated, and gravel at some points. This is where the KLR came into it's own. It took to it like a duck to water. Kris' poor Ninja (and her bottom) took a beating. But it was all worth it for the amazing views, at times the amazing road which someone had repaired for brief stints, and the experience of doing this really hard thing together.

The lost coast is completely isolated save for this one crappy road leading in and out of it. At one point while we were stopped, I mentioned to Kris that we only have a few snacks and half a bottle of water if something goes wrong. She reminded me that we do also have two bikes. I wouldn't want to do this ride alone. There is nothing for miles and miles.

The actual ocean takes a while to get to. It's a 1 hour ride from the north side of Mattole rd and at least a 2 hour ride coming from the south. The pictures speak for themselves but let me just tell you, if you like adventures, whether that be on motorcycle, car, bicycle, or by feet, this is something you must do.

I told Kris at one pull off that I feel sad for her. When she asked why, I said, because this is the very best motorcycling you will ever do. It all gets less good from here. She asked me how it compared to St. Helens and Windy Ridge. It's hard to compare but in hindsight, St. Helens is much like Hwy 1. Smooth yet windy, beautiful views. Yet, there's something mysterious about the lost coast. It's forbidden. It's difficult. But oh my gosh is it worth the effort!

The south edge of the loop to the lost coast is noted by giant redwoods touching the side of the road at Humboldt State Park. It was like riding a dirt bike through the woods as a mouse. The trees were giants! The road was still bad, though, less bad. Cars constantly try to kill you, using more than their fair share of the road.

I was sad to get back to hwy 101 headed south to Glass Beach. Nothing could compare to the amazing experience that is the lost coast.

We took the exit to hwy 1 and were pleasantly surprised by the number and tightness of the turns here. It wasn't the lost coast, it was a new experience yet the intensity of the turns and beauty were on a similar scale. California, we love your curves!

30 or so miles later, the curves straightened out and we found the coast again! Fort Bragg was in our sights. We stopped at Glass Beach or the parking lot for Glass Beach and didn't know what to do. There is no view of it from the road. Similarly to the lost coast, you have to know something about it before you get there. A nice man named Patrick, who had recently moved here after landing a new photography job, told us how to get there. He was out walking his dog and we later learned that his story of misfortune had lead him to living an even better life here in Fort Bragg with his family.

We debated staying in Fort Bragg for the evening and decided to push on to Point Arena, making our journey to see Kris' parents a little shorter the next day.

We rode into Point Arena, had a difficult time finding our bed and breakfast which was called Wharfmaster's Inn. The hotel sits on a steep hill overlooking the ocean and a boat launch. The driveway is very steep and Kris had many nervous feelings about riding up it. But she did fine, as she did all day. We found our room, unloaded, had some of the best crab stuffed salmon I've ever had at a local restaurant, and hit the hay.

Kris' riding leveled up a few points today.

1 comment: