California SS1K Twisties and Sequoias 2021. Almost didn't make the cut.

IBA ZX-9R

Active Member
#1
And almost turned around after the first 250 miles on Monday, June 7, 2021.

In pre-planning, my intended ride was to take place at 1:45 AM on Saturday June 5th, leaving from Reno, NV. But with 103* F temperatures forecast for Red Bluff, CA, upon my return, I opted to delay a couple days when temps would be only 89* F there. In so doing, that meant riding in high winds, something that takes a toll on the rider. And I'd laid out an alternative route that would buffer an additional 20 miles or so if I felt sprite near the end of my SS1K sportbike journey, I could take a less straight route through the forest north of Truckee, CA. However, doing so would require I buffer my start time another 15 minutes earlier, which meant I'd arrive at the California coast, CA-1/highway 1 before dawn and potential experience deer hazards.

I almost turned around on the first leg. The thought was frequently on my mind. Between getting beat to crap by the gusting headwinds and generally sore and grumpy riding mostly straight highway miles on a low handlebar Ninja sportbike, I honestly wasn't feeling it this time, but I forged on. I told myself, if upon reaching the coast, if I still felt the same way, I'd throw in the towel, ride the coast for a bit more, then head home.

It didn't take but a few miles on CA-1 for all that suffering to disappear and my batteries to recharge to full strength again. OMG, how beautiful is this!!! If you've ever driven CA-1 near Bodega Bay, CA, in the daytime, it's not fun. Traffic and people everywhere. But at just before Sun-up, I had the entire road and scenery to myself. Not another soul. THIS IS WHY I BECAME AN IBA MEMBER, to do big mileage on epic rides...hopefully with other rider friends, but ultimately solo if I have to (life's short), an SS1K isn't for everyone.

Capturing the moon, between Petaluma, CA, and Bodega, CA.


Bodega Bay, CA, before dawn.


Looking south towards Jenner, CA. TWISTIES and no one else to spoil them!


Even with a couple 2 - 10 minute construction delays, I was unfazed. Without slower vehicles, I was still making good time, stopping along the way to capture the beautiful views.

The Pacific Ocean, looking north towards Rockport, CA. Not as windy up here.


Ferns everywhere! And the giant majestic Sequoia trees that make up California's coastal range.



I did get lost in Eureka, CA, following a traffic sign that said highway 101 this way, but ended up taking me off to the east of my route for no apparent reason other than to get people lost. I didn't see another sign pointing back to the highway, so after a few miles of residential streets, I just navigated as best I could, trying to locate where there was traffic headed north and following them until eventually back on the highway. Lost some time in that, but I was still ahead of schedule. I was loving me some CA-1 and 101! The first 250 miles all but a forgotten memory.

After this is when it got complicated. My intended route was a 180 mile out and back, sort of, that would head north from Arcata, CA, to Crescent City, CA, then return southbound on the same highway to a small town name Hydesville, just east of Fortuna, CA. The stretch north of Arcata, CA is magnificent. Lightly traveled by mostly vacationers, since there aren't any population centers in between, it's just coastal lowlands, a few hills, some curvy roads and lined with groves of Sequoias and redwoods; everything I love to experience when riding my sportbike.:cool:

Unbeknownst to me until I experienced it first hand, was that CA-101 was closed ahead and I wasn't going to make Crescent City. At least not if I was to try to finish my SS1K ride within 24 hours.
Multiple constructions zones in California on this SS1K that didn’t show up on Google maps during planning, my route this year was virtually identical to similar SS1Ks I’d completed in 2017 & 2018. The worst of which was the one 13 miles south of Crescent City, CA, my planned waypoint #6.

On the way north on Hwy 101, CalTrans was replacing the Hunter Creek bridge at Peine Rd and Hwy 101 (Klamath, CA), which meant one-way controlled traffic in both directions. Having navigated that minor obstacle, like the others earlier, I headed north, noticing the enormity of the traffic stuck on the other side, headed south. :eek:

The reason for all that traffic headed south was that Hwy 101 was closed a few miles ahead for frequent 2 hour delays. Just north of Demartin Beach, CA, CalTrans was informing motorists that they’d just closed the highway again for two hours and I’d have a 1 hour 45 minute wait to get through. If I waited it out, I’d get my intended additional 20 - 30 miles r/t, which I didn’t know at the time, of my 1,019 planned, but at an unacceptably huge cost in lost rolling time. I chose to turn around, not wanting to lose up to 4 hours total getting trapped again 30 minutes later upon my return.

There was no route around the obstacle, so turning around was the right choice, except that I lost more time getting stuck in the Hunter Creek construction zone once again, along with everybody else who had also turned around.

Knocked off my intended time-line and route, as well as, not knowing how many miles without proof I’d now end up losing, I was in a bit of a panic, not completely thinking straight. I did manage to think clearly enough to know that I needed some sort of time stamp proving I had at least ridden this far north. Thus, I purchased postcards from a nearby fuel mart, the unintended turn-around stop #6 for my route north, which resulted in logged over-mileage of what would have been required if that Fuel Mart had been my intended turn around, and all the time lost parked in construction traffic.

Thankfully in pre-planning, with daylight permitting, I’d laid out an alternate return route through Truckee, CA, instead of Portola, CA, a route that would buffer my total mileage another 20 miles or so, but would take me through deer infested forest at dusk. Thankfully, daylight and my pace cooperated enough that I was able to deviate to this alternate route and add back some mileage, including riding 14 miles past my house (stop #11) at the end, to make up for the unknown amount lost by not making Crescent City, CA. Doh! Nothing quite like riding 50 miles out of your way and another hour tacked onto a 19+ hour ride, door to door, and still almost not having proof of 1,000 + miles!
The above will be included in my log sheet notes.

Google Map of CalTrans road conditions for highway 101.


Basically 20.5 hours and 1,055 miles door to door, but I only have receipts for barely over 1,000, but over 1,000 nonetheless! That's all that matters for an otherwise wonderfully epic SS1K yet again. One that, like my other three SS1Ks will never be forgotten.

Did I mention the construction zones? :p The mud was from CA-36, fire damaged areas along the highway. CalTrans was taking hillsides out along with all the burned out pine trees from the disastrous 2020 fire season.


Telling stories from the day's ride with friends afterwards; witness #2.


There's always some drama on my IBA quest rides. This one though was a nail biter.
 

IBA ZX-9R

Active Member
#3
Absolutely. I wasn't going to get robbed by circumstance. I was prepared to continue riding through and beyond Reno, but the mileage appeared to be sufficient. It's one of those things that while your going, you're just buzzing with excitement, focused on your goal. If you need to ride a couple more hours, you can do it, even though you've already been awake for 20+ hours. Then once stopped and you're allowed to relax for a few minutes, your internal clock catches up with you...Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I'm always aware of that, so my head hits the pillow before the Zzz come on.

I took along four GoPro cameras, one of which was on at the time I was passing through Prairie Creek State Park headed north towards Crescent City. It captures me riding past my unintended stop #6, the Fuel Mart. Unfortunately, in my wisdom, I turned the camera off after I lined up at the Hunter Creek bridge construction one-way traffic stop. Who wants to see the bike parked for 10 minutes? I know I don't. Doh!

My plan was to stop in the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park just beyond where highway 101 was closed, to turn all four cameras back on. That is one incredible place to see as well and I wanted to capture its beauty to replay again and again. Standing next to a giant sequoia always makes me feel like I could be back in time millions of years. I love that sensation.

 

CB650F

Premier Member
#5
Congratulations! It sounds like a successful ride. I don't think I've managed to have a single ride of mine go exactly as planned. There is always something unplanned. Sometimes it's big like major construction delays. Sometimes it's just something small like a gas station being closed by the time I arrived, forcing me to find another one. The last cert ride I did got started about an hour late because I started in a small town that only had 1 open gas station. And that gas station's clock was a few hours off, so it was no good. Took me a while to find another place to get a good start receipt. It was a rough start, but ended up being a successful run.

Keep up the good work!