a. We rode clockwise. In hindsight, we wish we had gone counter-clockwise, in order to have the inevitable northwestern coastal winds at our backs. If you take the trip in October and start in Willows or Chico, traveling counter-clockwise will also reduce the risk that you will hit snow at Lassen, since you’ll be there earlier in the trip. If you travel early in the season, starting when Lassen still has snow, you might be forced to travel clockwise in order to delay your arrival at Lassen; if you have a choice however, counter-clockwise would be the best direction.
b. We passed through a lot of timber lands, and are surprised and pleased to report that the lumber trucks were amazingly polite to us, and consistently slowed way down in order to pass by us. In some of the forests, the dirt roads used to service active harvest areas are watered down every day, so there is no dust – WOW!
c. Not sure how this happened, but neither of us was ever chased by a dog – not once on the entire trip. What a nice break!
d. We enjoyed this route so much that we have already spent many hours studying the AAA Northern California and USFS maps searching for other 400-1000 mile loops that visit slightly different areas in Northern California. So many choices, so little time. It’s a very beautiful unpopulated part of the world, with diverse scenery and quiet roads.
e. Many of the rivers you visit in the coast ranges are protected as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (www.rivers.gov), including the Eel, Klamath, and Trinity Rivers. These are important salmon and steelhead rivers (bring your fly fishing gear if appropriate) and are very beautiful places. From bridges we could stop and watch huge salmon swimming in the tributary creeks below.
f. One of the primary (or maybe the biggest) industries in Mendocino and Humboldt counties is marijuana cultivation. Associated with this is a population that is well left of center – on the western half of this route you’ll see plenty of Tibetan prayer flags and organic milk, and few NRA stickers or hunters – it’s a very different culture than riding the Great Divide Route through the Rockies!
g. If you are not in easy driving distance of this route, your best bet is probably to take a plane, train, or bus to Chico or Reno and start there. You should be able to connect from Reno up to the southeast section of this route on quiet roads. You could fly/train/bus to Chico, but that would likely be more expensive than Reno.