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Old 04-16-2014, 08:30 PM   #1
Rashnak OP
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An Uncertain Compass Guides Me

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”


― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring




Why do we do this thing we do? We leave our hearth and home behind to wander unfamiliar paths…. To what end?



What will we find at the end of that road?



No way to know except to saddle the willing companion and set off upon unknown roads…



Stop and smell the flowers…


Soar upon the wind…


See things in a new light…


And take the road less traveled…


I am guided by an Uncertain Compass.

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Old 04-17-2014, 10:19 AM   #2
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Day 1

Laving Seattle on a Friday afternoon is always slow going. One hour to travel five miles in heavy traffic is quite normal. Eventually I break free and start the climb up to Snoqualmie Pass on I-90. It was raining up in the higher elevations.



But after the pass the clouds clear and the sun comes out.



I grabbed the last campsite at the BLM campground on the WA821 (Canyon Road) and did a little night photography before bedtime.


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Old 04-17-2014, 10:32 AM   #3
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Day 2

Up early, I travel south on WA 97, through Goldendale and over the Columbia river into Oregon on OR 97. I probably should have gotten some gas back at the main highway, but fortunately a station appears. Good thing too, I'm running on fumes!


Where is the station attendant?


My review of this station on Yelp will NOT be favorable!


I press on to Shaniko OR, where there is no gas available. Fortunately the helpful lady at the general store offers to sell me two gallon for the low, low price of $20. Supply and demand...



It was a cold ride in the low 40's for the whole day, but very beautiful. At sunset I'm looking for gas AND a campsite. Boy am I relieved to find an open gas station in Paisley, OR. As I'm filling up I ask the attendant about camping. He directs me to a gravel pit a few miles back (which I saw when I passed). Very ugly and right next to the highway, but I'll take it.... except that when I put out from the pump, right in front of me appears a sign directing me to a campground 8 miles up a canyon. How could this station attendant not know about this campground? Anyway I didn;t even have to travel the 8 miles, within 2 miles I found a wonderful spot under some trees right next to the river.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:41 AM   #4
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Very poetic, very well put.
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No man is an island. Except the Isle of Man.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:43 AM   #5
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Day 3

OR 31 is quite scenic, and I am the only one on the road.


I hit route 395, which brings me to California.


It seems that as soon as I cross into California the weather improves considerably, so I leave 395 to head up into the mountains.


Got Milk?


Most of the day was spent at higher elevations, about 7000ft. As night fell I could find no camping spots. All the campgrounds were closed and snow filled. So I headed down to Reno to find a cheap hotel. I found the town depressing, with many lowlifes wandering the streets. The neon lights beckoned me inside to gamble away my savings but instead I went back to the hotel to eat a truly dreadful pizza. At least I slept well.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:03 AM   #6
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I got an early start and headed back up into the mountains to the shore of Lake Tahoe.


absolutely beautiful!


While I love the lake, I'm not a big fan of the area in general. As with Jackson, WY and Jasper BC the yuppies have infested Tahoe to the point where much of the time I am stuck in traffic with only views of condos and strip malls.

Finally I leave all that behind to cross Monitor Pass on CA 89. And it was spectacular!




CA 89 eventually meets CA395 again, so I head south. In one of the small towns along the way I come to two large trucks stopped dead on the highay. What are they waiting for? I look around and see nothing, but then I look up! I see three BIG birds flying only 30 feet over my head, along with a bunch of smaller birds. Those big birds, they look almost like.... bald eagles! Three big bald eagles in the deserts of California? How strange! By the time I pulled out my camera the eagles had flow off on the thermals, so all I got a picture of is this hawk.


Small Town courthouse...





Mono Lake...









Headed south towards Death Valley, the afternoon sun is perfect. The temperature is perfect. The bike is running well, I have a full stomach and a full gas tank. All is well...



In the twilight, I head toward Death Valley to find a camp spot at Panamint Springs.
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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Day 4


Morning in Death Valley. It looks like a beautiful day, with temperatures expected to top out at a mere 100 deg.... Perfect!


Weird DV plant...


Desert flowers..


Badwater = the lowest spot in the US, and perhaps the most famous puddle of water on the planet.





I check out the usual sights.


Artist's Drive












After spending several hours in DV, I head up through Beatty NV on NV 95 to Tonopah via Goldfield, which is one of the saddest towns I have ever seen. However the cemetery in Goldfield was interesting.





Tonopah is supposed to have some of the best stargazing in the country, with no large city anywhere nearby. Unfortunately for me, high clouds obstructed the view so I pressed on into the night on NV 376, truly a long lonely road.



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Old 04-17-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
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Day 5

Desert? yep
Mountains? yep

what's missing? Oh, right, the sea! Time to head west to seek out the ocean, via NV 50 (the loneliest road in the US?)




Shoe Tree, sporting an unusually large crop of delicious shoes.


Virginia City NV is one of the more interesting old mining towns I have seen, as yet unspoiled by large casinos.




I suffer through more traffic in Lake Tahoe (again!) before I head up into the high Sierra mountains via CA 88.




Once more, I find that all the campgrounds are covered in snow, so I ride off into the sunset, crossing the central valley at night ( the best time!) and ending up in Livermore for the night.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:57 PM   #9
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day 6

There is a 6 lane smooth, fast freeway that runs between Livermore and San Jose. But why would I take that road when I can take the back way, about 80 miles of twisty two lane running through the heart of the Diablo Mountains?


It is rare that these hills are green, most of the year they are brown and hot. But April is a good time to travel this road. Amazing that this lovely secluded valley is only 30 miles from the millions of people who live in the Bay area.




57 miles from Livermore to the observatory...






A sign says that this is the world's first observatory built atop a mountain peak but I'm a bit skeptical of the claim.


Inside I smell the musty smell of an old building, it reminds me of my elementary school in my youth.






Headed down the hill to San Jose, many curves await me before I reach the bottom.




From San Jose, I head over the hills via Boulder Creek, Felton, and Bonny Doon to Santa Cruz.






Even on a relatively calm day there are good breakers along Steamer's Lane.




Lots of Sea Lions here too...


As night falls I head up the foggy coast towards San Francisco and grab a hotel near the airport.
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:56 PM   #10
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Video Part 2-

this happens to be my 100th youtube video. This is an example of what I like to call 'slow timelapse'

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Old 04-27-2014, 02:10 PM   #11
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I used to live in the Bay area, so I've seen all the sights. Not much to see anyway on a foggy morning. So I head north out of town over a familiar landmark.



Up and over the Marin headlands...


Through the eucalyptus groves...


and up the coast along one of my favorite routes of all time- CA 1 between San Francisco and Westport



They say every picture tells a story...



I pass a milestone- 60,000 trouble free miles on the VStrom.



I end the day in a campground in Fort Bragg, CA.
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:27 PM   #12
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morning... the view from my tent.



another foggy day on the coast, hopefully it burns off as I head inland.


pretty flowers






As I turn inland I can't help but stop by this wonderful little river/creek.


so I can take more flower pictures


Eventually I reach the Avenue of the Giants for a sublime afternoon ride amongst the tall trees.


Famous landmark...


The sun sets over Crescent City, CA...



and what better place to end this ride report? Sure, I have 500 boring highway miles to ride home tomorrow but THIS, this is where this ride ends. Fare thee well.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:43 PM   #13
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Fantastic pics!



Enjoyed your RR.

Thanks,

JM.
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