We left the Hoover Dam dreading another day of brutal heat, but for some reason the second day wasn’t as bad. In fact, it may end up being one of my favorite days on the trip! It was certainly still hot, 110 and above, but we endured it better. We’d had a good night’s rest, hydrated well, and stopped at every gas station to soak our towels, bandanas, and gloves. The highway was straight and empty so we pretty much cruised at 85 mph through the Nevada desert. Jess put some music in our headsets and we ate up the miles. As we moved into the high desert closing in on the border of California we had some spectacular views of the rugged mountains topped with bizarre cloud formations from the moisture on the other side. After a few hours we came to our turn, and it caused us some…incertitude about the route I had highlighted on the map. This section I had created by myself, picking a winding road through the mountains north of death valley. We were looking an absolutely dead-straight road toward the mountains with no signs of life on the horizon. The first sign we saw said “No Gas 56 Miles”…but what’s there to do? This was our road! So we kept the tunes pumping and went for it. When the road finally hit the mountains it went from pre-cooked spaghetti, to a noodle spun in the air and dropped on the mountain. We climbed turn after turn, up and up, and watched the thermometer on the bike plummet from 110 to 75 – what an improvement! We came down into valleys of California ranches, went back up into ancient pine forests and eventually crested over a hill and saw the Sierra Nevada’s, which blew us away. Neither of knew what to expect, and this segment was added to the list of amazing things we’ve seen, that we never knew about!
The following day we made our way to a stop we’d both been looking forward to. One of my best friend’s parents live in California, and are fellow Adventure riders, so they had agreed to host us for the night. It was a great chance to swap ideas and stories, get an amazing dinner, wash our sweat soaked gear, and rest up. The Potters were super gracious hosts and we can’t wait to return the favor whenever they ride East!
Leaving their place we aimed for the coast, with some route tweaks courtesy of Mr. Potter. If we had followed that, we may have hit the coast sooner, but one missed turn and a road with more switchbacks and crazy drivers than I’d ever seen and next thing we knew we were camping in Napa Valley! All I can say about Napa is that there are a lot of grapes, and one very tasty but pricey Mexican restaurant.
Our original intent on this trip had been to use back roads as much as possible, and few sections have been as true to that dream as the last section before the coast. As we closed in on Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean, the last 60 miles was unmarked, occasionally gravel, barely traveled farm roads through yellow California mountains and sections of the Redwood State Preserve. I forgot to brief Jess on our route that morning, so she spent a solid hour convinced I was lost and unwilling to admit it. To be honest while I knew where we were, I wouldn’t have placed money on it…
Once we saw redwoods we knew we were close, and sure enough we turned a corner and saw deep blue water through the trees. We both had a reality check moment, but sure enough, we had ridden our motorcycle from Geogia to the Pacific Ocean.
We made our way up the Califronia coast and about half way the Oregon coast. We cut in to Eugene Oregon for a new back tire (the old one was getting worn) and then came north (Through Redmond OR!) to Washington. We’ve spent two nights with Jess’s college friend Janessa and her family. It’s been a great time to reconnect with them and catch up on some rest! Her husband Isaac is a youth pastor at an awesome church, and we were lucky to be here on a Sunday and got to hear a great message.
Jess goes full Texas Bandit when it gets chilly 🙂
Janessa and (tired) Jess