Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 16 - Cinco de Mayo was yesterday? Oops...

I figured today would be the last day for this ride so I’d go easy, sort of savoring the final bits. The morning was bright and sunny; still chilly after the warm mornings in Mexico. I restrained myself and ate another sensible breakfast of oatmeal, a big fresh orange, orange juice (am I turning orange?), bagel with cream cheese (atta boy!), and coffee.
Leaving the motel I found a close by service station and fueled up. I guess I shouldn’t call them service stations any more since they stopped providing service years ago. Fuel stops might be better.  Anyway I topped off the tank and headed north.
Shasta City, Lake Shasta, Mt Shasta, all were soon in view and I decided to duck down an obscure exit for a look around. It turned out to lead to a beat up boat ramp housing the biggest Tope I’d seen in the states. The monster was made of rough concrete and managed to bottom out the Ninja for only the 2nd time on this trip. Mexico one, USA one; it’s a draw.  At least the view of the lake from this location was good and that made the tope nearly acceptable.

Beautiful Lake Shasta
Nearly acceptable but no cigar, the jolt loosened the visor on my helmet again and after fiddling around with it I decided it was time to switch helmets. It was brisk enough that the extra wind protection provided by the full coverage lid was a good thing anyway. 
Helmet repair station
I rode on for a few more miles stopping to take more pics of the mountain and then noticed I was getting cold as heck. I’d been thinking that dragging my electric vest along on this ride had been overkill but it turned out to be a welcome accessory this morning. Once I had it on and engaged the heat really felt great. How I suffer at times…

Pretty Mountain
Soon the lunch bell rang and noting an exit boasting several fast-food places I pulled off for a stop at Carl’s Jr. 
I only eat at the best places
I’ve always wondered about that name, was there ever a Carl’s Sr.? Lunch was one of their “Original Chicken Salads” which consisted mainly of iceberg lettuce and damned little chicken. You know your body can only handle so much green leafy stuff and then it goes into the warp speed reject mode wherein your brain sends disgusting messages to other parts of your body telling it to dispose of any leafy substances. Nice.  Recalling past experiences in this area I called a halt half way through it and returned to the ride; no sense taking chances.

I was now around 100 miles or so from the turn off that would put me onto my usual route home to the coast. It occurred to me I’ve done that ride so many times there’s nothing new for me to see or say about it. Earlier I’d passed an exit sign a few miles back that said “Oregon beaches” and that seemed like a better idea so I stopped long enough to reprogram the GPS with a new “via” point of Gold Beach. That seemed satisfactory to the Garmin lady and off we went leaving I-5 to those folks in a big hurry to get somewhere.

She’s a bit of a sadist and apparently has this thing about how to find Gold Beach that I’d encountered a couple of  years back while in the same locale; namely she thinks there’s some sort of route available that leads you through BLM fire roads. The last time I rode for a long ways out in the sticker bushes before finally coming to a “road closed” sign and had to retrace my route back to I-5. 
Bad directions from the Garmin lady
This time my alarm bells went off early and I turned around heading back to I-5 south figuring I’d take the exit with the “Oregon Beaches” sign. 
Good directions from ODOT
That was the right decision and I was soon enjoying a ride through some of the best motorcycling roads you can imagine. Lots and lots of nice curves with a solid blacktop base, the sort of thing you dream about. As I approached the little town of O’Brian I noticed a squad car parked facing the oncoming traffic in my lane. Ordinarily that would have caused me to back off my speed a bit but since I wasn’t going fast I continued.

You didn't fool me for a second.
There it was, an old Plymouth cop car fully restored just waiting to give unsuspecting tourists a knee-jerk reaction. It probably belongs to the people who operate the Lone Mountain RV Park and store, a great attention-getter if there ever was one.

I followed the road which was part of the Red Woods Highway and eventually rode back over the border into California again. All of this was a continuation of the great riding I’d been enjoying and I loved it; traffic was fairly light and never bogged down. When it ended I was on the coastal highway US 101 traveling north towards my home.

Whale head rock north of  Brookings
There are tons of great view points along the coastal road so I stopped to take a few more pics. I gassed up in Brookings where one of the other customers spotted my bike and came over to look at it. He noticed the stickers underneath several layers of bugs and commented “You’ve been to Alaska on this?” “Not this time” I said, “I’m just getting home from Mexico.” God my ego is so huge at times. Anyway he was duly impressed and wished me luck on the rest of my journey.

Looking south from US 101

Looking north from US 101 
I arrived home around 4:30pm or so, the dogs both recognized me and we all went a little nuts for awhile. Linda had gone to town to buy groceries and arrived a little later. She also remembered me but didn’t attempt to lick my face although she seemed glad to see me.
So there you have it, the end of this ride. I said yesterday I’d be posting a summation about how things worked, what didn’t, likes and dislikes, etc. I’m going to do that but I think I’ll wait till tomorrow after I’ve had time to reflect a bit.
Till then,

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