The campground in Lassen National Forest was full (everywhere in California is full of people). Unlike other National Parks we’ve been to, our neighbors this night were not experienced or polite campers. There were people carrying on and drinking until the early hours of the morning, people talking way too loud so the whole campground could share their conversation, and a lot of other inconsiderate behavior (making messes at the water source and in the bathrooms, smokey fires, and general trashy behavior). This was the first morning where I didn’t feel the least bit bad that my bike is a bit loud, and takes a while to warm up at 7:30 in the morning.
As neat as Lassen was, the camping situation made it less relaxing than desired, and we both decided it wasn’t the place to take a day off. Besides, it was a beautiful sunny day to ride.
The first break of the day was around Redding, CA, where the sundial walk bridge stuck out from the road as something worth seeing more closely. As we were walking to the bridge, a guy walking his dog noticed our moto gear, and asked which way we were headed. We told him west, and he recommended CA 36. We had heard this was a great motorcycling road, but thought it might be a bit a bit out of the way for our schedule today. After consulting the map, we figured it wasn’t really that far, and we’d take it anyway. As it turns out our initial route was closed, but we didn’t know it. Plus, 36 really is fantastic. Thanks random guy in Redding for tipping the balance.
It was lunch time when we pulled up to the intersection with 36. As we were filling the bikes at the small, remote rest stop, two bikes pull in; a Moto Guzzi, and a late model Ducati 750 ss, two of the coolest bikes I’ve seen all trip. (Their tires gave them away as competent and exuberant riders. I wish my tires were that sticky, except I would have probably bought two sets already on this trip). I’ve never seen a Moto Guzzi in the wild before, so I was pretty excited to talk to the owner about it. We ended up spending lunch talking bikes with a really nice father and son out for a Sunday ride. The father was former AMA motorcycle racer, and the son races sprint cars. Very cool stuff.
We really enjoyed riding 36 in the beautiful weather. I can see why northern California is a fun place to own a sport bike.
Then we got closer to the coast, and we hit a wall of cold air. It went from 90 degrees to 60 degrees in something like 5 miles.
The goal was to camp among the redwoods, but all the campgrounds were full. Yet again we found ourselves riding past our planned time to stop, past campground after campground, hungry, cold, wet, and not knowing where we would be able to land that night. Our awesome day was heading downhill fast.
Instead of planning on dinner in camp, we finally decided to stop for dinner (we learned that lesson back at lake tahoe, do not get hungry). The first decent looking place was the forest cafe north of Klamath. It was not what we expected at all. We just thought it would be a burger joint. Instead, it was elaborately decorated as a mock forest. I wish I had gotten pictures. In one area with a lower ceiling height, the ceiling was painted as water, and the area was made to look like you were sitting in the pond. Fake duck bottoms attached to the ceiling, leaves, etc. The food was both pricier and higher quality than expected. I had an open face prime rib w/ vegetables and a carrot soup, Kevin had meatloaf and a salad. This restaurant is located next to a roadside motel, and across from a tourist trap with a giant talking Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, so it seems really out of place.
At this point, I was really exhausted, and it was time to stop. I generally find roadside motels suspect, and prefer to camp rather than stay in those dumps, but I was tired enough to at least check it out.
I’m glad I did. For 68$, it was great. We had a clean, remodeled, large room with free wi-fi. The bathroom was nicer than hotels I’ve paid more than twice as much for. If it had a beach view, it would have cost 3x as much. The outside was completely misleading. Lets just say I would stay there again.
We also met Joe (Hi Joe!). (joejinky.com). Joe is a fellow moto traveler, who is also on an epic adventure, and happened to be staying a couple of doors down from us. Other than just generally having a good time sharing stories, Joe was able to help diagnose the trouble with my helmet cam. Joe has the most farkled out motorcycle I think I’ve ever seen. He’s riding his 7th or 8th (I can’t remember) Gold Wing, pulling a trailer. Its a really awesome way to travel (pics are on his blog). He has something like seven different cameras with him, several of which are Drift brand cameras like mine. Perfect.
We were able to borrow a remote and camera to try and isolate the issue with my hardware. After riding up and down the road in front of the hotel trying various combinations of cameras, remotes, and locations for mounting the remote, we determined that there is actually nothing wrong with the hardware. The problem is most likely the plastic tank on my bike. (Hear me out on this) The latest theory is that there is probably enough electrical noise coming from the bike to interfere with the communication between the remote and the camera. My previous bike had a metal tank, which would have provided shielding. When I place the remote close to the camera while the bike is running, it works fine, just not while mounted to my handlebar. I’m still haven’t decided what to do about this. I’m just glad I’m not spending time and money trying to buy a new remote, so thanks again, Joe.
7/15/2012 – 302 miles. The pacific coast really is cold and rainy.