Day Twelve- Big Sur to Fort Bragg, CA

September 9th
Miles 4015-4351

Today, I got myself another first, but this one not as exciting as the iron butt. My Dyna Wide Glide and I, unfortunately, went off the road.

The PCH continued to amaze as it went back out to the coast not long after Big Sur. One really great part was the drive through San Francisco. The PCH also actually goes straight across the Golden Gate Bridge, which was gorgeous especially peaking through the fog that was still hanging around the bay.

Now that we were farther north, the area was much more remote and the cliffs even more inspiring. It looked like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean with huge rock formations jutting out of the water off the coast.

It was on one of the sweeping curves that I went off the road. I had just taken a quick break at a little town at am inlet. I got going again and then at a near 180 turn, where the road was coming into a sort of cut into the cliffs and then turning back out to the ocean again, is where it happened. I’m not 100% on how but I must have come into it a little too fast and then rather than looking where I needed to go, slowing down a little and then proceeding to accelerate out of the turn and back up the cliff like I should have done, I went straight into a ditch on the other side of the curve.

There was someone not too far behind me who I saw, frantically slow down, reverse, and start to get out of her car. At this point I started to get myself out from under my bike. Because I felt more embarrassed than anything else and didn’t feel hurt in any way I hurriedly gestured that I was ok and there wasn’t a problem. I knew at this point that I could lift the bike on my own, so after she saw that I was ok, the woman drove on.

Next was to pick up my bike. I managed to pick her up without too much trouble but then realized that what hadn’t really thought about was lifting it out of the ditch. Luckily just after I realized this a guy who was covered in tattoos pulled over in his black, what looked like a Mercedes with tinted windows and came out to help.

I then tried to put the bike in neutral, but it didn’t look like the gear box was quite working because they wouldn’t click into place. So I held in the clutch as the guy and I tried every way we could to get the bike out. We realized that the front wheel was pretty well dug in, so we both lifted the front and managed to get it out. I then thanked the guy profusely as he quickly left in his what looked like a mafia car.

With the bike out it was time to survey the damage. The top of the windshield had popped off, part of my helmet visor had popped off, my camera mount had come off, and the footpegs had turned up on their hinges but other than that everything seemed ok. With the bike righted, the gears shifted, I put it in neutral and started her up without any problems. This was all a relief because I was in the middle of nowhere and getting a tow truck out there would have been a nightmare and there wasn’t even cell service.

So, it seemed, that after my very first accident, luckily both my bike and I made it out with literally little more than a scratch. I had caught a scratch on my elbow and my shin but otherwise seemed ok.

A big thing with something like that is that it really shakes you up, and so I took my time getting ready, to make sure that I was ok, before getting back on and making my way north again. I took the turns much slower and took a few more frequent breaks to help relax.

At one of these breaks I guy in his camper pulled over and called to me if I had seen the biker that had fallen not too far back and if he was ok. I told him that was me and I luckily made it out ok. He couldn’t recognize me because I had taken off my rain pants, but he said he felt really bad because he couldn’t really stop in time on that turn but had seen someone helping me. After that we talked a little more about what happened and about our respective trips. He was from Arizona, and actually did this drive up the coast yearly, but this was the first time in a camper (not as fun but much more convenient). So he said he was glad I was ok, wished me luck, and then we each drove on.

Once it was getting late and I had to start thinking about where to sleep, all I could think was how I wanted a nice bath and to spoil myself for one night with a hotel room. But when I got to where I decided I should stop, Fort Bragg, the price was just a bit too high to justify, $80+, so I begrudgingly made my way to the state park to camp.

This campground had neither a rustic bar nor an outlet at the campsite, so I couldn’t really justify another $35 for flat ground. I decided to just skip the registration since there was no one on duty and I’d be leaving early and found a site that was out of the way. To make it up though I made sure to pick up trash that was left by previous groups. I figured since I wasn’t paying for upkeep, I might as well do it myself. Besides, I think it’s good policy to take at least one piece of trash every time I camp anyway. “Take only pictures, leave only footprints!”

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