Day Five, Tuesday, October 23, 2009

Monterey to San Francisco

125 Miles

Up at 5 and out the door by 5:30 put me in San Francisco in time to kick off the work day. It’s nice to have a break – Thanks Josh, Daniel, Russ & Lisa for letting me couch-surf. Until next time!

Bill & Pete’s Excellent Adventure III Postscript

We barely left the state, started late, took breaks often, stopped early, and still managed to log 1086 miles in roughly four days.

Pete still has a couple of days left on his epic month long ride and I’m really glad I got to join him for a few days of his like he did with me in 2007. You can read more about his trip here.

Stay safe Pete! Until next time…

Day 5: Redding, CA to Concord, CA

Having experienced the cooling vest, the first thing we did was find a Harley dealer that had a vest in stock and I made a purchase. It made all the difference.

Hwy 36 across Northern California has something for almost every style rider. It has almost no traffic, smooth blacktop, and varying degrees of twisties and sweepers for around 130 miles or so from Redding to the coast. Unfortunately, being entirely too dependent on the phone GPS, I made a wrong turn just out of Redding that put us back to Hwy 5 near Cottonwood. That tacked on an extra hour and a half to the day.

The sky varied from clear to cloudy as we headed for the coast.

By the time we actually got on Hwy 36, we could tell it was going to be a long day. It was as hot as yesterday, although bearable with the new vest. I packed the camera up and we put some miles behind us scrapping the floorboards a bit in the process. We grabbed a bite of dinner in Reo Dell and started South on 101.

We hadn’t gone but a few miles when Pete decided he rather get a head start going North. He pulled over and we took the final photo of the trip.

I arrived home a little after 10 PM and Pete rode North until it got dark and found a hotel.

Today’s Ride: 470 Miles

Day 4: Quincy, CA to Redding, CA

With the weather so nice, I forwent the tent last night and slept in the hammock again. It does tend to make for an early morning when you wake up with the sun hitting you directly in the face.

We fired up the coffee maker and took our time waking up and breaking camp while burning the remainder of last night’s wood. The last part of the trip was starting to take shape: a reverse  of the ride that Jeff and I had completed early in the year: Hwy 36 back to Hwy 101 and then South to my place where Pete could rest up before heading back North to wrap up his trip.

We did decide to make a stop at Lassen Volcanic National Park and check it out. Even down by the water, we could tell it was going to be a warm one, and it was.

The park is a great ride with elevations from 5,000 to 10,457 feet, including some fantastic views and some very tricky curves.

Lassen Peak


And those curves can be especially sharp between Little Hot Springs Valley and Bumpass Hell. Yes, that really is the name. as we came to this turn out, there was a wrecker that had just pulled a rental Harley back up on the road. I didn’t get pictures of the bike or even a full report since Pete and I just hung back and didn’t ask any questions. There wasn’t much we could do and it looked like the rider was relatively unhurt. You can see where he went over here:

And the trees that stopped him here:

Sufficently warned, we took our time through the rest of the park.

By the time we got out of the park, it was over 110 degrees. Pete, having just ridden through the desert, had a Harley cooling vest that I was admiring. Every time we stopped I’d soak my shirt and bandanna and they would both be dry in less than five minutes once we were back on the road. Pete, however, was bragging about how cool he was riding. To quote Samuel L. Jackson in Jackie Brown, “My ass might be dumb, but I ain’t no dumbass.” So, when Pete offered to loan me the vest on the last hour or so into Redding, I jumped at it. It works, even in 112 degree heat.

We couldn’t stomach the thought of camping out in the heat, so we stopped at a Wendy’s (for the air conditioning and some ice cream) while we looked up a decent hotel.

A shower and a steak dinner later, we decided to try again to find a Hold Em game. We did, but it was well underway and there were too many obvious sharks at the table. We lost a few dollars at the blackjack table and went back to the hotel for a brew.

Today’s Route: 148 Miles


Day 3: Bridgeport, CA to Quincy, CA

We took our time getting around for breakfast this morning and pulled out around 11. We were heading North, so South Lake Tahoe seemed like a logical destination for a late lunch.

In contrast to yesterday, the sun was bright and the temps increased the further North on 395 we went.

We stopped for lunch in South Lake Tahoe at one of the bistros along the lake, followed by a leisurely trip up the East side on Hwys 50 & 28 to Kings Beach where stopped to sit in the shade and smoke a cigar.

We tried to find a Texas Hold-Em game in several casinos, but no dice. With plenty of daylight left, we decided to see if we could make the campground in Greenville that Jeff Meehan and I stayed at earlier this spring. So it was up Hwy 89 through Truckee, which is a great ride. Lots of variety and a decent road through out.

Somehow along the way, I seem to have forgotten that I was carrying a camera, so I’m short on photos today.

It was dusk by they time we made it to Quincy, so we  called it good enough for the day and stopped for dinner at a family owned restaurant on Main St. I forget the name of the place, but they served an excellent steak and our server had great recommendation for campsite a few miles out of town.

Today’s Route: 402 Miles