Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: July 2019


Iron Butt SaddleSore 1000 to the Last Blockbuster (June 3-June 5, 2019): Part 2 - Return to Sacramento

Note: This is the second part of a three-part blog series. Click here for part one.

Edwin and I turned in for the night at our Airbnb in Bend, OR around 11pm. Now that we were no longer under a time constraint, we took our time and left around 10am on Tuesday morning. We had about a 500-mile ride ahead of us to Sacramento so we might as well enjoy a little bit of tourism while the wheels weren't moving.

When we arrived to eat, I thought it would be amusing for Edwin and me to park next to a small Honda Metropolitan scooter in front of a daycare across the street from the restaurant. When we pulled into our spots, we were greeted with several curious children looking through the fence at the bikes. Their moms were outside and found it amusing that we parked next to the scooter. We had a quick chat with them and it was nice to hear from one of the moms, "We like motorcycles." I was getting the vibe that this was a motorcycle-friendly city and this only confirmed it. There were motorcycles popping all over the city as we rode from the Airbnb to breakfast, and I did notice that cars were yielding to them as necessary.

The more two-wheeled vehicles, the better!
We had a very tasty breakfast at The Breakfast Club; choosing this place was in response to my friend, Amanda's, request to "rent her The Breakfast Club [movie] at Blockbuster." This was a great choice regardless; I haven't had a homemade chicken fried steak this delicious in a long time.
Chicken fried steak with over-easy eggs on top of a bed of homemade gravy.

Shortstack pancakes!
After breakfast, we returned to Blockbuster Video to pick up a few more requested souvenirs and to write an entry in the visitor book, something that I had forgotten to do the night before. Since we arrived there 30 minutes before closing, I didn't have time to do it. However, that gave me some time to think about what I wanted to write, and I had some fun with the visitor book entry. I also picked up a few more stickers for friends. I wanted to get a t-shirt, but they were sold out of all the sizes. Oh well.

Here are a few more fun pictures of the memorabilia on display at the Blockbuster store, some of them arriving as recent as a couple months ago:

After that, we swung through Downtown Bend to pick up a few more souvenirs and stickers. I will say that from my very brief visit here in Bend that I want to come back and spend more time around here. It's very quiet and scenic, the people are friendly, and it has a very peaceful vibe. It reminds me a little bit of downtown Petaluma, CA but with a lot more development and city investment into the city center. Bend thrives on tourism and is full of things to do, both in the city and in nearby natural areas such as Mount Bachelor.

Getting the bumper sticker was so worth it.
The wildlife is very friendly here?

After grabbing a few more souvenirs, we made our way down US-97 all the way back down to California where it connected with Interstate 5. This was a nice relaxing ride down, and we were flanked with nature on all sides. It was the first time that Edwin and I had ever seen a controlled burn in a forest, a method of intentionally setting fires for environmental reasons. For this leg of the ride, Edwin and I travelled at a slower and more consistent pace, 60-65 mph while limiting hard accelerations. This move increased our fuel economy immensely, and thanks to a combination of tweaking Eleanor's fuel map on her DynoJet Power Commander III USB and uneventful, near straight-line travel, she was averaging nearly 46 MPG during this stretch, a new personal record.

For a little while during this vacation, the fuel tank outlasted my butt.
US-97 also reconnected me with a section of I-5 that I had never ridden because I had bypassed it in my travel to Oregon in 2011, opting for Pacific Coast Highway instead. This also gave us the opportunity to see Mt. Shasta for the very first time. This was an amazing sight to see, and its presence lasted throughout the ride leaving Oregon and the reentry into California.

First week of June and the snow is still nicely packed at the top of Mt. Shasta.
We continued on US-95 until we reached the I-5 junction in Weed, CA where we stopped for gas for the first time since leaving Bend, OR. Yes, that's the name of the city. Yes, the city is definitely taking advantage of it from a marketing perspective. Yes, they have marijuana dispensaries, but that only happened after recreational consumption became legal. Also, the elevation change upon approaching Weed was a sign for me to finally change from my Aerostitch Roadcrafter jacket to my Fly mesh jacket as temps were nearing the 90s with no chance of it getting any cooler.

The first section of I-5 leaving Weed and going southbound was full of construction and that left some areas reduced down to one or two lanes on either side of traffic. Once we were out of the mountains, it was a lot of flat land, rice farms, solar farms, and emptiness until Sacramento. The empty space was filled in with random anecdotes by intercom and odd Spotify playlists. We kept the same fuel-saving strategy and never exceeded 70 mph while limiting hard accelerations and made it to Sacramento on a single tank of gas around 9pm at the home of Amanda, Chopper the Dog, and his siblings, Sophie and Moto.

After a nice dinner of homemade burgers, tying Chopper's ears, and meeting Moto for the first time, it was off to bed to get ready for the last stretch toward home.

Celebratory prosecco wine after a long ride!
Hey Chopper, I'm going to try my best to not take two years to come back to tie your ears again.

One more full day of riding ahead! Here's the last part of the journey.