When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!
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 that night.
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 and home.
Even with the rain and heat, it was a good trip, as is any day on the bike.