4th of JULY, 2003 SHAKEDOWN RIDE!!!

My wife Becky had just completed her California Motorcycle Safety Course and gotten her license (even though she's owned her SV650S for almost a year now). She has never felt confident enough to try touring before now and we have always had to settle for shorter "day rides" together.

We loaded up our bikes (both of us with saddle and tail bags) here at our home in Eureka, CA (think ocean and redwoods) on the morning of the 4th of July and headed east up highway 299 to Willow Creek. We stopped and fueled up grabbing some Subway sandwiches and drinks for further up the road (and yes, that is a large, redwood statue of "bigfoot", this being "Bigfoot Country," seemingly holding onto his genitals).

I had been over hwy 96 on the Memorial Day Weekend (although traveling the opposite direction...see my report HERE) and have come to truly love this road.

We stopped off at a likely looking campground along the Klamath River a couple of hours along the road and ate our sandwiches (and yes, that is my hand covering the lens...sigh).

It was now starting to get VERY hot (hovering around 100 degrees) for these folks used to the foggy north coast of California (think 60 degrees year-round) so we parked the bikes and splashed about in the river for a bit (here notice my offical "cold-weather" Sport-Touring.Net (my online motorcycling buddies) long-sleeved shirt that I'm wearing...what, am I insane? Still, flying the colors IS important motorcycle-wise and it's the only ST.Net shirt that I have...I'll have to remedy that before the next trip.

I'm now feeling the sweat trickle down the front of my shirt as I'm riding and I start obsessing about how good an ice cream or an ice cold beer or even an ice cube to suck on would be and promise myself that the first likely looking spot I find where any of these things are available I'm going to go for it...with me in the lead we did a semi-panic stop at Quigley's Store (in the heart of the breakaway "State of Jefferson") and grabbed some yummy ice creams and sodas (Beck also opts for their delicious HOMEMADE pie [with crust to die for]).

We made it to Yreka by late afternoon and checked at the Miner's Inn Best Western (highly recommended...I really, really needed that swimming pool) and here hooked up with Becky's brother Daniel who had been on the road for several days himself on his Moto Guzzi travelling from his home in Wichita, KS. Unbeknownst to me the leader and "Uber-Administrator" or the Storts-Touring.Net, UFO, was lodged just a few doors down from us and we were the proverbial "ships in the night" and passed right by one another without knowing it.

Up the next morning and after a hearty breakfast at the Denny's next door we head down hwy 3. This was a new road for me. We traveled its distance from 96, down through Ft. Jones and Scott Valley (lovely). Coming over Scott Mountain down onto the west side of Trinity Lake has to be the twistiest road I've ever been on. 15 mph corners back-to-back...at times we felt like if they twisted anymore we would have to just stop our bikes and back around them! We crossed back across 299 at Weaverville and preceded up to the Hayfork summit...what a beautiful road! Great pavement, light traffic, nice corners! Hated to see it end, we all got a nice "groove" going.

While we were having lunch in Hayfork a local motorcyclist told us we were about to ride the "best motorcycle road in the world"...a claim I am always skeptical of...he said it had all been recently engineered and paved from the hwy3/36 junction right up to the Trinity County line. As it turned out he was most likely correct. This road is a delight...great pavement, well engineered corners, beautiful scenery...I don't know what more one could ask...a motorcyclist's dream!

The scenery wasn't bad either...here's a shot of Becky and Daniel with the peaks of Black and Red Lasik (never can remember which is which) in the background.

...back on the bikes and on down into Humboldt County (the roads here get noticeably worse...potholes, patches, off-camber and often with a lack of white lines (sad to say about our "home" county roads)...and then a sprint down 101 to our home.

All in all a GREAT, short trip and a hugely positive experience for us all...especially for Becky I think. Even though a bit bone weary and tired she loved being on the road, loved her bike, loved it all. And the confidence builder of riding some of California's most challenging motorcycle roads will go far in helping me to talk her into more of these rides. Actually I donít suspect that that will be a problem.

Hmmm, perhaps if we're not doing anything this next weekend....


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