“Take Lots of Pictures” they said.

Sadly, GTAT-17 has come to an end after 3427 miles of good times and new friends.  Gnome’s Tired Ass Tour of 2017 was an incredible experience for sure and I hope to make it an annual event if life permits.

On a Tuesday night after work on August 15, 2017 my tour began, my scoot was packed and ready!

The first leg of my trip was a small one.  Pretty much just to get a jump on the miles, I left Phoenix for a quick 381 trip Tuesday night and stayed with my parents in Long Beach.  I got in too late to see them that night but made it a point to get up the next morning early enough to see them both off for work.  Short and sweet for sure.  I laid around for a bit relaxing but got up not long after that to start my journey.  I knew the traffic getting out of LA would suck and that the trip wouldn’t really start until the 101 got me into Ventura.

So again, the bike was loaded up, this time in Long Beach and ready to head north for the big trip.

For my first day out on the road, I was looking at about 514 miles of riding time from Long Beach up to Sebatopol, CA where I’d be staying with Bob who I met on Couchsurfing.  When I first started planning my trip up to Washington, in the interest of finances(or lack of) and adventure, I decided that I’d mix up some Couchsurfing with some camping if I could and avoid hotel altogether.  Witha big smile on my face away I went, up the 405 to the 101 getting a good taste of rush hour lane splitting.  Not having a huge amount of miles under my belt doing this, I did duck out a time or two for a break but finally found my way to Ventura where I was able to start relaxing in my ride some.  Having gone to Pismo Beach a number of times growing up, I was familiar with this stretch of 101, though it had been a number of years since I made the trip.  As a matter of fact, Pismo Beach would be my first official stop of the tour, a great place for lunch indeed.  Splash Cafe would be lunch destination, a stop I’d been dreaming of for a while.  I’d started getting bread bowls from Splash back when the opened in the late 80’s and have been missing out since I moved to Phoenix.

 Well not this time, behold the goodness that is the Splash Cafe Bread Bowl!

The Infamous Splash Cafe Bread Bowl and an 805

I will say, I can’t believe how much Pismo has grown over the years.

 

Being a fan of 805 beer, I couldn’t just cruise up the 101 without a stop in Paso Robles for an 805 from right from the source.  So it was off to the Firestone Walker Brewing Company I went!  While I was not entirely pleased with the outrageous pricing of the beer, it was good.  Quite good.

 

 

I should point out, by this time in my trip being beyond San Luis Obispo, I am in new territory.  Not since I was a kid have I been on this stretch of highway, so it was pretty much a new experience and I was excited.  The one thing I realized as the miles went on, is that I should have given myself more time for exploration of the San Francisco area.  I don’t need much, but there are a couple of sites I’d forgotten about that I’d really like to check out someday.  The first being the Sutro Baths and the other, The Wave Organ.

Sure, there’s probably plenty of things there I could spend time checking out, but those two seem to stand out.  Sadly enough though, my time was getting to be limited with darkness starting to fall. 

Luckily I was able get this quick shot of me at the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was starting to get cold too!

The clouds rolling in or fog or whatever it seemed to darken things pretty quickly so I knew I had to make some time if I was to get to my destination by dark.  Still, what a great place for a beer and a break.  I just wish I had more time to explore.  I finally made it to Sebastopol where I met Big Bob and Moka.  

Moka The Dog

I guess in my trip planning, I didn’t give much thought to stopping anywhere.  For me it seemed more about the ride than anything else, I was too busy figuring out stops and time to get from one place to another to worry about things to see in between.  It wasn’t until my next leg of my trip that I realized this.  As I edged closer and closer to the Redwoods, I started to think that if I stopped at everything that was cool for a photo, I’d never complete my trip.  It was at that point I started to realize what the trip was about and what was important and what wasn’t.  Pictures were not as important as taking in the roads and all they had to offer.  Miles of road beneath a canopy of trees – not something I’d ever seen before.  

 

Here’s something I’ve seen before, but not in a long time!

707 984 9102
HWY 101 61.3 MI. POST

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was pretty surprised to see a working pay-phone, I had seen one earlier on the trip but it had been beaten pretty pad and not quite worthy of a photo like this one.  Note the info I found on it.  Reminds me of the times growing up when Mom always made sure I had a dime with me in case something happened.  On more than one occasion her mom-sense was on par and she got a call with that dime.  It’s good to see they still exist here and there, certainly not in the numbers they once were though.

This seems like as good a place as any for my beers and cheers from the road section.

The Main Event in Baker City, OR

Broken Anchor Bar and Grill in Bandon, OR

Celebrating the 2017 eclipse with a beer.

The Main Event in Baker City, OR

Breakfast in ZION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere in the Redwoods

I know earlier I had mentioned not many pictures, but I did stop for a few I guess and I really hate selfies I might add.  When you’re on your own though, there’s not much choice in the matter.  There were some really awesome Rest Areas along the way too, some so nice that there was no room for any more cars or trucks, the places were packed.  Not to worry though, there was always room somewhere for the scoot while I took a break.  Sometimes you just tend to make your own parking, you’re never in one place long enough for someone to get excited anyhow.

I”d have to say the Redwoods were probably the highlight of the trip for sure, though the Oregon Coast Highway(101) was pretty awesome too.  I was amazed to see the pride in this highway both in California and Oregon and it’s obvious to me that this highway takes some upkeep.  In several sections, the southbound lane was gone with construction taking place in many areas.  The 101 certainly takes a coastal beating and that’s apparent.  There was one section where the flow was being directed one way or the other.  This was a bad section where quite a bit of the southbound side was gone and I had to wait a little bit, like 15-20 minutes or so.  

Here I am below taking a Caltrans induced break

The look ahead

Waiting

It was pretty neat to see families from all over taking their vacations, though I’m sure there was a fair amount that were on their way for some eclipse viewing but hard saying.  I think everyone was feeling the same sense of wonder along this highway.  It was certainly cool to think that for 3 days straight, my view would be Highway 101.  No other thing to do or care in the world except for following this incredible highway north.  There were certainly times when I thought about people back at work and how they were going to spend their day vs. how I was going to spend mine.  I also knew that in a blink this trip would be over.  All the days of wait that would get longer as I got closer to my trip, would come to head with my departure and the next thing I’d know, the trip would be over and I’d be gathering my thoughts for this article.

In planning my ride, there were several little off-shoots I saw along the way while looking at the map.  So I’d make it a point to enjoy others I’d have to save for another day.  One of these off-shoots I took was the Avenue of The Giants and boy was it worth it!  It’s not like you really go out of your way or anything, because it parallels 101 as you go north for about 31 miles.  Very much worth the time it takes to traverse this two-lane road as opposed to the highway.  I feel you really get in the heart of the Redwoods and achieve the true experience of that which is truly larger than life.  While you’re at it, I strongly suggest another alternative to 101 along the way, and that’s the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.

Here’s a little snippet of information about it taken from  the National Park Service:
Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway
Open sunrise to sunset; Paved; No commercial vehicles permitted.

Distance & Duration: 10 miles, one way; 20-30 minutes.

Directions: Signed exits off of U.S. 101 located 6 miles north of Orick, Calif. or 4 miles south of Klamath, Calif.

Description: This not-to-be-missed alternative to U.S. 101 passes through the heart of the old-growth redwood forest in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. North to south, features include numerous trailheads, Big Tree Wayside, Prairie Creek Visitor Center, Elk Prairie Campground, and a resident herd of Roosevelt elk.

Growing up in Southern California, I really only knew sandy beaches.  The ride along the Oregon Coast Highway was an enlightening experience with regards to the fact there are certainly other types of coastline.  I guess sand was pretty much all I knew really, even our trips to Pismo Beach on a regular basis growing up involved a long sandy coastline.  The other coastal type I know from growing our huge ports and tide pools.  The Port of Los Angeles and Cabrillo Beach come to mind.  Speaking of Cabrillo Beach, the Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse was always the coolest place to visit growing up.

<To Be Continued…>

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