After some planning and looking at routes home from Stinson Beach I’ve come up with an itinerary that will get me back home with a few days to spare before my son’s birthday.
Lots of riding on this trip – over 7,500 kilometres in 14 days and that’s without side trips, detours or any additional spins off the beaten path.
Fiona and Niko will return home by air on the 18th from San Francisco and I will head north up the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) to Fort Bragg. This is a fantastic ride with 3+ hours of non-stop curves and unbelievable scenery. Last time I rode it near the end of a long travel day and when you’re tired it’s a little tougher to stay focused and really enjoy a twisty road. This time I will begin early in the day and leave lots of time for exploring, stops for breaks and scenery.
The second day, I’ll explore what I understand is a little hidden gem on the end of a remote road – Shelter Cove. It’s supposed to be quite scenic and not a very well-traveled area for tourists. I’ve seen photos and it looks like a good stop for photos and a break. Then I’ll continue over to the ‘Lost Coast Highway’ which is a small remote and decaying road that leads to part of California’s north coast that is off the beaten path. I’m going to stay in Ferndale, which apparently is a little jewel of a town that looks like it did the day it was built. Not sure what will be available for accommodation – I’m hoping a old hotel from the turn of the previous century. If not, I’ll camp along the coast – weather permitting.
I’ve selected a few highly recommended riding roads for day three Mad River Road which looks like an old part of Highway 1 and Highway 96 which is apparently quite beautiful and incredibly twisty for nearly 100 miles. The day will end in Klamath Falls so I can zip up the highway to make some ground and time the following day.
From Klamath Falls I’ll retrace my path from a previous journey through the Aufderheide from Oakridge, OR to Rainbow. Last time I did it with a companion and it poured rain for the entire day. It’s a forestry road that goes directly through the mountains and winds along reservoirs and rivers. It’s a very fun road to ride and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is dry this time as it was quite slick in the shade last time and generated a few ‘uh oh’ moments. From there over the Old McKenzie Highway which was closed when I tried to go through in 2006 due to fires. It is a decommissioned highway that has an observatory and is a narrow, scenic and twisty road that slices through lava beds. Day’s end will be in Bend, OR.
Bend, OR to Baker City, OR will be some good technical riding through Hell’s Canyon and a few forestry roads that are highly recommended riding roads. It’ll be a somewhat shorter day due to the technical nature of the roads. Baker City is supposed to be like an old west town where prospectors sought their fortune (for silver I think – I’ll find out when I get there).
Day 6 & 7
The final two riding days will take me through the Enterprise to Clarkston/Lewiston path from my 2010 journey – an excellent road and scenery. And against my better judgment I’ll be returning through the Lolo Pass (highway 12) to Missoula. I’ve ridden it before but it was part of a 24 hour straight riding day and I was exhausted. I’m hoping the second time it will live up to all the hype that riders bestow on it because the last time it was a bit underwhelming. The bonus this time is I’ll start the day with a full head of steam early in the morning so I’ll be fresh and ready to take on the 100 miles of curves. I’ll end this final real riding day in Kalispell and hope to meet my uncle for dinner and a beer.
Day 8 – Return Home
The final day will be mostly a commuting and highway day through the Crowsnest and Highway 22 (Cowboy Trail) to make my way home and a relatively easy day at 6-7 hours.
Choice of Weapon (Bike)
I’d debated taking my KLR to go off on some forestry roads but due to the distances traveled I’m taking the VFR for speed (highway days), comfort, and extra power/handling for curvy roads. I could do it on the other bike but would be miserable for the first couple days of 1,000+ kilometres. The VFR just eats up the freeway miles on the way down and is much more fun to ride on the twisty roads.