Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Knuckleheads Find the Lost Coast

The Redwood Run's Over,
You Don't Have to Go Home,
But You Can't Stay Here

Funny thing about a motorcycle rally like the Redwood Run, on Friday night the bikes come rumbling in, the tents spring up all around and soon it's like a biker city in the redwoods.
Saturday they ride and play biker games, drink, and party and stay up all night. But, come Sunday morning they're up with the sun, packed and ready to hit the road. They've got miles to ride and need to get some road behind them before breakfast. As for the laggers, the campground shuts off the water at 11:00 a.m. as a subtle hint that it's time to go.
That first year that we went to the Redwood Run, in 1985, when the run was over we weren't ready to go home. So when everybody else headed home, we got on the Knucklehead and headed for the coast.

Shelter Cove

A group of people at the top of the grade at Shelter CoveI used to live near there in a town called Whitethorn, a long time ago, and I knew about a place called Shelter Cove. 

When I used to know it, it was sort of a town that never was. There was an airstrip there and roads with street signs. It was all flagged into lots, but there were no houses. People used to go out there to hunt deer; it was spooky in a way. 

People said there was a plane crash and all the developers were killed. I don't know if that's what happened, but for some reason development was started and then stalled for over a decade.
The area is known as the Lost Coast because the main highways have bypassed it and the road that leads to it dead-ends there. Therefore, you have to leave the same way you came.

We headed up 101 to Garberville and took Briceland Road. Crossed the Eel River and went through a grove of giant redwoods and through Briceland. We continued out the narrow, winding road. It's only 23 miles, but it seems a lot longer. The final descent is quite steep.
Once we got to the bottom of the grade, I could see that some development had taken place in the 12 or so years since I had been there. There were a few houses and in a large grassy area we saw two elk. We stopped and took a few pictures; they appeared to be fairly tame. Then we continued on up to a grassy knoll overlooking the ocean.


There was a group of locals there. They were cooking burgers and had a keg of beer. They welcomed us in as if they had just been waiting for us to arrive, gave us food and drink and everyone wanted their picture taken with us.
I guess it had been a long winter and they were glad to see some new people. We pitched our tents there on the grass.
Going to Shelter Cove after the Redwood Run became our yearly pattern. The second year we went and camped on the black sands beach on the other end of town. It was an extremely windy day. When our friends tried to set up their dome tent, it got away from them and tumbled away down the beach.

Who Says Vintage Harleys are not Dirt Bikes?

The next morning, my husband and our friend George both decided to ride their knuckleheads down the beach. The bikes were sinking in the sand, but with a couple of people pushing, they got going and were able to ride all the way down the beach out of sight.

Bryan and George were gone for a long time, finally it was almost dark and they came back all wet and laboriously pushing their bikes through the sand. They said once they got to the bluffs at the other end of the beach they had to stop, and then they couldn't get the bikes going again. The tide came in and slapped them off their bikes. It almost carried them and their bikes out to sea.
Man on Shovelhead motorcycle riding through water
Men and motorcycles on black sands beach
We came back to that same beach the next year, after a heavy winter, and it was gone, completely washed away. The road we had ridden in on just ended into the ocean. At least I have a few photos to show it existed.
Shelter Cove developed quite a bit over the next decade. In later years, more and more other bikes started showing up there during and after the Redwood Run, so we became just part of the crowd. There were a couple of restaurants, a bar and a marina, and quite a few more people lived there. I have not been there in over 10 years. I think the Lost Coast has been discovered now. It's no longer our little secret.

Knucklehead motorcycle stuck in sand

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