Riding Blog

This weblog at mikeuhl.com is the personal web site of Michael "Mike" Uhl. Entries to this weblog and web site represent my personal opinions. The site is not owned, operated, or affiliated with my employer or any organizations other than those owned and operated by Mike Uhl.

Photo (right): That's Lisa and me stopped along US 550, "The Million Dollar Highway," in southwest Colorado on our way north into Silverton, July 2017. 

Entries are copyright (c) Michael A. Uhl, as of date of posting.

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FYI: I ride a 2015 Harley-Davidson FLHTK Ultra Limited Special Edition.

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Entries by Michael A. Uhl (122)


Day 11: Langlois, Oregon to Bellevue, Washington

(January 30, 2017) Day 11 took place on Monday, June 20, 2016. I was now more than half-way through my trip, though not having reached the further point from my home. I would reach the furthest point at Everett, Washington a couple of days later, as I turned east onto US 2 from Interstate 5.

On this day, Day 11, the goal was to get to my niece's home in Bellevue, by nightfall is possible. As it was, the day almost ended very badly. It certainly was no fun for the last two or so hours as I rode through a thunderstorm, in the dark, from Mount Rainier National Park to Bellevue, Washington. Fortunately, I arrived at the Lockwood home in Bellevue safely, albeit wet, and was greeted by friendly loving people. I was so tense from the ride I talked non-stop to those poor folks for 30-45 minutes immediately upon my arrival.

I departed the KOA camp site in Langlois, Oregon around 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Bellevue, 13.0 hours later, around 10:30 p.m. The skies were overcast all the way up the coast until just north of Coos Bay. However, the break in the clouds was brief, and the cloudy skies soon returned. The temperature was only in the low 60s--consistent with the way it has been throughout most of this ride.

I took US 101 to Waldport, Oregon where I made a last-minute change in my ride plan. I turned off US 101 and headed inland on Oregon route 34, the Alsea Highway. The skies cleared quickly and the temperature rose from the low 60s to the low 70s. That was a welcome change!

The idea was to accelerate my progress to Bellevue by getting away from slow traffic on US 101 and use I-5 instead; but I knew I needed to get through Portland before rush hour. I figured if I could get through Corvallis and to I-5 quickly and make Portland by 4:00 p.m., I'd get through relatively quickly. Wrong. Portland traffic is very bad even 4:00 p.m. It was very slow getting through the Portland-Vancouver (Washington) area. Thank goodness I was able to use the HOV lane on the north side of the city. The upside of the traffic jam was that I got a good long look at the Columbia River from the I-5 bridge as I crossed from Oregon into Washington. ;-)

The weather was great, so I decided during a dinner break in La Center, OR to stick to my original plan of getting off I-5 at exit 68 onto US 12 east. All was good until I was about 40 miles down the road and the skies darkened ahead of me. Then it began raining, and then pouring rain, and I thought that it would end quickly so I didn't put my rain suit on. After 15-20 minutes it did finally stop. Of course, I was wet, but not to the skin. I opened my vents to try to dry out as quickly as I could -- at the expense of being chilled -- so I could avoid getting really cold on the mountain pass I expected to take in Mount Rainier. This turned out to be a good call because I did dry out and I did ride on a mountain pass so high up that there was still snow along the side of the road. (By the way, I love the way my bike protects me so well from wind and rain.) 

As I departed Mount Rainier National Park, the skies darkened once again and I could see sheets of rain falling from the skies. I stopped and put on my full battle gear, including my balaclava. This was another good call because for the next two and a half hours, I found myself riding through a widespread thunderstorm as I worked my way west and north to Bellevue. It was soon very dark and riding in a thunderstorm in rural darkness is as about as scary as riding gets for me. I took WA 410 for a long ways because I knew from memory this was the road I wanted. (I vaguely recalled that I need to take it to OR 167; so when I arrived at 167 based on the navigation system's directions, I was relieved.)

During a short period when the rain let up a little, I stopped and keyed in the Lockwood home address into my onboard navigation system and a gentle female voice guided me through the rain, lightning, and thunder to my destination. I was quite nervous entrusting my life to a computer, but the nav system came through for me. It would have been hard navigating by sight, i.e., reading street signs, in such adverse conditions.



More Photos

Here's a sign you don't see on the east coast. In North Carolina, we have hurricane evacuatiion signs that look very similar. 

My photo of these sand dunes are actually a poor representation of how huge they get in places. I saw dunes that were at least 50 feet high with forests of trees growing in them. They are very odd looking phenomena. 


The beautiful Alsea River in western Oregon. I was very happy to leave the overcast skies along the coast and soak in the sunshine inland.

I've wanted to ride to Corvallis, Oregon for many years because EPA has a lab there and I heard great things about the natural beauty of the area.


If I had the time, I would have loved to turn right and see Mount Saint Helens!

Washington route 123 takes you into Mount Rainier National Park from the south.


The snow along route 123 gives you an idea how chilly it got as I approached Mount Rainier. More snow...



The peak of Mount Rainier is often obscured by clouds, as it was for me.





Campfire at Langlois


Muriel O. Ponsler Memorial Wayside, OR 1 of 2


Muriel O. Ponsler Memorial Wayside, OR 2 of 2


Oregon Beach - 1 of 2


Oregon Beach - 2 of 2


Alsea River


(June 20, 2016) On Day 11 of my 17-day ride roundtrip from Cary, NC to Bellevue, Washington by way of San Francisco, I turned inland at Waldport, Oregon. My goal was to get to Bellevue, WA ASAP by way of I-5. If the weather was good, I would take a chance and ride to Mount Rainier on the way and hope to make it to Bellevue before Dark. (I wasn’t even close, and in fact, got caught in a widespread thunderstorm, just to make the ride in the dark extra fun.)

Mount Rainier 1 of 3


Mount Rainier 2 of 3


Mount Rainier 3 of 3


Only Alaska Remains

With my ride through Oregon, I have now ridden a motorcycle to and through all of the Lower 48 States from my home. Only Alaska remains as a ride destination. 

Day 11 Mileage Summary:

  • Tripometer = 4,339
  • Day total = 523
  • Odometer = 16,724

Day 10: San Francisco, CA to Langlois, Oregon

(January 29, 2017) On Day 10 of my 17-day ride to the west coast and north on the Pacific Coast Highway, I left San Francisco and headed north US 101 to California 1 (Shoreline Highway) and then back on to US 101. My destination for the night was a KOA in Langlois, Oregon.

With my cousin Ray's help and help from the doorman, I was able to retrieve my bike from the parking garage, pack it, and be on the road by 7:30. It was perfect weather on the best day of the week to do this...Sunday! 

Of all the days of my trip, this was the one that concerned me most about reaching my destination on time. I needed to traverse a long distance at relatively slow speeds to arrive at a KOA campground before registration closed around 8:00 p.m. As it turned out, I made it with only about 40 minutes to spare.

Because I had spent so much time studying the map of San Francisco over the last few months and because Ray and I traversed so much of the northern end of the peninsula the night before, I was able to weave my way knowingly through town -- there a many one-way streets -- To US 101 and the Golden Gate Bridge. Just before I got on, I used my iPhone to queue the GoPro camera mounted on the top of my helmet to record my ride across the bridge. (First video below.)

Soon after I crossed the Bay, I got on California route 1 and saw amazing trees and vistas of mountains and the Pacific Ocean, also much of which I recorded with the GoPro. I filled up the first of two 64 GB memory cards I have for it. (Unfortunately, I drained all three batteries, which made them unavailable for Day 11.) I did feel very good about getting so much video of the key part of my ride.

California 1 and US 101

CA 1 is easily the most fun motorcycle ride I've ever taken. It's like the Blue Ridge Parkway next to the ocean. It did wear me out though. It's a very intense ride; mistakes could easily prove fatal, so I had to be very careful and focused. A the end of the day, my shoulders were very sore from having two hands on the bars for 99% of the time. I was grateful to reach US 101 and some straight, multi-lane sections where I could set the cruise control for short periods.

Mileage Summary (@ the  KOA in Langlois, OR): 

  • Tripometer = 3,816 (Approx. halfway point of the ride.)
  • Day total (actually yesterday and today) = 565
  • Odometer = 16,201 


Leaving San Francisco northbound across the Golden Gate Bridge

I removed the audio track on this file because it was just noise. Note there is no toll for the Golden Gate Bridge in the northbound direction. I liked that very much. Also keep in mind that I rode this route at 7:30 on a Sunday morning. I've been told that the traffic can be horrendous here. Plan accordingly.


Muir Woods Overlook


CA 1 - GoPro 1 of 3

This is GoPro video of me riding my Harley northbound on CA 1 north of San Francisco on my way to US 101 and then on to a KOA campground for the night in Langlois, Oregon.


CA 1 - GoPro 2 of 3

This is another GoPro video of me riding my Harley northbound on CA 1 north of San Francisco on my way to US 101 and then on to a KOA campground for the night in Langlois, Oregon.


CA 1 - GoPro 3 of 3

This is a third GoPro video of me riding my Harley northbound on CA 1 north of San Francisco on my way to US 101 and then on to a KOA campground for the night in Langlois, Oregon.


Sonoma Coast Overlook (California)

June 19, 2016. This is video I took using my iPhone 6 at a stop along California Route 1 as I rode my Harley northbound on CA 1 north of San Francisco on my way to US 101 and then on to a KOA campground for the night in Langlois, Oregon.


Salmon Creek Coleman Beach CA

June 19, 2016. This is video I took using my iPhone 6 at a stop along California Route 1 as I rode my Harley northbound on CA 1 north of San Francisco on my way to US 101 and then on to a KOA campground for the night in Langlois, Oregon.


Irish Beach area overlook - Manchester, California

June 19, 2016. This is video I took using my iPhone 6 at a stop along California Route 1 as I rode my Harley northbound on CA 1 north of San Francisco on my way to US 101 and then on to a KOA campground for the night in Langlois, Oregon.



Day 9: San Francisco

(January 28, 2017) In the early afternoon on Day 9 of my 17-day ride to the west coast and north on the Pacific Coast Highway, I arrived at the Harbor Court Hotel on Steuart Street in San Francisco to meet with my cousin Ray. Ray is fluent in Spanish and that proved very helpful when he negotiated a deal with hotel staff for me to park my motorcycle after hours at a parking garage down the street.

It was a wonderful coincidence that I was able to meet Ray and share my first time in San Francisco with him. He is very familiar with the city and knows many people who live in the area, including many who are very wealthy. This proved helpful when he texted one of them and asked for a recommendation where to get good Italian food for dinner. If I remember correctly, we got an Uber car to take us from the piers into Little Italy and we ate at Tommaso's on Kearney Street.

The waitress was an enchantress and the food was really good. The combination led us to eat far too much. I did manage to stop myself from finishing my tiramisu and took the half I didn't eat with me. Because we were so stuffed, we decided to walk all the way down Columbus Avenue to Ghirardelli Square, in spite of my aching hernia. I needed to push that food through my system that badly.

A great bonus from the long walk was being able to look up Lombard Street and see the sharp curves on the steep slope of the street, a popular landmark.

I was so full, I could not bring myself to even enter the Ghiradelli chocolate store. I am glad I saved that tiramisu, because it made for a quick and convenient breakfast the next morning as I hurried out of town on my way north to Oregon. 

My Cousin Ray 

Because of the dangers involved in his work, I'm not going reveal Ray's name or any closeup photos of him or discuss why we was even in San Fran. However, I will say that he made all the difference in making my visit to San Francisco fun and I'm grateful we had that time together. He and his older brother have always been my favorite cousins. I look forward to spending more time with him in the future.

Our hotel room cost $200 for the night, so I was glad to split the cost with him. San Francisco is an expensive place. I'm glad I was there only one night.

Here are some more photos with captions from my visit there.

That's the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

That's Coit Tower in the background.


Ray looking very contemplative at the piers by Fisherman's Wharf.

The Ghirardelli building at sunset


Sunset over the Bay

A view of the Oakland Bay Bridge from our hotel room at sunset




San Francisco - Riding North on 19th Avenue


Riding through San Francisco on a Beautiful Saturday Morning


Harbor Court Hotel on Steuart Street in San Francisco


Sunset over San Francisco Bay


View of Oakland Bay Bridge from Hotel Room Window


Daily Log

Here's a copy of my daily log for that day, which I posted on Facebook:

Day 9 of 18 - Mike Uhl's Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Ride  

(June 18, 2016) I slept very well in my fancy bed in my expensive hotel room. I tried to stay in bed late, but the sun yelled at me to get up at 6:45 PDST. I enjoyed moving slowly, standing in a hot shower and letting the water soother my sore shoulders, and then make myself a tasty cup of coffee. There's definitely upside to staying in a really nice hotel room. 

My hotel room is so big, the king-sized bed looks small and there's actually a couch in front of a large bay window with a westerly view. I can see mountains. It's kind of cool being near Menlo Park, Palo Alto, etc. where the great Tech Boom in America got started.

My ride into town yesterday reminded me how much I appreciate living in a less-crowded, less-hectic place. Unfortunately, the RTP area seems to be looking more and more like Atlanta all the time.

In the morning, I rode CA 84 to CA 1 through La Honda and San Gregorio. I stopped for a cigar and photos at Half Moon Bay. I saw many, many motorcycles (and bicycles) on my ride to La Honda, San Gregorio, Half Moon Bay, etc. It's a rider's paradise.

From Half Moon Bay, I continued on CA 1 and then through downtown. Using my onboard navigation system, I worked my way slowly across the city to the Harbor Court Hotel where I met my cousin Ray, around 2:15 p.m. Traffic was slow and the hills treacherous, but I'm grateful it was a Saturday. It must be brutal trying to move on a weekday. 

We have got our luggage into our room and my Harley safely stored in a nearby parking garage, Ray and I walked through the Fisherman's Wharf and got a little something to eat. Then we continued walking from pier to pier until we arrived at Pier 39, where got some ice cream and looked at the seals lying on the docks.

Ray wanted a real dinner and texted a friend who lives in the area for a recommendation for an Italian restaurant. We got one and Ray got us an Uber car ride to the restaurant in Little Italy. Uber is great; our ride was there to get us in about two minutes and cost us (Ray) about $6 to get us to our destination.

After a dinner in which I ate way too much -- the food was fabulous -- we walked to Ghirardelli Square where Ray got a treat. Our timing was excellent for arriving there as we were able to watch the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge. What a great way to end a really fun day! Also, we could see the Bay and Oakland Bay Bridge right outside our window. It was beautiful lit up at night!

Ray and I talked almost constantly as we discussed our family and our personal histories. It was very therapeutic and enjoyable.

In spite of the hernia I developed in May from exercising too vigorously (I suspect), I managed to do a lot of walking with Ray. We then got an Uber ride back to our hotel. I went to bed immediately and was asleep very quickly. Ray had to make a call for his work but returned after a short time and after a shower was also soon asleep. He had a long day and I simply had a busy one.

It was complicated getting my bike in and out of the parking garage, but Ray's fluency in Spanish helped smooth things out because he developed such a great rapport with the bellman. In the end, it cost me only $10 total to store my bike overnight, and $5 of was tip to the bellman because he had to walk over to the parking garage with me and use his access to get me in. And Ray gave me $5 of that $10 as a gift.

I rode only about 65 miles. I didn't record the mileage for the day, so I'll estimate it with tomorrow's numbers.


Keep the shiny side up and pray for a short winter! -The Long Rider


Days 8 & 9: Redwood City, CA and Riding to the Coast

(January 24, 2017) Friday, June 17, 2016 was Day 8 of 17 of my ride to the Pacific Coast at San Gregorio, CA north to Bellevue, Washington and then home by way of US 2 across the US. On this day, I rode from South Lake Tahoe, California on US 50 into Sacramento where I stopped at the Harley-Davidson dealership, as I mentioned in my last post. From there, I got in Interstate 80 to US 101 and Redwood City, California. At Redwood City, I stayed at a luxury hotel called the Sofitel (now owned my Pullman).

On Day 9, I rode south on El Camino Real to CA 84, Woodside Drive, south and then west. As the name changed to La Honda Road, I passed the wildly popular Alice's Restuarant. The restaurant and trading post was so packed--it was a Saturday morning and the weather was perfect--that I chose to continue on rather than attempt to find a parking spot. This area is extremely popular with (1) bicyclists, (2) motorcyclists, and (3) sports car drivers, in that order. Some of these cyclists are hard core: I actually had bicyclists passing me in places on CA 84!

I stayed with route 84 all the way to San Gregorio. At San Gregorio, I made a stop at the popular and historical General Store. It's an interesting place, taking you back to the 60s a bit as there was live folk music being played and the modern versions of Hippies hanging out. Just beyond San Gregorio, at the Pacific Ocean, I turned north toward San Francisco with a planned stop at Half Moon Bay.

This was the first time I had ever been to the west coast, driving, flying, or riding. I'm glad I got to see it first from my Harley!

Here is a collection of videos from my stay at the Sofitel (Day 8 into Day 9) and my ride to the ocean (Day 9) and then on to San Francisco. In my next post, I share some photos and videos from my stay in San Francisco, with my cousin Ray.

Sofitel Hotel (now called Pullman San Francisco Bay)

I spoiled myself with this one. I felt awkward though. I identified more with the staff than with the other guests, there were so many wealthy guests. I was grateful for the nearby parking garage: for $12 I got to keep my $30,000 Harley in a safe place.


Woodside, La Honda, and San Gregorio Roads

I had help planning this part of the ride from a co-worked, Todd Plessel, who used to live in this area. He exhorted me to ride this loop south of the Bay Area and it was worth ever minute I spent on it.

I had cupping on my front tire, which caused me some front-end wobble at times throughout the entire 7500-mile ride. (I've now switched from Dunlop tires to Michelin.) Combine that with the fact that I'm on the motorcycle equivalent of an RV -- a "win-a-bike-o" as my friend Tim calls them--and the steep curves and grades on CA 84, and you can imagine that I took this route slowly. I even had a pair of bicyclists pass me on a steep, curvey descent.

On of my favorite experiences on this route was when a Lamborghini passed me and then just a few miles later I passed it as a California Highway Patrol office (CHIP) had pulled the driver over for speeding. 

Below: Riding Woodside Drive to La Honda Road

Below: Riding La Honda Road - 1 of 3

Below: Riding La Honda Road - 2 of 3

Below: Riding La Honda Road - 3 of 3

Below: A Stop at the San Gregorio General Store

Below: Turning North of CA 84 onto CA 1


Half Moon Bay, California

I was so excited to stop at Half Moon Bay because it was my first time ever at the Pacific Ocean. I celebrated with a tasty cigar and lots of pictures and video, some of which I share below.

On to San Francisco on CA 1

I was fortunate that my cousin Ray, whom I was meeting in San Francisco that morning, was only going to be there one day--a Saturday--and that meant my two days in the area would be over a weekend. Consequently, I did not have to deal with the heavy traffic that occurs normally during the week. If you're going to ride around the Bay Area, try to do it on a Saturday or Sunday! 


As always, keep the shiny side up and pray for a short winter.

-The Long Rider 


South Lake Tahoe & Sacramento, California

(January 15, 2017) On Thursday, June 16, 2016,  I rode from St. George, Utah to South Lake Tahoe, California. This was Day 7 of 17 on my cross country ride round trip from Cary, North Carolina to Bellevue, Washington. On Day 8, I rode from the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) site in South Lake Tahoe to San Francisco, by way of Sacramento. In this blog entry, I'm providing some images from my ride into Carson City, Nevada, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Sacramento. I'll cover San Francisco and the Bay Area in a later post.

Carson City

Once I left the high desert of Nevada, I continued to follow US 50 (Lincoln Highway) into Carson City, the capital of Nevada. I've included a short GoPro video of my ride into Carson City so you can get an idea of what the area looks like.


South Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe area is absolutely gorgeous and at more than 6,000 feet elevation chilly. That cool air provided for a comfortable night's sleep in my tent.

I did not take many still photos of the area as I was ending a long ride from St. George, Utah and needed to get to my camp site by dark. I tent camped on a nice spot next to a stream at the local KOA. However, I did get some video with my GoPro camera, which I provide below. All of these videos were captured as I rode on US 50.

I do want to add one comment here. I spent the evening at the KAO with one of the nicest couples I've ever met. The husband looked so much like Kris Kristoferson that I had trouble remembering his name--it was Jeff. His wife's name was Natasha. My sleeping bag got wet--my fault for not packing it in a plastic garbage bag--and they let me stand next to their camp fire for three hours holding it while it dried out. We talked the entire time. They even fed me dinner. They were also on a Harley and a 3-4 day ride from Orgeon and back. They helped make my trip even better than I had hoped or expected. I so appreciate kind, hospitable people. I hope to pay their kindness forward over and over.

Riding into South Lake Tahoe on my Harley - 1 of 5



Riding into South Lake Tahoe on my Harley - 2 of 5

Riding into South Lake Tahoe on my Harley - 3 of 5

Riding into South Lake Tahoe on my Harley - 4 of 5

Riding into South Lake Tahoe on my Harley - 5 of 5

Sacramento, California

Among the many state capitals through which I rode was California's capital Sacramento. As I collect Harley-Davidson pins from the states I visit, I stopped at the Harley-Davidson dealership in that fine city. I took a few photos outside the dealership before I realized the lens was dirty. This explains the poor quality of the larger image. (Click on the thumbnail image to the right to see.)

I took the advice of my friend John Hart and rode US 50 into Sacramento rather then the Interstate and that proved to be a great decision as the road is very scenic as it descends out of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

I've also included a video, below. Note that I mention the day is Thursday when it is actually Friday. That's one of the beauties of taking a 2-week+ ride: you can forget which day of the week it is!


Here is a copy of the daily log for that day, which I had posted on Facebook:

Day 8 of 18 - Mike Uhl's Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Ride 

(June 17, 2016) After a leisurely pace of breaking down my campsite and chatting with Jeff, the Harley guy who camped two sites over from me, I left South Tahoe, CA for Redwood City by way of San Francisco with a stop at the Harley-Davidson dealership in Sacramento.

I'm staying at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay Hotel in Redwood City. It's so upscale that I feel out of place. I feel like I should be in the Motel 6 a few blocks away. I've spent some time out front watching the people in their expensive cars pull up and have the doormen take their luggage and park the vehicles. Many of the people are speaking foreign languages, much of it Mandarin I suspect, though I am not able to discern different dialects of Chinese. There's a big event involving tweens. It's strange seeing so many 10-12 year olds dressed up and schmoozing like business people 30-40 years older than them.

California traffic (on I-80) lived up to its reputation. I rode only a little more than 200 miles today, but 99% of the time the effort required my full attention. I did not look around much nor take a chance to pull over and take pictures. Tomorrow morning, I plan to ride CA 84 to the Pacific coast and then CA 1 north into San Francisco. I hope to take lots of pictures and make a stop at the famous Alice's Restaurant near La Honda.

The plan for tomorrow afternoon is to meet my cousin Ray at the Harbor Court Hotel on Steuart Street around 1:00 p.m. I don't plan on riding more than 100 miles tomorrow.

Day 9 (Sunday) will be the pivotal day of the whole trip as I ride from San Francisco to Langlois, Oregon (just south of Bandon), where I plan to camp again. This will be a full immersion in the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) experience. I shall ride the PCH the entire way.

Day 8 Mileage Summary

Today's mileage = 213
Total trip = 3,251 (not halfway yet)


As always, keep the shiny side up and pray for a short winter.

-The Long Rider