Day Thirteen: Fort Bragg, CA to Coss Bay, OR

September 9th
Miles 4351-4704

It is definitely starting to get a lot colder as I keep on moving north, especially as I’m getting more into the mountains. So I woke up right after the sun had risen, quickly packed up, threw out my collected garbage, and hit the road with no one the wiser (except probably the whole park given how loud my pipes are).

The nice thing about the cold though is the lingering fog that hangs around the mountains, cliffs, and beaches. So, even though I’m all wrapped up in leathers and layers, it adds a really nice touch to the scenery.

Speaking of which, today the road moved away from the coastline, and stayed that way for a while. The road leading into the mountains wound its way through for 22 miles, this time really reminding me of the Tail because of the forest we were in. Then, once out, Rt 1 joined up with 101, for good, and not too long after that, I jumped right off again onto Avenue of Giants to drive right through the Redwood Forests of northern California!

Now some things I forgot to mention from yesterday: first, my right shoulder had been starting to get really sore ever since starting the PCH. I thought after some rest it would get better, but it was leading me to take more and more frequent breaks. The fact that now my left shoulder was feeling sore this morning after my fall didn’t help either.

Second, and this is a little worse, I had begun to notice that the front fork of the bike seemed to be a little off center since going off the road. The bike seemed to generally ride ok, sometimes getting a little wobbly, but overall driving straight, so I just lent this to the wind as it had been sort of happening since driving by the coast. But today, especially, once I got on the 101, it started getting worse, gradually until it wasn’t possible to ignore anymore. The wobbling certainly didn’t help with my shoulders either since I’d have to put on extra work to stabilize. It would get really bad at high speeds especially when going downhill and when I wanted to slow down. It felt like I was fish tailing or something, just wiggling all over my lane. Then I started to notice an irregular vibration in my motor. This was all just too much, so I started to think of a contingency plan- it was looking like I wouldn’t be making it to Portland.

So I looked up the nearest dealership to have someone take a look, and luckily there was one right off 101 but it was 80 miles away (which I’d have to drive to on an increasingly worsening bike) and I probably wouldn’t make it until at least a half hour after they closed. So I gave them a call to see if someone would possibly be around to at least diagnose the problem, which unfortunately they wouldn’t, but the head of the service department told me he’d come in early to tell me what would need to be done for me to get back on the road.

With that I got back on ‘ol Eowyn and, almost quite literally, the two of us hobbled in to Coos Bay to find a motel, grab a 6 pack for the night, and hunker down ’til the morning.

However! Given all of that, the road today was gorgeous. The cliffs you ride along in Oregon are not quite as precipitous and intimidating, but more wooded and still gorgeous. Also, I was riding in and out of some pretty thick fog, which lent a mysterious air to the scenery, and the Radiohead I happened to be listening to made for a good soundtrack.

Keep an eye out for the update on the status of my bike. One way or another though, I’ve got to be in Portland by Friday to leave for the trail on Saturday morning!

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