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Dual Purpose Riding the Lost Coast


The Lost Coast


The day had finally arrived to travel on the Lost Coast. Immediately after being reassigned in northern California made in 1100 for my BMW RT to 2008 KLR 650. What better way for a maiden voyage? After many years of “hotel” tour I was in transition back to my “pack light, freeze at night” mode of travel. The road Usal and Lost coast road conditions were unknown. The winter months of 2008 had seen a lot of rain on the north coast near Eureka, California, and my research indicates that roads would be impassable if wet. Could the KLR be able to conquer what the rank of king and Wildlife Sinkyone showed the way in late March? To cover my bets scored two motorcycle tie straps as possible could double as tow straps. My riding companion for this trip would be a partner university for 19 years. Glenn had called the day before with a cryptic “I bought something that will take care of all that the road will throw at us.” Cryptic messages are never usually good. Perhaps the extra space that the straps would take a cheap insurance. When we went Triple A, the fear to tread.

Home early Sunday morning was delayed until 3:00 pm due to commitments Easter. The afternoon came and went. Glenn received a call that his new mystery device would not start. Certainly a dark omen of things to come. The evening marked a return and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Glenn hobbled in Rohnert Park, CA, around 8:30 pm, cold, lost, but armed with an appetite and an equally friendly and optimistic attitude, definitely the kind of partner and the attitude you need to venture into the unknown. The mystery of the machinery came in the form of a KLR 1985 600! The $ 800. 00 museum piece was a robbery until starting the bike continued to flood the market difficult accessory two-stroke carburetor and the battery dead (to steal was the correct term, but only time would tell the victim was). Ever resilient, Glenn solved the problem on Sunday and went on to Sacramento to Sonoma County. My mom was very happy to feed the weary traveler with a home cooked meal. We have modified the game plan the night and decided not to travel at Trinity Heritage National Scenic Highway (aka Highway 299 / 3) and the Bigfoot Scenic Byway (Hwy 96) loop of Eureka. The bikes were ready and willing, despite a small incident with my newly purchased assembly. I realized I should not have delayed the purchase of a central stand. While filling the tires earlier in the day of the bike fell on Pushing on the stems with a little force too. To the credit of the KLR, the plastic radiator shrouds again stood up from the tip and the Bug “(as my daughter calls him) left with only two small scratches.


The next morning we headed north on Highway 101 in the cold northern California early, the two ends of the spectrum KLR blows over harmony. At 8:30 am we decided to throw in Cloverdale to take a quick bite at the local McDonalds. An old man took an interest in our trip and told us how he used to run his Harley Davidson against the British invasion of the back of the BSA in 1949, but lost to the lightest, fastest bike at the time of Cross Country Racing. Over coffee talk turned to youth. We have shared our experience in the Cavalry (Glenn, a pilot on the BAC, air, earth explorer, and one year gift horse Cavalryman sixteen years earlier in 1938). Shortly after their day gift horse was around the South China Sea. His new ride was the USS Pargo, the 1928 sub period that managed to leave the port of Manila, before the fall of the Philippines. He wished he could join us on our bike trip, but his knee replacement was within a few days. Any adventure that will find their experiences paled depth charges during the war. We thanked them for their sacrifices and service to the country, we headed to the northwest.

Bikes can be quick work of the road 128 to Mendocino and fell into an easy pace through the vineyards and redwood trees. At Fort Bragg, we have tried to find a dirt road east to Glenblair and again to 101 in order to shake down our plans and cargo bikes. We were frustrated by dead ends and closed access, but rewarded by the one-lane dirt roads. Doubling come back to Highway 1, picking up the pace, energized by waves and redwoods. Moving Rockport analyzed for road 435/Usal Road, but were so enamored of this part of the 101 we were almost in Leggett, before discovering it had missed our turn. Backtracking we find 431. If not for the fact that we knew was at mile 90. 88 that he would never have found. The starting point seemed to be a unit of private land. How is it used to be a route care is beyond me. They must have gone through several teams given the steep hills and rough conditions. The views were spectacular as they looked down in the Pacific. Accompanying the scenery was a chance encounter with a bear cub wandering in the road. Surprised by the growl of “Bugs” ran back to mom and continue our journey. The KLR were not challenged by the roads and we believe that the estimated 3 hours to get to Shelter Cove was a misjudgment. Soon learn 6 hours was barely enough. I also discovered that years of “accommodation,” had taught me to pack my case more than Givi. The first flaw, and my KLR only became evident when Glenn yelled for me to stop. Rolling down the hill was my Givi and half of my luggage KLR! Lashing straps were put into service sooner than I expected.


Soon we encounter the first of many delays. Clay, and lots of it. The KLR could not do so by thinking back ends soup out of control and falling on their sides. Glenn and I ported our team when necessary and then abused our horses, pushing and cursing the machine through the dirt. In the worst moment, when we find a turnoff to some seemingly insurmountable road, Mark of San Jose (in a Jeep-adorned human encounter one another on the scenic road), destroyed the ring road (bicycle at least ) as its Jeep chewed the ground. Bouncing off a tree, but managed to erase any notion of going back. For better or worse that were made. Not more than 200 yards across the street Usal we had to download the KLR back and put pressure on our forests as the pilot “paddling” along a foot and half way across. A fall on the right and the bikes that disappear beneath the dark surface like the USS Snapper made to evade the Japanese warships in search of revenge. A fall to the left and the KLR would collapse the cliff to the Pacific. Bicycling through narrow path was too risky as the road itself was full of mud and the tires could slip. A few beats of the heart full of adrenaline, later, the bikes were safe at all, charged and moving at speed. Usal Road could support KTM and BMW GS Adventures in the dry season, but in the winter months, nothing bigger than a KLR would be difficult to navigate the numerous mud bogs. The bigger bikes would be exhausting to abuse through the mud to upper calf. When we finally got to Usal Beach, were rewarded with pristine beaches. Facing the sea was nearly deserted and the KLR proved to be able to cross many streams as we explored the beach. The “Bug,” the pure sea air, but the KLR 600 began to show its warts. In the last stretch before reaching the KLR 600 Shelter Cove very running in one of the steepest parts of the route. Glenn put the chicken bones and blood of sprinkling on the carburetor, but no luck. Un-strapping of the tie down straps of my Givi I logged on to the 600 and the “Bug” become “El Burro” and 600 towed up the hill. One day the first lot. A quick dance of the gods of the motorcycle and the 600 dismissed and that Shelter Cove is consolidated. Night at the Shelter Cove was one of the finest I have spent in the northern California coast. The wind was completely absent and the stars shone brighter than the light in the lighthouse out of service. A few touches of Kentucky Bourbon made the night complete.

A late start on the second day due to blockage of Glenn his clothes in the dryer and a room not responding “theft of a bicycle” We delayed until 10:30. I began to feel he was the victim in this purchase and it was not the “master mechanic” in Sacramento, Glenn sold the bike. Another quart of chicken blood and his bike roared to life. We went Range King’s Road and crossed into another world. The range has received more than its average share of rainfall during the winter. The fog surrounding the green reminded us of the rainforest of Costa Rica and Ecuador. Taking the wrong turn, we follow the rocky road dead end at the beginning of the path Lightening. The rocks that took a toll on our tires, but the scenery was worth the cost in rubber. The tight, twisty, uphill climb on the way Melon was one of the best parts of travel. It was challenged only by way of Petrolia to Ferndale. This part of the crooked road along the shore and then parallel to the waves. Glenn played the role of pawn as he herded a cow walking on the road and back into the field as a temperamental horse. Anything can be thrown its way into the Lost Coast.

Leaving the sea behind us, quickly climbed to 2,400 feet from Bunker Hill and then down to a beautiful valley. Crossing Bear River empties into the ocean, Glenn said zigzag on the hill. I pumped his arm in response and rolled on the throttle. In the subsequent rise became one of our machines, to the point where he felt as if the bikes disappeared and is “skiing” through the picturesque landscape of northern California. The environment was a mixture of Switzerland and southern England, the narrow two-lane full of shrubs, trees and livestock for racing. We are saddened to see the Lost Coast disappear in our rear view mirrors, but expects that the exploration of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants, and the Eel River.

Can not find a camp in Eureka Fortuna we went to the KLR 600 were killed in the main street. Persuading the bike to life Glenn met me at the RV park will get a log cabin for a pittance. Money well spent given the rain of the night. After filling their bellies with our fair share of beer in the Eel River Brewery, Glenn fills his ego to flirt with the waiter very attractive woman body builder. We had the dream as the road began to be felt. Tomorrow would be very difficult for us both.

The next morning, the KLR is DOA but Glenn was reluctant to admit it. After persuading him to get a U-Haul we have doubled the error “and we went through Ferndale. We were pushing at 11:30 hours so the time is a factor as the work appeared the next day. On the road Glenn saw a sport utility vehicle and tire shop. Tom, the owner and mechanic, took pity on us and gave us the keys to his truck and the KLR 600 was given a new lease on life. In two hours we were rolling south on Highway 101, thanks to Tom and his prompt attention. Although this was my fourth time on the Avenue of the Giants, I was amazed by the 40 miles of beauty. The coup de grace was when we received a free “drive through tree “experience of a fellow KLR rider.

The lowest point was 11 miles north of Laytonville. The KLR 600 gave up his ninth life and died on the west side of 101. Suspecting that the lack of fuel to run Laytonville I despair for gas. False hopes, as the bike had been recovered outside support life. A radio Patrol agent to a crane that arrived at 6:30 pm and Glenn was on his own. Faced with 35F and a time of 2 hours travel from Laytonville ran south. Two things helped me survive this trip, my KLR Hotgrips each cadence and singing at the top of my lungs. By 8:40 pm he was eating hot chow in the target, while Glenn was writing a new chapter on motorcycling on the edge. A day and a half later he did again in Sacramento. A better story said several cold beers.

By sheer diversity of terrain, vegetation, animals and road conditions nothing can beat the Lost Coast of California. Dual purpose mount milk more fun per mile than almost any bike I’ve ridden. Despite all the noise on the fairing site of collapse due to vibration and the fourth new KLR oil consumption is simply not the case with this bike. Although an operator-induced overturn, the KLR fairing survived an encounter with a concrete parking block and after 2,000 miles, the “Bug” has not used oil. The KLR will remain on the stability, regardless of any type of bike comes in the future. For maximum versatility and pure “bang for the dollar,” fun, this bike can not be beat.

A veteren of motorcycling for 24 + years, Ed Ospital considers his native Northern California roads among the best in the world. His 14 years in the Army (and counting) have enabled him to ride throughout North America and Europe. Although he has favored BMW motorcycles for the past decade he has returned to his roots as a Kawasaki rider. Keeping that theme, Ed has also returned to his roots carving the roads of the North, South, and East Bay.

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