(2009) Calistoga

Calistoga

Since my BMW is my primary long distance touring motorcycle, I found it only fitting that it should have the most comfortable seat. With a generous donation from my STN friends (WCRM VI) to get me started, I made an appointment for Saturday the 1st with Rick Mayer in Redding to have a custom seat fit on to the GS. Dan offered to ride up with me and then we’d take the rest of the weekend to get home.

August 1-2, 2009
Total Miles: 539
Redding and back
Map Link

We left early Saturday morning and droned up I-5 to Redding. It was near 100 degrees by the time we reached his place for my 11am appointment. He had some people in his shop already and there was a bit of waiting around. For being in the middle of nowhere, it sure was a hub of activitiy, with riders stopping by on various motorcycle makes and models. Rick wouldn’t let me get a photo of him working, so you’ll just have to imagine that he did it himself. I don’t know if he’ll be upset that I put the photo of his shop up on my website, but here it is anyway. The seat looks and feels great and we were able to be on the road by 1:30.

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You’ll see most anything on the highways

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Scenery along the way

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The shop of Rick Mayer Custom Seats

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This should give me hours of comfort (I’m hoping for “days”)

We had considered our options for how to get to St Helena (our proposed destination) and decided that it would be more interesting to get to the town early and explore it on foot, thereby getting us out of our hot gear. We droned back down I-5 to Williams and then hopped on Hwy 20 west to Clearlake. This road was pleasant and much more interesting than the rest of our riding that day. From Hwy 20 we dropped south on Hwy 29, past Clearlake and into Calistoga. This is where we changed plans. We realized that it was a beautiful summer weekend in wine country and the closer we got to Napa and Sonoma, the harder it would be to find a place.

We stopped at the first place we saw but they were full. Dan called around to half a dozen places before finding one with a room, but they were a couple of miles out side of town. That would put a serious crimp in our plans to walk around town. Through sheer luck and perseverance, we found a very nice hotel right around the corner from the main street through town. The Christopher’s Inn was a beautifully appointed and as an unexpected bonus, the woman at the reception desk felt sorry for us and upgraded our room to the jacuzzi suite. Ahhh – perfection. A fabulous meal at the Flat Iron Grill left us very satisfied with our choices for the evening.

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On the way to Calistoga

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Dan leads us down 29 near Clearlake

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Coming into Calistoga

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Christopher Hotel

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Our room

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I enjoyed the high ceilings

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Breakfast at our door

After breakfast, which was conveniently left at our door with a friendly knock we packed up our gear and headed for a nearby petrified forest. I had never seen one before and while Dan had, he said that he had never seen on with trees as big as these. It was all very interesting but I realized that I am not a paleontologist at heart.

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Heading out in the morning

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The Petrified Forest

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The story…

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Walking through the park

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Along the trail

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Dan shows me just how big this log is!

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The Queen

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Excavated land around the tree

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Close-up of the petrified wood

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Sculpture at the Petrified Forest display

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Bearly hanging on

We left the petrified forest behind and now made our way to Glen Elen, home of the Jack London Historic State Park. I had never heard of the place but when Dan recently found out that it was so close, he suggested that we go check it out. I’m glad that we went early, as it was to be another hot day. We explored the House of Happy Walls and then took the trail to Jack London’s grave site and to the remains of the Wolf House that he had built. Another trail led us to the Cottage where he and his wife lived for many years and a local ranger gave us a quick tour through the kitchen area of the cottage. We talked about the history of the site, the future of the California State Parks, and nearby parks that we should explore the next time we’re in the area. We thanked him for his time, walked back to our bikes and with nothing else notable, headed home.

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View of Sonoma valley from Jack London State Park

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Trail to House of Happy Walls

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The House of Happy Walls

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Jack London State Park

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I like his view of life

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Trail to Wolf House

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The remains of Wolf House

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Three stories of fireplaces

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The Cottage with the stables in the background

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Dan and I coming home across the Golden Gate Bridge

Tell me what you think! I want to know!