My Mother’s hand drawn Halloween card this year.
My Mother’s hand drawn Halloween card this year.
Many of the older postcards in our collection, the ones from 1908 and 1909, are photographs of buildings and landmarks. During these years my grandmother was in Arcata with her mother. The address on the postcards have just her name and “Arcata Wharf, Arcata, California.” My grandmother would have been 12 and 13 years old during those years.
Having recently spent some time in Eureka, California, it was interesting for me to go through a stack of old postcards from that area in my mother’s possession. My great grandmother Hannah worked at the Samoa Cookhouse, near Arcata, in the early 1900s. I recently visited the cookhouse for breakfast. Her daughter Esther, my grandmother, attended the Arcata school for several years, and in 1910 when my she was 14 years old, her mother Hannah went to work as a cook at Haughey’s Camp in Kneeland Prairie. Her daughter stayed in Arcata and lived with other families as a “helper.” There are several postcards from daughter to mother starting in Aug. 1910, when my grandmother was only 14. All the postcards were sent with a 1 cent stamp. There are quite a few postcards to my grandmother from friends, some living as close as Korbel. Without a telephone, a postcard would have been a way to set up invitations and meetings, which was the content of many of the cards.
There are many postcards saved from my grandmother’s years in Arcata. These are some of my favorites from 1910 to 1911. I’ll post the Christmas postcards in December.
We rose pretty early on Sunday for the final stretch home. Lance rose earliest and saw a doe and fawn near the house, capturing them on my camera. When I popped out of bed to see them, they were gone.
Russell cooked us breakfast and we geared up for the long ride. Weed, CA to Portland, OR is approximately 350 miles, a 6 hour drive if taking I-5 the entire way home. Jerome would be leaving the group here to continue south, but Russell rode with us almost to the Oregon border.
Prior to departing Weed, Russell treated us to his art exhibit at the local library. At least a few of his paintings have ended up on BMW club shirts.
When we headed out, we took Old Hwy 99 north towards Yreka. After Yreka the side road is 263 and follows the Shasta River. It was a very scenic road and a nice alternative to I-5. About 15 miles from the border we bade farewell to Russell and picked up I-5 northbound. For me this is no fun and I’m always looking for side roads, but we stayed on I-5 to make some time, stopping in Grants Pass for lunch and once more for fuel.
After some map consultation and debate, we agreed to leave I-5 for some more enjoyable side roads. Just south of Eugene we took exit 163 towards Curtin, and jumped onto the Territorial Hwy. We passed Lorane, Veneta and Elmira. I was pleasantly surprised as we passed the King Estate Winery, a vineyard I have been wanting to visit, but have not had the chance so far. We were too pressed for time and too messy to enjoy a wine tasting, so we noted the location for a future visit. The road was scenic and much more pleasant than I-5. https://www.kingestate.com/
We made our way over to 99W and followed that up through Junction City and Corvallis, then 233 to Dayton, passing several vineyard signs nearly every mile. This is a very beautiful area, with smaller roads, vineyards, and slower traffic than I-5. The sun was getting lower and the temperature began to drop, calling for another garment adjustment.
At Dayton we picked up 99W again, and passed through Dundee and Newberg, pretty much ground zero for the Willamette Valley wine country. On 99W through Dundee you pass the Argyle and Four Graces tasting rooms.
In Newberg we turned onto the Wilsonville Road, a really nice motorcycle road. By this time it was dark, and I was slightly concerned about deer in the road. We continued on Wilsonville Road out to I-5 and took that into Portland.
The total hours in the saddle on the last day was about 12, with stops for lunch, fuel, map reading and ice cream. Comparing my pre-departure odometer reading to the final reading upon arrival at my sister’s house, my bike registered a total of 1,266 miles for the trip. All the bikes were slightly different, but in the ballpark.
The 1987 K75S performed well, averaging 55 to 60 mpg, with only the clutch cable issue. Once the cable was replaced, all went well. I will be putting together an emergency kit to carry on future trips.
The lesson for today: 12 hours travel time on a motorcycle is just a bit too long for me. My hands and thumbs were sore the next day, so for future rides I will keep that in mind.
We packed up and were on our way out of Eureka by just past 8 am. As with all three days in Eureka, we rode out in low hanging fog and mist so thick it required many swipes of my face shield. I could have used tiny windshield wipers. Not far south the fog began to clear.
If you google “best motorcycle roads”, you will surely find California 36. We headed south from Eureka and turned eastbound onto 36 at Alton. The western most part of 36 is just as pretty and has more twists than The Avenue of the Giants. It was really a nice ride as we gained altitude and the fog started to drop away. We passed the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park and climbed up the Chalk Mtn range. We saw several deer along the side of the road.
At the top we looked back to see the fog down below and the sun coming out. We stopped to make the usual garment adjustments. I had used my heated grips earlier, and we were now starting to shed layers.
We followed 36 east, passing Dinsmore, Mad River, Forest Glen and finally turning off 36 at 3. My favorite part of this section of 36 was just west of Dinsmore. As usual, the best motorcycle roads, the ones that are the most fun, are narrow and twisting, and impossible to stop for still photos. A GoPro camera mounted on the bike would have been perfect.
We stopped again at the intersection of 3 to remove more layers. We had left the redwoods behind and were into pine trees and farm land.
We stayed on CA 3 for quite a while, stopping in Weaverville for fuel. Hwy 3 passes along the west side of Trinity Lake and runs through the Trinity Alps Wilderness. There were more great sections of road for bikes, climbing and winding through pines headed to the summit. The section of 3 just south of the Scott Mountain summit was wonderful. We made another stop descending down the other side, with a pullout wide enough for photos.
At the bottom, before reaching Callahan, we turned northeast off 3 and onto Gazelle Callahan Road, headed towards Gazelle. The terrain had flattened out, with farms on both sides. The roads were straighter as well.
Our destination was Weed, CA, and the home of friends of Joe and Katy. Russell and Kathe graciously extended a welcome to our group of road weary travelers with 5 bikes. At least we don’t have the loud pipes or late nights of a wild bunch, and truly live up to the Mild Bunch legend. (I can’t take credit for that term, but like it enough to pass it along).
One quick stop along the road for a picture of Jerome with Mt. Shasta in the distance.
We pulled into Russell and Kathe’s place at around 3 pm and made ourselves at home. We covered about 230 miles, and were on the road for 7 hours, with short stops only for fuel and garment adjustments. We had to skip lunch, not finding any suitable options. Today I learned what a tar snake is, and that it is very important to avoid them.
Russell is also a BMW guy and has a gorgeous bike that put ours to shame. They also have a nice view of Mt. Shasta from their deck.
Friday was our “messing around”day. It’s a good idea to keep at least one day as an unscheduled free day because we always find something we’d like to do.
We started our day having breakfast at the Samoa Cookhouse, an historical point of interest for my family. My great grandmother Hannah worked at the cookhouse as a cook from about 1907 to 1912. At that time the Cookhouse was on a wharf at the end of the pier. There was a fire during the time my great grandmother worked there.
The breakfast is served family style, and you get whatever they made that day. We had biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, pancakes and sausage (for those that wanted it).
From Samoa we headed to Willie’s house, the Airhead member who offered us a spare clutch cable. The Airhead group publishes a guide with members listed by city and state. It’s a wonderful network of people ready to help other Airheads. Jerome was carrying that guide with him. A very smart move.
While my K75 is not an Airhead, I was traveling with Airheads and Lance was able to make an Airhead clutch cable work on my bike, at least temporarily. So we descended upon Willie en masse, as invited. He had a spare clutch cable for us to carry and gave us some advise on good roads to ride.
We traveled the short distance south from Eureka to 211, and took that to Ferndale, a small town known for its Victorian architecture. We stopped here to stretch our legs and walk up and down the main street.
Ferndale is only a few miles from the coast, so we drove the narrow country lane out to the Lost Coast along the great Pacific Ocean.
True to a messing around day, we headed back to Eureka with no clear destination in mind, other than a stop at AAA for maps. A quick google search for best restaurants in Eureka provided a lunch spot name, Brick & Fire. We had a lovely lunch and I can now recommend Brick & Fire without reservation. The grilled oysters were wonderful.
Friday’s ride was a good test for the makeshift clutch fix, which performed well. It was also our last night in our rented mid century modern house, with a rather long riding day to follow.
What I learned today: The BMW K75 is affectionately referred to as “the flying brick”. Airheads are classic BMW’s with opposing twin engines that are air cooled.
The agenda for the day was to ride the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and have lunch at the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka. We accomplished both. The northern entrance to the Avenue of the Giants is just 30 miles south of Eureka. While Eureka was smothered in low hanging fog, it cleared a few miles south and we drove through farm land headed south.
The ride was beautiful and peaceful, and we saw lots of big trees.
We made our way south towards the Visitor Center. They have a nice setup with photos and information about the history of the area, the logging and a cross section of a tree that fell in 2006. They have the rings marked with moments in history, showing the long life and significance of the trees.
The Visitor Center, run by the Humboldt Redwoods Interpretive Association, has many black and white photos, displays, and a gift shop.
From the Visitor Center we headed south towards Myers Flat and the drive thru tree. There is a $4 fee for the privilege.
It was starting to warm up, so we took a break in the shade of the trees.
After a short break, we headed back north towards the Lost Coast Brewery.
After lunch at the brewery, we walked around the small historical district of Eureka.
After lunch and strolling around the old town, we returned to the brewery parking lot, only to discover the K bike had another problem. The reason for the clutch cable adjustments of the previous day became evident. As I pulled in the clutch to get the bike off the center stand, the cable snapped. Between Joe’s spare clutch cable and Lance’s mechanical abilities, we got the not quite right sized clutch cable jury rigged and headed back to the house. Jerome had a copy of the Air Heads directory, and we called Willie, listed in the directory as a member residing here in Eureka. He offered up a cable and we agreed to meet at his house the next day.
What I learned today: Riding a vintage bike should only be done in a group.
I was also told that I should put together an emergency kit to carry with me. Here is the suggested parts list for the emergency kit:
After a relatively early muster of 8 am, we hit 101 headed south. I had read about a good breakfast stop in a local magazine, the Spoon, so that was our first stop.
After eggs and about 3 pots of coffee, we hit the road again, south on Highway 101. This stretch of highway is absolutely gorgeous, but we had portions of dense fog, and moments of scenery.
One drawback of motorcycle touring is the amount of messing around it takes to pull over, remove gear, and dig out the camera from the saddle bags for photos. Many great photo ops whiz by, just memories on the internal hard drive. That’s life. We made a few stops for photos, but some of the best photos are in my mind.
The first hiccup came with the K bike. I had trouble shifting and finally got stuck in 3rd gear. We pulled over and Lance jumped into action. Before I knew what was happening, he was under the bike fixing the cable tension so I could shift again.
Once repaired we were back on the road, continuing southbound. From 101 South, we took the Prairie Creek State Park park that runs through some of the redwoods. It was a very scenic road, with some blue skies and fingers of mist reaching up from the coast.
We stopped at one Big Tree. It was impressive.
Continuing towards Eureka we followed 101 south until the turnoff for Mad River Brewing in Blue Lake. Right after pulling off 101, Joe’s 1983 R100CS’s odometer turned over to 100,000 miles. We had to stop and document this momentous occasion.
A pit stop for refreshments and Corn Hole, and then a short 30 minute drive to our destination.
We rolled into Eureka at about 5 pm. The house we rented through vrbo.com was exactly as advertised and very nice.
A grocery run and we were in for the night. We toasted a successful day (meaning all bikes were still running) and 100,000 miles.
After forty years of riding motorcycles I still had the capacity to learn some lessons. Here is what I learned today:
The idea for a motorcycle road trip to the Redwoods came last fall when I read an article about the Lost Coast in the October 2015 issue of Sunset magazine. With the purchase of my “new” 1987 BMW K75S in March, it made the trip even more necessary. No better way to break in a new bike than a road trip. Unfortunately, a shorter ride just two weeks prior to departure revealed a mechanical issue. But the problem was fixed by mechanic extraordinaire Dirty Nick, and the repaired bike was delivered the night before departure.
My sister and I left her house in St. Johns, Oregon at 9 am on the first day of the ride, headed to Lake Oswego to pick up the three other members of our touring group.
There were the two of us, on my 1987 BMW K75 and my sister on her 1978 BMW R80. We met up with her sweetie Joe on his 1983 BMW R100C, Jerome on his 1983 BMW R100RT, and Lance on his 1990 Kawasaki ZR550 Zephyr, the youngest bike on the tour.
The first part of the first day was banging out some mileage on Interstate 5 southbound. I don’t enjoy riding the bike on the interstate, but it was the best option for getting some miles under our belts headed to our campsite at Bullards Beach, Oregon.
We followed I5 southbound to 38, a little south of Eugene, and turned west towards the coast. The smaller roads are always more fun, and this one cruised along a river through a valley and was very scenic. As we approached the coast, the fog bank hugging the Pacific Ocean coastline was in evidence before we even hit 101 and turned southbound at Reedsport and Winchester Bay.
The cooler temps and low hanging fog forced a roadside garment adjustment, a not uncommon occurrence. Highway 101 runs along the coast, or just inland, passing through small towns and tourist destinations alike.
We were headed to Bandon Oregon, and the Bullards Beach State Park campground. We had reserved two yurts for the night. I’m not a big fan of camping, unless it glamping, but the yurts were nice. It is only mild camping, as they have a small heater and electricity. We arrived right at 5 pm, having been on the bikes from 9 to 5, with a few stops. I have a two hour bum, so need to stop stretch at least once every two hours. The K bike has a large tank and gets great mileage, so the fuel stops are more frequent than the K bike would need.
The five of us split into two yurts, a girls and a boys. Once unpacked we headed the two miles into Bandon for dinner. Bandon has a cute very small old town where we enjoyed a seafood dinner on the harbor. I tried another Oregon Pinot Noir which I found very smooth and to my liking.
Back at the yurts a campfire brought out the usual assortment of campfire stories, with the addition of canned wine, not on my regular wine list.
We covered approximately 250 miles on our first day. Gas receipts showed we ranged between 40 and 60 mpg. My K75 was averaging about 55 mpg.
It’s hard to beat the Oregon Coast for a wonderful summer weekend getaway, and the first weekend in August is about as much of a good weather guarantee as you can hope for. We had a picture perfect weekend at Rockaway Beach, Oregon to celebrate my sister’s birthday.
Rockaway Beach is about 50 miles south of Astoria (at the mouth of the Columbia River), and 15 miles north of Tillamook, Oregon. It is literally a wide spot in the road, and cannot even boast a stop light. The beach is typically Oregon; wide, grey and dog friendly. Just a few shops make up the business district, plus one train stop on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. http://www.oregoncoastscenic.org/
My sister rented a house for the weekend and we brought the food and wine. I was in charge of the birthday dinner and had brought a side of fresh caught King Salmon. I really wanted to find a local farmer’s market for some fresh vegetable, so we drove south to Tillamook to have a look around. Tillamook is known for it’s cheddar cheese, and the Tillamook Cheese Factory.
Driving around the back country roads we stumbled upon exactly what I was looking for; an organic, farm fresh, honor system vegetable stand. With fresh peas in my possession ($3) we headed north again to start the dinner prep.
Dinner was grilled King Salmon on sliced red potatoes and onion, asparagus, fresh peas, topped with Dungeness Crab. It was great. We enjoyed this with a selection of fine Oregon Pinot Noirs.
Between the group of us we brought five different Oregon Pinot Noirs: a 2014 Montinore Estate Pinot, a 2014 Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot, a 2013 Laurel Ridge Reserve Pinot (by far the best value), Freja Pinot, and a 2013 Coelho Winery Pinot. My sister scooped the Laurel Ridge Reserve from a grocery outlet for $10, listed for $38 on the website. It was very tasty, and an incredible value. The Montinore and the Elk Cove were between $25 and $30 bottle, and very good.
Walks on the beach are a big part of any beach weekend. Oregon beaches are all open to dogs, a very nice change from Florida. My sister’s new best friend Scooter enjoyed the weekend. She found Scooter through Pixie Project. http://www.pixieproject.org/