Yesterday was a beautiful day in Ferndale, so location scouting was as much of an excuse as I needed to get the KLR650 out of the garage and load it up with camera gear. Last month on our hike to Punta Gorda, I was regretting that I had left my polarizers in one of my other camera bags, so I thought I’d make a return trip out there. I also wanted to explore Prosper Ridge Road and Windy Point Road a bit to see how close they would get one to the light house.
Prosper Ridge Road is a fairly smooth gravel road, the kind of road I ride the KLR on a lot. But turning off onto the unmarked Windy Point Road I wasn’t sure if it was the road or a private ranch road. Shortly after turning off I passed a sign saying 4 wheel drive only. The good news was that it was a public road. The bad news was that my ride was about to get more difficult. The road became a deeply rutted two track with lots of loose rocks, and then I could see that it dropped sharply down the hill.
I debated trying this while riding by myself, but it’s always easier to proceed down than try to turn around in such situations, so I slowly picked my way down. I figured this was why I traveled with a SPOT. I finally arrived at the parking area at the bottom of the hill and peeled out of my now sweat soaked jacket.
First let me say there is a reason they call this area Windy Point. It truly lived up to its billing, and each time I parked the KLR I had to make sure it wasn’t going to get toppled in the wind. I think that alone rules out this area for photoshoots. Been out in this area twice and both times the wind has made it hard to stand at times. That doesn’t make for successful photoshoots. So as pretty as this area is, I’m crossing it off the list.
But there are other reasons to come out here. The views are just stupendous. Even on an evening with no clouds and an offshore fog bank ruining the sunset, it was still gorgeous as the land shows little effect from man’s settlement. It was also interesting to see how much the rocky shoreline had changed in the few weeks from my last visit.
My first visit I noticed several of the tidal rocks covered with a bright green mossy looking growth. But this trip I realized that the growth was the beginning of the summer crop of algae, and it had turned to a much less photogenic shade of brown. The areas of the rocks that weren’t covered with aglae, were densely packed with mussels. It was hard to find areas to walk through the tide pools without crunching them.
Since the sunset wasn’t much I packed up a bit early and headed back up the beach to where the KLR was parked. By the time I left the parking lot it was getting dark and I rode through a violent bug storm, the likes I haven’t seen since my last visit to Teluride. Taking advantage of this wealth of flying food, birds were swooping in from left and right, not realizing that the reason they could so easily spot the bugs was that they were being illuminated by a fast approaching dual sport motorcycle. The first hit came from the front on the helmet. A minute later I felt the second strike on the side of the helmet even though I tried desperately to dodge the incoming. Another minute went by and a third bird got more than it bargained for, bouncing off of my Kilimanjaro jacket.
Once I got back to Mattole Road the bombardment halted. But that wasn’t the end of the animal threats for the night. Just as I got back to the coastline section, the feeble KLR headlight (on high beam even) gave me a split second warning that two cows were out for their nightly jog down the middle of the road. Just after I got my breath back from that one a rabbit darted out from the left but wisely decided to retreat before he became less three dimensional. After I started the climb back up I had a raccoon pull the same stunt. Shortly after that the wind started really picking up and it was a race to see if I could beat the fog rolling in.
I soon lost that contest and found that a curvy bumpy road at night in the fog with a terrible headlight will decrease your fun and speed. Especially when you encounter a large owl trying to take off in your path but the wind is preventing an efficient departure. A lucky duck from me saved an otherwise unlucky owl. Of course the ride couldn’t have been complete without an appearance from Bambi, but at least she had her self preservation in mind and she quickly scurried off in the right direction.
By the time I started down the Wildcat into Ferndale it was so drippy I had to have my visor open to be able to see anything. But I did make it home safely despite everything that nature tossed in front of me.