KDW (Regular) View all posts in this topic  
Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:12 pm
Day 2        

I was up early, again as I wanted to re-verify my plan for the day. It?s now that I realize the extent to which I?ll need to double back to collect the bonuses and I get a feel for the technical aspect of reaching these spots. At least I?ve got time for breakfast and a once over on the motorcycle before I head out.

My first bonus is on CA-3 in Hayfork. CA-3 is great riding road with lots of 15 mph curves, but before I can get there I need to go through a major construction area on CA-299. I?m hopeful that Saturday morning the road will be open before the crews get there. I arrive about the same time as the crews do, and with light traffic riding glass smooth asphalt is a pleasure. I should mention that as is typical in Northern the morning is misty and the roads are wet, this is going to slow me down a lot. The Hayfork bonus is on the side of the road and is relatively easy to complete. After Hayfork is the mega-bonus in Hyampom. It?s 24 miles to Hyampon, given the road conditions and the road; I?m planning on 90 minutes to get this bonus 45 minutes out and 45 minutes back. The road is very technical additionally, it?s narrow 1.25 lanes and the surface transitions from perfectly maintained to a surface that is essentially just pothole repairs. All of this combined keeps my speed under 40 and I?m using my front brakes heavily. One of the corners is covered in loose sand, which I don?t see as its wet and the same color as the road. As I enter the corner leaned over and starting to apply throttle, I feel the front tire start to float out from under me followed by the rear. I quickly straighten the motorcycle upright and roll off the throttle and regain control as my heart skips a beat ? luckily there?s not a car coming the opposite direction as I?m on the opposite side of the road by the time I?m back in control. I make the Hyampom bonus really watching the corners. I don?t relish the ride back out, but it has to be done. By the time I make it back to CA-3 the sun is up and for the most part the road is dry. My confidence is back. I can make good time into Eureka picking up another bonus on the way.

When I arrive in Eureka, I realize that my bonus photos haven?t been sending. My first thought was that because I was in a ?no service? area that I just needed to force them to go. After get a second bonus in Eureka and check again. Nope still stuck and I?ve got a couple of notes from the Rally staff about being lost in the wilderness. Something is defiantly not right, maybe if I connect to Wi-Fi that will correct the problem. I stop for a quick bite at an establishment with WI-FI and try again. Nope I?m getting configuration error from the email service, crap again, technology is kicking my ass. I call the rally master and he reconfigures my account for an alternate email and the mail slowly starts to send. Yea! There are a lot of hero?s in the BMRx today the rally master is my hero. But I lost an hour messing with technology and that?s going to impact my end of day plan. On to the next bonus.

I?m all set for a pleasant ride on the coast along Mattole Rd. Not so fast; there are no straight sections on Mattole Rd. it?s tight curve on tight curve all potholes and random sections of loose gravel (aka no road), some of those on downhill curves. By downhill I mean downhill 14% grade with switchbacks and gravel. I am quickly reminded that when on gravel go easy on the front brake, use the rear brake. The road is mostly one lane wide in some places less than that. It?s good that this is not a well-traveled road. I only had one car pass me going the opposite direction and that was on a fairly wide section of the road. Again the front brake is getting a heavy work out max speed here ~20 MPH. After I reach the bonus the road gets better until I reach Honeydew. Honeydew is a very small isolated town, population? not a lot. There is a school and post office/bar/store in town but that?s pretty much it. Mattole Rd. tightens up again heading back up the mountains to US-101.

Next stop the Shelter Cove bonus. It?s another technical road, back up and over the coastal range. Compared to Mattole Rd, the road to shelter cove is a highway, completely paved two lanes and only a moderate amount of potholes. Still the road requires heavy use of the brakes. Shelter Cove is a comparatively large Airport Community (that is most the residents own airplanes and fly in. The runway is the center of town. Back to US-101 and on to CA-1 to Fort Bragg. This is a section of road that I?ve ridden several times. It?s a beautiful section of road smooth winding through the redwoods. The only problem is it?s usually backed up with campers. It must have been my lucky day, I only came across two or three campers and they found a place to allow me to pass. I arrived in Fort Bragg just before sunset to get the bonus, a cup of coffee and reassess my ride for the evening.

The Fort Bragg bonus was the Skunk Train Depot. The train is a collection of privately owned train cars and is named after an engineer named Skunk. It?s a pretty cool location. I had a slight issue with the bonus which was to find ?The Skunk? and wasn?t obvious anywhere near the site. I called the rally master we talked about it and I submitted the bonus ?Skunk Train.? I?ve since reviewed the Google Earth of the bonus and ?The Skunk? is clearly visible in Google earth. My photo was taken immediately in front of that location and the window sign is not there. It was good to spend some time off the bike and looking around.

It was dark by the time I downed a cup of coffee, a power bar and cleaned the bugs from my visor. I had a bit of time to review my route and decided to add the Middletown bonus to my route headed to San Francisco on US-101. The route was CA-20 to CA-29 only a slight detour and I?ve ridden these roads before. They were a blast to ride in the day light, I was guessing they wouldn?t be has much fun at night. I headed out of Fort Bragg slowly on CA-20 which was fairly busy and the on coming traffic made the corners slower than I would have preferred. It all worked out as I rounded a corner and a deer was trapped on the road between my lane and fence. I slowed even more and cleared the deer before picking up a bit of speed, now extra cautious of critters on the road.

CA-29 was like I remember it. Busy with traffic but full speed, not many curves which suits my night riding just fine. The Middletown bonus was easy to find on the side of the road. CA-29 south of Middletown gets both busy with traffic and technical but the road is well maintained and the traffic minimizes the critters. I was able to make decent time as most of the traffic was headed my direction.

The San Francisco bonus was the ?Golden Gate? Baptist Theological Seminary. Again the sign had been removed. I?m not sure if the seminary has sold the property or not but I snapped a photo of where I thought the sign should be, later Google earth confirmed that this was the obvious signage, it was midnight, I had spent the day riding roads that varied from fantastic to craptasic but none of them were easy most were really fun, a few were white knuckle-rides.

My plan for the next day was to start in Yosemite. I was hoping to make Sacramento for Rest Bonus Two. A quick calculation showed my rest stop was two and half-hours away or a 3 AM arrival. That wasn?t a huge issue but if I started my day at 9 AM I wouldn?t be able to make the CA-41 bonuses. I really needed to find a place to rest for the night. Thinking though the bonus locations I remembered that there were two good bonuses south of San Francisco. New plan, drop Yosemite, pick up the points south of San Francisco, which would allow me to clear the city early, before there was serious traffic. I planned on finding a hotel near SFO ? not easy after mid-night on a Saturday. South I headed. First I got fuel and did my normal chain maintenance. The first two hotels were booked solid. I got my second wind crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. I felt fresh and ready to go. Thinking through my options decided the rest bonus was the most points and the best option; I couldn?t do better by continuing. I got a room at the third after making a couple circles on US-101. It was 1:40 AM and I had to stay put for 6 hours. Preparing the bike for the morning I discovered a noticeable tick in the rotation of the front wheel. The front brake was defiantly rubbing at one point. A quick look at the rotor it was an off shade of blue. Most likely it had over heated and warped a bit. My assessment was that the warp wasn?t terrible and it would be ok until I was able to change it at home. All in all it was a great day.

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