In the Spring of 2005 we took a two week trip to California.
This trip was a rerun of some previous trips, but to areas that we hadn't been to
in a long while. We went down through the Redwoods and Hwy 101 through San Francisco
and Santa Barbara to Temecula. Then north to Big Bear Lake and to Livermore. Then
thru Death Valley and over the Sierra's to Sacramento. Then Through the Napa Valley
and up Hwy 1 on the coast to 101 and north to home.
The start was good until we got to Crescent City, California, where it started to
rain. Two days later at a campground on the coast just north of San Francisco the
lady who checked us in said that we were lucky to be there then, that it had rained
hard the day before. We told her we knew, we had just come thru it.
Our plan was to go to the German Consulate in SF and apply for our Schengen Visa. (A
group of European countries have set uniform limits on how long foreigners can stay
in the group without a visa. For USA citizens that is 90 days out of 180. We plan
to be there much longer.) The lady at the Consulate said she could do no better,
that we needed to apply in Germany. So our run up and down the hills of SF with
the trailer on was a waste, but exciting. From there we headed on down Hwy 101 to
the LA basin and across it to Temecula.
The reason to go to Temecula was to buy ($60) a bottle of the only American grown
and bottled "Tequila", but it can't be called that by Mexican law (to which the US
agrees), so it is called Blue Agave Spirits. As you may have guessed, we like fine
Tequilas. From Temecula we headed north towards Lancaster and the Willow Springs
Raceway. But we took the scenic route up and over the Big Bear Lake road. One of
the curviest roads around.
The day with StreetMasters for their cornering school was exciting and educational. We
had a start in the classroom for an hour and then went out to the track. They were
using a small, 1 mile long, track called the Horsethief Mile. They had painted a
dotted line down the center of the track with a spray can and we were supposed to
stay "in our lane". We broke into two sections and then into groups of four students
per instructor in each section. One section practiced slow maneuvers on the dry
"skid pan" while the other group was on the track. After each set of exercises the
instructor critiqued our work. At the end of the day we all were tired but much
better at corners.
From Lancaster we went to Death Valley. That was a mistake! We stopped at the Furnace
Creek campground, at bedtime the temperature was 105 degrees F. In the morning it
was still 89! From there we visited Scotty's Castle and then headed west toward
California. We turned north on Hwy 395 and that afternoon the temperature was 31
degrees and trying to snow. From 105 to 31 in 24 hours. We rented a motel room
The next day we headed over the Sierra Nevada mountains and thru Sacramento to the
Napa Valley for some wine (and more rain, hard rain). We are headed for Hwy 1, right
on the coast, because the forecast is for sun. The run up the coast was beautiful,
sunny and just the right temperature. We followed Hwy 1 and then 101 thru Oregon
Even with the rain and heat, it was a good trip, as is any day on the bike.