It might not be a good idea to admit this, but one of the first things I said after my marriage proposal was accepted was "We have to do a ride in California for the honeymoon". See, I've ridden in California once before and I was itching to get back. What better excuse, right? Thankfully my understanding wife accepted both proposals and we were on our way
Couple disclamers: I sometimes hate stopping a ride to take pics. I know I'll kick myself later, but I hate pulling myself out of the moment, so if the thread is kind of short on pics, this is the reason. Also, the pics are a mix of my wife's point and shoot and my cell phone, so the style and quality will probably be all over the place. With that out of the way.
We landed in San Fran late Sunday, May 20th, day after the wedding. After a day of exploring the city by foot (beautiful city, not sure about the locals) it was time to get the bike. My ride for the trip would be a 2007 VStrom 1000 that I got hooked up with through ADvrider. A local guy was renting it out at a very reasonable rate and I jumped on it. He warned me that the rear tire was brand new (not fully scrubbed in) while front was towards the end of its life. To top things off the fog was extra thick and the road coated with moisture. So the ride back to our homebase of Sausalito (buddy's place) was somewhat tense.
The next morning we set out bright and relatively early for our destination, Mendocino, via the famed Pacific Coast Highway. There were several moments of stress, one coming when an SUV veered into our lane on a particularly twistie portion of PCH about 15 miles north of San Fran (couple second later and we would've been roadkill) and another when I realized that we were low on fuel and the next gas station was 30 miles down the road. Plus it was foggy as shit (but still strangely beautiful).
We grabbed breakfast at Stinson Beach, where I was informed that the next gas station was about 15 miles away, at which point I was starting worry we might have to do some pushing, but then the guy remembered there is a gas station about 6 miles down the road in Bolinas. Fascinating place, kind of like a hippie agricultural commune, where the gas station turned out to be some sort of a community run endeavor, with prices around $6.00 a gallon. Whatever I was happy to pay whatever it took, for a little peace of mind. After that, things eased up bit and I started bonding with the bike and enjoying the scenery
PCH is a fantastically scenic road, with plenty of twistie bits, broken up by more relaxed parts that straighten out and let you enjoy the ride. By the time we started coming up on Mendocino (about 150 miles north of Mendocino) I was feeling pretty comfortable with the VStrom and dragging the centerstand in some corners.
We stopped at a lighthouse about 20 miles south of Mendocino to soak up the sights
It was pretty windy, so we're a bit of a hot mess, but there we are
Mendocino if ****ing gorgeous, no other way to describe it. Hippie little town, surrounded by water, forrests and mountains. All you could ask for when looking for a proper honeymoon destination:
It's also apparently pretty baller, because you run into Bugatti Veyrons parked in the street like it's no big deal
The next day broke out thusly: I had the first part of the day to my thing (read go riding much more aggressively than I would with the wife on the back) and the second part of the day was a Redwoods hike. The ride I devised was this: Philo-Greenwoon rd (thanks Pashnit!) to 128 to 253 to Orr Springs/Comptche-Ukiah (again Pashnit). About 130 mile loop.
Philo Greenwood was a pretty great start! Twistie, narrow, decent pavement quality, no traffic at all!
I saw a dirt turn off pretty much at the spot where I took the pic and figured, what the hell, it's an adventure right? Mind you, my dirt experience is probably single digit in miles and the VStrom 1000 is a big boy. Onward!
Turned out it was a logging road with a pretty steep descent, about a mile in length with a couple pretty deep ruts. Once I got to the bottom, I figure there was a pretty solid chance I wasn't making it back to the top. I was already rationalizing a hike back to the main road. Well I did make it, with a nice rush of exhilaration at the end when I realized I cleared the last rut. Adventure!