From Downieville to Mineral via Quincy, on through Red Bluff and Redding to Shingletown and seemingly forever beyond, my motorcycle carried me some 800 miles this past Labor Day weekend, in the company of three motorcycling friends. In addition to the undeniable fact this was one long and exhausting journey, pockets of California appeared before me that never before had, some I never knew existed!
Our location remained a mystery to me much of the time, meaning… I really had no idea where we were! Still, I always love an adventure, especially one in which the planning is done for me. Had I looked at our route map ahead of time, I might have been tempted to try to alter our ambitious mountain journey. Silly me to think the four of us were riding straight to Redding. Suffice to say, the element of surprise ultimately worked in my psychological favor. Tired? Yes. Sorry? No.
My favorite stretch of road had to be Highway 36, heading west from Mineral down into Red Bluff. It’s here I took notice of the highest number I’ve ever seen on my SV’s digital speedometer… and I suppose that’s all we’ll say about that. Lassen Volcanic National Park is stunning and well worth the visit, while there’s no doubt far more surrounding terrain remaining for me to explore. With a tinge of regret, after 400 miles of riding on Saturday I opted out of Sunday’s jaunt to Klamath Falls, Oregon, a city I memorably visited in 1998 and to which I’d be curious to return. Instead, Redding’s Hilton Garden Inn satisfactorily relaxed me throughout the hot late afternoon. This, before a festive and filling group dinner followed by the enjoyment of some “local color” on the eve of another 250 miles of throttle to get us home. Monday’s dinner stop in Napa topped off the long weekend quite nicely.
I’m reminded of the enjoyment of motorcycle use for more than just daily stop-and-go city commuting. Such a two-wheeled journey does not come often for me, nor will it. When it does, however, I’m generally pleased. And in this case, I’m happy to say Northeastern California is now on the map… mine, that is!