Good afternoon from Yakima in Washington State. It’s been a very full on 5 or 6 days, with no time (or more honestly ability) to actually take the time to diary what’s been happening. We’ve covered so many miles it’s hard to think back, almost a week ago, to our new friend Doug and his backyard near Lodi in California. .
But if you’re sitting comfortably, I will try…
So we escaped San Francisco following the Bay road as there was no way we wanted to tackle those city-mountains with the bikes fully loaded, but not without first riding along the Fishermans Wharf area and taking our friend Lisa on a run down the famous Lombard St curves, as you do.
Up at 6am and on the road at 7.30 for the (approx) 4 hour run up to Lodi as we watched the temperature rise right up into the high 30’s (hovering around 95F) which apparently is the norm for anywhere more than 20 kms inland. Some months before we left Oz, Doug had contacted us and offered to sell his 2nd hand Redverz Atacama tent, which we were very keen to accept. Doug and his wife Jan welcomed us with open arms and we camped for 2 nights on his back lawn. He not only proved to be a wealth of knowledge, but has also helped us map out a guide for an entire route around USA.
We did 2 things of note while we were there. The first was to go to the Lodi farmers market in their main street on the Thursday night. The stalls ranged from jewelry to fruit to food vans in what was for us, a first experience of a smallish American town. It could have been Braidwood or Goulburn except for the accents and vineyards.
The second was a trip to the recently reopened Yosemite National Park. It had been closed due to the fires but reopened only a few days earlier. What an absolutely stunning landscape. Not very big, but a deep gorge through a river valley with towering cliffs, waterfalls (one working and one dried up) and incredible geology. And then there was Doug as our guide. It was 6 hours in the truck with him (both ways) and he had story after story to entertain us. And entertain he did. A genuinely lovely guy who lives to help adventure motorcyclists. We were sad to leave, but the coast beckoned and we needed to escape the heat. Which we did… eventually…
But that 2nd evening we had a rather special treat. Janelle spent nearly an hour stalking a Hummingbird with her DSLR, the stunning result is below. (1/50 sec f/5.6 280mm ISO 100).
So we booked into a campground on the coast at a place called Manchester Beach, about 230kms north of San Fran and hit the very hot road. About a 5 hour ride from Lodi, all but the last 20 minutes in 38 – 40 degrees (96 to 104F according to the temp gauges on our bikes). Not fun at all, especially for a 30km section around Clear Lake stuck behind 2 Winnebago’s. Horrible dangerous things they are! And they infest every road. There’s millions of the buggers. We Hates Them!
And then it got cold, really cold. Probably due to the fog. Yes, the fog. On a northern California coast in the middle of summer. Thick, cold, wet fog. I’m not kidding. The temp dropped to about 20C which was lovely.
And the campground had a pool and hot tub, which we basically took over. It was heaven. Followed by a seafood meal by the ocean in a nearby town, a walk along a fog shrouded beach and, the next morning, an excited pack up because that night we would be camping among the redwoods and riding the Avenue of the Giants…