August 09, 2005 GMT
Going back to Cali

Going back to Cali

We had to revisit Nevada to pick up the Western Union money as it had to be picked up in the state it was sent to. So we waited around for an office to open (friendly local Rite Aid), got the cash, and rolled up the road to Reno.


Stopped in at Reno HD to see if I could get the oil and filter changed on my bike as I just hit 5000 miles from the last change. The first answer was ďNot until 3pmĒ but after we talked a little and told them about the trip it was ďHere, roll it in right quickĒ. Not only did they work in the oil change but they cleaned the bike (and that was a serious job after a week on the road) and got me back on the road in a hurry.

Say what you want about HD dealers (Iíve said plenty myself) but when it comes to getting travelers who are 2000 miles from home on the road they do a pretty darn good job. Reno HD today; Southside HD in Indy had the right clutch cable and sent someone 20 miles down the interstate to bring it to me for my shovel head; Gainesville HD changed the rear tire on the shovel on Bike Week weekend (and that job was a pain, with the fully enclosed rear chain) ahead of scheduled service jobs. I canít complain. Donít get me started about their sales staff, though.

Took 395 out of Reno to Susanville, CA, then 44 over to Redding. 44 was really nice through the Lassen National Forest,



with Lassen Peak.


CALDOT or CALTRANS or whoever it is in the orange vests that works on the roads has figured out the same thing we have - itís nowhere near as hot at 8000 feet. So theyíre working on state road 44 in the middle of nowhere (had a big crew, too).

We had some interesting animal encounters. First we were attacked by monster butterflies. I donít know what they were but they were big and yellow on the inside. Smacked me a good one several times.


Then I finally saw some free range cattle. Iíve been seeing the signs ever since we were in the desert outside of Tonopa, NV. I guess the ones that were set free in NV migrated to the upper elevations of CA, realizing the heat wasnít as bad (great minds think alike). Any free range cattle in NV has to be the toughest animal in existence; and, probably, the source of the $5.99 steak special that doubles as shoe leather.

We descended from the heights into Redding. Iíve figured out what the lowland valleys of CA remind me of - the Serengeti. Dig the picture. I kept looking for the giraffe, the lion, maybe a hyena or two. Of course, it was hot, 105 in the shade.


Iíve got a much greater appreciation for the water battles that go on in the west now. Water is life. The difference between the Big Smoky Valley in NV (deserted desert) and the Carson River valley in NV (fertile, populated, flourishing) is water. Without it, no crops, no livestock, no reason to live there.

It being way too hot for humans in Redding, we decided to push on to Eureka, guessing that the coast had to be cooler. We took one of the most amazing motorcycle roads Iíve ever been on to get there - SR 299, 117 miles up, down, and around the Coast Ranges, through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and along the Trinity river to the coast. Itís uphill out of Redding to about Weaverville, with some really nice twisty sections, then mostly downhill along theTrinity river the rest of the way. Our biggest problem was, we were just about too tired to enjoy it, plus Dadís rear brake pads have had it.



Itís dangerous to push yourself when youíre already tired, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Kind of sad when youíre swooping through the curves along a river through the mountains and think, ď50 more miles of this?Ē We took it easy, took some breaks, and finally made it to the coast. And it was cold! A cold front had set in and we had to pull over and put our jackets on. Another 40 degree temperature swing.

As we rode from Arcata to Eureka, I thought to myself, dang, where is the ocean? Just about then I noticed it - that big bunch of water over there was Humboldt Bay. Another trip goal met.

We have to do a little brake service on Dadís bike tomorrow and then weíre off up 101 through the redwoods and the Oregon coastline.

Posted by Chuck Skarsaune at August 09, 2005 06:21 AM GMT

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