I was able to get out and visit my bike last week. I rode it out to CA from Minnesota in July. I unfortunately don't have a Versys yet (two kids in college) but I will have one. I have test ridden one and after the ride I sounded like Wayne from Waynes World...."she will be mine, oh yes, she will be mine". So, I'm riding my economy bike, a 1981 Honda CX500 with daytona bars, small windshield and saddle bags. It's a great bike, didn't use a drop of oil the whole way out from MN and never had to touch the toolkit for anything. Last week I went on a little "ridabout" through N. Calif.
Day 1: From Lake Tahoe, Hwy 89 North (a little detour up to Weber Lake...kind of a cool little road but the lake is a private fishing club so no place to have lunch) to Hwy 70 West (with another detour up Caribou Rd to a PGE reservoir..I can't help myself!) Hwy 70 is a nice twisty road with fairly light traffic but as you descend towards the Sacramento Valley watch out for the tar snakes! Most of the road is good but there is one stretch where the road crews went wild with the tar, and it is slippery!
I spent the night at my buddy's place in Chico.
Day 2, Chico to Napa:
Now we find the roads nobody use! Who says California is crowded?
I started out West across the Valley from Chico on Hwy 32. From Orland to Newville it a nice road with hardly any traffic. Turned South on County Rd 306 (nice quiet road) to Stonyford. Took a right turn on Fouts Spring Rd (RD 10)with the idea of going through Mendicino State Park and coming out near Indian Springs Res. to the South. AAA map showed a nice twisty little road. Well, RD 10 is paved and is a nice twisty little road about 1 lane wide and a bit on the rough side, but my plan changed when I turned left onto RD5 and it was dirt. It looked like a pretty good surface so I continued for a few miles and then took another look at my map and decided that I had a lot of miles of steep, twisty one lane dirt to negotiate, so I U-turned and backtracked to Cty RD 306. I probably would have continued on a Versys, but didn't want to push my luck on the CX. I continued south on 306 to Lodoga and then 306 became very rough...patches applied over patches, and then the pavement turned to gravel. The gravel is fairly deep in areas, making for a bit of a skittish ride but overall it was alot smoother than the previous road (but dustier!) The gravel continued to Hwy 20 which was quite a contrast from 306....I hadn't seen another vehicle since Stonyford! Hwy 20 was had fast moving traffic and some construction. I took 20 to 53 to 29 to Calistoga, I should have taken Big Canyon Rd south of Clearlake (next time!) Hwy 29 is TWISTY North of Calistoga....what a fun road! It does have a fair ammount of traffic but I lucked out by getting behind a local who was in a hurry...I was practically dragging pegs trying to keep up with him! At Calistoga I headed down the Siverado Trail (watch out for drunk wine tasters!) to Napa and called it a day. Lot's of fun...felt good rolling up all covered in dust!
Who says the weather is always good in CA?
Headed out of Napa on Hwy 121 to Hwy 128. GREAT road! Twisty, light traffic (except on weekends in the Summer) Watch out for the Grand Prix driver wannabee's who can't stay in their lane. Before Winters, CA I turned right on Pleasants Valley Rd., a very appropriatly named road. It is a 45mph narrow, scenic, low traffic, semi-twisty, road. I could ride roads like that all day, unfortunately it is only about 15 miles long. I worked my way through vacaville and down to Hwy 12 across the valley to Jackson (boring, windy straight road). At Jackson I joined Hwy 88 (after a 20 mile detour south on Hwy 49...oops). Hwy 88 is a nice mountain road, very scenic, light traffic. Unfortunately, the weather caught up with me along the way. Temp dropped into the 40's with pouring rain and hail. REALLY glad I brought rain gear, I saw a few unfortunate folks with open face helmets and leather vests......ouch! Took 88 to Minden, NV and parked it until I can break away again. Great place to ride...wish I had the summer off!