California Dreaming 2005
by Mick Ayriss
Thursday 2nd June
Packing the panniers for another 9am start gave us the chance to speak to the riders who came in yesterday as well, a party of four, two riding Harley's, one on a GS and one on a Tiger all the way from Texas and then back again.
When touring I carry few things which I consider to be essential, one is a padlock and plastic-coated steel wire to lock our helmets, if required, the other is a 40 litre PVC roll bag for extra storage space should we need it. the top box I like to keep empty to put in our helmets, to save carrying them around with us, but if it does get filled the steel wire comes into play. Our Flyride USA Kawasaki had a 46 litre top box with a rack fitted on top and this was ideal to mount our roll bag when we needed it. Back home I wasn't really sure if I would need it, but it came into its own when it started to get hotter, filling up with all the excess cold weather gear like our fleeces, which we used as jacket liners and, of course, our over trousers.
Clear blue skies and bright sunshine is very misleading, it was just a half hour into this Thursday mornings ride, and climbing further up into the mountains, when our roll bag started to empty again, as we donned more clothes to keep warm.
McArthur Burney Falls was to be our only site seeing stop today and what a super place it was. When I tell friends of the water fall it really is hard to convey to them what 100 million gallons of water dropping the 129 feet every day looks like, or just how steep those steps were climbing back to the car park!
Leaving the National Park we used the 89 to the 5, passing through the town of Ashland especially for a coffee stop, but the town seemed to only have schools, colleges and heavy traffic, something we really were not used to on this holiday, so a gas station provided us with cold drinks before moving onto our night stop at Shady Cove, via the 62. Mileage to date is 2041.
At 7pm that evening we all sat down to a Mexican meal in the Miguel Guadalajara Restaurant, just a short walk from the Hotel. Sitting outside overlooking the river it was a little cool and required us to keep our jackets on but it was worth it for the location was really nice. We have not had many Mexican meals before so taking advice we plumped for beef burri and corne asada washed down with Mexican beer for just $23.00 all in, for the two meals, good value and nice food.
Following our meal Helen and myself went for a walk as daylight was still with us. We found the local park, just across the road, down by a small stream, and what a find because within a short time we spotted Quail wondering about followed by towhee, nuthatch, american goldfinch and a deer, munching its way through the vegetation. As darkness fell we made our way back to the Hotel when Helen spotted what could have been the 'twitch' of the whole holiday. It was, maybe, a hundred yards away and in the failing daylight looked like a small animal moving very slowly, through the scrub, then remaining quite motionless for long periods giving us the time to stalk the beast and finally identify the Lesser Spotted Armadillo Rock! Do they have armadillo's in the USA? Better luck next time.
Where do I find the rest of this saga?