West Coast Day 2 | Ukiah to Eureka California


I got up early today a little miffed. My goal had been to get to central Oregon, and the lack of available hotels had pushed me back down south and inland several hours the night before.

Day 2 of my West Coast Adventure

So, starting in Ukiah California, I decided to make a beeline on Route 253 back to the coast, and go back to my original plan that the guys at Munroe Motors (Ducati San Francisco) had recommended: take Route 1 up as far as you can, then turn around and come back.
Before I started, I had to marvel at the genius setup to mount my new iPhone to the bike. Rather than spend $15 /day to rent a Garmin GPS, my buddy Tom hooked me up with an awesome hack to mount your phone to any bike in minutes, using nothing more than a cheap part of a RAM mount and a couple of Zip ties.

I rode out quite early, maybe about 7:30 taking California Route 253 towards Boonville. The coast was a bit brisk, but the morning temperature in inland California was perfect, and I didn't even need to break out the Bilt winter onesie I had brought along.
 I rode 253 up into the mountains, above the clouds still meandering through the valleys, which turned into rolling hills of scrub brush.
253 dead ended into 128 in Boonville, which I had taken North yesterday, but I decided to take a road called "Mountainview Road" south towards Manchester, CA, where I'd pick back up on Route 1. 
The GPS for Mountainview Road looked like this (not bad, huh?):
After 50 miles of non-stop twisties, I could see the ocean from atop an evergreen forest.
 And although when I reached Route 1 around Manchester California, I was struck by the difference riding along the coast and inland.
 Route 1 is incredible, one of the best motorcycle roads I've ever done. However, the visual spectacle of the rocky coastline lurching out of the ocean is distracting, as around every blind corner is another scenic cornucopia for the eye.
The fact of this sheer and ubiquitous beauty, all the way along the coastline, combined with the fact that there is a considerable amount of car traffic on a nice day, whose drivers are most likes similarly distracted.
Riding Route 1 on a motorcycle takes serious concentration and focus, the likes of which I've rarely seen needed outside of New York City.  However, the really technical riding happens when you go inland, away from all of the tourists.  The roads are immaculate, kept pristine for the infrequent logging trucks passing you by, and the riding can be about little more than the turns.
Nonetheless, I decided to hit Route 1 hard, riding non stop, except a couple delays to take a few shots of some gorgeous vista, the bike or a shameless selfie.
This was only my second day on a new bike, but I was beginning to get very comfortable on the Hyper.  There comes a time on a long tour when the bike begins to feel like a mechanical extension of your consciousness, and I was already feeling like that on only the second day of the trip.
Fucking California on a Ducati Hyper from nyducati on Vimeo.

The most incredible thing about California is the variability of the terrain.  You can be riding in hilly desert scrub brush, and then in seconds ride into a dazzling coastal expanse, rocks jutting out of the water, only to take a turn or two up a mountain into a redwood forest.

Case and point, there is this incredible spot on Route 1 where you're riding right on the very edge of the coast, when you suddenly turn inland and climb 15-20mph turns for miles up a mountain, from Rockport to Hales Grove.
The Shoreline Highway really changes at this point, becoming a mountain road towards Leggett. I had remembered driving through a redwood on a family vacation when I was a kid, and as I say billboards for this I realized I needed to do it on a bike.
 Chandelier Tree is a 2500 year-old redwood, located just outside of Leggett, California that had been hollowed out without killing the tree, so deep though that a compact car or a bike could ride right through.
 These thousand year old trees are really spectacular, whose majesty and size and dwarve anything on the East Coast.
There's also something rather sacred about them, as contemplating the fact that most of recorded history has taken place during the lifespan of one of these trees, made my petty existence seem very small. 
From Legget I continued to the fabled "Avenue of the Giants," a scenic bypass through Humbold Redwoods State Park, that bisects an ancient grove of Redwood trees. 
The Avenue of the Giants was amazing, though I missed a section that I figured I would just hit on the way back down, and the sun was creeping a little lower in the clouds, and the weather was getting considerably colder the more north I found myself. 


I made it to Eureka, California, shrouded in fog by about 4:30pm, determined not to make the same mistake I had made last night.  In Italy and Switzerland, I hadn't booked hotels sometimes until early evening, relying upon Expedia and my low standards for accommodation, but California was proving a little more difficult. So... I was happy to find a Starbucks with free wifi to check work emails and try and find a hotel room. 
Eureka was nothing to write home about (and not nearly as cool as the show on the SciFi network) and my research showed considerably cheaper hotels farther north.  I found a nice looking hotel in Cresent city for about $50, and though I was tired, I booked it and decided to push on. 
The temperature had dropped to the high 40s / low 50s, and I was beginning to get really cold.  The foggy mist riding out of Eureka was so thick, not only could I barely see, but I was beginning to get wet, on top of being miserably cold.  However, five minutes inland, the temperature would jump 20 degrees, the skies would clear, and I would sort of warm back up again.  
I had plenty of light though, and got off of 101 for a bit looking for a bit of a scenic detour when the fog dissipated, and I stumbled upon one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen. 
Trinidad Bay was spectacular, and sunsets in California are something far better than I've ever seen anywhere on the East Coast.  

There were only a few surfers around, 
 and a few houses, and I couldn't believe that this scene was so commonplace that people didn't throng here to see the setting sun.
I pushed on back into the fog, stopping for a photo-op
thanks to a couple of guys riding BMW 1200GSs out of San Jose. 
Blue Oxen and Bikes. 
False Klamath Vista Sunset
 It was crazy how the fog meandered along the coastline, creating an incredible mystical quality as the dying sunlight played off of the rocks reaching out of the sea.
 I stopped at another vista to watch the sun just disappear into the Pacific Ocean, as the mountains and rocks disappeared behind the fog and clouds.
By around 7:30, cold and wet, but ablsolutely blown away by the beauty of the day, I arrived at my Super 8 hotel in Crescent City.
 I checked in,
 and stopped off for a healthy meal and a few beers at the local seafood restaurant.

Second Day NYDUCATI West Coast Videolog Playlist




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