Project 2012: Day 260

Day Seven

The original itinerary was to head down to Fort Bragg from Eureka. But as that was only about 60 miles away, and Al & I’d spent a day playing in the Shasta’s we decided to try and push as far as San Francisco.

Will the Real World Famous Drive Through Tree Please Stand

First though, the obligatory, gratuitous tourist attraction of riding through trees. I know. But how often do you come across a tree you can ride through?

(Not the “Real”) World Famous Drive Through Tree

We saw a sign to the “World Famous Drive Through Tree” at Shrine, just south of the campground. They only opened at 9, and we didn’t have small enough change for the $4(!!!) per motorbike fee. So we waited.

This tree wasn’t exactly what we expected, neither did it look like any of the pictures we’d seen. Still we’d paid our money and got the video, photo (but not the t-shirt)

Next another ADVRider suggestion to head through Leggett onto Route 1. And you’ll never guess what’s at the little town of Leggett (pop 307). The Real World Famous Drive Through Tree. This one only costs $3 per motorbike, and you get a $1 rebate in the gift shop. Doh!

So set up the tripod again for the videos and photos. Only this time we were interrupted by about 8 Harley riders and three car loads of tourists. We didn’t get away until about 11am. So much for an early start.

To the Coast.

Time to start putting the C into the PCH, as we headed towards the coast from Leggett. Can I say that I’d rate this as the best bike road I’ve ridden if I hadn’t ridden the 99 to Spirit Lake in Mt St Helens, or the 299 to Weaverville, or the Newington B Drury Scenic Drive. Ok, ok, but this is a seriously good biking road.

It twists and turns through the forests. The only thing is the lack of shoulder, or guard. So you take a tight right hand turn, look down over your shoulder for hundreds of feet to the forest floor below. Scary. You definitely want to keep your line.

This is also the very first time on the trip I’ve come across an inconsiderate driver. We were stuck behind a Chevrolet Pickup for over half the ride, constantly creeping around corners, and braking at every opportunity. But would they pull over into the turn out? Not on your life. It got bad enough for us to stop for 10 minutes and allow them to head on so we could finish the ride at a decent speed.

We still caught up to them before the end. Eventually, we overtook on a relatively straight stretch of road.

You climb this crazy, twisty, scary mountain road through the forest, and suddenly you burst onto the coast. OMG!!

This is how I’d always imagined the PCH. High bluffs, amazing vista’s, twisty road. Here the Route 1 delivers. In spades.

My Kingdom for WiFi (and Power)

Although deciding to push on from Fort Bragg, it was time to stop for lunch. As I hadn’t charged my Bluetooth Headset in Astoria, it had died in the morning, leaving me music-less. Travesty, I know!

Also, the helmet cam batteries were flat. So we needed a place with WiFi to figure out accommodation in SF, and power for all the gadgets. I’ll save the long version. When you’re in Fort Bragg, get yourself to the Boatyard. Now this isn’t actually a boat yard. There are no boats, nor is it a yard, and it’s not anywhere near water. But it is a shopping centre, and the location of Dave’s Deli.

This establishment does have free WiFi. And power. And awesome food. So despite it being 12pm it was time for breakfast. In fact when the food came out OMG! (Again)

By the time I reach San Francisco

We left at about 2pm which meant we were constricting our available travel time to San Francisco. But the ride was just too awesome. The tar goes literally right to the edge of the bluff. I mean right to the edge. There is no shoulder. From the tar you drop hundreds of feet onto rocky surf or into forest.

This makes the ride very demanding, but the road is mostly smooth, and the limit 55mph.

Between the road, the traffic, and the delays, we were running very late. Eventually at Stinson Beach I called a stop. It was now gone 8pm, and dark. It turned out we were only 23 miles from SF, so we decided to push on.

2 miles later, in the pitch black, in fog, with virtually no road markers, and no guardrails, we turned back. It is just way too dangerous to ride this road at night. Time to find accommodation and a meal.

The meal was easy. The Sand Dollar Cocktail Bar and Restaurant sated out hunger admirably. Is it really a sin to have Gruyere Cheese, Bacon, and Avocado on a Burger? If so, forgive me Lord.

Accommodation was harder. But only slightly.

Google identified the Pontall Trail Campground in the Mount Tamalpais State Park, just 3.8 miles away. Awesome.

So we hightailed it up the mountain. Now about 10pm. To find this is a “walk in” campsite. i.e. you have to carry all your luggage from your vehicle, up the mountain. And it was about 87F up here too. Insane.

Then we discovered (after I’d found a small campsite) that all the campsites were full. By now we’d popped the $25 through the self registration window. Doh!

Still I wasn’t going anywhere else. Turns out the campsite I’d found was a “hike and bike” group site. Usually just $5 per person. As it was late, there was space, no one else was going to come, and we’d paid 2.5 times the rate, we pitched our tents and fell into a deep slumber. Well, judging by the snoring, Al did anyway.

He claims I speak in my sleep, and snore.

… I have no idea what he’s talking about.