Soon after crossing the state line from Oregon to California we take a map inspired detour, a more interesting looking line that wriggles close to the blue sea. What a fantastic wiggle it turns out to be, on this back road everything make sense again. Mostly dirt, no traffic, spectacular views and we take it slow and stop frequently. This is what it's all about, without riding like this the whole trip means nothing. Interstates and 12 lane highways are the enemy, riding time on this kind of road does more damage then good. We love it.
We return to Arcata for a short visit, and to the wonderful Jenny. I try my hand at sewing, and add another remarkably fashionable ankle decoration to my other trousers. Honda is a woderful motorcycle, but it burns trousers. These patches cover holes, and look cool.
We then ride over to Blue Lake, to stay with another generous motorcyclist that we met at the HU get together. Map throws up another long way round, and again it's breath taking riding material. The direct route is 6 miles or 5 minutes, my choice is 38 miles of euphoric twisties. I do it solo, flat out racing style and it still takes me close to an hour. I end up riding this route 3 times, what a ride.
A little project to allow me to carry tools outisde pannier, on sump guard, low down. Pelican case.
Char and I arrived in the States with this misconception that the country was entirely devoid of decent beer. This is simply not the case. There are fantastic micro-breweries all over the place making superb beers and ales. Not expensive, great clientelle, reassuringly strong. What a way to spend a day or 8.
In Blue Lake we discover the Mad River Brewing Company, and make this our home from home from home. We meet Tony the nutter casino worker, larger than life and could talk a glass eye to sleep.
We also meet Luke, who is an absolute diamond. Char and I are treated to the all American experience; driven by two Iraq war vets, in a 1967 Mustang, to a shooting range where we unleash 357 Magnum fury.
It shouldn't be half as much fun as it is. I'm no avid gun fan, and I'm the first to question the American gun culture, but this certainly felt like harmless fun. The range master even insisted that as visiting Brits, we would be treated to free entrance.
Next another great run down the Redwood decorated coastline, to the tiny town of Mendocino. Our home for the next few days would be with MendoDave, an ADV member who kindly opens his doors to passing motorcyclists. We set up camp in his caravan and sheltered from the passing storms.
Once again made extremely welcome by a fellow motorcyclist keen to extend the American hospitality we've been so pleasantly surprised by.
Since meeting Skye and Mary in Arizona this September they had moved to San Francisco, where once again we were welcomed into their home like family. The biggest thanks to you both, you have done so much for us.
While staying with Brett in Blue Lake, we got wind of this BMW that was for sale in San Francisco at what seemed a reasonable price. I've always had love for these antiquated old tractor-cycles, and created a scheme that would allow me to own this machine. I buy it, Char and I ride it for a couple of weeks, and then sell it, hopefully for no less than I paid. I buy, we ride, then like too much to part with.
This sets the stage for the trailer project, and a change of direction entirely. We have a RIG! As I write this now, we have put a couple thousand miles on the bike and pulled the trailer a fair way. We'll continue on the RIG, taking a big loop around Mexico, hopefully down to Guatemala and Belize, before returning to the States to swap back for Hondas. Anyone interested in an old beemer and tow box!?
Ben, a buddy that helped out with the trailer build, sets us up with an inside contact at one of the most prominent wine producing establishments in Napa valley. Again we're treated to luxuries that under normal circumstances would fall far in excess of our meagre budgets. An extremely generous sample of the most expensive wine I've ever tasted, and a VIP tour. What do you know, the boat from 'Apocalypse Now' is sunning itself between the grape vines and picnic benches.
Christmas came and went, and we're still in San Francisco. New year sneaks by, we're still in San Francisco. Overstaying our welcome again. Hit the road, get to Mexico. Thanks a million Skye and Mary. Big love.