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Old 09-25-2013, 06:01 PM   #76
Jack90210
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Thanks for sharing. The theme of loss is a common one that leads many to the open road; certainly many more people than you might realize are being comforted by it.

I'm sorry for your pain. Hopefully your travels will help.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:02 PM   #77
jbcaddy
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But for a last minute call, I would have been in Fortuna now myself. I love the ride out 36. I'd tell you to head out along the lost coast via Ferndale, but there are a few sections of dirt, so that may not be an option. Enjoy the redwoods and the rest of your trip where ever it leads you.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:20 PM   #78
bbrz
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The "ride " worked for me. With out getting wordy, my father left us 2.3 decades ago. Taught me so much, I still miss him . My "problems" at that time almost destroyed my family and myself. Wife said "get out go Ride", so I did.
RZ 350 with tank bag and the free Cycle magazine duffel bag. We agreed that when I came home, that my issues would be resolved.


You Go Girl!!!!
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:39 PM   #79
mcstark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candiya View Post
Though I'm traveling alone, I feel part of a far-flung family of motorcyclists. Everywhere I go, whether I know them or not, I can be assured of a friendly reception from other motorcyclists on the road. It's comforting.
You are quite correct. A motorcyclist is never truly alone. You made a brave choice by going on this trip, and it is paying you dividends. Any difficult passage in life is often made better with some "helmet time." It lets your soul breathe and find the energy to move on.

Safe travels.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:52 PM   #80
GordyMN
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In

This is a very unique and special RR .... that's all I got. Thank you.
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:23 AM   #81
achesley
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Lovin' your updates. Very true that we are a brotherhood no matter where we are or what bike we happen to be on.
Remembering my first journeys along the North CA coast line. Having at ask people how they pronounce their towns. ;-)
Keep it coming. Enjoying the heck out of it.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:12 AM   #82
RedDogAlberta
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I'm in. Outstanding but so sorry for your loss.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:18 AM   #83
dedecaster
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:48 AM   #84
2eddies
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You're utterly hooked now, there are places in this country where it doesn't rain everyday, the open road will take you further in this life to new roads, new friends, new experiences...Enjoy!
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:09 AM   #85
Candiya OP
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Day Five: Fortuna, CA to Willits, CA, 159 miles

Route: 101 south, Avenue of the Giants, 101 south, 1 south (Fort Bragg), 20 east (Willits), Super 8 in Willits

Favorite road of the day: Hwy 20

I started off the day tying myself in knots about which way to go. For lack of a better plan, my original goal for the trip was to travel as far south as the Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur. This plan had a number of advantages. I had grown up in the Bay Area so traveling there meant that I could visit family, meet my best friend's new daughter, hold a meeting with some clients in Monterey (aka write off the trip), and have the chance to ride some familiar roads for the first time, since I didn't learn to ride until moving away.

But down deep I fundamentally did not want to ride in the Bay Area: too much traffic, and I had traveled those roads before. There would be no exploration or discovery. My heart quailed at the thought of riding through the congestion of San Francisco. And finally, that niggling doubt about the weather changing had never left me. In the Pacific Northwest, the end of September is chancy weather-wise. I could be signing myself up for the whole return trip in the rain. I'm not a fair weather rider, but 1,000+ miles of rain riding wouldn't be fun.

I wrestled with whether cutting out the southern portion of the trip would signify conceding to my fears. Whether it would disappoint my family and friends. I called a friend and talked it out. Ultimately, I decided that this trip was for me. What I really wanted was more time on those gorgeous northern California roads. That is what felt healing to me. At this point in the trip, I knew that I could ride through the congestion of the Bay Area, but why do it if I didn't want to? I decided to travel south today, and that would be as far south as I would go. From there, I would work my way north, spending some extra time in northern California. As soon as I made this decision, the tension eased in my chest.

Today was the first day of the trip where I didn't book a hotel until the afternoon. This completely changed the feel of the day. Instead of starting off feeling behind and riding by the tyranny of the estimated arrival time on the GPS, I felt free to explore and take my time. Much more relaxing.

Exiting the hotel, I was greeted by a chilly, wet day. I had considered trying the route through Ferndale along the coast, but with this weather, what was the point? I wouldn't be able to see anything. With a shrug, I climbed on the bike, gassed up, and merged back onto 101 south.

The view from my room: an uninspiring, wet morning in Fortuna



I was pleasantly surprised to find this section of 101 enjoyable. Unlike my experience last evening, the road was pleasantly curvy, sweeping gently through the forest. It was only lightly traveled, which definitely helped my frame of mind. This was the first time on the trip that I tried listening to music, and Pandora's selections played through the headset as I cruised down the highway.

The first destination of the day was the Avenue of the Giants. I grew up in a redwood forest so it felt like home riding through the redwood trees, like visiting friends. The Avenue is just a small, two-lane road, often straight, except where it curves around trees. The attraction here is the sights, not the road itself. There were more cyclists than I had seen in the rest of the trip combined, and I was kind of jealous of them. This would be fun to do on a bicycle. I thought about the similarities and differences of journeying on a motorcycle versus a bicycle. (I've never taken a bicycle trip.)

“Driving on Avenue of the Giants”



I had read about the Founders Circle in Destination Highways so I pulled off there to do the .5 mile "hike". As I was walking in, 2 bicyclists offered to exchange rides with me, a 2-for-1 trade, both of their bikes for mine. We agreed that 2 bikes would make me go twice as fast.

The two bicyclists







I crossed the road to start the hike when I heard a small bike and turned to see a scooter loaded down with traveling and camping gear. This guy obviously had a story! I smiled then started the walk.



The forest was beautiful, and it was fun to get off the bike and explore a bit. Trying to take self portraits in front of giant trees is not easy. I played with different angles and laughed as I tried to run to beat the 3-second timer on the cell phone camera. Halfway through the walk, another solo traveler asked me to take a photo of him, and it turned out to be the guy on the scooter! Alex is German, and he was on his way from Vancouver to Argentina. He was 10 weeks into his 1.5 year trip. We finished the walk together gabbing about adventures and snapping photos, then compared bikes and wished each other well.

Odd angles



A random tourist taking a photo of his wife inside the tree



This is me trying to run to the tree within the 3-second camera timer



After meeting Alex, I was able to get some photos that really showed the size of the trees



Alex taking a photo



The Founders Tree





And here's Alex's ride. Just goes to show that you can travel on any size bike. It changes the speed of your adventure, but it's still an adventure.





Next up, hwy 1! Now, let me preface this by sharing that my main other experience with highway 1 was between Santa Cruz and Carmel, a pretty but well-traveled, straight coastal highway. I set off assuming that highway 1 would be the touristy part of my trip. I thoroughly – shall we say vastly – underestimated this road. It was completely remote and the longest stretch of tight, TIGHT twisties that I've ever encountered, roughly 25 miles. It was the first road of the trip where I thought they actually overestimated the speed on the corner signs. I traversed almost the entire 25 miles in first gear, a humbling experience.

When I finally reached the coast, I pulled over for a well deserved break. The guardrail was covered with interesting graffiti, kind of like a sign-in book for visitors. I took photos of some that caught my eye then felt moved to add my own. I grabbed my ballpoint pen and in the top of one of the wooden supports wrote, "RIP Mike. I love you. 9/14/13." My heart clenched, and I breathed deeply of the sea air. I wondered if he had ever ridden through here. If so, he had probably stopped at this pull-out, the first after the twisty section, and stared out over this same ocean. I pictured other visitors after me reading my words and wondering the story behind them, as I wondered the story behind the other inscriptions.

















I continued on in search of gas. The road wound along the coast, and while I was glad to have gotten some coastal experience in this trip, I was also relieved not to be doing the coast all the way down to Big Sur. It was gray and chilly. Pretty...but rather glum.











The highway snaked along the cliffs, sometimes with open sections and sometimes quite tight and twisty. There were fenced areas along the way but no retail or towns so I was surprised to come upon a winery with a wine tasting sign. “There are people drinking wine then driving this road,” I thought in disbelief. It seemed like insanity to me. Hopefully the wine tasters weren't traveling north through the super twisty section.

I finally rolled into Fort Bragg just before 3:00 and filled up. As I said before, I completely underestimated this stretch of road. I had pictured it as touristy with plenty of services. There were 118 miles on the tank by the time I got to Fort Bragg. I still had plenty of gas, but it was the most I'd put on a single tank this trip and a little beyond my comfort zone.

The lady in the mini mart gave me a couple recommendations for food, and I set off in search of a late lunch. The deli she recommended was closed so I ended up at pizza (yet again) across the parking lot. As I ate my tasty pizza and salad, I surfed my options for lodging. Nothing seemed great, but I decided to check out the Pine Beach Inn, a couple miles away. I rode through it, and it was a little dingy and depressing. I vacillated over whether to stay or head inland then decided to shoot for Willits. I booked the Super 8 and headed for highway 20.

What an unexpected treasure of a road! Beautifully maintained, two lane but with lots of pull-outs, it wound through the forest. The curves were tight enough to keep my interest without being so tight they're punishing. All through highway 1, I felt that I wasn’t riding well. I have difficulty being smooth on the really tight, technical roads. I found myself stiffly pushing the bike down beneath me. "Candiya, don't ride like a doofus. You know better than that," I admonished myself, to no effect. But on highway 20, I finally started to loosen up. What a fun ride to Willits. And sunny – yay! It was definitely the right choice to come this way. I felt my spirit lightening. The Super 8 was a pleasant surprise: the second nicest lodging I'd stayed at so far and the cheapest.

(Sorry, no photos of 20. My phone battery was dead – the downside of listening to music earlier in the day.)







For dinner, I asked the front desk what was in walking distance. He pointed down 101 and named several fast food joints and a nice steak house. I started walking but was not impressed with the atmosphere of the neighborhood. Before I left on the trip, several friends had offered to teach me how to shoot in case I wanted to bring a gun. Others said that situational awareness would keep me safe. In the end, I was too overwhelmed with the preparations to think about guns so I opted to rely on situational awareness. This meant that I had to actually pay attention to it and not discount any misgivings.

I didn't feel totally safe walking this road at dusk. There was little foot traffic – no women, a couple homeless men, a pretty normal looking guy, and an “interesting” guy walking with a staff as tall as his head. I decided to stop at the first restaurant I saw. The “DINNERS” in lights up top made me think of Seinfield. I walked in and almost immediately walked out because it didn't smell very good. But the waitress had greeted me with a bright smile so I sat down and perused the menu.

You know you're concerned when you're reviewing the menu looking for the items least likely to make you sick. The food was awful – some of the worst I've ever had at a restaurant. I ate the salad but left 85% of the entree. By then it was dark, and I still needed to walk back. I figured that I had eaten a good lunch, and I'd eat a good breakfast in the morning. I could skip dinner. The walk home was fast and quiet. I was happy to get back to the safe haven of the hotel.

Willits is an interesting town. The Willits Shakespeare Company was between the Super 8 and the Old West Inn with theme rooms.





And the NOT recommended restaurant

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Old 09-26-2013, 10:31 AM   #86
Stkmkt1
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Fantastic Road Report. Keep it up. I think you are finding out that you are never truly alone on the road when on a motorbike. People won't leave you alone. They are attracted to you because many of them, deep down inside, want to or at least wish they could be in your shoes.

Enjoy your ride. And when you get back home, begin planning the next one, and the next one, and so on. You are starting a new life and have lots of adventures ahead of you. And we will all be here for you.
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:41 AM   #87
oldmonkeybut
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Good on you for grabbing this adventure by the horns! We just returned from a Northern California Trip. We went down the Oregon Coast, through the Redwoods, through Ferndale, Lost Coast, Avenue of the Giants, 299, Willow Creek, Happy Camp, Obrien and North. Your choice to skip Ferndale and the Lost Coast was probably a good one. We had quite a bit of rain with a bunch of debris washed out onto the roadway. Willow creek to Obrien was a blast. We spent the night at Happy Camp and had dinner at the Pizza place where you had lunch.

Thanks for sharing!
Safe journey
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:43 AM   #88
_cy_
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sorry for your loss .. also been dealing with one for sometime.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:20 PM   #89
scooter_kenny
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Location: CANADA
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I, like everyone reading your RR are gutted by the death of partner Mike. As I read your ride report and the replies I can’t help putting myself in your boots. I cannot for the life of me imaging losing my wife.....I just can’t!

On a side note.....I was surfing my local Kijiji motorcycle adds for BMW's a week ago and Neil Peart's 1200GS is for sale...What are the chances of spotting his bike for sale then spotting your RR.......slim I suspect.

the link to his bike

Hello from CANADA and wishing you all the best.

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Old 09-26-2013, 05:25 PM   #90
GP1152
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Candiya introduced herself to us last year (in a post) when we were on our trip up to Canada and back. It was then that she shared the story of her loss. Immediately my heart sank. We had just gone through Winthrop, a town which her and Mike were supposed to have been going through as well. I'm not one to take anything for granted, but her story really hit home. I can only imagine the loss.
Since that time we have stayed in touch and even met up for breakfast (she was nice enough to make time to meet us). I could tell when we met her that she is about as kind a person as you'll ever meet.
Candiya, you definitely deserved this trip. I'm really glad you finally set out to do it.

P.S. I told you so!! ;)




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