Saturday, September 5 - Day 8
The route was CA-44, CA-299, US-101
We knew today was going to be a shorter day to make it to the coast so we slept in a little. Not quite until Phil time, but late for the two of us. We had continental breakfast at the hotel at 7:00 and then leisurely loaded up and headed out.
We battled a little bit of Labor Day weekend traffic, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. As Jim mentioned, we passed a number of RV's, typically him first and them me at the next chance I got. The Versys is a little more sporty than the NT so I kept up even though Jim is a good rider.
We also saw quite a bit of road construction of 299, but because of the holiday weekend, it was shut down and traffic flowed pretty freely through it.
California had more valleys and passes, and similarly to the day before they got close and closer to sea level the farther west we went. The biggest difference in today's riding was that things were GREEN. I know CA, especially southern CA, is in a drought,; however, the mountainsides were still more forested than we had seen the last two days. With every pass we came over I kept looking for the ocean.
299 parallels the Trinity River (I believe) for quite a while and there was a lot of river activity. At numerous places I glanced over the left edge of road and saw kayakers and rafters enjoying the fast moving water. That is something I have always wanted to do .... maybe on my next trip when I'm retired and don't have a hard date that I have to be back to work.
I think I smelt the ocean before I saw it. Actually, Eureka is sheltered in Arcata Bay off the open ocean. We pulled into the KOA and set up camp. We had a decent spot that we planned to call home for the next 2 nights.
As soon as camp was set up I drug Jim (not to hard of a job) down to the local Kawi dealer. As we walked in, the first thing I saw was a ZX14R. After chatting with the dealer for a bit I couldn't resist checking it out. As soon as I straddled it and laid down on the tank, Jim snapped a photo. I knew what he was up to. As fast as he could type, he texted the photo with the caption "man shopping" to my wife. If she believes him, I could just as well not even go home. The thought did cross my mind "with a bike like this, I could really show Jim how to pass the RV's ... but I soon came to my senses and decided it would be a tough bike to ride 2,000 miles home, especially without getting a ticket or two. Besides, I'm a tall lanky guy at it wasn't the best fit.
On the other hand, the reply text from my wife wasn't as harsh as I expected and that really opened the door to thinking about a new bike. As soon as I stepped off the ZX, I saw a gen 3 Versys 650 and a Versys 1000 on the other end of the showroom. I fondled them both and decided that I somewhat liked the 1000. I asked the dealer to work up a price for me, but after some grumbling about "out of state buyer paperwork" he changed the subject and that was it, never did give me a price. Probably for the better but I was interested. Actually, (I just as well say it or Jim will) it kinda pissed me off that he didn't seem interested in selling it to me. I don't know much about CA laws but I'm pretty sure WI cash is just as green.
We grabbed a subway and headed back to camp, which was just a couple miles north of Eureka. That evening we talked with a BMW rider that had his camp set up just down a couple spots from us. Tim was a retired guy on a new 1200 GS that he was riding all around the country, including his current tour visiting lighthouses on the west coast. Having put 297,000 on his previous BMW, Tim was full of good advice on roads to ride. For starters, he pointed us towards the Avenue of the Giants and that became our plan for tomorrow.
I sat around the community campfire that evening with a couple ... interesting ... people. There was an older couple traveling from the east coast, a local, and Nevada school teacher, a local medical marijuana farm hand and a couple others.
Tomorrow was the big day ... REDWOODS !!!!
Sorry, but with the heavier flow of traffic, I didn't get any photos of the Trinity River along 299. I know I didn't say much about the road but it was a fantastic road, even with the traffic. Overall, I am in complete AWE of the roads, the scenery, and the overall freedom this trip has provided. I didn't leave home on any type of soul searching mission but, this trip is something that I really wanted to do and I'm enjoying every bit of it beyond expectation. I have no doubt that the next week is going to be just as spectacular as the last.
Last edited by Slow-Steady; 09-17-2015 at 07:47 AM.