The USA Tours
Northern California 2018
Day 1 - SFO to Oakdale
After a long flight from Amsterdam I arrived at 1130 on Saturday morning and took a taxi to the Dubbelju motorcycle rental shop. Small set up in a side street of SFO downtown; all very helpful and after the usual US paperwork pile we had our 2 x 2017 GS motorcycles and as requested with Nav V cradle. Must say they did
My Brother Scott at guess where.....
do exactly what was requested so hats off and a big plus over their rivals Eagle riders who I am not a big fan of.
We headed out east along the freeways 580, 205 and finally 120 to get some miles behind us and have as much time as possible in the scenic areas. Day 2 was to be a long day in Yosemite so we needed to get as far east as possible. We had pre-booked all the hotels en route so our first stop was the small town of Oakdale and the Holiday Inn Express. Although the hotel doesn't have much in the way of facilities or food there are lots of options within easy walking distance.
Day 2 - Oakdale to Yosemite
After an early start due to jet lag and time difference we headed out east again towards Yosemite. Great weather and just like to day before hot, 34 degrees by mid morning. The roads were pretty empty in the morning so riding was easy going. We got to the park entrance around 1030 and despite warning of queuing traffic all was fine.
Half Dome rock, Yosemite, CA
As we headed in the scenery changed for the more spectacular with the Yosemite landmarks coming into view. Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridal Veil to name but a few. Traffic was well managed on the one way system with many opportunities to stop and take photos. Second leg of the tour took us up to Glacier Point and the look down into the valley. Again amazing views along the way. For our overnight stay we had chosen to head just outside the Park at Fish Village and the Tenaya Lodge. Not for the faint-hearted when it comes to rates but this place is absolutely amazing! Great rooms, a real oasis just outside Yosemite. Luckily we had arrived early to be able to enjoy the surroundings and facilities. Early night and ready for day 3.
Day 3 Yosemite to Lake Tahoe
Probably the longest ride on the trip at just under 400 km. Early start again and heading back into the Yosemite Park but just at the entrance to the main area we took a left back and headed north on the 41 to the 120 and over the mountains towards the East. This part of the park
High in the Sierra Mountains between Yosemite and Tahoe
is as spectacular as where the main scenery is. Great views but most important absolutely amazing roads, great asphalt, newly laid, wide and very little traffic. At the 395 we took a left and headed north as far as the 89 and then we headed north east on the 89 right up to Tahoe City. The scenery begins to change en route going from open landscape to more forestal. Weather remained fantastic with great roads and bends! Probably the best riding day of the trip.
We arrived at the Granlibaken Lodge in Tahoe City around 5. Nice lodgings although getting a bit tired looking. Apparently the oldest lodging hotel in the area and catering very much for the ski season. Anyhow a great overnight stay in a comfortable room. Dinner was in the town close by the lake. There are many places to get food so just take your pick
Day 4 - Lake Tahoe to Quincy
We decided on the shorter route to Quincy so a bit of a late start was on the cards. After a hearty breakfast at the Old Lodge in Tahoe View the next town up the road on highway 89, we headed north again along the 89 as far as the left turn at the highway 49. At this point we decided that
Long roads lined with forest
we would follow the original route as time and weather were on our side and the roads were simply amazing. Long windy roads through forested areas and simply amazing riding. Just before Orroville we decide to head north towards Quincy on the Feather Falls road only to find halfway up to Quincy the road was closed. We tried to find the bypass which was a gnarly off road 4 mile trek only to get lost and have to return. Deciding it wasn't worth trying to find the right detour we headed down into Orroville and then up on the 70 to Quincy. Regrettably we were so tired by the end of the day we didn't have a chance to enjoy the spectacular riding through great canyons and wild scenery. Overnight stay was in the beautiful manicured town of Quincy and the Feather Bed Inn. What an absolute gem of a place, a large old country house in the center of town with 6 B&B rooms. Absolutely amazing and a welcome rest after a lot of unnecessary extra miles of detour.
Day 5 Quincy to Redding
Another beautiful day and after a great American breakfast in Quincy we headed back down the 70 for about 25 km's to the 89 again and headed north. Again spectacular forest roads with little or no traffic but with the occasional logging truck
Lassen National Park
on their way down south. After passing through some towns with great names such as Indian Falls and Moccasin we arrived to the entrance to the Lassen National Park. Quite a modern park and newly established by the looks of it. We stopped by the thermal mud pools and drove high into the mountains along some of the windiest roads so far on the trip. Whilst the sun was out, crossing the park the temperature dropped to only 5 degrees C so it was pretty cold.
Continuing north through the park we eventually dropped down into the valley and the junction with the 44. Left turn towards Redding and we arrived around 3.30 pm at our overnight stop the Hampton Inn. Around Redding there was still clear evidence of the recent fires with much work still going on to restore the roads. We decided on a steakhouse in town for our dinner but there are plenty places to chose from.
My brother Scott taking the bends in California .
Day 6 Redding to Eureka
Leaving Redding heading west along the very windy and spectacular 36 there was clear evidence of the recent fires. The authorities were doing their best to fix the damaged roads and we were mostly on new asphalt the whole trip. The road heads west up through the mountains and forests with again spectacular riding and great Pacific Ocean at Eureka
bends. At one point the road had completely gone due to fire and was closed for most of the day. By sheer luck we arrived at the closed section for the 1 hour that they opened per day. If we hadn't made it we would have had a 200 km detour to Eureka. Eureka itself is a rather tired seaside town that has seen better days. Accommodation was at the Best Western Plus Humbolt which is fine and within walking distance of the old town where the restaurants all are. Great dinner at the 5-1 local restaurant.
Day 7 Eureka to Point Arena
Slight deviation from the planned route as we wanted to drive down the ''Avenue of Giants'' - the Redwood park which was well worth the detour. Again great roads, winding and fast. Not sure how many times I can say it but without an exaggeration all
View from room balcony Wharfmasters Inn, Point Arena
the roads so far have been amazing. Following the 101 all the way to the coast and then down the coast to Point Arena. The vistas at the coast are spectacular with often sea mist rolling in and obscuring the coastline. Take a jacket or your riding inners as it gets quite cold here during the day. Passing through many fishing villages we arrived at Point Arena around 1600. The overnight stay was at the Wharfmaster Inn in Point Arena., Another absolute gem of a place right on the coast next to the sea. The harbour has a pizzeria and a seafood restaurant for dinner and a complementary breakfast is provided as part of your overnight stay. Just as well as this place really is in the middle of nowhere.
Day 8 Point Arena to San Francisco
Final day of what has been a spectacular tour! Leaving Point Arena heading south on the 101 the weather had turned quite cold. Sun was not getting through the mist so an extra layer was
Highway 101 Big Sur just before San Francisco
required. The 101 hugs the coast right up until the end before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Be sure to take in the spectacular Bay views which can be done by exiting the freeway just before the bridge. Across the Golden Gate bridge and back to Dubbelju to return the bikes.
Conclusion, probably the most spectacular riding I have ever done or ever will do. Thanks to my brother Scott for riding with me and sharing that special experience. Enjoy the photos in the pictures section and if you want the GPX files drop me a line and I will send them.
Southern California 2017
Death Valley, California
Day 2 through Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve and a great deal of the old Route 66 onto Kingman Arizona.
Day 4 & 5 down through Vegas and north East to Parhup and on down into Death Valley. We were so impressed with Death Valley that we decided to tag an extra day on and explore. Temperatures in the morning were around 25 but quickly rose to mid 30's and well beyond by mid afternoon but the roads and landscape were incredible!
Day 6 took us West back over the mountains through the Sierra National Forrest to the lakes surrounding Kernville. We just happened across a biker camp out (annual event) which was an eyeopener to say the least.
Final day took us south west down through the centre of LA back to the Eagle Riders drop point.
If you're interested in the routes we rode please see below. There is 1 exception and that day 5 where we had planned to ride from Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes. The route is listed but we skipped this part and stayed the extra day in Death Valley.
Next year will be a trip to Northern Cal!