I don’t have far to go so I am pretty slack in leaving Willets. I get on Route 101 and just about stop off at every small town that there is an exit ramp to (thinking that I have time to kill).
I get to Ukiah and pull in at the County Sheriffs Office. Now most of the sheriffs offices are right beside their county gaol. When I pull up I see that this is quite a large one. I go inside the front foyer and there is a hostile woman at the bullet proof glass abusing the receptionist. Apparently she has been waiting for an hour to see the sheriff and has had enough. She gets told in no uncertain terms to pull her head in and go back and sit down (which she does). I go up to the counter and tell the lady who I am and is it possible to get a patch as I am trying to get one for each county I go thru. Give me 5 minutes she says and exits one of the side doors on her side of the glass. Now at this stage there is about 6 people waiting in the foyer who all want to see the sheriff. I note that the Sheriff also acts as the Coroner.
Next thing the Sheriff himself comes out and greets me like a long lost friend. He gives me a patch and a great little tie pin. He slaps me on the back and wishes me all the best and goes back to where he came from. I turn around and there is 6 people who are mentally trying to kill me. I shrug my shoulders and tell them (as I leave), the sheriff has a soft spot for New Zealanders. ha.
I get to Hopland and see a turnoff to Lakeport which is only 36klms away. I check my GPS re attractions and see that its home to “Clear Lake” which is the largest freshwater lake in the State covering some 180sq klms. I decide that its worth seeing and off I go. It was an unbelievable 36klms as I had to go over a mountain range and the road was just all bends. Along the way I came across these sitting in the front yard of someones block of land;
I take a few photos of the surrounds;
I get to Lakeport and its a fantastic little town with everything you could want. I stop and have an early lunch;
Unfortunately I realise that I have to go back the way I came. All up I did about an extra 80klms and well worth it but it took me a lot of time. I doubt if many overseas tourists go out to the lake but seriously you could spend a couple of weeks there. I get back on Route 101 and set off – I was hoping to get past at least San Francisco before I pulled stumps.
So I keep dawdling along checking out the towns thinking that just following the 101 would take me right by San Francisco – WRONG. Somehow I end up going via San Rafael which then takes me down to where the ferry service is and there are hundreds of commuters getting off heading home from work – this equals traffic jam. I am moving only inches and getting nowhere. I put up with this for about 30 mins before I had enough and pulled out and rode on the outside verge around the lot. I am sure if I hadn’t done it I would still be there as I rode like that for nearly a half hr.
Well the good part is that the adventure took me right past San Quentin prison. I couldn’t stop to take a photo given I was riding illegally but I couldn’t believe the size of the complex. Its holds over 3,000 inmates.
I get past everyone and finally on to the John F McCarthy bridge that goes over the bay between San Rafael and Richmond. Now the bridge is just under 9 klms long, has 4 lanes on each of the 2 levels and carries over 80,000 cars a day. I hit the bridge and its like everyone goes flat out over it. On the other side I go thru a series of crazy figure 8 type exits/turns to get thru Oakland. At times the traffic crawled and others it was again flat out. I think it took me at least 2 hrs to get out the other side of Oakland from San Rafael.
Time is marching on by this stage (so much for having all the time in the world) however I don’t get an opportunity to get off the freeway to work out what I am doing. I eventually go far enough and get off at Fremont where I stop at a Denny’s Cafe because I knew they have wi-fi. My intention was to phone the airbnb that I booked for the Superbikes and see if I could come a night early (given I was now under 100klms away) but found my phone was flat. I sent the guy an email but did not get a response (in time) so I searched the net and found a hotel room at San Jose. Now the good news was that it was a $290 room but the bad news is that I still paid $114 (out of desperation).
I have a coffee (the food is really unhealthy at Denny’s) and jump back on Fred. I take off thinking its only 30klms before I get to a room. WRONG. My helmet/gps intercom is now flat and I am reliant on reading the GPS as I am going. I take too early of turn which then goes straight into another 2 wrong turns trying to get back. Half hour later I am back where I started!
I finally pull up at the Motel at 9:00pm and its over the top for what I have been doing. I have 2 x queen beds, big plasma tv, and all of the other comforts. I put on my white bathrobe and think I am Elvis.
Next up is a short trip (dare I say that) to my airbnb where I will be staying for the Superbikes. Its on a property just North of Salinas and the track is about 30 mins away. Hopefully it will be a good few days and I am looking forward to being in one spot.