We left the coast and rode several winding dirt roads in the trees. Usal road seems to have a reputation as being a big challenge, however I thought it was a pretty ordinary dirt road. There is a lot of red clay which would be slick if it was really wet, but the dampness was pretty minimal that day. A few riders went down in the mud puddles, but there were no major issues. Here we see a KTM getting even more orange with mud!

One of many nice views from Usal road.

The view below is nearing the end of Usal road, approaching Highay 1. This was followed by a VERY nice, twisty section of highway running up the mountains and inland to Leggett. I recalled this amazing piece of road from the last time I was here on a street bike and I just had to wick it up a bit. When we got to 1 I was near the back of the group because of stopping to take pictures. The "Rossi" in me had me scrubbing the knobbies to death on the pavement and I passed all of our group in the twisties. I actually don't mind the squirmy feel of knobbies on asphalt. They give lots of warning that you're going too fast! I just wish they didn't wear out so quick.

Somewhere on the way our group got seperated and 3 of us missed a turn. We knew the hotel in Garberville was the next destination for the night, so we just went there. Later we found out that the other guys went on a wild goose chase of exploration and dead ends, so we didn't miss much.
The Water Wheel restaurant provided us with a good dinner and an opportunity for tall tales about the day's ride. However I should mention for the record that Joe was quite unhappy with the mushrooms that came with his steak!

Day 3: We hit the road heading East out of Garberville. Then North on a dirt road and eventually ended up at Ft. Seward...I think I got the name right.

At this point I split up with the group and headed North towards Highway 36. The rest went back to Rio Dell via some other scenic route. Their trucks were there, so they had to go. I rode about an hour on Alderpoint road which was very scenic! It was mostly old pavement and occassional dirt sections where washouts had been repaired. Here's a shot of it (and my super badass KTM640!).

I ended up at Bridgeville on good, old Highway 36. I enjoyed this trip on 36 much more than the one from a couple days earlier. I was not in a rush to get somewhere before the sun went down and the weather was perfect. Here's the "Burger Barn" where I stopped for lunch. It was way better than McDonald's.

From here it was back to the truck in Red Bluff and then home. I think I did around 170 miles each day for 3 days in a row plus 4 hrs in the truck. This isn't a huge amount by street bike standards, but with the dirt and wearing the off road gear, it seemed like a lot. I will NOT be wearing all the off road gear on future multi-day rides. The helmet is a pain in the wind (literally) compared to a street helmet and the knee braces were killing me. This is the first time I've worn the braces for 3 long days in a row. At the morning of day 3 I had blisters and sore spots on my legs. I had to tape up to be able to put the braces back on. It's back to old fashioned knee pads for long rides like this in the future.

Despite these issues I enjoyed the trip and the KTM did it's job well. The scenery was great, the riding fun, the weather fantastic and the company friendly! What more do you need?

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