Baxter Cycle

311 4th St., Box 85
Marne, Iowa 51552
PHONE: (712)781-2351
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Highway 1 in California

I want to Thank Mike Hemmer for this contribution to our new “Dream Rides” section of our website.

Highway 1 offers so much. It goes from overloaded with hazard and risk to being down right boring. And after the first couple hours of riding I was happy to welcome the boring… The first jump this morn was pretty intense… I was on the road basically alone and still only averaged about 30mph over my first 80-some miles.

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It does not look like much but the 80-some miles took me 2.5 hours and had me breathing hard and stilling my beating heart. It is a terrific, demanding, hard, frightening, beautiful, and fun-filled ride… I found this online…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrRokto2U1c

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It is 80 miles of switchbacks, steep up n down hill runs, and dangerous traffic.

The roads are pretty good, indeed, very good. Lots of traffic entering from the sides and the roads, even the straightaways are hillock prone so you seldom, rarely see what is coming up on you. My eyes are looking as far ahead as I can see. Which is not very far in some places…

A nice, snakey down hill run into a 15mph right hand turn. Down fast, drop 2 gear, pop the clutch and rev the engine and lean in one fluid motion. Speed has been spilt off and I am into the tight-right where I accelerate, up hill, over a hillock which almost raises my front wheel as I accelerate into a 30mph left hander. I am probably hitting 50mph, uphill, and just picking my line and leaning into the leftie… All I see ahead of me is blue sky and a bank of clouds, down on the water, about 800 feet below. I’ll use what camber there is and lean the bike into right tire track of the road… and I see it. The massive chrome bumper and the huge chrome grill. All attached to a fire-engine red PeterBuilt, pulling a 40 foot long load of logs… down hill, with steaming brakes, halfway into my lane, as he turns his nose downhill… yep, a shot of adrenaline is useful… I snatched the front brake giving it two quick pulls, dropped down a gear, popped the clutch then hit another lower gear, as I stood the bike up, out of the curve and bled speed as I almost went onto the very small shoulder which is attached to the 800 foot sharp decent…

I rode out of that at probably 25mph. it was not a drastic encounter, but it could have been. I saw the truck first. Then I saw the bus sized mobile home and the 12 cars behind the truck. All itching at the brakes and frustrated by the truck.

There is so much to mention… the high, winding switchbacks, visible into the distance, above the fog and clouds hundreds of feet below, on the water. The small and interesting looking towns… Manchester, Guhulala, Sea Ranch… so many sights, so many smells, so many fleeting visuals.

And its the fleeting visuals thats gonna get you in trouble… the vehicles coming in from the side are the worse… You see them, they act like they’ll stop then “DAD” gooses his minivan in an effort to hit 60mph within the 2.3 seconds he has before you get to the intersection. Its only after you brake hard, stare Dad in the eye, so that he hangs his head in shame for being so impatient… The log trucks are so, so dangerous… because they are so, so big… And the local buses… these guys know the roads and drive “too fast”. Follow them closely at your peril. Anything with lights, any official vehicles should be well watched. I was cranking on 101 yesterday, doing 75mph in a 65; I was passed by a big-arsed cop, on a big white hog, passing me at speed. They think they own the road. There is lots to watch out for… old men in fancy cars… and even worse… old women in fancy cars… I love the huge mobile-homes with the car and the boat hitched behind… going down hill you can feel the heat from their breaks. I’ll write this all up later as it is an important part of my riding, but…

HWY 1…wow… what a ride! After Bodega Bay is mellows out but from Leggett to Bodega Bay… gotta be one of the top rid’n/ driv’n roads on the planet. I shall come back, again and again.

From Jenner I shot to Petaluma, across the golden Gate Bridge, through SanFran and down to Monterey.

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The HWY1 here is a bit different. Different scenery, flora and fauna. More agriculture. more traffic, more bugs and bad drivers.

So sitting in a fancy place in Monterey. Have been emailing with Andy and his gang and they are going to join me for supper tonight. Hope they get here soon. I am going to be poor company after this next beer. I am fading quickly. But I shall survive… not much to do in the morn, no… Only another 7 hours in the saddle…

Tomorrow…

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