Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 333: Highway Heaven .....

“Your listening to Trading Time on K-ZXY & Z .. local public radio for the Mendocino area ….. and on the line next is Jeremiah from up in Comptche”

“Hi Jeremiah ….. what would like to sell, buy or trade today?”

“Howdy … it‘s a great show you‘ve got goin here“

“Well thank you Jeremiah … so what have you got for us today?”

“Well first I’ve good an old Chevy Truck, it’s a real fixer-up-er …. good engine but no transmission ….yep … just needs a new tranny and it’s a real goer …. but it’s free to anybody who can haul it off of my backyard numbers 408-871 .. if I‘m out…. leave a message”

‘”That sounds great Jeremiah …. a free-cycle truck out in Comptche for anybody with the know-how to fix it …… and do you have anything else to trade today?”

“Well yeah ….. sort of …. I’ve got meat-cats .. Lots of meat-cats … $20 for breeders and $15 for fryers”

“Oh …. are meat-cats a breed of chicken?”

“No …. they’re meat-cats …. cats for eating … real good eating”

“Oh … Oh .. But I think that’s illegal … even here ….. Next caller please”

Boonville’s a great place. Maybe I’ve said that before, but it’s true. If Boonville was a wine and I was Oz Clarke off the telly, then I’d probably be getting hints of aging hippy and early morning redwood. I can see why the hippies flocked her in the 60’s and 70’s and I can also fully understand why they stayed on in the hills long after the music had stopped playing. Nowadays they’re more concerned with food miles and ecology than they are about free love and LSD, but it just goes to show that old hippies never die, they change causes and chemicals. Boonville is like a comfort blanket made by your favourite Grandmother and you only notice it’s qualities when it’s gone. The good news is that leaving Boonville going East means riding ’California 253’. In my case, I actually got to ride it four times but only because my aging brother forgot to pick up the papers for the Kawasaki and I had to return for them. It’s a mighty fine road to ride on any bike, but the bad news is that the road terminates in the city of Ukiah. I get the feeling that ’California 253’ isn’t the only thing that terminates in Ukiah, it’s just that sort of place. I wouldn’t say that the staff at Ukiah DMV (department of motor vehicles) were rude or unfriendly, because that would actually be a compliment. Enough of the dissing, because after two pointless visits and one successful one, the Kawasaki KLR 650 is now road legal and sporting a natty little Californian license plate. In the UK the police fine bikers for having small license plates but here in California they actually issue them …. mai pen rai

No more dodging the local sheriff and his able deputy, I’m legal and free. A full tank of petrol, tent on the back, a cool bag full of cold beer and I’m off. At the end of Ornbaun Road, current home of my brother and his family, yours for $500,000, turn right directly onto Mount View Road. It’s a beautiful thing. Climbing all of the time on beautiful tarmac, the road seems to snake and coil forever. The redwoods cast flickering shadows across the surface and it really feels like the giant trees are actually moving. For a glorious twenty-five miles an unbroken parallel line of yellow spaghetti tells you exactly where each and every bend is taking you. Never are both cheeks in the saddle at the same time, right, left and right again. It’s a never ending smile of a road that reminds me just why I ride a bike.

Just as I begin hoping that this road will never end, I crest a rise and get a birds eye view of the Pacific Open. Like a tweeker running for his next fix of crystal meth, I turn right onto ’California 1’. How can any road or any coastline be so amazingly beautiful? If there is a God then I’ll probably forgive him or her for most of the crap that’s happening around the world because this is simply amazing. I’ve been here before, several times, but you can never get bored on a road like this ….. engage first gear and disengage reason.

The Pacific Ocean changes colour as dramatically as the temperature drops and rises between fog and sunshine. The morning sunshine persuaded me to leave my riding jacket at home but here along the coast I’m wishing that I’d brought it with me. It’s bloody freezing but who cares, I’m Hunter S Thompson heading down to Big Sur and nothing can take away my smile.

What’s the point in trying to write words to describe how this road feels? It’s an impossible task, so just look at the pictures and turn green with envy ….

As night begins to fall, I turn back onto ‘California 128’ and the Redwood Highway. I love the giant redwoods and the snake of brand new tarmac that runs between them. It’s cold and I really wish that I’d brought my riding jacket with me. Not because of the cold, but foolishly because it has my wallet in it. I’ve got no money to camp for the night …… so I guess I’ll just have to keep on riding … mai pen rai

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