Day 8: South Lake Tahoe, CA to Fortuna, CA

Once again we woke up at 5:30 this morning, and since our hotel’s breakfast didn’t start until 8 (Really?! What hotel doesn’t offer breakfast until 8am?!) we both had a Clif Energy bar while we got ready to go, and we hit the road about 6:30, and it was 51 degrees.

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Since we hadn’t had a chance to stop and take pictures of the lake when we rolled into town last night, we found an overlook on the East side of the lake and took some pictures, then we rode around the lake to the North side where we took CA-267 to the North. Eventually 267 turned into CA-89, which we took all the way up until it merged with CA-36, and then we took CA-36 all the way across the state to Fortuna.

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The ride was absolutely beautiful with fun, curvy roads and wonderfully cool temperatures all the way up until we started coming down from the mountains toward Red Bluff on 36. From there, the road straightened out and the scenery became less attractive, and the heat continued to rise until it finally hit 92 degrees in Red Bluff. We stopped at a motorcycle dealership to pick up some more chain lube, and then we fueled up the bikes and grabbed a quick lunch at the local Burger King before heading back onto 36 to Fortuna.

As you’re leaving Red Bluff, 36 turns off to the left, and right after you turn there is a sign that says, “Curves next 140 miles”. I wish there hadn’t been a vehicle behind us so that we could have stopped and took a picture with the sign, but we couldn’t stop and we didn’t want to circle back around, so we didn’t get a picture with it.

About 15 miles down the road it became very curvy, which would have been incredibly fun, except there was loose gravel in a lot of the curves due to trucks cutting the corners too sharp and throwing rock from the shoulder out into the road. We still enjoyed the ride, but not as much as we would have if we hadn’t have had to worry about sliding on the rocks.

We were in a hurry to get back up into the mountains to get some relief from the heat, but it took quite a while for the road to finally wind it’s way high enough to get to the cooler temperatures, and when they did it was short lived, as it then wound it’s way back down into the hotter temperatures once again.

About 40 miles from Fortuna, the road narrowed a bit and the curves got much tighter, and we both remarked that it felt like we were on the “Tail of the Dragon” in Tennessee, except it is much prettier here. It continued like this for a while, and then the road straightened back out slightly with less tight curves. About 20 miles from Fortuna we entered into part of one of the Redwood state parks and the road was lined with beautiful giant Redwood trees. Some of them were literally up against the pavement on the road, and a couple of them had been cut into to make room for the road. It made us both extremely excited for our ride tomorrow which will take us through the Avenue of the Giants and the Redwoods National Park.

By the time we rolled into Fortuna, the temperature had dropped 21 degrees and was a perfect 71 degrees. There was also a pleasant breeze, and Dwayne said that he could definitely live somewhere where the temperature was like this year-round. We checked into our hotel and got cleaned up and walked next door to the Eel River Brewing restaurant for dinner. The food was delicious, the portions were very generous, and the service was good, so we left happy and very full.

Tomorrow promises to be another fantastic day, and I can’t wait! Mileage for today was only 364 miles, but it took 7 hours and 41 minutes, as it took 3 hours just to make the 140 miles from Red Bluff to Fortuna with all of the sharp curves and the fact that we had to go slow due to the rocks in the curves.

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