When I left Coos Bay it was clear, sunny, and pleasant. Not too warm out, not too cold, either. I had little traffic heading south on 101. I gassed up in Bandon and continued on, seeing more motorcycles this time, all cruisers. Even the scary bearded hard-core Harley guy waved back. I stopped waving at cows, though, because they never waved back. Jerks.
My lunch destination was a cafe in Brookings. When I got there the sign on the bank said it was 62 degrees already, at 10:45 in the morning. The Pacific was almost dead calm, too. The cafe had changed names but I went in anyway. I was the only customer and got great service, with some good conversation with the owner to go with my grilled turkey sandwich and outstanding homemade clam chowder.
It didn’t take long to cross the border into California. Just after crossing the Klamath River, I pulled off onto the “Coast Road”, the detour a local V-Strom rider showed me the previous year. Part of the road is gravel and I hit a wicked pothole but apparently my bike suffered no damage from it. Just after the gravel road turns back into pavement again, I was amidst the Tall Trees.
I flipped up my helmet, put it in second, and slowly cruised amidst the giants. The smell was incredible, and my neck was beginning to ache from looking up so much. Even though I had been on that same road a year earlier, I was amazed at how massive those trees really are. It’s difficult to describe and photos don’t do it justice. It’s like the difference between telling someone an AC/DC concert is loud and actually being in the audience.
Cal Barrel road came up and I turned left only to discover that the road had been gated. There was a small hiking path that curved around the left side of the gate so I took a chance and creeped my bike around it. Fortunately I made it without damaging my side cases or falling over. I rode the quarter mile up to the Remembrance Grove and parked my bike amidst the giants.
Within a minute or two of dismounting and getting my helmet and jacket off I heard voices. Coming down the road were two guys, hiking back down the hill. They glanced at me but didn’t seem to care if I was there or not. Apparently their conversation was more engrossing than an imposing “Spaceman Spiff” figure on a street bike up a closed dirt road in the middle of the redwood forest.
I took a few pictures and laid down on the bench there for a few minutes, just soaking it all in. It really feels like some sort of cathedral of nature. I was also amazed at how straight the trees are. I saw a few with burls on this trip and was blown away at how big they were. Those things could be the size of a VW Bug!
Eventually it was time to leave. I crept my way back around the gate and continued down the road until I met back up with hwy 101 south. Soon after I saw a herd of elk on the side of the road. I stopped to take a quick picture. Most were scraggly yet tall cows, with maybe two bulls mixed in. Their antlers were new, maybe a foot long, and covered in velvet.
Just south of Crescent City is a fast stretch of 35-45 mph curves through some really big trees. I pulled over and strapped a special video camera onto the top of my right side case and hit the record button. I zoomed through the turns fairly quickly, capturing the entire sequence in video. The video is here on YouTube. Once out of the trees I got stuck behind a string of very slow cars, led by a CHP patrol car. I pulled over and stopped recording, putting my camera away. I never recorded any more footage the rest of the trip, mostly because I didn’t have anywhere to put it.
I pulled into Eureka at 2:30 PM and lower 70 degree temps. This time I stayed at the Super 8 rather than the very scary Motel 6 on the other end of town. The rooms were cheap, and worth it. A scary looking blonde lady kept smoking cigarettes on the balcony above my room them tossing them down onto the pavement next to my bike, without even snuffing them out first!
Dinner was a 7-block walk down to the Lost Coast Brewery. It’s a rowdy place and I like their beer. The sandwich I had was heavy on the bread and light on the fillings. I bought a hat for my wife and I as souvenirs.
At 2:30 AM that night I awoke to what sounded like a race riot about to begin outside my door. Apparently a small group of black guys were picking a fight with a small group of white guys. Looking out the little security hole in my door I could see them clustered around my bike. They really wanted to fight but apparently none had the stomach to actually go through with it. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth they eventually cooled off and went into their separate rooms — on either side of me! From what I could hear they knew each other. Bizarre.