South Lake Tahoe

Camping near Yachats

Hi there, I’m in South Lake Tahoe. So from Beaverton, Oregon, I set off south toward the 101 highway following the coastline.  Making it to Yachats the first night, camping down a little trail, swamped with McDonald’s litter, after tidying up a little it was a very pleasant site, miles from anywhere no sound of anything except the trees creaking in the forest.

Following that, I carried on down the 101 along the coast, and for August I was bitterly cold, I spent most of the day with all my layers done up tightly and never got warm.  I stopped on occasion to take a photo or two of the sights but frankly the cold really was affecting me.  I had tried in earnest to see Thor’s Well (a famous rock formation on the coast), alas I seemed to see one minute ahead on the GPS and the next moment I had already passed it, with no chance to pull over.  The cold as I said, really had the better of me and I couldn’t be bothered in making more of an effort.  I give myself a hard time about not trying hard enough to see things I went all this way to go and see, just because the cold or the rain/snow got the better of me.  However, I’m learning to forgive myself for it.

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That evening, miserable (as before) I struggled desperately to find somewhere to camp, it seemed like all small trails leading off the 101 were residential. I spent 2 hours hunting for somewhere to go, wasting precious daylight and fuel on going down private roads.  One instance, I drove 4 miles up a lane hunting desperately realizing it was just a case of mansion upon mansion… upon turning around and heading back down I found myself locked into the complex (the gate had been opened on the way in). I managed just about to squeeze the bike out through a deer trail in the bush. Phew!

By this point the concern was amounting to something quite serious, just by chance I found a little pull off from the road, over grown and disused I pulled up and round a little way and then climbed up the slope to camp in the deep Redwood forest.  It was amazingly beautiful but only managed with moments to spare as the light soon vanished.   I prepared some instant rice with quinoa with a tin of tuna, it went down a treat.
Later that night, as I lay there dozing off, the forest was flooded with sirens for a couple of minutes, my heart almost failed me. The sirens were that of air raid. Then police cars blatted past down the nearby road with full sirens blasting out. I began to wonder where I was. Was this a military training ground? Was the end of the world happening? Did I raise this alarm? Was I being looked for? I grabbed my phone and started searching my GPS map. Sure enough, a mile or so away was a prison. By this point I could hear dogs barking. My mind started racing: what if the police find me and think I’m the get away plan? Worse, what if the prisoners find me and need a get away vehicle? I sighed, realized I was being silly, took the keys out of the bike and went back to sleep.

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The following morning, I got on the road in good time, good sleep, feeling great, although still cold. Had a nice breakfast and continued on toward Mr. Shasta, the valleys I rode through were filled with smoke and the temperature didn’t do much to get warmer. A few hours later, the road wound up a high pass above the smoke and suddenly the air was clear and the sun was shining. Before long I was a bit too warm, I took off a few layers and continued. Then by the time I reached Yreka, I was melting, 40 degrees, air still, sun blazing.

I found myself a quiet spot to camp just out of My. Shasta, sadly no fresh water supply. I spent the day consolidating all my footage from my multiple cameras into my multiple hard drives, and general house keeping. I took a swim in the reservoir that evening in order to freshen up a little.

Often one rest day never feels enough but two generally fills you with guilt of not doing anything.

Kathleen after helping me pick up Ursuula

The following day I headed back west again through the Klamath National Forest where I was blown away with the narrow empty road, the piercing blue/turquoise salmon river and general desolation. It was a postcard round every corner. Which would explain why on one of the many awe-inspiring stops I made to take a picture, I happened to misjudge the camber. Ursula, fell wheels upward handlebars on the loose gravel. While I struggled a while, feet slipping, and sweating like a pig, various cars rushed on by; thankfully, Kathleen who worked for the fire department (I imagine), called out if I was alright. Frankly, it looked like a crash site the way I had kicking up the gravel and being red in the face. I explained I had clumsily dropped the bike. She soon pounced out of her truck and started helping me lift Ursula back on her wheels. We then chatted for a fair while about the surrounding area, things to do and see, and where I’d be able to get phone service. It was difficult to end the conversation but things came to their natural end and we went our separate ways.

By Willow Creek, I decided to camp in a paid campsite, I was tired, hadn’t had a proper wash since Portland. It was magical. That evening Chris (Twigs) asked if he could join me the next day, I was delighted by the question and we made plans to meet up, I agreed and we made plans to meet the next day in Eureka.

The following morning, leaving at a relaxed time, I hit some heavy traffic from a head-on crash further up the road, I was a little worried about making late to the agreed time I had made with Chris, fortunately we managed to meet perfectly on time. From there, we carried on a cool ride which ended up in Blocksburg (just south of Bridgeville).


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The following day, Chris and I hit the coast along the Redwoods down the Usal Road, (17 miles of untouched unmade road) that lead us to the Sinkyone Wilderness Area, it was so much fun. However the $25 camping fee seemed outrageous for what you got for the fee.  We ended up camping out somewhere further down the Usal Road.

The following morning, Chris and I headed out to Fort Bragg to see Glass Beach (a beach made up entirely of sea-glass) from there we headed west inland toward Chris’s stomping ground and to a place to camp called Hippie’s Rock where Natasha (Chris’s wife met us).

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The next day Chris and I the next rode down to Clearlake, where we parted ways, we had I was very thankful for his company.  I left Chris midday and carried on to Sacramento hoping to get to Tahoe. The ride was hard, the weather hot and the traffic impossible, 2 hours to complete 21 miles across town really took the best out of me. I carried on desperately in vain to get to Tahoe but add light started fading I found myself stuck in wine country, no campsite nearby, no forests, no public land, and lots of “no trespassing” signs.
In a desperate panic I found through elimination a few trees between a field and a long driveway, I scoured the area, no-one around, sun already below the horizon, I used those last few minutes to hang my hammock in what could be described as the loudest, crunchiest, brush ever, anything that went near the ground was now layered up with “hitchhiker” those sticky sharp spore things, getting into the hammock was an ordeal of picking every item clean of these nasties.

The following morning, woken at 4:40 am, frozen to the core, headlights of farm traffic, unsettling me, I lay an hour before packing up, heading into a diner.
Wearily, I rode onto Horsetail Falls, feeling irritated and disinterested in riding. I parked in the parking lot deciding whether I wanted to hike. Bitter about the previous experiences of not doing it, I chose to do it. Three hours later I returned to the bike shattered. I was done for. I checked the map, I was 125 miles from Yosemite… I didn’t have it in me. I drove into South Lake Tahoe, found a hostel and booked myself in for 2 nights… I then bored myself in for a further night more to complete the last three blog posts.

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