Well we took a little "test-ride" with both of us and a full pack on the Harley Davidson Deluxe that we recently purchased up to Trinity National Forest. We wanted to see how the bike would ride through mountain terrain, curvy roads and the overall feel as compared to my Dyna Wide Glide. We found some really nice roads to enjoy just cruising along and some great scenery all the while testing out the handling and comfort of the Deluxe. Our trip took us up Hwy 99 from Sacramento thru Yuba City and Chico and then into Red Bluff where we connected with Highway 36 West towards Fortuna. This two-lane road (barely at times) is a rolling and twisting stretch of highway out into the hills for about 45 miles to the town of Platina, located at the base of Arbuckle Mountain. There is a little store/bar to grab a cold one or unload whatever you brought along so far…
From there we went further down the highway (about another 10 miles or so) to the next junction which is Wildwood Road. This is basically a shortcut to Highway 3 but it strings along through some great little areas that have some residential ranches, some beautiful meadows and all the while being surrounded by the Trinity Forest. Some spectacular areas to just get lost in your thoughts.
Once onto Highway 3 it was business as usual with a few RV’s and boat haulers going to the lake for some of their own types of recreation. Actually many pulled to the shoulders as we came up and let us pass them pretty easily… Maybe it was just a good weekend and people were in good moods… who knows but I’ll take it when I can get it. Hwy 3 is very pretty and runs along a chasm between two different ranges of mountains. With the sun beating down on us in the early afternoon it was really nice to have the wind in our faces.
We connected with Highway 299 West just before Douglas City and enjoyed the long sweepers and the higher speed turns through the mountains that this highway is known for. Hwy 36 was a tail-draggin, floorboard scraper of a road for the HD Deluxe and it was getting a little old having to slow down so much for some very basic turns. So with all that scrapin of the pipes, I’m sure I’m gonna have to get them changed for my wife because she doesn’t work well with that irritating noise. I don’t think she’ll ever have to worry about scraping the floorboards like I was though.
We got into Weaverville and made it to Motel Trinity; I would definitely recommend this place as a quaint little out of the way place with a lot of amenities within walking distance. Espresso and pastries right next door at Susie’s Bakery, the local hot dog and grocery store just across the street, and The Saw Mill was a great place for prime rib and extra cold beer. From here we went on up Hwy 3 to the lake and followed the lake road on our way towards Trinity Center. We stopped at a few of the campgrounds just to check them out; the water levels are so low right now it’s ridiculous. We headed down Road 160 at Covington Mill and found our way down a nice little residential area and then off into the natural surroundings of the lake wilderness. We came upon an old barn (circa 1878) of a settler that came here with gold in his eyes and ‘settled’ for ranching. His barn still remains and is a national historic monument for people to enjoy. We did.
The "Bowerman Barn" circa 1878
We finally made it out to the ‘water’…. Well the boat ramp made it to the water but the concrete didn’t… if that tells you anything. So this didn’t look like very good prospects for a boating vacation after all, in fact we never made it all the way to Trinity Center, But the ride weekend was really cool. We sped back to the barn for some great pic moments and then we headed back into town for dinner and a bottle of wine sitting in front of our motel room. A great finish to about a 340 mile day overall.
The next day we met a couple that was traveling through California from Missouri and had been on the road for about 12 days. They were beginning their travels back home and we wished them well and we headed off down Hwy 299 and made it to Whiskeytown Reservoir. This lake was filled to brim and was just a beautiful site from every angle!!!
We stopped in and made reservations for a campsite for our family vacation (in just a couple months) so the whole trip was worthwhile afterall. We then rode into Redding for breakfast at the Hospitality Inn, very good! From there we rode Interstate-5 down to Orland and then took off on Highway 32 East. We got to Hamilton City and then turned South down Highway 45. There isn’t much around here except some little towns and when I say “little” I mean they are not even towns... they are ‘intersections’! The only reason you even knew they existed is there was a stop sign and you had to stop and look both ways…
We did stop for a soda at “4 Corners Store" just about a mile from Butte City, otherwise we road along the two-lane with no other vehicles to be seen for miles and miles all the way to Grimes.
At times there were a few “S” turns along the Sacramento river which was always in view along the way. We took a wrong turn at the Grimes/Arbuckle intersection and ended up going west into Arbuckle and hitting I-5 again. From there we be-lined it for home instead of searching out more backroads like we had planned.
Overall for the two days we clocked about 597 miles. Good warmup for our 1800 mile trip in August coming up soon. Got to see lots of awesome California scenery and the ride on the Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe was pretty nice. I am used to a bike that handles the 'curves' much better and am not willing to give that up for a little extra comfort just yet. I must say also that my Dyna Seat was more comfortable then the stocker HD two-seater and my wife will second that opinion. We both wanted off of it as soon as possible.
For a fuel injected model it didnt get very good mileage, about 140 miles to the tank full at 4 gallons. My Dyna goes 160-170 before going on reserve on the same amount of gas. Power and acceleration through the mountains and uphills was more than adequate with two-up and packed down. I would say that with a real nice custom seat added and changing the pipes out to ones that arent as long (stop the scraping) and some work done to the "power commander fuel injection" this could be a very nice touring bike for any type of road you come upon. I'll stick with my Dyna for now though Thank you.