A cold, wet, sunny, warm, snowy, icy day in Northern California

Yesterday I rode from the bay area to southern Oregon with a couple of friends, a roughly ten-hour day that took us through what seemed like every type of weather we could find. I took far too few photos, but here’s the tale anyway!


Hwy 36. (Gallery)

We took 101 north from Santa Rosa, through the redwoods into Humboldt county. This was a pretty wet stretch, with a fair amount of rain, the good kind, intermixed with sun spots. For a four-laner, this is always a beautiful road.

At Rio Dell we stopped at the 101 Cafe, a tiny little burger place where they cheerfully informed us they were out of burgers. Evidently when they DO have hamburger on hand, they make them too big. Sounds like we should return. The chicken sandwiches were good though!

Rio Dell

From Rio Dell we picked up the famed 36, and on it followed the Van Duzen River east. Over the first pass, it was damp and close, with the temps dropping as we climbed into what remained of the winter snow. At some point I looked up and the rain had gotten fat and slowed down. Snow! Coincidentally, the little snowflake on the bike’s readout was flashing to tell me it was cold out and to look out for water in its solid form. So we slowed down a bit, and stopped at the top for a couple of photos, around 4000 ft.

Paul on Hwy 36, 4000 ft

Andy on Hwy 36, 4000 ft

As we descended, the skies cleared, and the road opened up into a broad two-laner arcing gracefully through the sunlit forest. And so we danced. Moments like these are why I ride. Simple as that.

In the middle of 36, there’s a left turn on 3. In fact there’s a large triangle sort of intersection, there in the middle of nowhere. There I told the Paul and Andy that though my wife considers Disneyland the happiest place on earth, I would strongly one-up that, with this very spot.

Hwy 36

We turned north on 3, headed through Hayfork and on up to Weaverville. More classic sport-touring along the way. There, taking a quick break where 3 hits 299, a bald eagle swooped up nearby and cruised the river for a little while. I got a few crummy shots, but they prove the sighting!

Bald Eagle near Weaverville, CA

We continued on 3 into the dusk, past Trinity Lake and up into the alps. We had the roads to ourselves, sharing them only with a few deer here and there. The views were spectacular, but I didn’t get many photos. We only stopped twice: Once at a particularly nice switchback on the way up the mountain….

Hwy 3, Trinity Alps

Paul’s VFR poses on Hwy 3

… and again at the summit, about 5400 ft. It was a wee bit chilly up there:

Scott Mountain Summit

As we came down the other side it was getting on full dark. We picked our way through the throngs of deer, out to Yreka, and continued north on Five with the big rigs over the pass into Medford, our destination for the night.

All in all a grand day out, about 550 mostly-twisty miles. I’m looking forward to the return trip tomorrow!

These photos, in higher-res form, and a few more shots are in the gallery.

I love your comments. Don't be shy, reply!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The "are you a human" quiz *