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Old 04-20-2009, 07:13 AM   #1
VaderSS
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Highway 36 Ride Report

Well, through a major case of brain flatulence, I wound up missing Lee Park's Total Control ARC. I am now signed up for the two classes, back to back, which should make for a busy weekend...

I figured I could spend the rest of the weekend moping, or I could get off my a$$ and do something.

I decided to go check out Highway 36. This is the path I took;
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...97,9.84375&z=7

I could not get cheap lodging in Red Bluff, so I stayed in Chico. The first part of the trip was mainly in the dark, on boring highway anyway. Only thing to report there is to expect lots o' bugs. LOTS O' BUGS! Thankfully, I can pull my windshield off easily, so I put it in the shower to disolve the bugs when I got to the hotel room.

I awoke late the next morning, had the uneaten half of a Subway tuna sandwich from the night before, reinstalled my windshield and headed out.

Coming from the Red Bluff side, 36 sort of builds up. This is a good thing for me, as it allows me to warm up, but mile after mile was spent with me thinking, is this it? No, it was certainly not...

The road has everything from high-speed sweepers to tight turns that had me dragging the pegs at 20mph. It really has a lot of everything.

The road quality seemed pretty good to me. I never hit any spots that seemed slick or dirty. There were spots with plenty of rocks on the road, but thos areas were well marked. I saw no wildlife beyond squirells, but YMMV... I found the Cow signs interesting. It was mostly deserted, though I did see one motoLEO, and a few motorcycles. I did see two travel trailers being towed, in spite of all the warning signs at the head of the road.

I also took the Mad River Loop, and that was certainly worth the detour. I pulled over to let a motorclist pass me and watched him slowly walk away from me. I made no attempt to keep up as he was riding a bit faster than my natural pace. I got behind one other bike that I did slow down slightly for, but he was good and I watched him for a while. When we hit a less curvy section, I stuck at the speed limit, and he too walked away.

As with the ride up, there were plenty of bugs willing to sacrifice themselves to further dirty my bike and helmet.

I took 101 back down, taking a detour through the Avenue of Giants. The cooling shade was welcome, as it was hitting 90F in places. I had to stop and pull the foot air deflectors off as I was getting the hot foot. I was tempted to do the same with the leg air deflectors, but that is more involved. The Motoport / Cycleport mesh kevlar gear did well though, being no hotter than the clothes underneath. I did wish at that point that I had brought shorts to wear under the kevlar pants.

I stopped at the cool, Old 101 Cafe in Rio Dell, and had a tasty burger and a nice cup of cappucino. I had 4 people ask me if I wanted it hot or frozen, LOL. Hot, thank you...

From there, I only stopped one more time, to take some tylenol for my knees(need to start stretching more) and drink a bottle of water.

101's sweepers were nice, but I started thinking that the "fastest" way, according to Bonnie, my GPS voice, was probably not going to be at 7PM on sunday, so I took the backroads home, arriving at the familiar Monticello and Wooden Valley Roads in time to get behind a couple of cruiser.

I did not attempt to pass, but rather hung back to watch. They had brain-buckets and no jackets, so I was glad they were not pushing it. It is amazing the difference a few months and the Total Control book has made in my riding. The first time I took these roads, old ladies in SUVs were passing me, and now I was having trouble staying back from a couple of motorcycles.

I arrived home safe, with sore knees, but happy. I look forward to more trips north, but hopefully with more time to explore other twisty roads on the way there and back.

I managed to do the entire 36 to home stretch with only one gas refill, getting 223 miles on one tank, and, a record for me, 250 miles on the tank that I filled up 1/2 a mile from my house, so that I would not have to fill up this morning. Only had 4/10ths of a gallon left on that one though.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:20 AM   #2
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Hey, I was up there yesterday too, but I did that trip in reverse... spent the night in Ferndale, then rode 36 west to east (first time in that direction; I've ridden it twice the other way) then 5-505-80 back home. It seemed like most other riders were doing it west to east too. A whole bunch of 'em passed us at Mad River. The nice thing about going in that direction is that if you're the kind of rider who tends to get a late start, like me, then you don't have the sun in your eyes during the late afternoon. However, it also means that you hit all those fun whoopsie-doos around Red Bluff just when you're the most tired.

My experience is pretty much what you described, except that after lunch in Red Bluff we had to hop on 5 for a long, hot, boring, crowded ride home. Then we hit nasty traffic in Vacaville. That part was not fun, but the rest of the ride was fantastic.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:27 AM   #3
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Nice trip report. I rode 36 a few years back but heard that the eastern section of the road near Red Bluff was straightened recently. Glad to hear that most of 36 is still in its original (curvy) condition.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:35 AM   #4
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I don't know about the Red Bluff section, but in the book, Destination Highways, they talk about how one half of the Mad River loop was straightened. At least the other half was still seriously twisted.

The author had a cool way of putting it, "Don't straighten it, just repave it, stupid!" He went on to say, sure, the sightlines are better now, but that just means the pylons(cages) get up more speed before crashing...

Certainly still worth the trip. My next weekend trip will be to 88.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:47 AM   #5
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Good stuff Wayne..

Off ot 88... good for you.. officially jealous!

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Old 04-20-2009, 08:48 AM   #6
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AFAIK they have indeed straightened out some of the "worst" corner/dip sections between Platina and Red Bluff. The first time I rode 36, two years ago, I encountered some road construction about 15 miles east of RB that was doing exactly that.

These would be the sharp corners that come right after crests, where your sightline is nonexistent and you have to immediately turn in a direction you weren't expecting. Apparently too many people were running off the road.

BTW, I noticed quite a bit of "road graffiti" which seems to indicate that Caltrans is planning road work on 36 for later on this summer. But at the moment, there is ZERO construction along the route. Get there while you can.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by VaderSS View Post
I could not get cheap lodging in Red Bluff, so I stayed in Chico.

I stopped at the cool, Old 101 Cafe in Rio Dell, and had a tasty burger and a nice cup of cappucino.
There's a Motel 6 in Red Bluff - am sure it gets booked up pretty fast tho.
DJ's Burger Bar in Rio Dell is the local favorite.

We once stayed in Redding, and did 299 and 3 to Hayfork for breakfast then
onwards on eastbound 36 to the 32 jct where we blasted south to the Sierra
Nevada Brewing Company in Chico. They're closed on Mondays IIRC.

Have been on Hwy 36 dozens of times over the years. It just makes more
sense to go west where the climate is cooler than east where it can reach
the triple digits.

I personally prefer staying at one of the motels in Fortuna by the Eel River
Brewing Co.
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:27 AM   #8
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There's a Motel 6 in Red Bluff - am sure it gets booked up pretty fast tho.
DJ's Burger Bar in Rio Dell is the local favorite.
Motel6 was booked. I usually plan a head a bit better, but this was last second kind of deal...

DJ's was my first choice, but it was closed.

Thanks for the tips. I expect this will be a regular trip now...



Bummer on the construction. Like you said, get it while it good.


Budman, I plan on hitting all the great roads. Might take me a while, but I live here now!

Last edited by VaderSS; 04-20-2009 at 10:31 AM..
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:37 AM   #9
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Well, the construction is pure speculation on my part. It might not happen at all, but clearly there are a few sections of the road that could use some repaving...
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Old 04-21-2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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Thanks for the tips. I expect this will be a regular trip now...
Before we relocated to Boise, one of our favorites was to take 49 out
of Nevada City to either Gold Lake Rd or 89 then Feather River Hwy.

Can change it around such as Bucks Lake Rd from Ororville to Quincy
then Feather River Hwy or Quincy - La Porte Rd.

Then there's 32 from Chico to 36 to 89 then go whichever way you
want at the 89/70 jct.

More options: http://gilbeck.net/regional/roadtrips.html
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:47 AM   #11
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Thanks!!!
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:06 AM   #12
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That is a narlly route. I have been wanting to do that same trip for a couple weeks now. Its gonna be a must do this summer/spring.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:12 AM   #13
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That is a narlly route. I have been wanting to do that same trip for a couple weeks now. Its gonna be a must do this summer/spring.
+1 I have been thinking about doing 36 since last Summer, hopefully I will do it this year.
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Old 04-23-2009, 02:06 PM   #14
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+1 I have been thinking about doing 36 since last Summer, hopefully I will do it this year.
Ditto , did it last spring ....
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