Day 11 – San Francisco here we come

Monday, 5/16/2016

We left Fort Brag this morning after having an enjoyable hotel breakfast and great conversation with a couple from Quebec, Canada who spoke in broken English as they were French Canadian. They had 2 daughters, also like us and a couple GRANDS. While we have 8 GRANDS. He was a professor of Psychology at a university in Canada. As we have SILs who both majored in Psychology with one having a doctorate in and now in seminary. So we had some things in common.

People we meet:

A Lady lone rider named Diane on a Honda Valkyrie in Utah (Valkyrie is what Al use to drive, a great bike). She was from Oklahoma. And later we saw her again at another fuel up. She was headed to Idaho to see her brother.

Man from India, Bombay on a Triumph from San Francisco. He camped near us in the Sequoia Red Woods. We laughed with him as I told of my childhood post card picture experience of the drive-through Chandelier tree and unbelief. He said he saw a sketch of it in a grade school book, he laughed – not even a picture, but a sketch in a book. He said as a child – is this for real???

A young man from Michigan making much the same circle as us. With a log of over 5000 miles he was also from India. His name was HaShay. We told him of the other guy from India we met. I told him he also was driving a Triumph. He ask if it was white, I said yes it was. He had seen him from a distance he thought.

When you are all on the road heading the same direction you tend to see one another again and sometimes again.

We saw HaShay twice more.
Once along side the road at a look out and then again as we climbed the very high mountain on the lookout over San Francisco, going up and back down we waved and smiled.

We began our passage across the Golden Gate Bridge in none other than Monday 5 O’clock TRAFFIC. Al said – ‘here we go’ (that’s our trip catch phrase).
I said – we have conquered, rain sleet, snow and snail ( that’s my made up word for snow/hail) we will conquer this too. So straight through the peak traffic hour we went.
Stop light after stop light we sat as other motorcyclist did the legal lane splitting practice of their culture in California rushing by us as we were stopped in tandem, one would rush by us on either side. We laughed and said – NO WAY, as we sat and waited for lights to change neither of us would entertain the idea of driving our motorcycles through between cars sitting in traffic.

So we continued on our way stopping, starting and jagging lane changes, me keeping up with my Navigator Captain until we came out of it all and pulled into a McDonalds where Al got a cone and I got a chocolate milk shake and we plotted or next course of action south of San Francisco.

We spent the night where it is now morning as I script this in our tee pee. We are a few miles from Santa Cruz, CA.
And 50 miles from Big Sur.

It was late, cold and windy as we did rapid tent set up around 7:30 pm last night in an ocean view camp-ground. Both of us again exhausted, we could feel the strong ocean wind blowing on our tent. And we could here some near by surfer dudes camping across this grassy designated tent ground, as they cut up and laughed into the night, but did not even bother us. So tired, we both fell sound asleep.



Day 10

Sunday, 5/15/2016

I am a little behind on my blogging and after posting a day late yesterday, it’s amazing how things begin to blend together.

I told Al – I am having trouble recalling – things are running together and we laughed because he reminded me that most of yesterday was a day we both want to forget.

So…..I am committed to the good…the bad…and the ugly.

We packed up from our one of a kind tree-cave-tent experience, my personnel mountain top. And soon began what we believed to be a special remote old road/hwy ???. Suggested by our very favored Butler motorcycle maps. (which they did state it was a rough road….in places)
So as we left our camp area, The Avenue of the Giants (mammoth Red Woods) and began on an adventure ride I now refer to as ‘The Avenue of the Pot Holes.’

3 VERY long hours of dodging HUGE pot holes, because there seemed to be no escaping off this beaten path. We maneuvered swiveled and swaggled for what seemed an eternity.
If you heard our intercom conversation it went from good natured bantering to me saying – how long is this road. My body can’t take much more. My new tires are going to be worn out. My -#*#*# is going to be worn out. My clutch and throttle hand is worn out. These bikes aren’t made for off road. How much further. You can only miss so many pot holes.
And Al just kept saying – I know. I agree.
There was some beautiful scenery. We did stop and take some pictures. Though we were both in frustration that there was no road leading us out of this endless abuse. Finally we came out into a quaint little township of Ferndale, CA. a small village with buildings and homes showing old history. We rolled into Main Street and here came a very small slow moving parade; some sort of celebration, what appeared to be a sober event (I felt like joining them) down the middle of town.    🙂

Having left our camp site with out breakfast, it was now noon. We parked our bikes and began scoping for downtown eateries. Went into one that boasted of a bakery along with good eats. I was excited and we were sitting down just as Al began reading a chalked menu, this is all vegan he said – Uh no.
I read a sign also that said – ‘All hippy’s enter in the back entrance, no exceptions’ – Everyone in there looked hippy.
We may have been the only ones who came in the front door.
We left and found another joint down the street that also was more than a little different, so we both safely ordered BLTs and spoke of great expectations for deserts later on down the road.
Fueled up as we left Ferndale.

I was obsessing over finding the drive-through tree and was still holding a grudge on The Avenue of the Pot Holes, waisted time.

Al, forever my knight in shining Armor was guiding us closer to that destination when we came upon what I now call the fake drive through tree. Al took a picture of me trying to get through it and at an awkward up hill corner coming out of it we both laughed and agreed – it was an imposter and it took $8 of our money too. We drove away saying that it most certainly was not the same tree we visited over 25 years ago.

So down the road we went navigating to the real ‘Chandelier’ Tree’ as it is called.

On our way there traffic came to an abrupt halt due to road repairs, so for an hour of very slow staggering traffic and impending heat we clutched, braked and stopped and throttled repeatedly over and over as we grew hotter and hotter; when you are on a motorcycle; the clutch, throttle, hand brake and the heat can all cause fatigue. The sun was beating down on us, we were both laughing and talking about our day as we stopped our bikes under shade for comfort and let the cars move forward for awhile and then move up to them into the next set of tree shades. Cars behind us seemed to understand as we began taking our coats off layer at time because the day started off cold. We were stopping and putting our kick stands down and putting stuff in our saddle bags, rearranging. Al even had his outer winter/rain pants on, and I encourage him to take them off and throw them behind my back. So we were doing a strip down shuffle in the middle of very slow moving traffic.

The real drive-through tree is called, ‘Chandelier tree’. Al and I and our daughters were there at it when we took a very long family vacation all those many years ago, although we were way too early on that morning, so we resorted to climbing over the chain because even years back…we were determined to see that special drive through tree. We have our old family pictures of it where we were the only ones there. Family fun vacation memories.

I had seen a picture post card of it as small child, a neighbor showed me. I looked at it over and over in unbelief.

When we finally broke free from the traffic slug movements we were not far from the tree entrance. I told the national park guy there- do you know there is an imposter drive through tree. He laughed and said yes we hear that a lot.

Well that imposter tree cost more than the real deal here too.

Been there done that got the picture. All is good.

We pulled on out and headed to Hwy 1 towards Fort Bragg and what a ride that was.

Here’s the deal – I LOVE curves, twisties and corners, can’t get enough of them, my bike loves them, and Al always gives me lead in them. Sorry but that’s the truth. And this hwy 1 is like WOW.

I throttle up heading in, shift down before hard corners roll on the throttle lean hard down, scrape peg metal (sometimes). Upright her, throttle roll back and get ready to throttle roll up and repeat rapidly into the next. My favorite is throwing back and forth of opposite corner action. GAME ON. I simply love that challenge and Al is fast behind.

I began in the hills of the ozarks in my teens when my Dad says I went through 7 sets of crash bars from grinding the bottoms that torked the tops and broke where my dad would tape them together. After he grew tired of this scenario he got a pipe and connected it high up and we called that my crash bar as it was a law to have one. And now I could get my lean on way back then as a young teenage girl.

Al fortunately indulges me as I pursue my passion for corners. And we both go hard, fast and furious with controlled experience not superseding beyond our skill levels.

Truth folks, knowing as we do the number one killer of motorcyclist is corner riding of the inexperienced as we carefully and respectfully indulge.

We have discovered the laws here are for slower vehicles to use the frequent pull outs on this hwy and they do it very obligingly.

That particular part of the road into Fort Bragg after leaving the drive through tree was GREAT.
As we maneuvered through all its great corners we both conversed back and forth – me in the lead saying: tight – really tight – gravel – sharp tight – road kill – gravel – WOW – I LOVE THIS.
And when Al leads, he does the same.

We LOVE to ride together in our life journey.

We pulled into Fort Brag coastal town, bone tired and hungry. Fueled up. We agreed to a motel for the night. Found a Denny’s, ate while we price checked lodging.
Checked in……and our bodies were maxed out. I thought my hands would not recover they hurt and Al’s did too. Exhausted beyond repair. I lost my usual great optimism. I can’t blog tonight, maybe never again. I moaned and groaned till I fell asleep thinking my body WILL NOT recover.

Next morning fresh and new – ALL GOOD and we hit the Coastal corners again just as before.

The ocean view’s are simply beyond words. Breath-taking beautiful weaving around each giant cliff, looking down below at a wild crashing and waving ocean, with mighty ocean stone sculptures protruding along the thrashing churning ocean waters, vision after vision of kaleidoscope variations. And then we go low into the beach area as we roll on by on our motorcycling IMAX adventures.