Monday, February 18, 2008

Tree-Hugger, day 2, mile 706, Ashland, Oregon.

The joys of riding this trip just keep getting better and better. Today I enjoyed sunny, Springlike temperatures, rode one of the best motorcycling routes on the west coast, and stopped for the night in the hippest town in southern Oregon.

I departed Brookings, OR this morning to a very chilly and very foggy ride south down Hwy. 101 into California. I pushed into the Redwood Forest about 10:00am, still very damp and foggy.

While winding my way down through the Redwoods, I was beginning to believe my visit would be a washout due to poor visibility. Then, a break! As I climbed a hill on Hwy. 101 the fog cleared and I was bathed in warm sunshine and surrounded by the giant trees in all of their splendor.

Of course, now that I could see the big trees, I felt obligated to stop and visit one.

This is as far south as I had planned to go on this trip, so I decided to try an alternate route to head northward to Oregon again rather than retracing my routed down to here. I chose to ride a little farther south to Arcata, CA, and ride Hwy. 299 to Redding, CA, then take Interstate 5 northward and home.

California Hwy. 299 winds through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, with some of the most beautiful scenery on the west coast. Hwy. 299 stretches 138 miles between Arcata and Redding, CA. The roads are some of the best I had ever ridden, with long, wide, curves, near perfect pavement, and lots of pull-offs along the road to stop and gawk as I frequently did.

Nearing the end of my ride through Hwy. 299, I noticed I was feeling a bit warm under my riding suit and glanced down at the thermometer on my instrument gauge. 71 degrees! The last 20 miles or so of riding Hwy. 299 were the most rewarding with some wonderfully wide, twisty turns to exercise the Beemer in carving the turns. The motorcycle handled the tight turns spendidly, and nimbly reacted to the slightest of weight shifts from me.

I rolled into Redding, CA at roughly 3:00pm to 74 degree temperatures, and noticed many of the residents suffering permanent Spring Fever wearing shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Yes, I'm very jealous. From Redding, I turned northward on Interstate 5 to get across the Oregon border again before sundown.

I stopped briefly just south of the Oregon border to take a snapshot of Mount Shasta. Mount Shasta is a 14,000 ft. dormant volcanoe in the Cascade Mountain range. While attending college in southern Oregon, I would frequently ski, climb, or camp on Mount Shasta because of its close proximity.

I pushed across the Oregon border again at roughly 5:00pm, and decided to overnight in the beautiful little town of Ashland, Oregon. Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University. A very hip little town with a great alt-culture vibe, and the Shakespeare plays are world-class, (I used to attend these regularly also during my college days).

From here, I head back up Interstate 5 to Beaverton Monday morning. Then back to work Tuesday.

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