August 3, 2005

Start: San Francisco
End: Fort Bragg, California
Miles traveled:  198

Route Taken: Highway 101 to
Novato Blvd. to Highway 1 to Fort Bragg.


        The road won this round, though I didn’t really have a fighting chance. My day began early. I went to KNBR and did a radio interview before I left. It went very well and I’ll be calling in and talking with the morning show guys, giving updates.

        Tim Liotta and Brian Murphy (shown in the picture below) are the hosts and great guys. Brian I knew from when he covered golf for the San Francisco Chronicle and he is a great guy. The response from my 15 minutes of fame was pretty impressive. I received a bunch of email from people wishing me well and that was great to see.


        I packed up the bike, which is a chore in itself and then began to head towards a friend’s house who lives outside the city for lunch.

        We were to meet at noon and for the first time I was under a deadline. I had to be somewhere at a certain time and it felt rather odd.

        I took a scenic route from my motel to the Golden Gate Bridge and on the way I parked Libertad in front of the Buena Vista. It is a restaurant my father once told me he was in when he made the decision to want to have children.

        It is a great place, and claims to be the inventors of Irish coffee. It is near the end of one of the cable car lines and gets a fair share of both locals and tourists.

        As I got off the bike a woman approached me and asked if I could help her with her motorcycle. She had a Suzuki with a dead battery.

        There is a book called the Biker’s Code and in it one of the tenants is if a biker is broken down, you should help.

        It was something I was all to glad to do. Elaine’s bike wasn’t going anywhere. The battery had no pulse and jump starting it wasn’t going to bring it back to life. She had a four-year old battery and it was done. She had gotten a lot out of it, but was still surprised it wasn’t going to be able to be revived.

        We tried to quick charge it, but that didn’t help either. She needed a battery. My problem was I was supposed to be in Novato at noon and the time was creeping towards my appointment.

        I hadn’t seen my friend Susan and her husband, Dan in quite some time and she had to leave for work at 2, so the visit wasn’t going to be as long as any of us would have liked.

        It was going to be even shorter if I didn’t get going. Elaine, though, was stuck. Her friend wasn’t coming for a couple of hours and she would be forced to sit around and wait.

        If I wasn’t meeting Susan, I could have run over and gotten Elaine a battery and put it in and she could have been on her way. I apologized for having to leave, and Elaine was very gracious about it.

        It bothered me though. This trip was about experiences and I felt like I had passed one up.

        The quandary stuck with me as I went up Highway 1 and through the fog of the Northern California coast, I wrestled with my own cloudy mind. My conclusion broke before the fog did. I vowed that would be the last deadline I would have on this trip. We’ll see if I can keep my promise.

        Because of my delay I didn’t get nearly as far as I would have hoped, but it didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. The drive up was filled with scenery. The range land of Highway 1 has cows, horses, and sheep dotting the landscape.

        On this day the fog was heavy and the temperatures low. I spent the ride trying to block out the cold. I remembered a story I had read about Tibetan Monks sleeping in the Himalayas wearing only their robes and sleeping on a mat. Their power of concentration and meditation so great they blocked out the freezing temperatures.

        I channeled my own mind to do the same and failed miserably. My powers of mediation last about 34 seconds and then I am wondering why it is so bloody cold in August.

        Even with the cloud cover the views were spectacular. Bodega Bay, where they filmed Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds is a beautiful little resort town which really begins this stretch of Highway 1.


        Going north you have Redwood trees on your right and the ocean on your left. Cypress Pines pop up as well and there are many turnouts on the left to sit and watch seagulls and pelicans fly by. The  picture above is  of  a beach  called Arched Rock  Beach  in Mendecino County. The fog was pretty bad as you can see a little bit in the picture.

        Several of the towns along the way look like they depend on tourist dollars that just aren’t there. Stewarts Point, Elk, Albion are all stops that if you blink you miss, but all try and lure the road weary to stop.

        This highway will take a lot out of you. The turns and twists of it are numerous and the temptation for me to quit was constantly there. I decided to press on to Fort Bragg. I reached the former military town just as the sun was going down. I stopped and found a motel that had a hot tub, soaked my weary bones and fell asleep, skipping dinner.