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Old 08-05-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
wamba OP
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Oddometer: 66
Northern California forest and coast ride

Hereís a report on a three-day trip I took in early July. I had some days off work and decided to ride to a part of California Iíd never visited, Humboldt County and the stretch of Highway 1 running from Westport south to San Francisco.

My route

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The ride from Santa Cruz to Ukiah was just about perfect: clear, sunny conditions, warm temperatures, and very little traffic. It was Monday, July 5, and most people had the day off.

In Ukiah, I topped off the tank and proceeded into Mendocino National Forest, reaching the M1 at the Soda Creek Store. From there, I rode around Lake Pillsbury and on to Hull Mountain Road.

There were quite a few cats at the Soda Creek Store. This one was in good shape. There was one outside that had lost an eye, and another one that was missing a good part of its face from some kind of fight.

Taking a break on Hull Mountain Road between steep, rutted sections.

I reached the turnoff to Hull Mountain summit without incident, took a short break to enjoy the view, and pushed on.


Little did I know there was still a significant amount of snow covering the road around the bend. Fortunately, there was a detour over a much smaller snow bank, and I made it across easily. Sorry, no pics.

I stopped at a clearing a mile or so north. Again the views were fantastic. This is looking back toward the summit of Hull Mountain.

After the pass, the riding and scenery was fantastic as the road followed a ridge, dipping in and out of the forest. I encountered one other vehicle, a forest service truck heading south, the entire time I was on the M1, up to FH7.

Looking south toward Hull Mountain.

The road ahead.

At the entrance to the Yuki Wilderness.

Looking west across still-green meadows.

As reported in another post about the M1, on the descent toward Eel River Campground there are at least two sections of road with deep, fine powdery soil, almost like silt, that make for difficult riding. I made it through unscathed, but it was more due to luck than skill. Sorry, no pics.

I reached Eel River Campground and briefly entertained staying the night there. The river looked very inviting after a hot, dusty day. Instead, I made a brief stop, drank some water, and stuck with my original plan of heading east on FH7 and finding a campsite further down the road. (Unfortunately, I left my trusty Army surplus canteen at the intersection of M1 and FH7, the only item I misplaced on the trip. No problem, though ó I had a backup water bottle.)

On FH7, looking west just before sunset.

After a long day of riding I arrived at Plaskett Meadows Campground on FH7. Itís quite a large campground, and there was only one other campsite occupied.


The next day, I rode the rest of FH7 down out of the mountains and out of the national forest. This was a beautiful stretch of road, but I wanted to keep moving so I didnít take any photos.

Eventually I arrived in Red Bluff and had a late breakfast at Los Mariachis restaurant ó recommended!

I stopped to take a shot of the Sacramento River.

Highway 36 from Red Bluff to 101 looks good on a map, and I knew it was recommended, but I didnít enjoy it as much as other parts of the trip. Lots of twisties though.

After a couple of hours, I stopped at a campground along the south fork of the Trinity River. It was hot, and I stripped off my riding gear and dunked my head in the water. Man, that felt good.

I wish I had a little more time in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Looking back to the east.

And heading down, toward the coast and 101.

Late in the afternoon, I reached the northernmost point of my trip, Trinidad State Beach. I thought there might be good surfing here, but not on this day.

Boats at anchor in the lee of Trinidad Head.

This is what Safeway blueberry muffins look like after theyíve been atomized due to a baking effect inside an aluminum top box. At least thatís what I think happened.

From Trinidad, I headed back south and filled the tank in Eureka. Oil was nowhere to be seen in the sight glass, so I added half a quart. Iím still getting used to the way the GS consumes oil.

It was getting late, and I had expected to pull into one of the many state park campgrounds off 101 between Eureka and Leggett. I checked out two campgrounds south of Humboldt Redwoods State Park and learned camping cost $35/night at all state parks in the area. No, thanks. Iíll keep going.

At dusk and with the fog beginning to creep over the ridge, I took the Highway 1 exit and made my way toward the coast. Those of you who have ridden here before know this is a tight, winding stretch of road. I was taking it easy in the dark and thick fog.

Finally, I reached the ocean and found a campground north of Fort Bragg. Perfect. It was almost 10 p.m., but I was hungry and prepared a little feast of Mountain House pasta primavera and Nestle hot cocoa. It tasted so good.


My campsite by the sea.

I awoke to a foggy morning and to the sound of logging trucks heading north on Highway 1, maybe to that big mill north of Leggett.

Nice view, even with the fog.

I packed up quickly and got back on the road. This was my final day and I was looking forward to seeing a part of the California coast Iíd never experienced before.

Morning roadwork.

And breakfast at Eggheadís in Fort Bragg (recommended, although they go a little overboard with the Wizard of Oz theme).

Fort Bragg, established in 1857 by 1st Lieut. Horatio Gates Gibson, 3D Artillery, named after a former commander who later served as a general in the CSA. The fort was abandoned in 1864, but the town would spring up shortly thereafter as entrepreneurs saw the value of the plentiful timber nearby.

And back on the road.

Beautiful coastline.

Time to stop and enjoy the view.

More beautiful vistas.

I stopped just north of Bodega Bay and made myself a sandwich. There were a few surfers in the water, but they werenít having much success.

The stretch of Highway 1 between Bodega Bay and Stinson Beach was a fun, winding road with very little traffic and more beautiful scenery. One of the highlights was Tomales Bay and Point Reyes National Seashore on the opposite shore.

Tomales Bay, famous for its oysters, with Point Reyes National Seashore beyond.

Looking back toward Stinson Beach.

I ran into traffic north of Stinson Beach. Itís a narrow winding road from there to the junction with 101, with few opportunities to pass all the slow-moving tourists.

Finally, the Golden Gate Bridge, and on to Santa Cruz.

It was a fantastic ride through a relatively little-populated part of the state. The Mendocino and Sonoma county coastline is truly awesome, and Iím already planning to go back with my wife. Thanks for joining me on this trip.

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Old 08-05-2010, 12:27 PM   #2
bogus journeyer
Joined: May 2009
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Nice report! I did almost the exact same trip last summer, but hardly took any pictures. Yours bring back memories of some beautiful areas and great riding. I really like the rugged and remote areas of Trinity and Humboldt counties. This state sure has a lot to see.

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Old 08-05-2010, 02:07 PM   #3
Just Paul
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great pics and writing.. thanks for taking us along !
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Old 08-05-2010, 03:26 PM   #4
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Excellent trip report, plenty of great shots out there. Nice!
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Old 08-06-2010, 09:47 AM   #5
Druken Wildebeest
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Alameda CA.
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Great trip report, we do a lot of Northern California rides from Lost Coast south, always love the redwoods Avenue of the Giants and Fort Bragg. Looks like you had a nice ride.

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Old 08-07-2010, 08:12 PM   #6
It's All Attitude
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Great route, great pictures, great report. I like it...thanks.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:22 AM   #7
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Joined: Oct 2009
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I was born in Los Gatos!!! Small world.

Originally Posted by Spartan
Great route, great pictures, great report. I like it...thanks.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:25 AM   #8
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Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Tulsa OK
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Although I now live in Tulsa OK, it was not always so. I grew up on San Jose, CA. Backyard Santa Cruz, frontyard San Fran.

Looking at these pics makes me wonder what Im doing out here! I ride out every year but usually ride the Sierras from the very southern base up to Paradise, dropping into Chico for a quick hello to some family.

Thank you for sharing your ride. More Cali please!!!anytime...
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:14 PM   #9
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Dallas, TX
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Wonderful RR! Thanks for the views.
Dang, I miss the place!
Stuck in DFW, TX
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:31 PM   #10
el tortuga
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Love that California coast, wish I was there.



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Old 08-09-2010, 12:29 PM   #11
would rather be riding
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: San Jose, CA
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I live 10 miles from Los Gatos in south San Jose.

Northern CA is chock full of great riding. You have a beautiful coast line, majestic and aromatic redwoods, twisties galore and some good dirt to ride (unlike down here in SJ where it's nearly non-existant).

I've been wanting to get up there and get some dual sport riding in, but I just haven't able to for quite a few months. I need to find a way to make it happen soon. MNB needs a morale boost. :)

Nice pictures and ride report!
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