So near, yet so far

Now Voyager II somewhere in the mountains of the Klamath National Forest. Helmet is KR’s. She’s stage left wondering why the hell she agreed to go down (up?) this road and how much more of this “don’t-look-down-winding -by-the-side-of-a-mountain-with-sheer-cliffs” road is left?  Answer:  about six hours.


Two factors drive FW’s Trip-O-Meter’s index:  Are we going to someplace interesting, different and far away?  And are we getting there on something with wheels (e.g. motorcycle, then RV, then car, etc.).   Our current trip scored about a going-in “6” as it included twelve days on the motorcycle (a very good thing) but we were going north in California on a route that I’ve been on before.  What’s far away about another California trip?

For the answer, go to a place called Sawyer’s Bar Bar (it’s a town, not a bar).  Located deep in the Klamath Forest, packed along side the Salmon river, its one of the remotest places we’ve been to regardless of continent.  Easily three plus hours to the nearest store of any kind (in a town called Forks on Salmon — no kidding), down a gravel road that requires 100% concentration to avoid pot holes, cliffs and said river, it reminded one of the West Coast version of Deliverance.    What makes it all the more other-worldly is that Sawyer’s Bar Bar residents are still in the 21st century: trucks, indoor plumbing, off-the-grid electricity, etc.  Why would anyone want to live so far-out, yet still enjoy the perks of the civilized world?  My only conclusion is that they love animals more than people:)

Another rather remote place is the “Lost Coast” area just south of Eureka.   While it doesn’t have the Deliverance feel, its remote and foreboding.  Walk along the beach, with the slightly-below gale force wind and gray skies, and you shiver thinking about being in any kind of boat out there.   We camped along the beach at a campground that had more warning signs about various dangers (from bears to tsunami) than most army bases.  It’s also about two hours away from any civilization, in this instance Garberville.

Garberville  is in another world, namely the Hippies of the 60’s.  Located in Humboldt county, Weed Capital of the US, Garberville is all tie-died shirts and dresses.  Just like the ’60s, there are a lot of street kids looking for their next high, either pharmaceutically-induced or other wise.  Garberville and other Humboldt towns are undergoing a major economic change as California moves toward legalized pot. Among other things, this is causing a severe housing shortage as most homes are being used as grow-houses.  I’m not making this stuff up:)  Try buying a shack in Humboldt and it will cost as much as our house in Hollywood.

We tend to meet the nicest people in local bars, which probably says too much about us and how we travel:)  Maybe its because we look like we need some help after a long days ride?  A bartender in Chester clued us in on which roads to take to Mt. Shasta.  It was fascinating to listen to  him explain why on earth he made the move from LA to Chester.  After listening to him describe the wonders of Chester (population is in the hundreds) I was thinking of making the move myself:)  We had a great chat with some fellow bikers in Garberville and learned about a guy who’s criss-crossed the U.S. numerous times on a quad pulling a trailer, mostly on dirt roads!  He almost convinced me that pulling a trailer with NVII isn’t a big deal.

After 2100+ miles and 12 nights, we’re  ready to get home and do the complete opposite – get back on the road again:)  We miss the Dos Diablos (Squirt and Bogart) and I can tell that KR is getting tired of moving every day.  Factory Place here we come.  We also talked about going to Central America/Columbia/Ecuador/Peru after the first of the year.  Admittedly we had this conversation after a couple of drinks.

Here’s what this trip looked like.

The Route as produced by Mr. Sam Hershfield, Navigation Advisor Extraordinaire.  Here’s the detailed route as prepared by Mr. Hershfield:

I like a bike that’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. NV II ready to rock and roll in front of our apartment at Factory Place

The official “Before Picture” picking up last minute things at the CVS.  Were carrying our typical light load.

This is what you don’t want to follow on a mountain road in the Sequoia’s: a bunch of Harley riders who are experiencing their first curved road at RV-pace. At least they were serenading the park with rock music.

Everyone knows that I’m a big history buff, hence I had to see the oldest saloon in California.

Only in America can one get this kind of greeting for a Memorial Day weekend.

If you have to add gas, doing it the Sierras just west of Lake Tahoe works. Once again, the extra fuel tanks came in handy. With everything emptied, we can hit 300 miles per tank(s).

Looking south from North Lake Tahoe. We had 12 days of spectacular weather and skies.

We’ve stopped at dozens of places to take a break. This is typically untypical located about 3 hours north of Lake Tahoe in the center of the state. Cafe, bakery and custom carpentry. Three bikers came up during our 45 min stop. Also saw the largest dog ever, which KR gave him part of her muffin.

This is an all too common sight in the North — road work takes place everywhere while the the ground is soft and the air warm.

Waiting for the road to clear, this guy rolls up. He takes the “Easy Rider” style award for this trip.

Mount Shasta ahead, somewhere on Hwy 89.

When something becomes useless out here, its just abandoned.

a route planning session at the Club Mt. Lassen, a bar in Chester on the shores of Lake Almador. Somehow the route came into focus as the Corona’s flowed. North! Yes, that’s what we’ll do!

About half way to Sawyer’s Bar Bar, which is about half way over the Klamath Mountains. This is by far the remotest part of California we see on this trip. Road is mostly a pot-holed, one lane affair. Sign 30 miles back discourages RVs, then a logging truck whooshes by and you get the real message: tourists stay away:) Here, KR looks at the Salmon river and is thinking unkind thoughts about Her Man.

Downtown Sawyer’s Bar Bar

On our way down toward the Lost Coast and our camp ground.

Who says this isn’t “adventure motorcyling?”:) Here NV II navigates a fast moving, death-defying puddle.

Welcome sign at the camp ground. This is next to the sign warning about bears and don’t leave any food out (which is kinda difficult to do when you’re on m/c.


Let’s see, the sales guy at REI said this was a very simple tent to set up….

Now THIS is camping as practiced by a pro:)  Not sure BMW had this in mind when they described the 1200GS as a an all around motorcycle.  And ice chest.

We came across this hand-knitted totem pole. Where did come from it? How did they get it up? And how did they cover the entire pole with woven cloth?


FW looking for firewood

Outdoor Man at Leisure, awaiting dinner. Notice crown of weeds provided by the Little Woman and the gloves purchased in the Andes

KR making dinner. We brought NO food, cooking utensils,wood, pots, etc.

The result: sausage and chips on a napkin with a plastic fork and a wine opener:)

Through the Forest of the Giants (redwoods)


Notice the socks

Garberville sporting goods store.  I bought the world’s best Leatherman knife I’ve ever seen.   It comes with an instruction manual which I’ll get around to reading someday soon.

The total Adventure Man and his Adventure Machine

The night after camping in the Lost Coast we spent a couple of nights in the “Historic Benbow Inn” just south of Garberville. Even though KR wanted to keep moving:), I put my foot down so that I could watch the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.  Quite a change of envions…

We swung by the Tesla Factory and we’re pitching some business in the city of Fremont, where the factory is located.

Learning to juggle in a bar in Mendocino. I’ll probably need to do a better job of juggling more balls in the future.

I’m leaving for China tomorrow with Gov. Brown (well, we’ll be in the same conference:).  Somebody has to pick up the leadership mantel for saving our environment now that Washington DC has abdicated.  California is stepping forward as its the perfect case study for countering alternative facts:  we have the most regulations regarding pollution and carbon emission yet our economy is growing much faster than the national average.  The single largest factory in California — employing more people than any other  —  is the one I stopped on the way home:)

I’ll let you know how it goes.

2 replies
  1. Bill Barclift says:

    Fred – Great trip report. Love the hot dogs and the Frida Khalo socks. BMW should let you star in a commercial for them…if they only knew. Sounds like you had a good trip. Say hi to Jerry.

  2. Debbie says:

    What a beautiful trip up, out and around your beautiful home state of California ! Thank you for sharing, sending love ❤️ Debbie

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