Thursday, 16 August 2007

Wilderness days

Waah! What a fantastic last couple of days, especially as its only a couple of days. It feels like a decade, so many phenomenal sights, sounds and smells. Riding into San Fran and over the Golden Gate Bridge was definitely an anti-climax. Freeway into SF, which was dull, not even shouting "wanker" at big rig drivers improved it. The city itself was interesting; no rushing or hassle, it all seemed very relaxed and city hall was pretty vice looking. It was really misty on the bridge so I didn't get to see any of the supports while riding over. What I did see was hardly golden anyway, more like red oxide, peeling off to reveal the rust. Decided to stop and get a photo from the end as it was partially clear from the north end. Again no, too many tourists to even get a clear shot. C'est la vie, ain't my bridge!

As soon as getting off highway one and onto the notorious Route 1 the fun really began. Switchback heaven straight away, if you ain't pointing up you're pointing down and always leant over. Well, with the exception of a few score miles all the roads I've chosen have been like that. Pure joy, continuously! Ok, it did get real cold and misty yesterday morning for the first hour or so of riding. But the roads were still awesome, I just had to keep wiping the heavy mist off my visor and missed some of the views. But lots of lovely small towns, like Manchester, Westport and other familiar sounding names.

Sweeping through the Redwoods on wide open bends, no slacking off of speed just crank it over and smile. Again that gorgeous resinous smell wafting up my nose as 60 mph (more like forcibly injected), even nicer was an overpowering sweetness I kept getting and could never see what it was. Once was as I passed a home garden flower sign, and then I spied them; large trumpet shaped flowers, hanging round a main central stem.

I picked a track that would save me from going back onto Highway 101, but seemed to have missed it. Instead I turned off the main route asap. It was an unclassified road leading to Shelter Cove (Point Delgardo), even narrower, steeper and more gobsmackingly twisty. Thats where I saw this beauty, down the track that I should have taken instead of the 101.

Shelter cove seemed really promising, especially the locals I got speaking to. My first view of it was the mist rolling in over the sea, I could have camped on the beach free but wasn't prepared to leave the bike out of sight with any luggage on. The campsite was horrid and 30 bucks, so I went off to find one that was on the way to my next port of call.

It was about time I took the new set of wheels off road, there was a lot to do in the course of this trip so I had to start somewhere. So The decision was made and I headed for the campsite that was along a dirt track, from Shelter Cove to Honeydew. What I didn't realise was that the campsite was a real wilderness site with no facilities; more to the point no bear boxes to store food, but lots of signs warning about their presence. I can't really say I felt comfortable having bears sniffing around my food and stuff, so I had to improvise. I turned a bear proof trash bin into my storage bin; hey presto, problem sorted! Luckily I thought to put my crash helmet in as well, which someone else dumping fish juice all over my bags. But hey, at least I got some free fish. And some real nice company for the night, who got me stoned and made me laugh so much. Thank god for small mercies, eh? They also said not to worry too much about black bears in the wilderness zones. They tend to stay clear of us and are not too hard to scare off. Knowing they had fish heads outside their car made me very comfortable about having my food bag left outside.

The ride into the camp site had been about 5 miles of dirt roads, I had about ten to get out the other side and it was due to be rougher, steeper but passable. WOW!!! That was so true! It was definitely passable, coz I made it through. And I enjoyed it so much, though it would have been easier without the pipe I was given for breakfast. I can feel proud of the ride, it was the trickiest dirt riding I can remember doing. I felt I'd done it incredibly slowly. After I realised the speeds I manipulated the steep 180 degree bends off road was about that advised by signs for such bends on the tarmac. I felt a bit better then, but also felt there was no hurry anyway and it was fun pottering through it all.

I knew the route from a notice board, although there were more roads than shown and many more than the map I had on me. Trouble was to take a wrong one meant ending up at a dead end; 9 miles later, OH SHIT! I made the right decision, I'm pleased to say; it wasn't the obvious one. And today I hope to make it to Fern Canyon, for the obvious vegetation and the Elk that are said to frequent the place. Still no bears though!

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