No parks. No monuments. Just out for a ride exploring some of the northern California backcountry. Diane did some research this morning and came up with route 96 or the Klamath River Highway. We headed north on IH 5 for maybe 40 miles before taking the 150 mile road to Willow Creek.
The road follows the Klamath river, seemingly along every single turn. At first the hills to the left and right are somewhat barren but as soon as we enter the Klamath National Forest – pines trees everywhere :-).
After an initial road construction stop the traffic thins out and we are pretty much riding by ourselves on the ‘State of Jefferson‘ scenic byway. We never run into traffic – i.e. other cars :-D. There’s the occasional car going the other way but that’s pretty much it! Not only was there no traffic but the road weaved along the river at first before going a bit higher, hugging the mountains.
It’s hard to describe but at times it felt like someone just rode a grader over the dirt and put down some asphalt – ups and downs left and right. Back to back turns with hardly a stretch of straight road. It was a blast to ride except for the last 10 miles to Willow Creek when the road surface deteriorated and the road got really narrow and curvy.
Although we were tired and probably would have stayed in Willow Creek, we decided to ride on towards Arcata after I had the clerk at the local Bigfoot hotel show me one of the rooms. Holy crap, it was a room under the roof with slanted ceilings, just tiny and dingy, all for $78. Pass. After a quick snack of an apple and nuts we got a second wind making the fairly short 36 mile ride to Arcata (on much improved roads) go quickly.