The Breakfast Club: Tom's Thumb Blues
Saturday, Jun 29 2019
Carl passed me on 19th Ave in the city. I caught up and we continued north to Novato for breakfast at Marvin’s. The crew consisited of Carl, Chris, Fred, Tom, and me. After breakfast we jumped back on 101 and headed north to Cloverdale where we stopped for gas and a break. Time to head toward the coast. Tom says the stretch of 128 from Cloverdale to Boonville is one of his favorite roads to ride. The traffic gods were with us. It was an enjoyable leg.
After a quick break to regroup in Boonville we continued on 128 to the coast. The effects of the sizeable breakfast I had started kicking in about the time we hit the redwoods at the west end of 128. Don’t. Fall. Asleep. I was glad when we finally hit the coast. Perhaps it was the sea air that chased away the sleepies.
We stopped for gas at Ft Bragg, but did not go the restaurant across the streat for lunch this year. Tom had other plans that put lunch a little later. No one complained. Breakfast wasn’t that long ago. We continued on 1 until it met up with 101 in Leggett. Our lunch stop was only a mile or so north of the junction.
Temps inland were quite comfortable – in the very low 80s instead of the 100+ degrees we often see on the way north. Also contributing to ride comfort were the frequent stops. I don’t think we were on the bike for more than 90 minutes at a time before stopping for a break.
Our last stop before getting to our destination was the the town of Dyerville. Well, where Dyerville used to be, anyway. It washed away in the floods of 1955. A train trestle is all that is left.
It past years we’ve camped in Patrick Point. This year we were doing something different. The initial plan was to stay in cabbins owned by someone Tom knows. Alas, the cabins sit empty as the owner moved away to take care of elderly family. As a result we wound up renting a house through Airbnb. 5 people. 5 beds. All is well. The house is about a mile south of Patricks Point State Park.
We arrived early enough to claim our beds, do whatever unpacking was necessary, and enjoying a brew. The weather was still being nice to us. It was not as cold or as wet as it can be in that part of the state.
Dinner was at the Seascape. The pictures were taken after dinner; a little before sunset. The road between the restaurant and the house taking the direct route is in bad condition. Bad enough that we jumped on 101 to skip the bad section, making the ride back to the house 6 miles instead of 4. Life can be hard.
Sunday, June 30 2019
The ride planned for Sunday is one Carl, Tom, and I failed to complete two years ago. That ride was at the end of May and the pass we wanted to take was closed due to snow. Tom and I had to ride to the snow line to verify the signs were correct.
We headed north on 101 to Orick. Breakfast was going to be at the Palm. Tom had verified the restaurant was open Sunday mornings. So how come it was closed? We stopped at a convenience store a mile away to ask about alternate choices. That’s when we found out the Palm was closed by the health department. Better before we ate there than after. Several patrons of the convenience store said we needed to to to the Log Cabin in Klamath, about another 20 miles up the road. We did. Breakfast there was just fine. Better than the Palm according to the waitress.
The ride to breakfast included sitting Elk on the right, standing Elk on the left, and a bear cub scampering off the freeway shoulder into the thick brush. Didn’t see bear mama but I’m guessing she was close by.
After breakfast we kept on 101 north until almost Crescent City. We turned off on a road with Elk in its name. Tom wasn’t sure it was the correct road with Elk in its name and pulled over to stop. He was going to ask me to check on my GPS. There was a closed building on the right with its parking lot closed by two concrete barriers of the kind used as lane barriers during freeway construction. The barriers were far apart enough that motorcycles or bicycles would have no problem getting between them.
Except there was a steel cable strung between the barriers, across their tops. An unflagged steel cable. A steel cable pretty much the same color as the road surface behind it. A steel cable that stopped Toms bike cold. I did not see the cable, either, but was far enough behind to stop without hitting Tom, his bike, or the cable.
All of us pulled over and got Tom’s bike upright. The left mirror housing popped off the bike (it is designed to do so) but it was cracked in addition to being scuffed up. That, and some scratches on the left valve cover was about the extent of damage to the bike. The cable was headlight high and we couldn’t even see a mark on the headlight housing.
The brunt of the damage was to Tom’s right hand, specifically the area around the base of his thumb. Either his hand hit the right hand control cluster or the right handlebar hit his hand. Hard. Or something similar. It hurt. But he could ride. So that’s what we did.
No snow on the pass this year. We made it into Happy Camp to find our planned restaurant wasn’t open any more. No one seemed to care. Lunch could wait. Gas could not. The one station at Happy Camp has one grade of gas. When you need gas any grade is fine. The stationb also takes credit cards. However, it must use semaphores or mirrors or something similar to validata your card. Most attempts resulted in some kind of error. The attempts that worked took minutes to validate. Once we got a card to work we tried to just move the active nozzle to the next bike. Not easy. If you were too slow the pump would time out and you’d have to start over again. Eventually we got the needed fuel. Except for Carl who had enough to make it to the next stop.
From Happy Camp we took 96 south to Willow Creek. I know even numbered roads run East-West. 96 between Happy Camp and Willow Creek runs north-south. I guess officially we were taking 96 west. We had lunch in Willow Creek at the place where we’ve stopped for ice cream in the past. They now do sandwiches if you don’t mind waiting 15-20 minutes for them to be made. Didn’t have to wait for the ice tea.
After lunch we took 299 west (should 299 run N/S?) to 101 where we replenished bikes and beer supply before riding north on 101 back to the house. Once at the house we pushed our dinner reservations to 7:30 given our later than expected lunch. That also gave Tom some time to ice his thumb to help get the swelling down.
Dinner was at the Larrupin cafe, about 2 miles away. Or 4 miles when taking the freeway to bypass the crappy road. Carl is still probably dreaming of the pumpernickel break that was part of the house appetizer board included with the meal.
After dinner we went back to the house and congregated in the living room for a while (it was cooler outside than Saturday night) before going to bed.
Monday, Jul 1 2019
I didn’t take any pictures Sunday. We left the house about 7:15 and headed to Arcata for breakfast. From there the plan was a straight shot down 101. The goal was to beat rush hour traffic in the bay area.
I took over the lead after a break near the One Log House on 101. Tom’s thumb couldn’t make the upward sideways motion needed to cancel the turn signals on his R1150. We stopped for gas in Laytonville (except for Tom). That station is quite busy with lines waiting to access each pump.
The final stop was in Hopland where Tom topped off his tank. We said our good-byes to each other as this was the last chance before we split off into different directions in the bay area. Fred and Chris wanted to go a bit faster than the pace I was setting and took off about Novato. Carl wanted to go a little slower than the pace I was setting and let up pull ahead. Tom took 580 in San Rafael to head to the east bay. I continued north, crossing the Golden Gate into SF.
Then I screwed up. I saw “19 Ave construction” signs. Not wanting any part of that I decided to take 101 instead. Stupid, no? Apparently the lights on Van Ness are timed such that when your light turns green the next light just one very short block away has just turned red. I wonder if the city does that on purpose to discourage traffic on the road?
I still got home before traffic got too bad. Without camping gear to put away I had the bike unpacked in about 45 seconds. Took me longer to take my riding gear off.
It was a good ride. I’d do it again.