Eugene to San Jose down 101 and 1 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Eugene to San Jose down 101 and 1

Going to visit my uncle in San Jose, so decided to run 101 and 1 down to San Jose. Going to take 2 days to get down there and 2 days to come back. I hear that 1 is quite the road, so I can't wait to get started.

I also want to hit the Lick Observatory while in San Jose. I hear that 20 mile road is pretty twisty too.

Taking my laptop along, so hopefully I'll post some pics and notes on my progress.

Anyone with V's in that area?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-25-2009, 10:25 AM
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pm me and we can try to hook up. Mt. Hamilton is a great ride for the V, as well as Calaveras, etc.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Not enough time to write a full detailed report yet, but here's some pics to keep you all satisfied...
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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The Plan:

Leave Wednesday, June 24th after work and head to my cabin on the coast in Lakeside. Then down 101 to 1 in California, to San Francisco. Find eateries and camping sites along the way, but arrive in San Jose sometime on Friday. Return trip up 101 the whole way, leave Monday morning from San Jose and arrive back in Eugene on Tuesday. If time allows, find some more covered bridges around the Grants Pass/Medford area.

Day 0: Wednesday, June 24th

Couldn’t wait for the day at work to get over. You’ve all had that unending feeling of anticipation right before an exciting adventure I’m sure! After what seemed like an eternity, the day finally ended and I was a like a lightening bolt for home to get on the bike and get this ride started. Finished final loading and down the road I went.

Arrived at the cabin and watched the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian” starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. Really liked the movie – was pleased with the “David vs. Goliath” concept of a guy trying to accomplish his dreams with tons of obstacles thrown at him. The movie got me in an even better, more optimistic mood for my long weekend!

Day 1: Thursday, June 25th

Got up bright and early and left by 8am. I had recently done the Oregon coast drive down 101 to Crescent City, California, so my thoughts were to cruise on down without any stops and spend the time on the California coast. The weather was nice, the roads were clear of traffic, and I made it to Brookings by about noon. I stopped at the Fred Meyer there for a bottle of water and one of those handy laminated folding maps of northern California. Just in case I got totally lost, of course! It was warm in Brookings and I had considered taking off my heavier jacket for my perforated one, but thankfully decided against it because I saw the fog along the coast to the south. They had the fruit checking station open at the border to California, and I wondered if I was going to be strip searched, but they just waved me through. Probably thought I couldn’t carry much fruit across in my little motorcycle. I briefly stopped in Crescent City for lunch at a Subway, and then continued on.

Next big town was Eureka, California and I didn’t stop. I knew that the “Avenue of the Giants” in the Redwoods was getting close, and I wanted to spend some time there. I had this thought that if I went down the road fast enough, the run would be like me on a speeder bike chasing storm troopers through the forests of Endor. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t hit a tree or get caught by some light-saber-wielding Jedi master. This was a neat area; all the trees were much wider than my bike is long. Impressive! After a brief stop at the visitor center to pick up some campfire reading materials, I was on my way for the stretch between Leggett, CA and Fort Bragg, CA.

I will tell you now that I always need to work on my cornering technique. This stretch of road will either perfect your technique or make you go home crying. I was later told there are 312 corners in 23 miles…. And I’d believe it. The road was clean and no traffic, so I could concentrate on each and every one of them! When highway 1 exits the curves through the coastal mountain range, it dumps right onto the coast with a sharp corner to the south. Thankfully, there was a large pull-out area on the curve, and I took full advantage of it. I had to get off and walk around for a bit after that stretch!

There were three other bikers there that had completed the same stretch moments before myself. When they saw me stretching, cracking my neck and rolling my shoulders, they started yelling stuff like “yeah!” “Uh huh” and “we know what you’re feeling!” We chatted for a few moments, taking in the sight of the coast (really, we were just recuperating), and down the road I continued.

Hwy 1 from that point on was generally curvy, with a few hairpins, but a very enjoyable and comfortable ride. Nice sights too!

When I arrived in Fort Bragg, I stopped at a McDonald’s (I know, but it was out of necessity). When I got in there was a long line, and the clerks behind the counter were all yelling at each other and it generally didn’t have the feel of a well run McDonalds (I’m sure you’ve all had that feeling). I waited for a couple more minutes, and decided I could either pitch my tent in the lobby and get breakfast in the morning, or continue down the road and see if one of the small towns had a restaurant or something.

Note to self at this point in my reflection: Coastal towns along Hwy 1 that are smaller than Fort Bragg SHUT DOWN all services at 7pm. I had a half tank of fuel in Fort Bragg, but all gas stations were closed, all restaurants were closed, and all lodges seemed to be booked until I made it to Gualala, CA just after dark. The bike was on fumes, and there was thankfully one gas station still open. Another fellow was filling up his pickup at the same time as I and he said he was on fumes as well, heading north. I took that as a bad omen and found a campground to stay at for the night.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-07-2009, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2: Friday, June 26th

The campground was quiet all night, but at 8:01am, the diesel pusher right next to me decided to power up their generator. Well, I’m up so time to break down camp and find some breakfast.

Another note to self: Coastal towns along Hwy 1 that are smaller than Fort Bragg DO NOT OPEN services until sometime after 10am or so. Thankfully, the campground had “complimentary coffee”, so I stocked up on that and down the road I went.

It was cold, and foggy most of the way. Very light traffic, but my stomach was telling me to find something to eat soon. I stopped at various points along the way to take some pics, but the services were far and few between. Well, only about 125 miles and I’m into San Francisco, so what the heck I can make it.

The map does not give a good representation of what Hwy 1 is like from about Point Reyes, CA, to San Francisco. I didn’t count the corners, but I’m sure there were about 300 again.

Finally! The Golden Gate Bridge in sight! Had to stop on the north side for a picture.

Then I had to pay a $6 toll. I asked if there was a discount for having 2 wheels less than the other vehicles around me, but the attendant didn’t get the joke.

At this point, the traffic seemed to explode all around me. Not sure why, but I was “ushered” through San Francisco with no opportunity to stop at Starbucks or anything. Finally, I made it to the right hand lane about the time I see a sign that says “next services 19 miles”. Crap, that’s practically San Jose, so breakfast turned into brunch and now is turning into lunch.

The 19 miles actually go by quickly, probably because my focus was on continuing to live rather than my growling stomach, so I see a sign for IHOP. Sold! I dive off the freeway and order the biggest omelet they could make. It was the best thing ever! The old couple sitting next to me thought a hurricane just started because I was in a feeding frenzy mode. I had my omelet consumed before the old guy finished his first cup of coffee! Actually, they were very nice people and had a good laugh at my expense when I had explained how my morning had gone so far.

So now I’m in San Jose, and I’ve never been to my uncle’s house before. I whip out my pre-printed YaHoo! Map of the area and discover I am a mere 2 blocks from his house. Gee…shoulda looked at this sooner. 2 blocks. Wow. Luckily, he’s out golfing yet, so I have time to stop at a Starbucks to cool off. Shortly after finishing my iced something-or-other, he calls and says he’s home. Finally, a cold beer and grilled chicken!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-08-2009, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Day 3: Saturday, June 27th

Since my uncle doesn’t ride motorcycles, we had to take his Infinity sports car. Such a shame, it was like 109 outside and he had air conditioning. Sorry Versys, you’re going to be sitting in the garage!

We went to visit the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet, in Alameda. It was very impressive and we spent a few hours touring the boat. We were allowed in the control tower, the flight deck, the hanger deck, and crew deck. I’d never been on anything that big since being on the battleship USS Missouri when it was docked in Astoria, Oregon.

After that, we went to the Winchester Mystery House Museum. This building was very odd, yet interesting. The old lady was convinced the spirits were telling her how to build the place, and she had plenty of money to burn. Lots of stairs, doors to nowhere, and unfinished sections everywhere. They said construction on the place didn’t stop for like 30 years or something until her death. Good reason to finally stop I guess!

Day 4: Sunday, June 28th

357 corners in 20 miles ascending to about 4,500 feet. Sound interesting? That’s the road to the Lick Observatory, outside of San Jose. No, it was still too hot, so we took the air conditioned sports car and squealed the tires a bit. But, I will say that the next time I’m there I will be taking the motorcycle. It was so curvy that I actually was getting a bit carsick!

There were a few motorcycles that arrived after we did. So I took pictures of them heading back down, and started kicking myself for enjoying the air conditioning too much. Oh well, there will be another time!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-08-2009, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Day 5: Monday, June 29th

6:00 am is the best time to leave San Jose. It’s light out, there isn’t any traffic on a 6 lane freeway, and it’s relatively warm. I stop along the way to take some pics of the fog that’s creeping over the mountains and down the valley toward San Francisco. When I get to downtown San Fran, the streets are empty and I have no problems getting to Marine Drive along the waterfront and piers. Nothing is open yet, so I continue on around to the Golden Gate. How pleasant that was – sipping my coffee under the bridge. What a sight – the fog would roll in and out, and I’d ride around and take pictures without any traffic problems. I did have to slow down for a couple joggers along the way, but the scenery made it worth it. She must have been local! Thinking back on it I should have stopped and asked for directions to this bridge I heard was “golden”. Yeah, best line I could think of.

I started back up 101, and stopped for lunch in Garberville. Met a guy on a scooter that was going to Laguna Seca. His scooter reminded me of the one in “Dumb & Dumber”.

I spent far more time in the “Avenue of the Giants” this time through. I actually thought if I went fast enough, I could be like Luke Skywalker on a speeder-bike chasing storm troopers through the forests of Endor. Well, it was kinda like that anyways.

I ended up in Mills Creek campground just south of Crescent City for the night. Was a nice campground, and I got one of the last spots available. Met a couple of bikers from Vancouver B.C. who were on their way to Laguna Seca. We chatted until dark, and it was pretty easy falling asleep.

Day 6: Tuesday, June 30th

The next morning I slept in a bit, and didn’t get on the road until 9am or so. Stopped for coffee in Crescent City and took in the sights near their lighthouse.

I stopped at Jedediah State Park in the Redwoods on highway 199 and checked out the visitor’s center. This is a nice place too that I will need to return and spend some time in. Would be nice to motorcycle camp here!

Highway 199 to Grants Pass is a good road too! I enjoyed the ride, and plan on doing it again sometime. Once in the Grants Pass area, there were 5 covered bridges that I knew about and decided to find them and cross them off my list of seeing all 50 this year. After checking off the 5th one, my butt was starting to tell me the long ride was about to end, so I headed home. I don’t like freeway riding, but the butt in my brain was overriding the more logical brain in my head.

What a trip though! I can’t wait to do something like it again. Next time, however, I think it will be more fun with a couple of like-minded motorcycle riders who just want to get out, explore, and have a bit of adventure!

Hope you enjoy the photos!
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