Labor Day, 1995
|Earl & I met the group for breakfast Friday morning at Denny's near
80 & 680 at Cordelia. We were 11 bikes and a jeep running sweep. Most of the group
uses Chatterboxes to gab at each other during flight. We headed up Suisun Valley Rd,
Wooden Valley Rd, Hwy-121, and Hwy-128 through the wine country. Above Calistoga, we
picked up the pace to Hwy-101. We crossed 101 and headed up the big sweepers of the Scaggs
Springs Inter- national Raceway. Just as we finish the high speed section, the group does
a U-turn and heads back. Earl & I scratched our heads as to why they didn't want to
take it all the way to Stewart's Point on the coast, but we "conformed" &
stayed with the group. We did however pass the group as it slowed to regroup at the big
bridge, and blasted back to Lake Sonoma for a break of our own.
Up Hwy-101, we gassed up & lunched in Cloverdale and then headed out Hwy- 128 towards the coast. Earl & I pulled out ahead of the group to assault 128 and its cholesterol at our own pace. We passed lots-o-traffic on 128, but no CHP. :-) We then took Flynn Creek Rd. to Comptche and the back way into Mendocino. Up Hwy-1, we didn't clear the RV & cager caravans til well above Fort Bragg. We cooked up Hwy-1 to Leggett and up Hwy-101 to the next gas stop in Garberville. We sat here for 40 minutes before the group arrived, and heard about Harry's attempt to set a new mileage record for his R1100RS by NOT getting gas back at Cloverdale. Good thing the jeep had a filled gas can on board. The group was running pretty late to do the Lost Coast loop, so the slower crowd droned up Hwy-101 to our motel in Fortuna. The adventuresome group headed to Honeydew.
The Lost Coast loop is one of my favorite routes in Ca. I led the group out of the big trees and up the ridge. After the first 3-4 "dirty" corners, I lost sight of any headlights behind me. I continued over the ridge at a moderate pace waiting for someone to come up and play with me. As I crested the ridge and started down to Honeydew, one lone headlight approached from behind. As it got closer I could tell it was Harry on his red RS; so we wicked it up and stormed down the ridge and its steep switchbacks. As we pulled into Honeydew, I noticed that the store was already closed. Harry had never done this loop before and was grinning from ear-to-ear when his helmet came off. As we discussed our adventure, the others trickled in across the bridge and joined us for a break. We saddled up and headed for Petrolia & the coast. This section is fast; except for the 4-5 non-paved areas where they are repairing the road. The 3 dirt riders were obvious; 2 ZX10s & a R1100RS, 3 wide, sliding through the gravel to be the 1st back to asphalt, through corners and 1/8-1/4 mile of gravel in each area. YAAHOOOOOO ! ! ! ! As we reached the coast, Harry faded--we learned later that he lost a contact lenses when we hit the last gravel area before the bridge crossing. Earl & I wicked up the 10s and blasted along the coast. At the north end, the road abruptly heads up a steep hill to the first switchback & climbs the ridge. A serious gravity-cavity at DoD nominal ! The last section to Ferndale is a paved obstacle course; and particularly challenging with the sun setting fast. The group got into Ferndale OK and headed to Fortuna for the evening. One more rider joined us Friday evening at dinner.
After breakfast in Eureka Saturday morning, we headed up Hwy-101 to Arcadia and Hwy-299 to Willow Creek. 299 is fast & FUN in the early morning before the caravans clog it up. There was some sorta little parade in Willow Creek, but they detoured the traffic around. We then took Hwy-96 north along the Klamath River all the way to I-5. This road reminds me of Hwy-70 thru the Feather River Canyon; beautiful and fast! Still no CHP. :-) We regrouped at I-5 and droned up to Ashland for lunch. From here we took Dead Indian Memorial Rd. NE to Hwy-140. From 140, we took a paved backroad west of the Upper Klamath Lake to reach Ft. Klamath on Hwy-62. Well, a bridge was OUT about 15 miles up and the group basically was going to give up and head back to our motel & hot tub early. Them WUSSES! We talked to the construction workers at the bridge and found out there was a dirt road back 1/4 mile that we could take to Hwy-62 and still get up to Crater Lake ! It was only 4 miles of hard-packed dirt. YES ! ! ! "But NOOooOO", said the Hooligans, "I've never ridden in the dirt before." Clean virgin WUSSES ! ! ! After the Honeydew Enduro(tm) the day before only one, Sir Richard of GOOF2, (or HAIR_MAN according to his Hooligan's license frame) was up for further dirt adventures with the middle-aged ZX10 boys. The dirt road was SO hard packed it was boring - til the last mile where it was rather deep gravel. :-) So a short blast up 62 and we were entering the Crater Lake Park. I haven't been by the lake in a number of years, so it was nice to see it again. What a neat place ! The new lodge at the rim is very nice and booked up through next summer. A radar-tote'n park-patroller tried to tempt us astray, but we weren't biting. We headed back to Ashland the way we came as it would be the faster route. Only saw one Bambi and two cows venture across our highbeams. We got to dinner with the group after the kitchen was closed at the Green Leaf Cafe in Lydia Park; but Heidi (this cute, healthy little coed hostess) afforded to make us some sandwiches. Bless her easy_on_the_eyes little heart ! She was appropriately tipped. Got back to the motel & its hot tub was closed also. Grrrrr!
Sunday morning, we had breakfast and headed south on Old Siskiyou Rd. to checkout what looked like a tight road with a curly-Q crossing over itself on the map. It was a fun little road with a loop crossing itself, but too densely populated to run at speed. :-( We took 96 & 263 to Yreka, and then down Hwy-3. Hwy-3 between Calahan and Weaverville is shear HEAVEN; and still no CHP. :-) We stopped for lunch in Weaverville at a place that was serving a Sunday Champagne Brunch, and it was excellent. I had the orange juice though. The Hooligans were planning on taking 299 into Redding & 44 to Lassen. YUCK ! Earl & I told them of the "Wonders" of the lower section of Hwy-3 and of the "Ecstasies" of Hwy-36 into Red Bluff. They listened, mesmerized, with our description of the "roller coasters" on the final approach into Red Bluff; table tops, gravity cavities, high-banked esses. Heh, Heh, Heh. Reeled'em in. Well, once they caught back up to us in Red Bluff, they were believers also. The civil engineer who designed these roads should have his statute erected for those of us who worship his brilliance to bow before and grovel; possibly even a pagan sacrifice!
As we gassed up in Red Bluff, we note that it is getting late (again) for the group to attempt Lassen and get to our evening's destination (Quincy) before o-dark-thirty. Again, we divide into two groups; the 5 hard-asses & the I_don't_like_to_ride_after_dark_in_Bambi_country group. As the slow group headed out across 36 to 89 & down to Quincy; we plotted our attack on Lassen. We noticed a "shortcut" from 36 back up to 44 to come down through Lassen from the north; Manton Rd. As we leave Manton, we come to a fork in the road; Manton Rd. & Rock Creek Rd. Hmmm, check the map. HEY, Rock Creek is a "shortcut" to get further up on 44, and its paved ! Well, it was paved; for a couple of miles anyway. As we reached the end of the pavement; the dirt looked hard-packed and pretty harmless. Heh, Heh, Heh. One of the "hard-asses" not only had missed the two previous dirt_adventures of this trip, but had NEVER ridden a bike on dirt, ever; period. We soothed his concerns and proceeded into the unknown. I told them to wait for mine & Earl's dust to settle and come on up side_ by_side like us, or wait to go single file so you can see the road. The dirt was OK til we came to an uphill section where it looked like it have been flooded during the winter & spring; before some 4x4s tried to go up it. Heh, Heh, Heh; ruts, big rocks, washed out sections. Earl & I continued, on the pegs mind you, dodging the obstacles. It eventually ended and we had good hard-pack again for a couple of miles. As we finally hit asphalt again, some 100 ft. from Hwy-44, we stop and wait for the others. Next came Craig_of_900RR. He told us that he was tempting our never-before dirt-rider forward with the description of a broken-down schoolbus at the pavement filled with naked cheerleaders over his chatterbox ! It worked ! Mike_of_CB1000 arrived; hyperventilating and his hands permanently attached to the handlebars in a death grip. After the horror subsided, we were able to peel his hands from the bars and get him to remove his helmet. He got off the bike, down on his knees, and clasped his hands together. He appeared to be praying; but we couldn't hear to whom or what. Hey, by dinner; he felled like he had had SEX with each and everyone of those mythical cheerleaders. Cloud_9; Stoked. But, on to Lassen for now. It was pretty cold at the road summit, & two of the upper elevation lakes are still frozen over. Amazing. But the sun was going away fast, so we booked. Again, we get into Quincy late, but the restaurant is staying open late just for us. :-)
Monday morning in Quincy was a bit cool, but nice & clear. After breakfast, we headed down Hwy-89 to Tahoe. We broke up into smaller groups at Truckee to deal with the west shore traffic easier. Its pretty bad, but we regroup at South Shore. Here we split up as the Hooligans want to stop for lunch here and the rest of us want to make Markleeville for lunch. On the way down 89, below Tahoe, we find where most of the Ca. CHP appear to be. By the time I meet the 3rd one, I figure he must be the last. WRONG ! ! I come around a blind sweeper at 80 and meet a 4th with his radar on. SHIT ! As he disappears behind me, I can see in my mirror that he is braking to turn around. As I consider my options, I realize that I am still just above the 88 & 89 intersection; where CHP are ALWAYS hanging out. So I drone on down to 88 to see what happens. I don't see any waiting, but my detector is showing a low signal as I meet cars. Its the reflections of the CHP behind me as he's trying to catch up. As I turn left, I can only see a speck of a him in my mirror, and he doesn't have his lights on yet. He turns left too and eventually does hit his lights. Oh well. I head on to Markleeville later with a 65 in a 55 souvenir (for not running, he told me) and join Earl & a couple of others for lunch.
Afterwards we head down to Hwy-4 to assault Ebbetts Pass; my favorite pass in the Sierras. We storm up Ebbetts and then down into Hermit Valley. Its just Earl & I again as we are running a little faster than the others. Up to the Pacific Grade Summit, we literally flew up and over the series of stair-steps in second gear. EEEEEEEYOOWWWWW! This is FUN ! We run on down Hwy-4 to Murphy's at a good clip and hang out at Murphy's Hotel til the others catch up. Out Murphy's Grade, we hit Hwy-4 again and take it in to Byron before we split up.
Even with the souvenir, it was a GREAT_RIDE(tm)! No accidents or bike troubles to speak of, and home before dark. I hope Harry & the Hooligans invite us along again, it was a blast !
12/20/95 Souvenir Update : The last traffic school I did to mask a ticket was over 2 years ago, so Alpine Co. let me do it again. The traffic school I selected was the "California Jammin Traffic School(tm)-A Home Study Program". Yes, that's right; it was an open-book test of 25 multiple-choice & true-false questions that I got in the mail. COOL!
© 1995, Mike Chaplin catfish at endorphin-express dot com
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