Day Six - DENIED again
Peaceful, that is until our neighbours showed up and set up their camp to the sound of running engines , whoops and howls in the night and a total lack of consideration for those around them. Luckily we were up nice and early, so made sure to repay the compliment with some cheery horn tooting as we rolled past their still slumbering campsite!
I was missing my rabbit from the first day, but this guy was a poor substitute.
The GS all packed up ... from left to right - tent poles strapped to lid, personal effects in the lid (books, cables and so on), clothes and net book in the left pannier, the rest of the tent in the waterproof bag on the back, along with waterproofs, spare gloves and umbrella in another dry bag within, cooler with food, stove and gas and sleeping bag in the right pannier, spares, tools and chain lube in the right lid, sleep mat on the top. Cameras, lenses and personal stuff in the tank bag. It all worked out great, the Jesse luggage is robust, secure and watertight.
After a day of riding the Californian coast curves, there was still more to do, but last night's rain had left the road damp, and curiously covered in moss in places. There's a recipe for disaster, so we relaxed and took things easy on our continued route north. We even picked up some hitchhikers along the route.
Again, our intention was to push through off road on the unmade Usal Road to the 'Lost Coast' of northern california. The first section of the road was pretty well made, with a decently graded surface that wound its way up up up and down down down to the Usal beach, complete with beach bum surfers living in the woods down there.
Crossing a cool little bridge down at sea level.
As we started back up the hill, a big sign declared "Road closed - no through route", but we are adventure riders, right? Forge on! Now bearing in mind we are off road incompetents, we were doing pretty good for quite a while, usually resorting to a surfeit of throttle when things got tough (or just at random) and the track was still in good shape, sometimes graded smooth, sometimes loosely rocky, a few washed out sections, a few muddy sections. We made good progress.
Finally we came upon a long downhill section, slickly muddy and well torn up by 4x4s. Arse. We figured we could probably get down, but not knowing what lay beyond, we doubted our ability to come back up if we needed to retrace our steps later. We sat and stared, debated how much time we had, and then finally the rain started falling and sealed the deal. We didn't have the time for this to turn into an epic, and with the stock Deathwings, I think that could've been our fate. For the second time, we are denied, and with our tails between our legs, head back out. Better tyres, more time, more skill, and bigger gonads and we'll be back.
Back on Highway 1 and we twist our way over to finally join Highway 101.
But not before visiting Legget's biggest draw, a drive through tree! When you have the opportunity, you have to drive through a tree, right? We pay our $3 to the scary lady at the gate, take the pic and move on.
Any vacation unfortunately has to come to an end, and time was running short for us. And as Chris succinctly put it, we also ran out of weather. If you have ever wondered where the Pacific NorthWest starts, I propose it is just north of Legget, because from then on for the rest of our journey it rained in a biblical fashion, as only the Pacific NorthWet knows how to do.
We wait too long to put on the waterproofs and run the 101 to Eureka. Even in the rain this road is good fun, and the magnificent Redwoods that are literally at the edge of the road. If you run off the road here, you are in a LOT of trouble. Brief late lunch stop and attempt to dry out, check the weather, then north. By now it's cold, dark and miserable. We look at the map and decide to cut back over to I5, which we had originally tried to avoid, and head for home. Highway 199 over to Grant's Pass (another great road - are there any bad roads round here?) and hit I5 at 80mph in the growing gloom. Not being able to face camping in this deluge, we check into a motel, order out for pizza and Chris makes a noble run to get beer.
Not the way we wanted to spend our final night on the road, but sometimes you have to know when to fold 'em.