The Breakfast Club: Hendy Woods Campout
Sunday-Wednesday, 22-25 May 2022
Pictures start here
A good number of SMBCers set out this morning for breakfast at the former Two Bird, now Giaco’s. A couple of NorCal BMW riders also dropped by to join for breakfast. The group ate out on the back porch in the nice weather and I enjoyed a very tasty breakfast sandwich. We were all glad to see some of the familiar Two Bird staff.
After breakfast a few of the riders stayed behind in the Bay Area while Chris, Fred, Harry, Jag, Marc, Rich, Sri, Tom, and I continued northbound on Sir Francis Drake for camping at Hendy Woods.
We had time to burn, as we were departing Giaco’s around 9:30, so we decided to take Highway 1 northbound. Even on the coast the temperatures were lovely in the mid-60s, making for some very comfortable riding.
We stopped off for gas and a chit-chat in what I think was Gualala [Jenner], before carrying on northward. Fred, Harry, Marc and Tom ended up in a faster group going ahead, with me on my CRF300 Rally at my own pace in the middle while Chris, Jag, Rich, and Sri made their own group. I came across a pretty serious-looking 3-vehicle accident just before Point Arena, that had the highway down to one lane of traffic, and with no one from the faster group in sight, I hoped that no one from the group had been involved. By the time the one lane was opened to northbound traffic, Chris and co. had caught up, and we saw that luckily no motorcycles were involved.
Another few minutes later and we had pulled through Manchester, and I thought I might have missed a turn when Chris disappeared from my rear view mirror. I continued onward, using Google Maps to confirm that the turn was still coming up in Elk, where I remembered that Tom had planned to grab a sandwich.
As I pulled into Elk, I found the whole fast-rider group seemed to have been there for awhile, and were wondering what had happened to Chris and the rest. When they eventually turned up, Chris said he’d tried flashing his highbeam at me to get me to stop for a smoke break at Manchester… I didn’t see any headlights, but regardless, the fast riders went on their way and the rest of us settled in for some tasty sandwiches for lunch at the Elk store.
After our refreshments we backtracked a bit to the Philo-Greenwood Road and took that all the way to the Hendy Woods park entrance. We were greeted by a very friendly park ranger who let all 5 of us in the group in for only a $10 entrance fee! So much nicer than the wringer we’d been put through at Morro Bay state park last month!
We all settled into camp getting all our tents setup and cooking equipment going and had a great campfire, with direct-to-campsite firewood delivery too! Jag made a feast of a meal, treating Chris, Sri and all takers to a very impressive single-burner stove meal. A great first day!
The next day, Monday, most of us had a great, lazy morning of coffee and breakfast, only finally rolling out of camp by 10:00am. Tom had planned a very scenic set of rides for us. First we set off eastbound on CA-128 into Philo and picked up Rich from his luxurious hotel accommodations. We continued on east toward Boonville before catching CA-253 northbound. This was a tight and technical road with beautiful scenery that brought us into Ukiah. Another stop for gas and we continued back westbound on Orr Springs Road. This road might have been the highlight of the paved roads for me. The variety of scenery, road styles from big, fast sweepers, to tight technical hairpins, to nice redwood valley cruises was incredible!
Eventually after nearly an hour of this amazing road, we came into Comptche and grabbed a drink and a rest out front of the store. After 30 minutes of chit-chatting, we carried on westbound with more of the same and arrived on the coast just south of Mendocino. We headed northbound toward Fort Bragg to grab some lunch.
When we arrived in Fort Bragg, Tom’s usual restaurant was closed, so I suggested we try out the North Coast Brewery Taproom. We headed just to the north end of downtown and pulled in. Nearly everyone had a burger or fish and chips, and just about everyone seemed happy with their food. Motorcycles might not have been a great vehicle for sampling their brews, but that leaves something for next time folks find themselves up in the Fort Bragg area.
After our late lunch, Sri had to head back to the Bay Area, while the rest of us headed south again all the way to Manchester, before making a left onto Mountain View road headed for Boonville.
On the way back into Philo, Chris and Jag stopped off at the store to grab themselves their culinary delights for the evening, two massive New York strip steaks, potatoes and salad, which Jag cooked up over our open campfire on the grill. Mmm mmm good it was! Thanks Jag! Absolutely stuffed from all the food, we tried to fight off our food comas while staring into another great campfire.
Tuesday was another nice, lazy start to the day, that was until Fred decided it was time to make coffee. Fred evidently employs a sort-of espresso maker that was popular with the group about 20 years ago, and might have not read the manual since that many years ago too. While trying to make coffee, he overheated his contraption turning it into a bursting pressure vessel that with a loud burst and spray sent a plume of steam 3 feet in the air and covered everyone and everything in a 2-foot radius in coffee grounds. Yikes! Luckily no one was hurt, and quickly the Coffee Preparation Safety Board (CPSB) (also known as Marco and Jag) were on the job to tell Fred how he’d used his machine incorrectly.
With everyone now well and truly awake, we eventually got on the road at 10:00am, with Chris heading to pick up Rich to head back to the Bay Area while the rest of us headed westbound on CA-128 for the coast, before heading northbound on CA-1. It was another beautiful day, and we stopped to take a photo with all the bikes lined up at Westport-Union beach.
Jag and I had intended to do a bit of off-road riding to take Usal Rd. to the beach and back, but I missed the sign and went so far as to unexpectedly turn up and found all the other riders at the large gravel turnout just before Leggett.
Figuring we might as well get some lunch with the others before taking on our off-road adventure, we joined the rest of the group at the Peg House. We had delicious barbecued burgers at that great roadside spot, and their slogan “Never Don’t Stop” holds true, especially if you’re hungry! Those were some tasty, tasty burgers!
Marc put Jag and I onto some great offline mapping apps for our phones, particularly Maps.me, and I was able to get our route to Usal Rd. mapped out. After lunch, Jag and I headed back down CA-1 toward Usal Rd. while the rest of the gang booked it southbound on US-101 to Ukiah, CA-253 and back to camp.
Jag and I had a blast on Usal Rd. It was so fun to see a GS actually in the dirt with the rider having fun! The road was in pretty great condition, with just a few ruts, and if not for a few mud puddles on the road behind the beach, we probably would have escaped from the place without all the adventure-dirt! But, the GS and my Rally wore the dirt like champs and Jag and I had some nice sight-seeing time on the beach, before turning back around and out. One ride through the deepest part of the mud puddle for good measure, and Jag’s 1200GS was looking its adventuring best!
Getting back out to the pavement, Jag and I booked it back down CA-1, to CA-128 and into Philo where we gathered the fixings for some after-dinner gin and tonics before pulling into camp for the night, tired and happy.
In the morning, we separated into more groups again, with Harry and Jag staying behind to attend the 49er rally this weekend, Fred, Marc, Tom and I packed up camp and headed out eastbound on CA-128 by 8:30am. We tried to stop off for breakfast at Hamburger Ranch in Cloverdale, but the proprietors were out on vacation and the restaurant was closed. Not to fret, Tom had a backup restaurant in Zini’s diner, and we all stopped in for a pretty dang good breakfast.
After breakfast, we gassed up at the nearby Chevron (does Tom have a thing for Chevrons btw, I noticed we only stopped at them on the whole trip…) Marc said his goodbyes as he had an event to attend in Mill Valley and didn’t want to wait for my little putt-putt to keep up on the highway. Tom, Fred and I continued our way southbound on US-101, over the Richmond Bridge to the East Bay and we all went our separate ways.
It was an amazing trip. One that I was super happy to join in on. Thanks to Tom for organizing, we should do it again next year, and maybe do something similar again in August as a pre-Boot Dinner ride? It’ll definitely be a drag to go back to work tomorrow is all I know for sure…