So I’m sitting around my house just now, watching Law & Order and drinking beer (i.e. normal night) and thinking, “crap, I’m totally forgetting something”. It finally hits me: Day 3. I mean, I guess you all have assumed by now that I did, in fact, ride home from Fortuna on Sunday, but perhaps you’d like to hear about it. Well, even if not, yer gonna.
Diana and I got up early on Sunday, but it wasn’t 5:30am early, so to me it felt like sleeping in. We packed up the bikes and headed north to the Samoa Cookhouse for breakfast with the gang. Chris (Thatman) and Ariana (aplejax) were the only ones already there when we pulled in, but Kurt (kurtw) and Jeff (JeffN) appeared shortly after us, so we six grabbed a table.
More STNers filtered in as breakfast went on. Soon the parking lot was full of bikes, with riders going in and out of the restaurant and just generally causing an early-morning ruckus. My kind of people.
Eventually, everyone was done eating and was instead mingling out by the bikes. This would be out last stop together; the Oregon and Washington folk would head north, while we Californians turned south. We puttered around for a bit and said our goodbyes. *sniff*
We had a pretty large group heading south out of Samoa: Bobby (USA Medic), his friend Eddie (does he have an STN name?), Jim (TheExplorer), Cynthia (kitkite), Cynthia’s daughter Gabi, Diana (MsLusty), Andrew (ZX11Andrew), and Chris (Req) — Chris lives in Seattle, but he was heading south to San Diego before heading back home. Lucky duck!
101 south from Samoa down to Leggett is really amazingly uneventful. It’s gorgeous, of course, but it was raining off and on and it just seemed to take forever to get to the intersection of Highway 1.
Remember that GPS antenna from Friday afternoon? Bet you forgot all about it. I know I did. Well, partway down 101, I see something out of the corner of my eye whip off the bike and go spiralling off behind me. Instantly, I knew it was that damned antenna. For a couple of miles, I tried to convince myself that maybe it hadn’t really flown off the bike, that maybe it was wedged behind the tankbag or something…but really, I knew it was gone.
…until a few miles after that, when I look in my mirrors to see Andrew gaining on me. He pulls up next to me and holds out his hand….holding the antenna!
He’d seen it fly off my bike and was far enough back that he was able to stop and pick the damn thing up off the freeway. Amazing. At our next gas stop, Andrew handed it over and we secured it with some neat self-adhesive rubber tape that he also happened to have on him. From now on, Andrew goes everywhere with me. I shouldn’t even leave the house without him. The man is a lifesaver.
Highway 1 from Leggett over to the coast is phenomonal. Sadly, Bobby and Eddie peeled off to continue down 101 (some sort of appointment, I gather, not some deep and perverse love for the superslab), but the rest of us continued onto this 25-mile twisty nirvana. It was slow-going on Sunday due to rain/moss in the road, but luckily everyone was in a jovial, laid back mood.
As always, it hardly seemed like 25 miles before I rounded a curve and, bam, there was the ocean. It was a grey and heavy ocean on Sunday, not the brilliant blue sparkle of trips past, but it was still the Pacific, loud and soothing and immense. There are a couple of geographical features that pop up again and again in my planned trips; little themes, I suppose. Water is one. The Pacific is ever-present to Californians, even those of us that live 20 miles inland, and it comforts me to ride alongside it.
We stopped for lunch in Fort Bragg, at a cafe which royally pissed me off by delivering a chicken salad comprising breaded and deep-fried chicken. I try to load up on protein during long rides, and batter isn’t exactly my idea of health food. Now I know to request the cooking methods of any food, even salad. And we wonder why Americans have an obesity problem?
We jagged down the coast for a few more miles before turning inland again at Highway 128. Despite the incredulous protests from my companions, I still insist that I’d never been on this section before. I would have remembered it. 128 starts out wooded again, with the amusing juxtaposition of redwoods and pygmy forests. It’s all part of the Navarro River Redwoods State Park, which serves as a gateway into Anderson Valley.
Anderson Valley is primo wine country, and soon the redwoods give way to sprawling vineyards. Wood and stone gates mark roadside wineries, most with outdoor tasting patios. The buildings here are small and rustic, unlike the palatial winery buildings I’ve seen on eastern Hwy 128, closer to Napa Valley.
I don’t know why I didn’t take many pictures along this stretch; I guess because I was riding with a good sized group and I didn’t want to stop everyone. I truly enjoyed this road, though, and I’m sure I’ll be back to photograph it soon enough. 🙂
Unfortunately, all good things must end, and Hwy 128 soon spit us out onto Hwy 101 again for our trek southward to San Francisco. Other than the monotony of the freeway and the on-again, off-again pouring rain, the ride was uneventful. Jim, Cynthia, and Gabi split off before the bridge to head east to Modesto, leaving my mini-group as myself, Andrew, and Chris (who we agreed would spend the night at Peter’s and my house).
For once, San Francisco traffic wasn’t bad, and we made it down 19th street in one group. We picked up Hwy 280 and, along with a short butt-stretch around Hwy 92, we were soon in the South Bay.
As I led Chris off of the freeway to head to our house, it occurred to me that my turn signals weren’t working. Nice. Chris, once more, I apologize for making you try to see my hand signals, in the dark, in the rain. 😉
Fortunately, Peter had been forewarned of our cold, wet, hungry arrival, and he quickly shuttled us off for sushi and sake after Chris and I had changed clothes. We made Chris happy with our local sushi place’s “sex on the mountain” roll, which I have to admit, both tasted and looked good.
And that was the WCRM III. It wound up being almost exactly 1000 miles for me. Rain, getting up at 5am, crazy biker scum…may not sound like much to some people, but I can’t ask for a better weekend. Thanks, everyone; see you in 2007!