July 7, 2001
12:15pm. Pioneer Park, Calistoga. 3856 miles, 732.3 trip miles.
I can’t believe I’m almost home already. Heh, it’s funny to say that, sinceÂ the last trip I took had Calistoga as its destination, and it seemed far away at the time. 🙂 I’d forgotten how easy it was to cover miles on the interstate — I took Highway 5 from Redding to Williams (~106 miles), and then Highway 20 from Williams to Clearlake, Hwy 53 (which turned into Highway 29) from Clearlake down to Calistoga. I didn’t really like riding on the 5; it was too fast and too straight and too boring, and the drivers really drove like ass. At one point, a SUV from Nevada was weaving all over the road, passing on the right before the car in front had a chance to move over, and at one point even moved into my lane in front of me — which wouldn’t have been so bad were there not already a car there. The other car moved over in the lane and for a while, they were driving two abreast, la la la, at 80mph down the interstate. I admit to giving a whoop for joy when I saw the SUV pulled over by state police a few miles down the road. If you’re drivingÂ that poorly at 9am, you’ve got issues. In hindsight, I should have taken 99 south from Redding and stayed off of the 5 altogether, but I’d forgotten how quickly one can cover 100 miles when one is riding at 80mph. Now I’ll know for next time.
I really liked Highway 20 from Williams to Clearlake, though. The hills were yellow and brown, with clumps of green and orange. I really loved the colors — it was the first time I’d seen a lot of orange and brown in the scenery on this trip, and it reminded me of fall and Halloween and pumpkins. I was somewhat surprised by how much I welcomed the orange.
Highway 29 south to Calistoga was pretty nice, too. Very twisty. At one point, I pulled off the road to drink some water and take a picture, only the gravel was more, well, gravelly, than I’d anticipated, and the road more sloped. I was getting off of the bike when the sidestand gave way, and the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle tumbled over. Because of the slope and the gravel, I couldn’t get good enough leverage to pick her back up, so I waited. The first vehicle to pull over was a nice man in a van, quickly followed by an enormous AAA tow truck. The three of us got the SVS up without a single problem, and the man in the van hurried off again. It must have looked like a horrible accident — a motorcycle laying on its side in a curve, with a AAA tow truck pulled over blocking half of the road. Of course, the bike was on its left side, and it was a right-hand turn, so it would have been physically impossible for me to have dropped the bike by wiping out in the turn, but I’m not sure that the AAA guy ever really believed me that the bike was off and wasn’t moving when it fell. Oh well. He moved on down the road where he wasn’t blocking traffic, and I geared back up and kept going. I gave him a big wave as I passed, and he waved back and got into his truck (he’d been standing on the flatbed looking for me). See how useful AAA is?
I had lunch at Nicolas’ Cafe on Lincoln Avenue (the main drag) in Calistoga. While I was eating, two bikers, a Harley rider and his son (?) on a Honda Hawk, came in. I was hoping to chat, but they never even made eye contact. Oh well. I’m not too happy to be home in just a couple of hours. The rest of the ride is pretty boring — I’ll take the Silverado Trail down to Napa, but after that, it’s just highway 680 all the way to the south bay. Yawn.
3:15pm. Home. 3981 miles, 856.8 trip miles.