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SF Bay Area to Seattle via Coastal Highway - 2009
July 28 - August 4

This all started with my friend Ryan (BMW R1200C) asking me, "Think you could take a week off sometime this summer and go for a ride somewhere? No itinerary, no reservations.. just you and me on our bikes - we ride, stop and take pictures when we want to, rest when we feel like it...totally unstructured - see where it takes us...."

Of course I was totally game.. I had just gotten my seat re-foamed by Americana Soft Seats and had only taken a couple of rides on it and was anxious to see how it would fair on a long trip. 7 days.... Hmmmm.... I thought this would equal my Wisconsin to San Diego trip (circa 1985) as far as mileage was concerned. I'm 46 years old - part of me wondered if I could really do this.

Ryan and I checked our calendars and picked an 8 day period that worked for both of our schedules and then we began to talk about where we wanted to go. We discussed SoCal but neither of us was really feeling that, so I brought up the trip I did from Weaverville over to Eureka and down Hwy 1 and that maybe it would be a good idea to go UP that way, and perhaps even into Oregon and Washington!

We have mutual friends in Olympia and Seattle, so this seemed like a logical choice. If weather was cruddy on the coast, we could alter our route inland. We told our friends and made it very clear that we may alter our plans mid-ride and perhaps wouldn't make it all the way up there. This really solidified the "no itinerary" feeling I had about this trip.. It was going to be a grand adventure!

We did a couple all-day practice rides the weekends leading up to our departure and everything seemed fine with both me and the bike. I planned to take some spare parts for the Magna which included 2 ignitors, a fuel pump, oil pump and water pump, just in case I broke down. This is a 26 year old motorcycle after all.

I checked the rear tire the week before and I thought it looked like it had another 2,000 miles left on the tread, but it would be cutting it close. I called around a few shops in the Bay area looking for a new tire, but nobody had one and worse yet, nobody could get me one before we were scheduled to leave. I got online and ordered one and figured the worse that could happen is that if i needed it, my partner Kerry could overnight it to me wherever I was.

So below is a day-by-day breakdown of the trip, including gas stops with MPG statistics, comments and photos from each day.


Day 1
Tue
Hayward, CA to Eureka, CA
  Miles: 328
 
Gas Stop Info
Stop
Location
ODO
Gallons
Type
MPG
1
Petaluma, CA 30,563.4 3.408 PREM -
2
Sea Ranch, CA 30,665.0 2.685 REG 37.83
3
Ft. Bragg, CA 30,724.2 1.859 PREM 31.84
4
Garberville, CA 30,795.0 1.921 REG 37.87

 
 
click map to zoom
   
  We left around 11AM or so and got gas and had lunch in Petaluma before heading to the coast. It was pretty chilly on Hwy 1 and we had some fog, but got to see a lot of the landscape. The California coast is really spectacular and I highly recommend doing this ride.. just be prepared for cool weather.
 
 

In Rockport, Hwy 1 goes inland to Leggett. This 15 miles is one of my absolute favorite roads. Just stunning beauty, the smells change from sea breeze to Eucalyptus to moss and redwoods. It is AWESOME. When we got to Leggett where Hwy 1 ends, we just HAD to go see the giant tree that you can drive thru.

I followed Ryan into the park and we got to the entrance and while Ryan was paying our way in, the ranger at the entrance spied my bike and his eyes lit up and he started jabbering. I had my helmet on of course and my headphones in, so I couldn't hear a thing, but I saw him say "V65", so I took off my helmet, removed my earphones and he was going on and on about how he had a first year V65 back in the day and how he loved it and it "went like stink in a straight line", etc. It was a nice change, as most people gawk at Ryan's BMW!! Score one for the V65!

 
 

After Leggett, we hauled ass into Eureka up 101 as it was getting dark, foggy and wet. When it's foggy and you start getting wet because of it, Ryan calls this "Frain". Fog + Rain = "Frain"

It was "fraining" pretty good and it was 8:30PM or so by the time we got to Eureka. We were both pretty tired from the day's ride and hungry, so we checked into a Motel 6 and had some grub at an all-night diner next door to it. The dinner was fine, however, the Motel 6 was a dump and all they had left was a smoking room which we took anyway because it was wet out, we were tired and just wanted to crash. As soon as we walked into the room, I knew we had made a mistake...

Lesson learned.. No more Motel 6. No more smoking rooms. Enuff said...

   
   

 

Day 2
Wed
Eureka, CA to Lincoln City, OR
  Miles: 339
 
Gas Stop Info
Stop
Location
ODO
Gallons
Type
MPG
1
Trinidad, CA 30,890.9 3.072 REG 31.21
2
Brookings, OR 30,978.4 2.469 PREM 35.43
3
Coos Bay, OR 31,088.4 2.949 PREM 37.30
4
Waldport, OR ? 31,173.3 2.267 PREM 37.45

 
 
click map to zoom
 

We got up about 9'ish and Ryan said he'd been woken up MUCH EARLIER by construction workers getting their day started and making a bunch of noise right outside our door. I didn't sleep very well either, so we got up and decided to go get some breakfast. We headed down the road to Marie Callender's, which just so happened to be right next to a Best Western. Note to self: Best Western looks nice. :-)

After breakfast, we headed back to the Motel to get our stuff and hit the road. We were on the road by 11 or thereabouts.

Our first gas stop was in Oregon and I was unaware that you can't pump your own gas there! Ryan was familiar with this and let me know that when you're on a bike, they will swipe your card, hand you the pump and then you're good to go, as most motorcyclists, including us, don't want anyone else pumping gas and potentially spilling all over. It also seems that many of these gas-pumper people could be mentally challenged or maybe just really socially inept. Very strange, but this made for alot of laughs while travelling thru Oregon! Yeah, I know... I'm going to hell.

OK.. Well the Oregon coast is even MORE beautiful than the California coast, if you can believe it! There was a LOT of fog, and Ryan commented later that we missed much of the beauty of it.

 
 

 

  It cleared up quite a bit when we rolled into Coos Bay and we stopped for gas and a couple of quick photos while we rested. Coos bay is so quaint and scenic. I would've loved to have stopped there, got a hotel and did some exploring, but we decided to push on. Next time.
   
 
   
 

We rolled into Lincoln City just as it started to get foggy and of course, Ryan knows that there is a Taco Time there. For those of you who don't know what Taco Time, is ---- it's a fast food place that Ryan grew up with and they have these "Crisp Burritos" that are to die for!! They look like taquitos, only bigger and so much better. We pulled in for dinner and mowed. We split a 6-pack of crisp burritos and as we sat there resting and grazing, we noticed there was a nice looking hotel right next door called The Ashley Inn & Suites, so I got us a room and we stayed there for the night.. GREAT hotel. Jacuzzi, pool, non-smoking room and the beds were nice and comfy! It was a bit pricy, but worth it after the Motel 6 the previous night.

We slept in the next morning and then walked over to Li'l Sambo's restaurant which is just on the other side of Taco Time. GREAT pancakes.... Afterwards, we got our stuff packed, loaded up the bikes and hit the road.

 


 

Day 3
Thur
Lincoln City, OR to Olympia, WA (via Portland)
  Miles: 229
 

Gas Stop Info

Stop
Location
ODO
Gallons
Type
MPG
1
Tillamook, OR 31,259.0 2.178 MID 39.34
2
Longview, WA ? 31,357.5 2.454 REG 40.13

 

 
 
click map to zoom
 


We decided to head into Portland, despite the fact that we knew it would be close to 100 degrees. The plan was to have lunch at Burgerville which is a fast food chain that Ryan is fond of, then head up to Olympia where we'd be spending a night or two with some mutual friends.

By the time we got to Burgerville, it was SCORCHING hot and as soon as we turned off the bikes, I got out of my cold weather riding gear! We had planned to go exploring Portland a little bit, but at this point I was thinking we should just head to Olympia so we could relax and try to keep cool, so after our late lunch we made a beeline to Olympia. Unfortunately we got stuck in some major traffic and since lane-splitting is NOT allowed in Oregon, we inched along in the sweltering heat for about an hour before things started moving.

We got into Washington, got some gas and then sped off to Olympia - going as fast as we possibly could. We made one stop at a rest area to drink some water, I switched to a different playlist on my iPod Touch and we snapped a few pics.

 
 

We arrived in Olympia at about 4:30PM and it was SWELTERING! Our hosts John and David came out to greet us and I was eyeing their garden hose, thinking how wonderful it would feel to turn it on full blast and just soak myself down.. Yeah, it was that hot.

Instead, we unloaded our bikes, put them in the garage, got situated and took nice cool showers before going to a wonderful Italian restaurant for dinner. A Grey Goose extra dirty martini and some wine with dinner help sleep come very quickly later that evening.

   

Day 4
Fri
Olympia, WA - Day of Rest - hanging with friends
  Miles: ZERO!!
  We decided to stay off the bikes since it was so hot. Plus, David, one of our hosts, had the day off and was nice enough to volunteer to drive us up to Mt. Ranier National Park for the day. Here are some of the photos we took:
 
 
 

 

Day 5
Sat
Olympia, WA to Seattle, WA and back
  Miles: 112
 

My best friend Chuck Payne lives in Seattle and we haven't seen each other in 6 or 7 years, so Ryan and I rode up to visit him and have lunch at a Thai restaurant that Ryan likes. We braved the heat, saddled up and headed up...

 
 

After we had lunch, we said our goodbyes to Chuck and I inspected my rear tire. Like I said in the beginning of this report, the rear tire was nearing the end of it's life, so I was keeping a close eye on it. I noticed a protrusion on the tread of the tire and thought, "that doesn't look good". Ryan agreed, so we whipped out our iPhones, opened the map application and located all the motorcycle dealers in the area and started calling them to find out if A. they had a tire that would fit my bike and B. if they could install it today. Remember, most motorcycle dealerships are closed on Sunday and Monday. This was about 1:15PM.

Every Honda dealership said the same thing: "We don't have that tire in stock, but we can get it by Wednesday". Then, Ryan hit the jackpot and got a hold of an independant Harley shop called "CyclPath" who said they had the tire and could put it on for me that afternoon.

We got to CyclPath and was greeted by owner Jeff Carney, who took a look at my tire and surmised that I probably hit a pothole hard and broke some cords in the tire, which is why it was protruding out. Definitely time to get it replaced and he had a Metzler ME880 Marathon in stock that would fit it, so it was really a no-brainer. I was on my way in about 2 hours!

Jeff and his staff at CyclPath are AWESOME. No attitudes, no bullshit...just good people who took very good care of me. I highly recommend them! Thanks Jeff!

CyclPath
12700 N.E. 124th St. Suite #1
Kirkland, WA 98034
425-825-PATH

Note: The standard tire sizes for the V65 Magna are common to many Harley Davidson models, so if you find yourself in a pinch like I did, and need a tire quick, you're more likely to find a HD shop that can help you quicker than a Honda shop.

   

Day 6
Sun
Olympia, WA to Lincoln City, OR (via coast)
  Miles: 229
 

Gas Stop Info

Stop
Location
ODO
Gallons
Type
MPG
1
Olympia, WA 31673.5 2.454 REG -
2
Seaside, OR 31775.1 2.858 REG 28.55
3
Lincoln City, OR 31911.3 3.512 PREM 38.78

 

 

 

Sunday Morning and Ryan and I were SEVERELY hungover from Saturday night's beer guzzling festivities. Notice I didn't write about that above... Yeah.. The Stella Artois on tap and by the pitcher was flowing and it was a fun time, but we both were paying for it now! Don't worry, Mom... We weren't on the bikes and had a designated driver.

We reluctantly packed our luggage, loaded up the bikes and after breakfast (maybe not such a good idea) hit the road by 11:30. It was gonna be another day of record heat, so we made a bee-line to the coast where it was nice and cool.

 
  It was not nearly as foggy and dreary as it was on the way up, but it did start to get cold and we had to pull over so I could put my thermal jeans on!
 
 

The Astoria area was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I should've stopped to take photos of the bridges and the quaint little town as it was just gorgeous. A motorcyclist was pulled over up ahead of us just as we were to turn onto a big bridge there. Traffic was pretty heavy, relatively speaking, and he seemed to be just taking a break. As we got closer, I noticed the bike: It was a 1983 V45 Sabre in wineberry red with a Hondaline fairing on it! I honked and I'm sure he must've heard my bike as we went by, but the angle was such that I couldn't turn around and wave or look.

We saw his bike several times over the next day and a half during our trip home, but never got a chance to meet him as we were always on the move. His bike looked to be in pretty good shape, except it was missing the left sidecover.

We pulled into Lincoln City early - before 6PM if memory serves me correctly, got a room at the Ashley Inn & Suites, ate dinner at Taco Time and called it a night! I think I was in bed and nearly asleep by 8:30PM!

 



Day 7
Mon
Lincoln City, OR to Eureka, CA
  Miles: 339
 

Gas Stop Info

Stop
Location
ODO
Gallons
Type
MPG
1
Bandon, OR 32019.9 2.941 PREM 36.92
2
Crescent City, CA 32131.5 3.201 REG 34.86
3
Eureka, CA 32219.8 2.538 REG 34.79

 

 
 

We got up early and walked over to "Li'l Sambo's" for breakfast. Our bikes were NOT wet and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day out! After breakfast, we packed up, loaded up and hit the road. We were going to get to Eureka by day's end.

Weather was indeed gorgeous. Not as much fog, a little warmer and it was definitely going to be a better experience riding down to Eureka than it was coming up.

Shortly after we left Lincoln City, we were around the Newport area on the 101 South. Ryan zoomed by me and took the lead at one point and put on his blinker and took a side road off 101. Of course I followed him and then I started to see signs for "Devil's Punchbowl Nature area " which really struck me as friggin' hysterical! Immeidately I had a vision of Satan having a party and this big bowl full of fruit punch and him and all his minions sitting around exchanging pleasantries with each other!

We got to this dead end right up against the coast and got off the bikes. I took my helmet off and with a thick british accent exclaimed, "It's Satan's punchbowl now, isn't it" - we were ROLLING! OMG, that was funny. We snapped a few pics and I kinda wondered what they meant by "The Devil's Punchbowl" and then we walked up to the fence and looked down to see it... A giant bowl that had been carved out of the earth by the ocean. It was pretty awesome, but I still didn't get why they called it "Devil's Punchbowl". Whatever. LOL!

 
 
  We saddled up and rode awhile, then stopped to take a few pictures along the side of the highway. It was very beautiful.
 
  We stopped for gas in Bandon, OR and then rolled down their main street and saw a nice little waterfront cafe and bait shop. Seriously. It was about lunch time, so we took a break and had some calamari and really good clam chowder.
 
 

We stopped a lot to take pictures after we left Bandon and it was very scenic.

 
 
 

 

 

We mounted up and continued on.

Ryan is into Pi. You know, the mathematical Pi. 3.14159265, etc. etc. etc........ Yeah, there is a whole subculture of people into Pi and Ryan is one of them. Now that you know this, the next pictures make sense.

 
 

We continued after our stop for the Pi milemarker pictures and the weather got even NICER out.. The sun came out and it was just perfect.

 
 
 

During the above series of pictures, I was looking inland and happend to see a car drive past that I just couldn't believe.... Something I have never ever seen in person before: A 1969 GTO Judge convertible! "Carousel Red" which was really bright orange, top down and it made a wonderful sound as it zoomed by. I looked at Ryan and said, "Oh my God! Did you see that?"

For those of you who don't know - Out of the 72,287 Pontiac GTO's produced in 1969, only 108 of them were convertible Judges, so seeing one in person is VERY VERY rare indeed. My guess is that it wasn't a real Judge, but a GTO convertible with the Judge stuff added on later. These are often referred to as "clones". Not nearly as rare, but still a beautiful car. As we left, I hoped we would see it again down the road.

 
 

About 45 minutes later, we caught up to the GTO! A middle aged man and woman were in it, and the woman was driving. It had Arizona Historical Vehicle plates on it and as we passed it, I gave them a friendly honk and nod. VERY COOL

Later, we crossed into California and did a triumphant, "We made it" fist pump and then made a bee-line to the giant Paul Bunyan and Babe statues at the "Trees of Mystery" area to take a few pictures. When we got there and dismounted, we both noticed that Babe is anatomically correct. Of course we had to get a closer look!

I think we both felt a little like Beavis & Butthead! Damn, that thing has huge nuts... uhh.. yeah yeah. He's got blue balls.. uuhhhhh.. yeah. huh huh

 
 

We rolled into Eureka shortly afterwards and filled up the tanks and made the decision to go to that Best Western and get a room for the night. Ryan went in to get the room while I stayed with the bikes and chatted with a guy from Arizona who was on his way up to Canada on his Harley. About 10 minutes later, Ryan came out with a big grin on his face and said, "I didn't even ask for it!... He held up the room card and it was Room number 314!". Sweet!!

We rode our bikes thru the parking lot, looking for Room 314 and that's when I saw it... The GTO!

 
 

It was magnificent! Not perfect, cuz it had an auto tranny and didn't have the hideaway headlights, but it DID have the turn signal courtesy lights and was really in beautiful shape. Very nice. I had my doubts that it was a real Judge, but it was beautiful nonetheless and we chatted with several other people who were gawking at it with us.

We unloaded the bikes, checked into the Pi room, then got some dinner and crashed. It had been a GREAT day!

 

Day 8
Tue
Eureka, CA to Hayward, CA (via Hwy 101)
  Miles: 275
 

Gas Stop Info

Stop
Location
ODO
Gallons
Type
MPG
1
Laytonville, CA 32333.0 3.455 REG 33.29
2
Cloverdale, CA 32409.7 1.980 REG 38.73
 
 

We got up early and I looked out the window to see the GTO pulling out. It was "fraining" out pretty good, so we had breakfast and the Marie Callender's and then went back to the room and hung out until about 10AM. The sun was starting to come out and we wanted to hit the road and get home. We had decided to take 101 all the way home rather than the slower Hwy 1 coastal route just because it is faster and we wanted to get home ASAP.

We both definitely wanted to check out "Avenue of The Giants" which is a big redwood grove off the 101 about 15 miles south of Eureka, so we headed that way and guess what we ran into when we got there? You're right... the GTO! They were pulled over taking pictures of the trees, so we stopped behind them and got off the bikes and I immediately went over and started chatting them up.

My hunch was correct.. it was a real GTO convertible, but NOT a real Judge - just a clone. Very nice, nonetheless. The owner said he gets 12 MPG on the highway.. YIKES!

 
  It was a pretty uneventful trip down 101. We stopped for lunch at Mary's Pizza Shack (my fave) and got home about 4:30PM

So there you have it!!

8 days & 1850 miles. A great experience!

How the new seat faired
Previously with the stock seat, I could do 75 miles before I had to stop.  (Day 1).
Previously with the stock seat, I could do 50 or 60 miles before I had to stop (subsequent days).

With AMSS re-foam, I can do 100 miles before I have to stop on ALL the days.  It really made a HUGE difference.  My ass was still sore, but not anywhere near as much as before.  I think it was 139.00 well spent.

Although the AMSS website is not impressive, Jerry knows what he's doing.. He did a great job, great communications, quick turnaround.. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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