Day 10
June 15th, 2006
Motel 6                                                                           
Medford, Oregon        

I slept in today, the only thing on the menu was a 300 or so mile ride south through the Redwoods to the coast, to hookup with Freestyle, Joyce, Ray Antasek, Hope, and Alan Tryhorn.  Friends from the ST forum and fellow riders.  

There are 5 highways in Northern California that must be ridden.  They are U.S. 199, SR 3, SR 299, SR 36 and SR 96.  After today I will have all 5.

Heather reported good weather and no rain in the area, indeed the sun was trying to come out.  I was slow getting out, and wasn't on the road till after 8am, but who cares. 

I topped off the gas tank at a nearby Chevron station.  Thankfully, the jockey only said 2 words for the fill up.  I was still gun shy about starting conversations after the fiasco last night.

Finished with that I had to go to I-5 North to Grants Pass to pick up my route.  I guess I should have stayed there last night and saved this little 22 mile jaunt.

I was hungry so  stopped at a McDonald's in the city for PB and J.  I bought a drink and 3 cookies to go with my sandwich.  Even though I hadn't ridden many miles, it was 9am, and the time of day I usually break.  I called home,  checked over some pictures, and deleted a few.
Debbie informed a local boy was killed in Iraq.  I was saddened, it was Prattville's first loss since Vietnam.  She said the funeral was tomorrow, and the entire city was preparing for it.  I thought back to the young boy in Kansas.  Make no mistake we are in a war, but a much different one.  WW II affected every single American in the 40s, but the U.S. is a much richer country now.  We now fight a global war on terror and it only personally affects about 1% of the country.  For the rest of us, we go about our business.  

After my break I cruised the town looking for the library and a PC.  I needed to check my checking account.  I found it, but it was still closed.  

I left Grant Pass looking for great riding and I wasn't disappointed.  The road carried me south to the warm sun of the Hotel California, and I was in a really good mood.  I knew what a great day I had in store.  Good ride, good scenery, a run later, and I will be with friends by tonight.

U.S. 199 took me back into the mountains but this time I did not fear what was on the other side.  All reports said the coast was sunny and clear.  The 1300 raced through the trees and hills and quickly dispatched the last few miles of Oregon.  I went through a mountain tunnel and emerged out the other side into a chasm of bright sun light and blue sky.  Gone were the dreary clouds and rain of the last few days.  Entering the Hotel was like stepping through a trap door.
  California at last
I took a few pictures at the state line sign a la Uncle Phil.  He's got a album of nothing but state welcome signs.  He got all the states pretty quickly, then Coop challenged him with the notion he needs to do it with his bike in the picture.  So he went back and did that.  The last time we talked about such things he said he had to ride his 2002 to every state, so he could own "two bikes in all 48."  I'm not sure where I'm at on the RT and ST.  I've been to all 48 at least 4 times, but spread out over 3 bikes.

The nice curves came at me.  I recall a long downhill run picking my lines and leaning, but nothing too aggressive.  Just enough speed to keep it interesting.  Road surface was good, but did I find a few Caltrans construction patches.   
​U.S. 199 took me out of Oregon, through the hills and
Redwoods to the coast.  Lots of curves.  A great ride.

I stopped for pictures and captured some video.  Because of the weather, and I hadn't snapped as many pictures as I normally do, "that won't be the case today,"  I remarked.

A totally lost mini van with New York plates was wandering around 199 in a hopeless spin.  He put his right signal on to turn, and at the last second changed his mind.  A mile later he did the same thing, only this time it was the left.  Then all of sudden he took the shoulder, I feared a U turn was coming up and slowed to watch from a distance.  He saw me, let me by, and that's exactly what he did.  I think that joker is still out there in the Redwoods some where.

The morning flew by.  "Dang 11:30 already?"  When you are having a good time the miles just seem to lose themselves.  I wheeled up to a cafe called the Hochi in Gasquet.  A red front building with neon lights.  The place looked cheerful and inviting.  I parked the ST nose out and went inside.
​Time for lunch.  what a great day, and ride this was.
"Hey! How y'all doin?" 

Man what a great day!" 

Where ya want me to go?"

A middle aged lady welcomed me, "Oh just anywhere will be ok."

She came for my order- "You are in a good mood, so what's up?"

"baby, if life was any sweeter I'd have cavities.  Just fix me a hamburger plain."


"I'd love to, but can't, but a bag of those baked chips would be fine, and tell the cook to squeeze all the stuff outta the meat when cooks it up."

I had a good signal and made some phone calls back east.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can park in a empty lot, and within 30 minutes the place is busy.  A long rider's bike tells everyone the place is ok, and welcomes passers by.

"look here baby, notice how I was good for business?" 

"How do you know it was YOU they followed?"

"See anybody outta these 15 folks that YOU know?"

She looked around, "well, no."

I have a theory baby, from hundreds of thousands of miles, and thousands of cafes, that most weekend travelers or 2 week a year folks, don't like being alone in a strange place with locals.  So you see them eatin at fast food places most of the time.  They'd like something different, but don't want to be stared at.  BUT if they see another out of town guy in the place that makes it ok, because then they won't feel alone, even though they don't know a soul in the place.  They just don't wanna be the first guys in."

"That's an interesting observation."

"Yeah, I came up with it all by myself.  I reckon I need to give it a fancy name- BOUTIN'S HYPOTHESIS ON SHYNESS AMONG MOTOR HOME OCCUPANTS."

I left the lady a 2 dollar tip, on a 6 dollar tab, for a mediocre hamburger.

The ride through Redwood National Forest was great.  The highway brushed against the giant trees as I continued on to the coast.  Sunlight seldom finds the road bed, and the shadows made it hard to see sometimes.  A couple of times the road split between 2 trees.  Great riding.  The curves flowed in around these testimonials to God's greatness.  Almost as good as Avenue of the Giants (did that in 2002).
​Leaning through the Giant Redwoods.  U.S. 199
I was coming out of the forest when I spotted 2 BMW dual sports with Alabama plates.  "Gotta check that out." I met Terry and Jane Boren, they were from Helena. (near Birmingham) We had a brief chat and I wished them a safe ride.  They said they were on their way to the Oregon Coast.  "Well good luck, it rained on me for 3 days up there."  According to their trip journal it was STILL windy and cool on the Oregon coast a few days later.  They also had to bail on a trip to Crater Lake.  You can read about their journey here. The Boren's Trip Across America.

Out of the Redwoods I took U.S. 101 South and broke out on the coast for more great riding.  Not as spectacular as the PCH further south, but not bad.  I took in the ocean vistas and had a great ride down the coast.  The sky was blue with no marine layer.  Nice.
I had a nice view riding south on U.S. 101
Traffic was manageable as I rode south.  I went past a chain of state parks that were doing a brisk business.  
A light ocean breeze meant I kept the Roadcrafter zipped up.
White capping waves pounced on the shoreline, and I spotted several people walking along the beach, at Patrick's point,  but nobody dared swimming.  I suspect the water too cold and violent, with a fierce undertow standing by to yank all but the best of swimmers away to oblivion.
​The Pacific Ocean-about 40 miles north of Eureka
I was cresting a long uphill when I saw a bicyclist ahead, loaded with front and rear panniers, barely moving, front tire kicking out.  Suddenly it went down.  I pulled to the side to offer assistance.  It was a young lady.

"you ok?"

"yeah, yeah I'm fine."  I knew she was embarrassed and just wanted me to leave. The hill and the loaded down bike was just too much for her.   She was probably trying to drop to a lower gear with too much pressure on the pedals and lost momentum and went down. 

"Look, I have a Trek 1200 and crashed it 2 times, both a lot worse then your tip over."

That failed to comfort her, and a few seconds later the other bikes in her group came in to claim her.

The highway came down and flattened out on the approach to Eureka.   On a few of down grades I went to 4th to hold the Honda back.

I passed a Paul Bunyan thing near a tourist trap called Mystery Tree.
​"I passed a Paul Bunyan thing near a tourist trap called Mystery Tree."
U.S. 101 side stepped around Arcata and deposited me in Eureka.  Dennis and I stayed here in 2002 on our way back from Yellowstone.  What a great trip that was.  Eureka is a busy coastal town full of fish houses and a paper mill.

I rode through the business district and found the motel with no trouble ending a 381 mile day.  It was 2 pm and I was sad to be off the road early.  I was the first one on the scene.  I suspected I would be.

After setting up shop in a bottom floor corner room, I changed into running gear, and strapped on my GPS watch.  I hadn't run since Montana and I was really missing it.  Nothing was going to stop me today.  

Out the back parking lot I ran, past the old warehouses and the paper mill entrance, and then a row of smelly fish houses.  That didn't matter I was running and happy to moving air.  I ran 2.5 miles and retraced my route back for a total of 5, The simplest course when out of town.  

The cool weather was agreeing with me and I ran well despite the fact I was feeling out of shape.

Back at the room I put a dry shirt on, and took a walk to a nearby con store for Mountain Dew and a cookie.  I was paying up when a guy came in for gas in a BIG SUV.  "I don't dare let it go under half tank," he barked out to the clerk.  "I'd never be able to afford to fill it up."  So he stops in every other day and buys 10 dollars or so.
I was walking back to the room when I ran into Ray and Hope.  We'd never met personally but he recognized me from my photos.  "Hey Guy is that you?"  "Hey what's up"?  Ray rides an 04 1300 and mostly with Hope on pillion.  A heck of rider.  "I'll see ya back at the motel." I said.

ST1300 Rider  You can learn more about Ray at this link.

Later on we were hanging around my room when the Cortez's arrived.  Freestyle on his 1100 and Joyce on the yellow VFR.  It was good to see them.  Both are dear friends of mine.  It is always good to reconnect.  
Everyone quickly agreed we would eat at the Samoan, a place Dennis introduced to us back in 02.  One of the all time great eateries.  We split to get cleaned up then rallied in the parking lot an hour later for the cab ride to supper.
Once Free parks for the day, he's done.  I try to follow that philosophy but not always able.

The cab ride was fun and soon we were seated at one of the long tables.  The Samoa serves food the old fashioned way, just like the old lumber camps.  Tonight's menu was was pork and gravy and fried chicken.  Folks I know fried chicken, and this is some of the best I've ever had.  I threw might diet out the window and blew it out big time.  Finishing it off with apple pie and whip cream.  I was decadent.

They just bring it out to you by the plate full, and you dish out as if you were at the family table.

I flirted with the waitress (Vanessa) and laughed it up with my friends.  Alan Tryhorn kept me laughing with his soft demeanor and quick wit.  Ray and Hope were fun, and Don and Joyce the best.  It was a great way to celebrate checking in the Hotel California, and a great reminder of why I do it.  I can't think anything I enjoy more then riding at will across the country, and meeting great folks.

  Samoa Cookhouse        I strongly suggest checking it out if you are ever in the area.  Lots and lots of good food.
It was almost dark when we made it back to the motel.  We gathered in my room and spoke about the next days ride.  SR 36 had been calling my name for a long time, and I was more then ready to shred it on the fine handling 1300.

The party broke up around 10, and I hit the sheets.