Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle - Chapter 2, Part 9

Up the California Coast and into Oregon!

Tiff and I met at the track, where she races her Ninja 250 with more enjoyment and positivity than anyone else on the grid. When Tiffani got word that she’d be getting laid off from her job in Los Angeles, she didn’t fret. In typical ultra-optimistic Tiff style, she saw it as an opportunity to hit the road on her newly acquired Yamaha FZ-07. What follows are Tiffani’s reports from the road, originally posted for her friends on Facebook but shared here with her permission for all to enjoy. — Ari Henning

I guess I've been up to quite a bit, as it feels like this Yamaha FZ-07 adventure has finally started for real (or at least in a very different way than it had before), so let's catch up a bit!

After we left Laguna Seca (click here to read about that part of the trip), still buzzing with that post race weekend high (that apparently exists even when you're just watching and not actually racing) I couldn't help but wonder how we were going to top such a great time. But this was officially the first time I can say I didn't have any set "must be here by this time" dates for the rest of the trip, so it actually felt kind of freeing to head out.

Hollywood hadn’t done the coast before, and I had only gone up as far as Highway 36 before veering inland, so we determined that this was a good excuse to go all the way up. We made it as far as Tamales Bay before Hollywood determined he wanted to take a break and admire the scenery. We pulled into a little boat dock next to a restaurant and got off the bikes. We were both pretty tired, but it was still a good ways from the next campground. He approached two older men with their fishing boats, and asked them if they knew any good places to camp nearby. “Right here!” we were told enthusiastically. Somehow this turned into them feeding us some fresh caught clams and camping in a boating parking lot for the night. My life is weird sometimes.

FZ-07 on dirt road
This road was somehow way less intimidating on the way out, but the way the trees shadowed the steep, rough, rooted road and the cliffs that felt all too close made for a not-so-beginner-friendly ride in.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

The following day, we headed further up, enjoying the twists and turns and fresh air of the Sonoma coast. I was letting Hollywood lead, and much to my amusement, he pulled over to admire the coast at the exact same turn off I did my first time up. Telepathy does work! We headed up past Fort Bragg, and turned off onto an unmarked and unmaintained dirt road to a spot called Usal Beach that the old men from the night before had told us about. The road was steep and winding, and was perhaps a bit over my head for my perception of my own dirt abilities. It was a long, slow, and intimidating 6 miles, and I was too focused on the road to really enjoy the scenery. But the end result was so worth overcoming the fear. The road opened up to an expansive and sparsely populated beach with coarse black sand, enclosed by redwood covered cliffs. As I crawled out of the tent the next morning, I could barely believe that I was on a beach in California staring at two massive bull elk, grazing peacefully maybe 200 yards away. How is that even a thing?

Elk on Northern California Beach
Seriously, did I just walk into a fantasy movie, or are there really elk this big on a random beach in California?Photo by Tiffani Burkett

Hollywood was particularly blown away, as these were perhaps two of the biggest elk he had ever seen, which is saying something for a dude from Montana who spent half his life in Colorado. We went for a swim in the ocean (Which is way colder in Northern California, for the record. Socal does do some things better sometimes) before packing up. It was almost surreal how amazing this spot was and how good the whole morning felt. We headed out midday, leaving as the elk were still relaxing nearby. It felt like the road was much less difficult on the way out, maybe just because I had a better idea of what to expect. Or maybe I don’t suck as much as I think I do? Could really go either way.

We carried on for another couple hundred miles, this time stopping in Trinidad. Some locals at the nearby pub mentioned a great camping spot in the weeds that overlooked the beach, and we ended up borderline bushwacking our way to a camp spot on the cliff side once again camping to the sound of crashing waves. This was working out way better and way less expensively than it did the first time I went up the coast. What the hell!

Bikes along the coast
We stopped a lot along the coast of Oregon and California just to take it all in, and who could blame us when everything is so amazing!Photo by Tiffani Burkett

The next day, we finally made our way into Oregon! I, for one, was stoked to be back out of California. As much as I love the state, it never truly feels like an adventure until you’re too far from home to make it back within the day. We rode up to Gold Beach and camped along the Rogue River, this time at a real Campground. The people at the site were… interesting. This was the first time we had been told we really needed to keep an eye on our things in these parts, and this kind of became a theme as we went up through Oregon. A lot of talk of unsavory characters and drugs and theft. It was a bit of a change from Norcal. The trek up from here was consistently slow going. Traffic was too heavy to pass all of it, and most people drove 10 miles under the speed limit on the one lane twisty roads. Also very different from California, especially as a hyper racer from LA! The coast was pretty but started to feel a bit redundant after so many days, and the traffic wasn’t helping matters. We stopped at Coos Bay to watch MotoGP at a sports bar called Captain’s Cabin – apparently pretty biker friendly, and the food was pretty ridiculous. Then we jumped up through Yachats and Astoria, before deciding to head inland and see what Oregon really had to offer.

FZ-07 in the woods
Even after a month in Colorado, I still couldn’t get enough of the mountains and pines around Mount Hood. Felt like we had wandered right into Lord of the Rings!Photo by Tiffani Burkett

We headed toward Mount Hood, as I was hoping to see a couple of Oregon’s seven wonders. On the way, as we passed into Portland, a logging truck ahead of me on the highway kicked up a bunch of wood chips, which with my luck, naturally ended up getting blown right up my helmet and right into my eyes. I tried continuing on a bit further, but ended up basically blinded while trying to get through traffic as my eyes tried to wash themselves out. Ugh. Hopefully after a night’s rest (and not messing with it so much) my eye will feel a little better. We grabbed a dispersed spot on Mt Hood by the Zig Zag river, and despite how much pain my eyes were in, it was so over the top gorgeous, I could barely be upset by the circumstances. As we took a walk around the camp area, I couldn’t help thinking this was the most beautiful spot we had grabbed so far. But then, I think that just about every night for different reasons. With all the talk I always hear of traveling Europe or what have you, I don’t think people realize how gorgeous our own country really is. Looking forward to seeing what else this state has to offer!