Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Burnin' Dinosaur Bones - The Pacific Coast - Moto Trip: The Americas

We follow the coast from Washington to San Diego, experiencing Americana at its finest.

After a hearty breakfast in Montesano, we loaded up and rode back to the 101 to continue our journey south. We made a quick stop at the famous Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach, WA. While there we saw Bigfoot, an endless assortment of saltwater taffy (which Johanna had to try all of), and Jacob the Alligator Man.

After that we had a short ride to Fort Stevens State Park where we were able to do some laundry before falling asleep. The next morning we got up before the sunrise to go see the wreck of the 'Peter Iredale', an old ship whose remains were scattered across the beach a short distance from our campsite.

After that we were cruising down the 101 yet again, passing between coastal overlooks, to plains and manure filled farmlands, to mountainous forests. On the way we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory to get some free samples (every little bit counts when you're homeless/jobless). We ended the day at Beverly Beach State Park.

The next day, we were up bright and early to hopefully snag a spot at an out-of-the-way campground in Port Orford that was first come - first serve, a daunting prospect on a summer weekend in the PNW. Luckily, we were among the first people there and we got our pick of camping spots.

After a break day, we were back on the road again, this time crossing the Oregon-California border into the Redwoods National Forest and through to Arcata where we stayed with James, another person Josh had arranged a night with through ADV rider.

He recommended a motorcycle café in nearby Eureka, which we visited for breakfast. It was delicious.

Breakfast completed, we headed out back into the Redwoods, cycling our way through the Avenue of the Giants, a 31 mile "highway" off the 101 that winded its way through some of the tallest trees we had ever seen.

To complete our Redwood journey, we stopped at the Chandelier Tree in Leggett to get our obligatory tourist photo at a tree you can drive through. Cheesy, I know.

After driving through the tree, we took a great 20 mile ride through the twisties towards Fort Bragg, and our eventual stay with Dave from AdvRider in Little River. Dave has an awesome property just a little ways from the coast. He gets a ton of moto travelers that come through, but we had the place to ourselves.  We quickly set up our tent before catching up on some emails and starting a fire while playing with the neighbors massive dogs. 

We were up early again the next morning and rode through more fog and endless curvy roads (seriously, it seemed like it would never end) to San Francisco. After the obligatory photo overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge we rode into the city to meet Josh's old friend Nevill and his girlfriend Mariah at their home, Fort Awesome. And it was awesome. They lived with several people in what we can only call a mansion in the Presidio neighborhood, a former military base. From here we had easy access to the city, and spent the next day sleeping in for a change before walking down to the pier and being tourists for a bit. 

After a fond farewell, we hit the road again to the Bigfoot Discovery Museum. Sadly it was a bit underwhelming to cryptid fans such as ourselves. 

That night we stayed at Sunset Beach Campground, which was not on a beach. In addition, the staff repeatedly tried to argue that we should pay an additional $10 for a second motorcycle, despite agreeing that our motorcycles took up less space than one car, (and weighed less, and cost less). They finally gave in to Josh's logic, mostly because they were unable to find any actual policy saying we had to pay for this. We cannot recommend you avoid this campground enough.

After getting the hell out Sunset Beach early, we took a route to Paso Robles, CA that was recommended to us by our hosts for the night, Roger (AceRph) and Diane from Advrider. They were incredibly hospitable and assisted us with changing our oil and treated us to In-N-Out for dinner, which was just what we needed. The next morning Roger took us to breakfast before we set out again to our last US campsite for a while, Songdog Ranch. 

Unfortunately we took a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up taking the boring highway 46 through the scorching hot and flat oil fields. The only thing for 50+ miles was endless oil derricks spread across the horizon. We did stop at a James Dean themed gas station, which offered pistachios and almonds in a variety of amazing flavors. We can personally recommend Hickory Smoked Pistachios and Maple Almonds.

We finally arrived at Songdog Ranch where we met the owner Rev, who has been motorcycle camping since the 70's and even owned his own soft luggage company. Songdog had an impressive history, at one time being a motorcycle only campground, until the government stepped in and ruined everything due to overly strict zoning laws (led by nosy neighbors). Despite all this, the campsite was fantastic, and we had a great night watching the Perseid Meteor Shower.

The next day we were back on the road to Calabassas, where Johanna's Aunt Marge lives. We had a great time catching up with family and sleeping in for a change. Sadly it was over all too soon and we were up early to avoid the notorious LA traffic. We mostly succeeded, and several hours later found ourselves in San Diego with Johanna's parents. We spent some time exploring Ocean Beach and the next day went to 8 Ball Motorcycle Tires to get new tires put on. Our old ones were pretty worn out, and had over 5,000 miles on them. The crew there really helped us out and within an hour we were on our way.

Tomorrow we are heading to our first border crossing by motorcycle, and then we'll be in Mexico. We'll try to post again in a few weeks.

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