Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cold Coast to Hot Central Valley

21 August 2011

Up with the sun to break camp and head south along the California coast on highway 101 for about an hour to Arcata. It was a cold and foggy ride, temps stayed close to 50F and the moisture in the air gave it quite a bite. Then east on 299 to Weaverville. This was a very nice ride through Trinity National Forest with lots of wide sweeping turns, a very nice road surface, and not too much traffic. The climate started to get a bit warmer and much dryer.

At Weaverville I took highway 3 south towards Hayfork. This is one of the best motorbike roads I have yet encountered. An hour of tight non stop curves, perfect road surface, no traffic and great scenery. Both these roads wind up to mile high passes and back down the other side.

Just before Hayfork, Susan had me turn south onto Wildwood road, which turned out to be a glorified logging road. The surface conditions were not the best, most of it was 1.5 lanes wide, lots of sharp blind curves with no center stripe. It was slow going but I enjoyed it immensely for its remoteness and wildness.

Then I headed east on 36 to Red Bluff. Along the way 36 climbs into high chaparral country, an arid climate with brown grass and stubby trees and lots of ranches. As we came down into the valley the road became like a roller coaster as the road builders didn't bother to cut and fill even the slightest irregularities in the road surface. Kinda fun and kinda scary.

By the time I got to Red Bluff it was flat straight roads, and temps in the upper 90's.

Another hour and a half south from Red Bluff on straight and flat 99 and I was at Adam and Miriam's place in Chico. Adam is a Kiwi that I have known for years from the New Zealand music scene and Miriam is the mother of Chris Mullins whom I visited out in east Kentucky (see blog entries for July 11 & 12). I'll be here for a few days before moving on to Groveland.

Americana for the day: right turn on red – you can turn right at a red light if no one is coming across from the left. This vastly improves traffic flow – come on New Zealand, implement left turn on red.

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