Thursday, June 9, 2016


It rained most of the night and as forecast was raining the following morning.  It was cold too, high 40’s.  To make matters worse the moisture must have affected the heated grips on my bike because they didn’t work.  Thankfully, after my first stop the engine heat must have evaporated the moisture and they began working again.  Before the rain forecast I had looked forward to this day because I was doing an inland loop to pick up Trinity County on roads that were obviously a motorcyclist’s dream.  The roads lived up to my expectations and more.  They were twisty beyond belief but I was afraid to ride aggressively because of the wet pavement.  It rained off and on all day so about a third of the time I had dry pavement which was great.

View from 1st cache in Trinity Cnty
2nd cache in Trinity Cnty
The first cache I attempted in Trinity County required a hike and hill climb in very wet woods.  I almost skipped this one after I initially made the wrong approach and had to retrace my steps and try another way.  I eventually made the find but it had taken too much time.  I found two more in the county and another one also took more time than it should have.

Cars ahead
Cars behind
About midday I came to a traffic stop.  Someone had gone off of this twisty and wet road and a crew was there to tow him out.  Cars were lined up for half a mile and they said it would be a 45 minute delay.  I used this forced wait to eat my sardine lunch and visit with some of the other detainees.  All the folks I met in CA were open, friendly and helpful.  These great roads (when dry) in Trinity County were highways 299, 3 and 36.

Nice view but no find
After traveling back west I turned south on the famous Highway 101.  My first stop in Mendocino County required a hike back to a little waterfall.  When I got back there I discovered that to find the cache required a climb up a very steep hill (almost cliff) in thick wet woods.  I knew I didn’t have the time or gear so I took a picture and retreated.  As it was it had cost me at least a half hour.  The next cache I found was called “Lost Cookies” named for all the kids the cache owner had seen who had “lost their cookies” after reaching this parking spot from the extremely twisty highway.   As it turned out this was the only cache I found in Mendocino County.  At Leggett I turned southwest on Highway 1 and was soon on the coast.  There was a cache located at the cove in Point Arena where I spent the night but I couldn’t find it.

My room was behind these buildings
Point Arena
The place where I stayed in Point Arena was the most expensive one of the trip.  It was an old semi rundown multi-building place set up high on the shore of a cove.  It was fixed up very fancy on the inside but I had to lug my luggage up 55 steps on different levels to get to my room.  For dinner I had some lasagna at one of the two restaurants in the cove that didn’t hold a candle to my wife’s.  I had been on the road 13 hours that day and the bed was comfortable so I slept well.  

San Mateo County
The place where I stayed had a free breakfast but not until 8:00.  I had been on the road about two hours by that time.  I had vastly underestimated the time it would take me to get to San Francisco.  I had pictured in my mind Highway 1 being high above the sea with gentle curves contouring cliffs.  Quite the contrary it was almost on the beach and just as twisty as those in Trinity County.  It was a quite challenging and fun motorcycle road especially for the first couple of hours before the traffic hit.  Of course it’s a two lane road so you are at the mercy of the traffic and cars are much slower than motorcycles on that road. 

Chinese steps in SF
Coalinga park - bolt on boiler is cache

The first two caches I tried were DNF’s which made three in a row counting the one from the evening before – more than a bit discouraging  . Finally I found a couple which gave me two for Sonoma County.  After finding one for Marin County I didn’t stop for another because I was still worried about San Francisco.  Just before the Golden Gate Bridge, Highways 1 and 101 merged into 4 or 5 lanes.  There was plenty of traffic but I had no trouble at all.  I had several caches lined up and they were all off the highway back in residential and smaller commercial parts of the city.  The first cache I attempted was called “China Beach” and had 123 Favorite points, a massive amount, but I could not find it.  I was relieved to find the next one which featured some elaborate Chinese steps.  I tried one more and could not find it nor could the person who attempted it just before I did.  Since I had my one required cache for the county I figured it was time to “got otta Dodge”.  After leaving San Francisco I stayed along the coast on Highway 1.

I soon pulled off the highway and hiked down a hillside park to find my first cache for San Mateo County stuck to the bottom of a bench.  It was around 12:30 when I pulled into a little shopping center for my second cache for that county.  While there I took advantage of a great two cheeseburger deal at McDonalds.  Turns out that second burger served as my dinner as well.

 I stayed on Highway 1 all the way down to Castroville where I veered northeast over to just south of Hollister where I got on the Airline Highway that took me south all the way to Coalinga.  Along the way I picked up 5 caches in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. It was a beautiful ride on a country road with almost no traffic.  The next to last cache was at the entrance to a park.  After finding it I pulled up the next cache in my GPS which I knew was in Coalinga where I was headed.  To my consternation it showed it was many more miles than it should be and in the opposite direction I was traveling.  About that time a couple was leaving the park and I asked them if they knew which way Coalinga was but they didn’t.  The girl said she would look it up on her iPhone but there was no reception there.  Just as they were pulling away she laughed and said “Look” and pointed to a sign directly across the road that said Coalinga and pointed in the direction I had been going.  All I said was “Duh”.  After I had resumed my ride my GPS showed me the correct distance and direction.

After arriving in Coalinga I logged a really neat cache right in town called “Lions, Tigers and Boiler” that had a cache container disguised as a rusty bolt on a boiler that took care of Fresno County.  I had reservations at a Travel Lodge located about 10 miles north of town.  I rode out there but couldn’t find it – or anything else for that matter.  I rode back into town where I had seen lots of motels with vacancies and ended up at the Travel Inn which was a very low budget place ($40 as opposed to the $160 place the night before).  They said the Travel Lodge was indeed out in the area I had been but I wasn’t about to go back out there.  I called them and cancelled my reservation without penalty.  I had been on the road 13 ½ hours and I was really tired.  I had no problem with the cheap motel except the bed was too hard and the pillows too big.  As stated earlier, the left over cheeseburger which I warmed in the microwave was my dinner.   To be Continued  M/W


Kathy said...

"The wrong approach" to the cache is always a possibility and will cause problems for the geocacher. It will take you through someone's yard, across a golf course, to a cliff on the opposite side of the river, etc. -- even across the border. Mike generally has a sense of humor about it, but "the wrong approach" is one of the things I find frustrating about the game.

Yancey Warnock said...

I wish I was with you...I think!

Chris said...

Love your compliment on Kathy's lasagne!