when a girl needs to get away

i’ve been all over norcal with the boys this summer but it’s been a while since i went on a solo trip. a friend invited me to visit his friends place in trinity county. i said yes. trinity is heaven on earth for a rider. two epic roads led me to my destination: highway 36 and highway squee… er, three. i’d ridden both only once before, under cover of darkness, while on the cal24. i remember it being really stressful. because, you know. dark, unfamiliar. deer. oh yeah, and forest fire. weeee!


the days are shorter now that it’s october. as much as the cal24 had been fun i didn’t care for a ride in the dark repeat. this trip was a quick overnighter, 400 miles each way if i rode the good route.   i needed to arrive before all the deer decided it was dinner time.  we know i don’t do slab more than needed. so without consulting a map i decided to shoot to cloverdale, take 128 towards fort bragg, hit my usual jog to comptche then north into fort bragg  and on to leggett. going through the twisties close to leggett i didn’t encounter a single car in front of me for 30+ miles. it was so, so sweet and i was making good time.


it was a little windy by fort bragg

in garberville i fueled up and rode up alderpoint to 36 at bridgeville. i could feel the limits of my suspension on that road which is quite goaty and has poor surface conditions to boot. so i took it easy. in retrospect this was good because there were some surprise gravel spots where road maintenance was taking place.


my other wee broke down in this spot earlier this year. ever since then i stop and take a photo of my bike each time i pass. 

i stopped in mad river and encountered a dozen ++ dirty french hippies at the burger joint. horrified, i decided to buy meat sticks and gtfo out of town rather than wait around for a burger. plus, it was 4 pm and i was told it would take about 2.5 hours to get to weaverville (it did not). setting off seemed like the smart thing to do.


now, normally every time i leave mad river i take a left onto a mountain road right after town. this time i continued straight. highway 36 had been fun from bridgeville to mad river but this section was some special rhythmic magic. just like hnnnng, so good and so fun and so empty. it just flowed.

however, i don’t know if 36 is better than three, which also had this beautiful rhythm to it that had me swooping and turning so happily. i was tired at this point and ready for dinner but i got a second wind flip flopping the bike from side to side. by the time i got to weaverville i was so satisfied and a little dazed. this happens. i found my friend’s friends house and was warmly greeted by the welcoming committee of dogs. i’d covered 400 miles of twisties in 9.5 hours including my breaks. i’d arrived before dark and was stoked.


that night, much good food was eaten, laughs were shared, good times were had. then a bed was made for me and i proceeded to pass out. that ride had made me tired. i wasn’t the only sleepy one, though. one of the dogs decided he was sleeping with me. i got puppy cuddles all night.


in the morning i got off to a late start after being thoroughly caffeinated by my hosts. i got to ride back down three to 36. i feel as though i covered my feelings above but i will repeat that three is a heart swooping super fun road.


the bike on highway three at hayfork summit. 

i stopped in mad river for breakfast (cheeseburger). a miracle occurred: i was in, fed and putting my helmet on within half an hour despite the ladies behind the counter being quite busy. fed and happy i rolled back out and decided to skip alderpoint. my suspension + these tires had just felt dodgy and i wanted to explore 36 some more. i now understand what all the fuss is about. it was worth some slab from fortuna to garberville (sweepers!).

i came back pretty much the way i had come. i arrived in cloverdale before sunset. score one for cheeseburger! i’d had a great ride, thunk a lot of thoughts and decompressed over the ride. coming back down 128 i realized my chest felt relaxed and i felt happy for the first time in a while. it had been too long since my last weekend trip. i need that calm that comes with riding and i had found it all by myself. there was a special zen on this ride. i was totally in my own head and i liked it. i had missed the boys but sometimes a girl just needs to get away and sometimes a girl just needs to ride alone.

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