Well, there was a good reason why I went to bed at 9pm — at least, it seemed so when my alarm went off at 5:20am on Saturday morning. I had an appointment at Rick Mayer Cycle at 10 to have a custom seat made, and Rick’s shop in Anderson, CA was about 160 miles east of our Super 8.
To get there, I had the option of taking either Hwy 299 or Hwy 36 — two of the best motorcycling roads around. I chose 299 becuase it’s less technical, and at 6am on a foggy, rainy day, I didn’t want to worry about hairpins on top of moss, landslides, and deer.
The road was so quiet. I was alone, utterly and completely. The morning was cool and damp but the roads were mostly dry, so I hummed along at a decent clip, up and down through Bigfoot Country. Unfortunately, I rode through Willow Creek too early in the morning to stop at their Bigfoot Museum and see the plaster cast of a giant footprint found near some local logging equipment in the 1950s.
Once past Willow Creek, I was smack dab in the heart of Six Rivers National Forest, which starts at the Oregon border and stretches south for 140 miles. Not terribly surprisingly, it’s named for the region’s six major rives: Smith, Klamath, Trinity, Mad, Van Duzen, and Eel. My route along Hwy 299 crossed the Klamath early on and then followed the Trinity for a good portion of its length; I would see the Mad and Van Duzen Rivers later in the afternoon.
That last photo was taken during one of the very brief moments of sunshine during the day; the rest of the morning was gray and dank. It didn’t bother me, though — the joys of textile riding gear! I left my rain gloves and heated vest on all morning and just cranked up the vest when the drops started falling.
I really couldn’t get over how peaceful 299 was at that hour. Normally it’s crawling with cops and slow-going pickups, but from 6:00 to 9:00 am, not so much. I had the road to myself, to twist the throttle when I felt like it, and ease down into second for some slower twisties when appropriate. The road opened before me, and the Z responded. We’re getting to know each other, the Z and I, and I think we both are liking what we see. It’s a slow courtship — I really believe that a bike isn’t mine until I’ve put 10,000 miles on it — but we’re almost halfway there now. It’s a tantalizing dance, to be sure.
I got to Redding just before 10am, only to find that my turnoff to a secondary highway happened to be the main thoroughfare for the 58th Annual Redding Rodeo Parade. According to a local newspaper, over 10,000 people attended this year’s parade. No mention was made of a confused-looking woman on a blue motorcycle who made an incorrect turn and very nearly wound up in the middle of a 4H group.
At any rate, I finally made it to the wonderfully gravelly Heavenly Valley Lane in Anderson, CA, where my new saddle would be born. And that seems like a good place to put a To Be Continued….