Wednesday, January 26, 2011

California & Oregon Tag Trifecta Sat 01/22/11 - Mon 01/24/11

Rudy and I hit the road Saturday at around 7:15am for a weekend of riding and leap-frog tagging... Leap-frog as in one of us moves the tag and then the other moves it immediately afterwards. Adding to the fun and confusion, by tagging rules you are allowed ride to where you want to set the new tag before you actually capture the existing tag, which we did a little...

The original plan was to move the CenCal tag in Fairfield and the NorCal tag near the Oregon border in Dorris. After thinking about it a little bit we decided that going for the Oregon tag in Florence was doable as well and revised the grand plan. Saturday we would try to grab the CenCal and NorCal tags and then ride to Medford, OR ~450 miles. On Sunday we would grab the Oregon tag and then ride to Eureka, CA, ~450 miles. Then on Monday we would have a shorter, more leisurely ride home to San Jose making time to ride through the Ave of the Giants, ~320 miles.

It was still pretty cool and a bit overcast as we left San Jose and headed up Hwy 680 to Fairfield but soon enough the sun was peeking out. We had dressed for the expected cool weather further north so we were okay. We arrived at the CenCal tag at Jelly Belly HQ around 8:30am and I spent a couple of minutes taking pictures for the tag capture.

After a short discussion about where I could put the next CenCal tag, Rudy suggested a little town called Esparto. We headed there to choose the tag and I ended up selecting the Burger Barn.


When we finished taking pictures - me to set the new tag and then Rudy to capture my tag - we headed to the nearest Starbucks to use the wifi to upload my tag pictures and make the move complete. Leaving the 'bucks we again headed north keeping a lookout for a good place for Rudy to set the new tag. When we stopped in Williams to fill up our gas tanks and stretch our legs Rudy found his tag.

We hit the road again stopping near Willows at a Mc Donalds to grab some not so healthy food and use the wifi so Rudy could upload his tag pictures.

Later we stopped for a short rest break somewhere along the way on Hwy 5:

When we stopped for gas in Castella Rudy decided to use the post office next door as his new NorCal tag. Here is my picture capturing his tag:

Eventually, we made it to Dorris where Rudy captured the NorCal tag (confused yet?). The flagpole in Dorris is said to be the tallest in America.

We stopped in Klamath Falls, OR and tried but failed to find a Starbucks or McDonalds where we could upload photos, but Rudy found a Blue Star Memorial that he would later use as his new OR tag.

From Klamath Falls we headed to Medford via Hwy 140, which would have been a nice road to ride through the mountains on a warm sunny day. Instead we saw frozen rivers, snow along the country side, and slick, wet roads most of the way to Medford, with temperatures ranging from 34F to 39F. We took it very slow just in case there was black ice on the road. 

At one point my GPS was trying to tell me to turn off onto Dead Indian Road but I had studied the route in advance and stayed on Hwy 140. I was pretty sure we'd both be dead indians if we made that turn!

We arrived in White City, just outside of Medford, at about 5:30pm where we decided to stop for the night.

Saturday's mileage: ~475 miles

We awoke Sunday morning to heavy fog and cool temperatures. It was 32F when we stopped for gas in Medford on our way to the existing OR tag in Florence. Fortunately since there was already a good amount of traffic on I5 the pavement was fairly dry, but we took it easy and kept our speed down just in case.

As we made our way west the temperature quickly rose to the low forties. When we stopped at the Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville to take my new OR tag picture it had risen to about 52F.

Before heading west on Hwy 138 we stopped in Sutherlin for a lunch and photo upload break. On the way out of town we stopped for another photo op:

Later we found our bronze friends at the Tsunami Art Gallery on Hwy 101 in Gardiner:

We arrived at the existing OR tag location in Florence at about 1:25pm and I got my tag capture picture:

Here is a better picture of the Florence Bridge over the Sluislaw River:

We stopped at a McDonalds in Coos Bay to upload my OR tag pictures, the old on at the Florence Bridge and the new one at the Seven Feathers Casino. Once I was done posting my pictures to move the tag, Rudy posted his which moved the tag to the Blue Star Memorial in Klamath Falls that we visited on the previous day. 

Along the way south we found a nice spot in Port Orford to take some pictures:

When saw the dinosaurs we had to stop to take pictures at the Prehistoric Gardens located 44 miles north of Brookings, OR. Rudy parked a little too close - the dinosaur roared and the STeed tipped over in fright. It took both of us to get the bike righted and all the gravel did not help!

It was already well past sunset when we arrived in Brookings at 6:05pm so we decided to stop for the night instead of continuing on to Eureka.

Sunday's mileage: ~345 miles

Monday morning we hit the road at about 8:00am hoping to make good time since we did not meet our goal of Eureka on Sunday. Just outside of Brookings we stopped to get pictures as we were entering California: 

As we were riding through Cresent City we saw Ocean World and stopped for pictures again. Too bad they were not open... Shark petting just might have been real interesting.

A short rest break along the coast to stretch our legs and take some more pictures:

Had to stop at the Trees of Mystery in Klamath:

We arrived at the Samoa Cookhouse in Samoa, just outside of Eureka, at about 10:30am. This is my new NorCal tag picture. Even though we had eaten breakfast in Brookings, Rudy was hungry so we went in for breakfast - or as we chose to call it, an early lunch.

When we were finished with second breakfast it was back to the road. We jumped off Hwy 101 for a nice ride down Avenue of the Giants. It was a perfect day for it, nice and warm, and hardly any traffic. I had planned to have some pictures of the ride from my GoPro camera but due to technical problems I didn't get any. Oh, well, there will be other chances to repeat the ride and try again.

We made a quick stop for gas in Garberville and then headed to Leggett and the Drive-Thru-Tree:

We made one more stop in Cloverdale where we gassed up and took a break at Starbucks. I got to upload my NorCal tag pictures, the old tag at the Castella Post Office and the new tag at the Samoa Cookhouse. My glory was short-lived as Rudy moved the tag behind me using his photo from the Drive-Thru-Tree.

We waved goodbye at Hwy 880 where I took the Hwy 237 exit and I parked in my driveway, tired but very happy from the great trip, at about 6:30pm. 

Monday's mileage: ~422 miles

Trip total: ~1243 miles

Tag total: 7 moves

CenCal tag: 2     
  •  Jelly Belly HQ to the Burger Barn (Me) 
  • Burger Barn to Williams (Rudy) 
NorCal tag: 3     
  • Flagpole to the Post Office (Rudy)
  • Post Office to the Samoa Cookhouse (Me)
  • Samoa Cookhouse to the Drive-Thru-Tree (Rudy)
Oregon tag: 2    
  • Florence Bridge to the Seven Feathers Casino (Me)
  • Seven Feathers Casino to the Blue Star Memorial (Rudy)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Parkfield - Polar Bear - RTE 01/01/11

It was a rainy day for the Parkfield RTE and while many stayed nestled in the comfort of their nice warm homes, the Rudester and I donned our gear and hit the road. No way could we miss the first RTE of the year!

On the way to Parkfield we made a quick side trip to Bradley so Rudy could grab the current CenCal tag:

We arrived at The Grill at just about 12 noon, right on time, the others were waiting for us. Plenty of parking was to be found due to the weather so I decided to park for the photo op.

Rudester and his beemer... 

Look up and see all the brands:

After lunch (some of us like Rudy had 2) there was cobbler!

 On the way home we stopped off in San Juan Bautista so Rudy could set the new CenCal tag at the VFW Post:

Trip total: ~365 miles

Monday, January 17, 2011

CenCal Tag Run 01/16/11

After enjoying being able to ride in the nice weather to the Junction RTE I decided to go for it and move the CenCal Tag on Sunday the 16th. I got a pretty late start but I finally left just before noon and the whole San Jose area was still pretty much fogged in, making it about the 3rd or 4th day in a row of being socked in until well into the afternoon.

I started by grabbing the existing tag, which is the Pat Tillman Memorial located in the New Almaden area, directly across the street  from the Hacienda entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park. I stopped for a few minutes to take the tag picture and reflect on his life, remembering to say a silent thank you to him for his service before I mounted up and went one my merry way.

Since I had decided where to put the new tag before I left on my tag run, I headed to Paicines. I made quick stop along the way to have lunch at Togo's in Hollister and then hit the road once again. Once I was past Hollister all the fog just disappeared and the weather was gorgeous. The scenery along the way with beautiful green rolling hills and the farms was lovely. I felt myself wanting to stop to take photos every 10 feet!

I finally made it to the Panoche Inn, my choice for the next tag location. There were only a of pirates there when I arrived so I was able to park in the primo taking position. Of course I failed to realize when I parked on the slight and very gravelly incline was going to make muscling the STeed off the kickstand difficult... Fortunately, I was able to get it done without any stupid stunts, slipping feet, or begging for help...

After taking my tag photo, I didn't feel like turning around and going back the same way as I came so I continued down Panoche Road and took the fork in the road where the sign was to get to New Idria, about 27 miles further. And since my GPS was telling me that eventually it would come out at Coalinga Road I decided to see where it really led me.

I didn't realize I had reached New Idria and I just kept on going. Not too far afterwards I came upon the warning sign that says beware the road is not county maintained... which is the beginning of the Clear Creek Management Area apparently. I made it about 1/2 mile or so past that, after the pavement had mostly disappeared and ruts replaced it, and on up the hill a bit... I finally was able to turn around where there were 2 or 3 boarded up buildings (no photo unfortunately) and plenty of room to easily maneuver the bike.

If I had known how ugly the ride back down that part was going to be I would have found a way to turn myself around a lot sooner. It was really starting to remind me a little too much of my Grand Canyon adventure riding. I was willing to do a pretty rough paved road but not a four wheelin' road... 

Actually I should have turned around when I saw the only other traffic was ATVs...

I'm pretty sure I could have gone further but I did NOT enjoy going back down that hill at all... and I fear it would have only gotten worse. There was one part I wasn't sure if I'd be staying upright on but I was okay.

On my way back out I found this cool building and decided it would make a great extra credit tag...

I still didn't go back to the same way I came in. I made it back to Panoche Road and then turned onto Little Panoche Road towards Mercey Hot Springs and I5. I headed north on I5 and then took Hwy 152 to Gilroy and made my way home from there. About the time I passed Mercey Hot Springs the fog was back and persisted the rest of my way home. 

Another excellent day with Gigolo!

Trip total: ~290 miles

Junction Bar & Grill RTE - 01/15/11

This was Rudy's first disorganization of an RTE and it was a beautiful day, which was a welcome change from all the rain we've been having lately. We all met up at the Junction Bar & Grill on Mines Road in Livermore (actually 24 miles outside of Livermore) at 12 noon. There was a good turnout for this event and it was nice to see everyone again. After lunch Flip, Kim, Rudy, & I headed out to I5 south and then over Hwy 152 to Casa De Fruta where we had coffee and PIE... YUM!


My friend and former coworker Yvonne arrived a few minutes late and got stuck at a table in the back... She thought the camera couldn't find her hiding back there...


Trip total: 194 miles