After landing in Crescent City, CA, we spent the next several days playing tourist.
We spent time riding around the area. One day we headed off to the Trees of Mystery, a walking tour of the redwoods that leads to a gondola that took us to an observation deck that overlooked the canopy of the redwood forest. The view was spectacular.
Walking through the redwood forest, we could feel the age and majesty of the trees. They are massive and made us feel insignificant.
When cars became popular, some of the trees were tunneled into to stimulate the automobile industry. You could drive through a redwood, so we did.
The following day, we spent the day at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens with family. Wandering the forty-seven acres of closed-cone pine forest, canyons, wetlands, and coastal bluffs, I reconnected with a cousin I hadn’t seen in many years.
We turned east after that, dealing with a leaky tire as we rode inland. Luck was with us that day, as the first place we called had what we needed. Again, we rode through some of the most beautiful scenery Northern California has to offer. The varied greens of the trees, the smell of pine, and the rush of wind lent a surreal air to the ride as we wound our way along the highway toward Ukiah.
After getting the tire fixed, we headed to our hotel. The ride was spectacular until we reached the drought areas. We rode around Clear Lake, which really wasn’t so clear that year. The drought the region was experiencing had made an impact on the area.
The wind made the rest of the ride somewhat of a challenge. Well, that and the traffic. Some people think motorcycles can stop on a dime. I suppose they can, but with nothing to restrain them, the rider gets flying lessons. And the landing isn’t usually soft. We used the turnouts as we saw them, but some people are too impatient to wait for passing lanes. To say the ride was a bit scary at times would be understating the case. All I can say is “California drivers!*” We managed to reach our hotel safely, but not without a pucker moment or three.
It was time to head home. We would have dinner, then brunch with family before heading east. Watching the Weather Channel, we knew the weather was going to be touch and go. Neither of us prefers riding the interstate, but we were running out of August, it was the fastest road home, and the weather was about to turn on us.
* To be fair, I learned to drive on the freeways of California, both in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I can drive offensively with the best of them.