Northern California Memorial Day Weekend Tour - 4

California, United States of America, Americas

We'll circle NorCal in this tour the heads right for Gold Rush Country, rides north for Mount Lassen, and then circles around across the NorCal Motorcycle Paradise- 4 days of the best roads in the state! .....................................

Organised by Pashnit Motorcycle Tours

Northern California Memorial Day Weekend Tour - 4


Itinerary

2010 Circle Northern California
The variety of California's diverse landscapes is presented on this exciting 4-Day Tour of Pashnit California that circles the northern portion of the state highlighting the California Pacific Coastline, the Trinity Alps, the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains & the Gold Rush Sierra Foothills - all connected by wondrous roads that make a perfect 4-Day Holiday Weekend. This 4-day tour takes place on the 2010 Memorial Day Holiday Weekend and also provides a 3-Day Extension to lengthen your ride to 7 Days.

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Imagine a place where the roads are deserted, forgotten places of motorcycling bliss. Come experience our 4-day Memorial Day Weekend Tour riding over mountain passes, a 10,000 ft volcano, deserted twisty roads, and basking in the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. This ride takes place over the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend and what better way to spend the holiday! This tour covers a different route and a broader region than our 3 Day NorCal Tour; you may even want to do both (quite a few riders have!). It's all planned for you, all you have to do is show up!

The group will meet in Sausalito on the northwest corner of the Bay Area and get an early start. Plan to be at the Sausalito Bakery & Cafe at 7 AM, safety brief at 7:30, and we'll be on the road by 8 AM.

We'll leave beautiful Sausalito and ride up into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Our destination is Ridgecrest Road, also known as Bolinas Ridge.

Once we reach the crest via a twisty convoluted route appropriately called the Panoramic Highway, the views of the San Francisco skyline and the Pacific Ocean are jaw dropping. Bring the camera as Bolinas Ridge is one of a kind in all the state! As we make our way north through pastoral Marin County, you might think you were in another state. Rolling green hills covered in dairy cattle grazing lazily round out the scene.

Highway 1 awaits. This is a magical place where the path tracks along the very edge of the North American continent. Our road flows gently at times, then throws out a sinuous affair of rapid fire curves. The hills are a glowing green, eucalyptus trees line the road, and the air has a salty taste. You'll realize this is one of those places you could ride 100 times and never grow tired of.
What ensues is an intense frollicking fun ride through one of the twistiest sections of road in the entire state of California. There's 187 corners in a 24 mile section of road and it was REPAVED recently- glassy smooth! It will be one of the highlights of the entire tour.

Once we hit Highway 101, we'll ride on the banks of the Eel River into the Avenue of the Giants and make our way to Fortuna arriving in the early evening.

There will be the option to add on a ride through the The Lost Coast. Via Humboldt Redwoods SP, it's a treat to stand in awe of these massive redwood trees, some of which are said to weigh as much as 1,000,000 million pounds- apiece. Towering redwood trees 300 feet tall defy the senses, and the lushness of ferns carpets the forest floor.


Up and over the Coast Range, then suddenly we pop out from behind a hilside and this scene above greets us. As the group moves along mere feet from the Pacific, we'll have to keep an eye out for the local wildlife- cows, which have a tendency to be strolling down the middle of the road! It'll be an easy pace and well-worth the extra miles if you opt to ride out to see the mythical Lost Coast.

The group will meet up for dinner at the Eel River Brewing Company next door to the hotel and proceed to greatly exaggerate our motorcycling exploits of years gone by.

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Riding the Trinity Alps

After our overnight in Fortuna, the twists and turns are just moments away- known simply as Highway 36. Famous for its sign located in the middle- "Hills Curves 140 Miles". The morning offers up a taste of the western chapter of Hwy 36. A turn north up Lamb Creek Grade and we climb several 1000 feet in a few short miles to the South Fork Mountain Ridgeline.

 

This continuous ridgeline stretches for 50 some miles with elevations up to 6000 feet, no paved sideroads, no towns, no people, one of our all time favorite rides! Each time we ride Forest Road 1, it's a moment to savor this NorCal gem!

Oh, and keep your eyes open for Bigfoot. Supposed to be hanging out somewhere up here. You'll need a break once we reach Willow Creek after a run down a portion of the Trinity National Scenic Byway.

Few years back, a couple of the locals decided they didn't have much in common with California, or Oregon for the matter, so why not just succeed from the Union and form their own state. Sounds like a perfectly good idea.

And so the State of Jefferson was born. The idea didn't last long, but today it's making a comeback, if only in a tongue in cheek sort of way- the road at least is called State of Jefferson Scenic Byway.

Here we'll turn northward onto one of California's most scenic, and roads in Northern California, Highway 96. More twists and turns, Thank you Sir, May I have another!


Scott River Road is one of those tucked away rides. You'd probably have to just be curious enough to see where it leads to try it out in the first place. Narrow at times, even a bit goaty, this enjoyable ride follows the contours of the (Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?) Scott River where riders sometimes stop to take a quick dip in this mountain stream.

By now, you'll be wondering how you'd ever top today's ride, you just might want to hold onto your verdict until you see what tomorrow has in store!

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Why they call it the
NorCal Motorcycle Paradise...

If you're not local to California, and you've hung around the Pashnit.com site long enough, you've probably figured out that the large majority of Northern California is a mountainous land that produces our fantastic roads. Well the day begins with the granddaddy of them all right outside our door.

 

Mount Shasta is miles away, yet its posture pushes some 14,179 feet high with a snowcapped frosting of white. Over the years that we've ridden Gazelle-Callahan Rd, I'm reminded again and again that there are places were time can indeed stand still.

The scene hasn't changed in the last 150 years and the locals would prefer it that way. Our last ride through here, a grizzled ole rancher even came clopping up to us on his horse.

As the morning melts away, the group will ride south on the Trinity Heritage Scenic Byway along Trinity Lake over the 5400 ft. Scott Mountain Summit, then crossing over the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.

Prairies and farmlands line the roads, and you'll kick back in the saddle and smile to yourself. There's no place you'd rather be as we ride past mountaintops that ring the horizon in every direction. After a visit to Weaverville, it's off to climb Hayfork Pass.

No visit to Northern California would be complete without a ride on Highway 36, a sacred place for local motorcyclists. Often called, the best motorcycle road in the entire state- Highway 36 is 140 miles of twists, turns and scenic views. The eastern portion rises and falls over prairie-like grazing lands and the pavement is absolutely dreamy.


What better way to wind out the afternoon knowing you have miles of non-stop twists and turns in front of you. This road has to be ridden to be believed. The elevation descends from wilderness areas that define much of the mid-portion to miles of rolling prairie..

Rollercoaster riding is the order of the day, and there'll be plenty of whoopin' and hollerin' as we make our way eastward. Best road in the state? That's quite a title, but you'll quickly agree once you experience the heaves, twists, and turns the Highway 36 dishes out.


Our volcano is grows larger on the horizon and we'll climb to 8511 ft (2550 m) in elevation to explore Mt Lassen which last erupted in 1917. Bubbling mud pots and steam still rise from the mountain sides and everywhere you look, there's a million dollar scenic view. You'll need the camera on this ride! How much snow we'll get to play in just depends- the road can open as early as May, or still be snowed in all the way into late June.
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The Northern Sierra Nevada
Imagine if you woke up one day in a grassy meadow. Mountain tops and pine trees as far as the eye could see. And a motorcycle. You can open your eyes now. Low and behold, this is no pipe dream fantasy, it's real and we've got another fantastic day of riding in front of us.

Routes have varied through the years, but no matter which one we pick, it involves twisty roads and mountain passes. All they really have around here. Eyes still open?

If you love roads, you've come to the right place. The Feather River Canyon, Quincy-Oroville Hwy, La Porte Rd, Highway 89. These are all local roads much revered by NorCal riders in the know. La Porte Rd for example was just a gravel mountain pass only a few short years ago. Now paved.

The Oroville-Quincy Highway... well, let me put it this way. When the camera crew asked for an scenic exciting place to shoot the footage they needed, we brought them here.

This region of the Sierra Nevada marks the northerly edges of the High Sierra. North of here, it's a region of recent volcanic activity such as Mt Lassen, Crater Lake, and up through the Cascades. These mountain passes often don't see the traffic the others do, and we often ride unencumbered.


Most of the riders will be headed home by now, some will continue riding if they're here for a longer vacation. Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful alpine lakes at 6500 ft is only a few miles away if one wanted to continue the ride to even more mountain passes and on down to Yosemite National Park. Might just have to sign up for the High Sierra Tour.
It's been a great weekend of riding!! A compete dose of sensory overload of mountains, lean angles and especially- the company. Pashnit Riders from all walks of life on all types of motorcyles. All Pashnit.

You'll spend much of this tour in complete and utter awe. I know once I get home, it takes a few days just for the high to wear off.

 

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