Day 21

The Leguna Seca Sprint

Wildfire smoke obscures the highway at Riverview, California, USA
Wildfire smoke obscures the highway at Riverview, California, USA

Bunny Flat Trailhead to White Oaks Campground


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The hippy campsite with the drums and song playing turned in at a reasonable hour. I woke to a sunny day pleased with a good nights sleep. The campground wasn’t as bad as I thought. The morning sun revealed the beautiful surrounds of Mt. Shasta and the Bunny Flat trail head.

It was 1-day until the Montery Festival of Speed. I had to high-tail it down the interstate. It was 700km. I dreaded the ride. The DR had a factory gel seat that was, basically a dirt bike seat. My butt would hate me. I had to take turns moving from butt cheek to butt cheek every 30 minutes or so. It was excrutiatingly painful.

I rode staight down Interstate 5, the Cascade Wonderland Highway. I don’t remember much. I powered along the straights above the speed limit of 55. There were mountain climbs with runaway truck ramps. They’re ramps at the bottom of hills that are filled with sand so if a truck’s brakes fail it can drive into it in an emergancy. The mountains of the highway are steep. Much steeper than Australia. It’s rare to see one here.

The smokey highway felt like it continued forever. It was until I reached the outskirts of San Jose to reach a junction that I began to hit some peak hour traffic. The day felt like it dragged on forever.

The closest campground I found near Montery was 35 miles out. I would’ve scouted Laguna Seca first but I had to get there before dark. The surrounding area was filled with silver haired men driving convertables. It certainly was a wanky, upper-class area. I felt proud to be on my filty fully loaded DR. It made me feel far beyond the Sunday driver. I turned off the main road to get to the campground.

It was the best road I’d been on all tour. It was called Cachagua Rd. I felt blessed to see corners after 600km of interstate. It was a one lane road of sharp twists and turns. I saw one or two cars and the vistas of the falling evening sun hitting the backdrop of mountains was spectacular. I forgot how tired I was.

There was a campground closer to Montery that I checked out. It was trailhead and the campground had to be hiked to. I considered it but it was dangerous to leave the bike unattended in the parking lot. There was a house on the corner before it. The family watched me go by from their portch. The house had no fence and the front yard had a clothes line and toys strewn across the yard. They didn’t look friendly.

I went further to White Oaks Campground. It was a good choice. The ground was reserved. It was small and semi-popular but there were about 3 empty lots. I took control of one of them given it was almost dark. They would’ve been there by now if they wanted it. I unpacked and said hello to the couple in the lot beside me. I had no intention of paying.

A car drove in around sunset. It was an white grey haired man in a small old red convertable. It wasn’t the place for such a vehicle. It was more suited to a truck or 4WD. He must’ve come from Montery or nearby. Perhaps he was lost or couldn’t afford a hotel. He drove past my lot, looking at the number. He continued to the next and stopped. I think I took his. He wouldn’t say anything.

He drove out.


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Day 21 - I feared this day. I had to go 400 miles South to reach Leguna Seca by then next day. The GPS read 6.5 hours in the saddle. Its manageable on a big Harley-Davidson, not on a small 650 dirt bike that rattles your bones at 70 mph. With no windshield I fought my way South. I took shelter from buffeting winds from trucks and saw a whole lot of nothing. With a freshly lubed and adjusted chain (thanks for letting be borrow a breaker bar and 24mm socket NAPA!) the bike did fantastically. My butt in agony I somehow made it through the peak hour sun past San Fransisco and made it to Monterey. I was rewarded at the end by the tightest little paved road I’ve ever been on. Its rare to hit first gear as I climbed the hairpin clad road. In the coastal national park, I found White Oaks up a dirt road. The campsite was reserved but no one was home. So I took it, I needed it more than them 😌

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