Riding out of Alameda was a brisk one. Roberta was right, "wear the chaps". As I rode towards the Richmond Bridge and over the approximate 5 miles of it, I was happy I put them on. The ocean can get cold and it was. Sure was a beautiful day to cross it though. I wanted to pull over, but just wasn't brave enough to test the waters (no pun intended). There are emergency only pull-outs along the bridge and it would have been just my luck to get a big fat ticket. When I see San Quentin Prison on the bluff, I know I am not questioning that pull-over anymore and am on my way into the ride North into Mendocino County and out of the San Francisco Bay.
By the time I get to Santa Rosa, I am peeling off the layers at a little gas station where some kid tried to sell me a camera which he "guaranteed". His girlfriend was in the other lot probably selling the same camera. Hitchhikers are not an uncommon site from this point North and on either. I guess the weather was perfect for it.
There are a few scenic artsy fartsy pull overs off the freeway travelling north. If you can map those out before going it would help. They come up quick. After passing a couple, I tried to be equipped to take the next photo op...
I wasn't fast enough needless to say...
and I am lousy at taking photos while riding.
and I am lousy at taking photos while riding.
The road is rich in Oaks and shows off California's rolling hills beautifully.
When 101 finally gets into the "small town" of things (past Napa, Healdsburg & Geyserville), there are reasons to stop and enjoy. For me it was a little refreshment, and walking the small towns. Hopland is one of them, so I stopped a bit to check it out. It is just south of Willits.
|Main drag in Hopland on Hwy 101|
|I am pointed into the direction of that store.|
|...which I did visit|
Then back on the road again to Willits. Again, the Highway scenery is a California Oak view, a little hotter and dryer, and the roads are a bit more crowded as they get smaller with RVs, commuters, and roadwork a plenty.
|California rolling hills.|
As I get to my destination the heat is triple digits and I am glad I have arrived. Getting to my hotel, I find out it does not have the restaurant they told me they had when making the reservations and, I also find out the next morning that their breakfast timing wasn't as they told me either. I did, however, find this little nook to sit and relax in after a good walk to get dinner. After staying the night in this place, I was happy to leave. No can recommend. I even had to call the desk for T.P. Oh the woes...
New morning, new day and up early to keep traveling northbound. Riding through this sign made me smile, "Gateway To The Redwoods". Willits is a small town. This sign is located in the center of it and on Highway 101. I couldn't exactly find much to do there though and I wasn't sure how to find out since no one at the hotel could tell me. So I just took a walk, and talked to people. The one attraction I will be back for is the Skunk Train, which travels through the Redwoods. The locals say it is a lot of fun.
Sure enough, the views from the road changed not long after leaving Willits.
..and changed again.
...into quaint towns,
...and back into a tree lined Highway 101, near Leggett, CA
|Behind these hills was a fire burning, which was pretty thick until I got to the rest stop.|
So then I get here...
|A marker for Frank Belotti is present.|
At this time, I really feel the
Ahhh Moments begining,
and I am excited and obviously goofy to selfie vid this one.
The Avenue Of The Giants is the old Highway 101. It takes you inland a bit for about 31-32 miles or so off of the now Highway 101. In particular, the road has not been kept up too well and the trees are well into the ride. However, it is worth it and there is a place or two to stop conveniently to hike and spend the day running through the trees, two things I did not have the time to do but hikers and travelers were about.
The roads, and in particular beyond the roads, are covered with Redwoods. I went searching for the drive through tree but couldn't find it at the time. Found out later it was right off the 101 and not in the Avenue of the Giants itself. Watch for that if you plan to go. I have a few touristy items I missed but now are on the to do list for my next trip.
Photos and videos really can not describe the beauty of this ride. Being in the thick of it on the road and feeling the changes of the weather, smells and visual sightings cannot be put into words, or even photographs for that matter. You need to just go. Here are a few pics and a little video I put together. There is a section on My Funky You Tube, entitled "August 2014 Vacay Ride" that I am going to use for posting more videos after posting here. There are a couple up on the road around the Leggett area already up just showing the ride in that location.
|Thick in Redwoods.|
|Into the woods.|
|Out over the bride.|