Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
Re: NorCal Coast Trip Report
Thanks for the advice everyone, very useful. I did the route and found it more tiring than I expected. The changes were:
1. I went up 101 to Leggett - I didn't get going until after 8am so I left the Fort Bragg ride for another day.
2. I added in the "Avenue of the Giants" in Humboldt Redwoods State Park that runs parallel to 101 from north of Garberville thru to Pepperwood. This was an excellent ride...like Muir Woods but 20 miles or so long. Really, to be fair, the trip was worth it for this portion alone (if I had got off the bike that is!).
3. Did the "Lost Coast" which was interesting except for the coast itself which was pretty ordinary. I had pictured crashing surf a la Carmel Highlands and "Play Misty For Me"...instead we got something like the Aleutian Islands where they clean all the fish...the route wasn't helped by the 500 cyclists in various stages of distress plastered all over the route, reducing it to a crawl most of the way. Ferndale produced a GEM though....the No Brand Burger Stand.....I had a double cajun bacon cheese burger which required an extra click on the preload.....my goodness it was good, reminded me of a proper Aussie hamburger, lots of juice.
3. Instead of taking the 3 from Yreka to Callahan, I went down the 5 a way and came over the road from Gazelle...that was a very nice run.
About 1200 miles all up. Its a very full 2 days, even starting early. I stayed in Weaverville which is a great place to stop, some real choice in accom and meals. Recommended.
1. The Avenue of the Giants.
2. The southern end of the 3 from Douglas City to the junction on the 36...apart from the Hayfork flats, this is a nice sprint.
3. The 96 from WIllow Creek to Happy Camp.....I thought this was the wildest area and was a wonderful run after breakfast Sunday morning.
4. The best run I had was late Sunday afternoon when I did the eastern half of the 36. The central section around the junction with the 3 is infected with gravel on right handers if heading east and effectively spoils the run - due to logging trucks dragging on the corners. But a few miles east of Wildwood, the road swaps to the other side of the ridge (beautiful views north eh?) and then its clear of gravel for those heading east and what a brilliant run. Gave it a caning really.
Also, be aware that the road from Callahan to Cecilville, rated #2 for NorCal in the Destination Highways book, has red pea-sized gravel all over it and this became a 50 mile round trip of frustration. Otherwise, I suspect it would deserve its high category. This gravel seemed only to be inside the boundary of the State Forest so its probably of their doing.
Finally, I stopped at Wildwood Store on the 36 to get gas. Its now owned by a bloke (Andrew Boehm...no relation) who is an ex bike racer and wants to make it a bit of a haven. He's started out well, he has the only Super I could find on the 36 plus they still have the old nozzles and the flow has been regulated to be bike friendly...its the fullest my bike has been since I've been in California.
So, upon reflection, my suggested itinerary would be:
Leave Friday evening and get north as far as you can, even Santa Rosa or Petaluma would be good, just to take the edge off things.
101 N to Avenue of the Giants
36W to East.
5N to Redding
299 W to Weaverville for the night.
299 W to Willow Creek, have breakfast there.
98 N to Happy Camp then stay on 98 E across to Yreka.
5 S to Gazelle
17 S to Callahan
93W to Cecilville and pray the gravel is gone. Return.
3 S to Weaverville.
3 S to Junction with 36.
...then you have a choice of east/west on the 36 and taking the 101 or the 5 home. Scott was right, the 101 is an order of magnitude nicer than the 5.
Great weekend, I'm stuffed, thanks for the advice everyone...
Located: Auckland, New Zealand...
but I left my biking heart along the Scenic Byways of America.....
"Come fill the cup that clears
Today of past regrets and future fears." ....Omar Khayyam