Originally Posted by The Smokester
I know a few here have done the first part of this trip (and many the second). I want to start in Yreka, take Hiway 96 west through Happy Camp and down the Klamath River and then across the coastal mountains to Arcata and Eureka on the Pacific coast. From there, south to San Francisco along Hiway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway).
The part I am really looking forward to is Hiway 96 down the Klamath River but I have some questions about it and was needing some help.
Will any of the little towns shown on the map (Hamburg, Happy Camp, Orleans, Hoopa, Willow Creek) have any stores open? I will be going through in a couple of days so do these places close up after the Labor Day Holiday (first weekend in September here in the USA)?
How is the availability of water along this route? I know that the road mostly runs along the River based on the map but is the water in it accessible? Are there frequent and easy-to-reach tributaries into which to dip a water bottle?
Leaving 96 to go over to the coast is it better to take Bair Road from Hoopa or go the extra mileage and take 299 from Willow Creek over to Arcata?
I used to live in Willow Creek when I was a kid, and now live in Southern Oregon, about an hour from Yreka. I can tell you that it is very likely that you will find stores open during regular business hours. Locals buy beer and gas and such in those stores. In Hamburg there is a store that an old man runs and he sells all sorts of interesting things besides the usual convenience store items, like stove fuel and fishing licenses. There are even a few rooms that he rents there however I don't know if he rents them for the night, or by the month as "apartments". There is at least one restaurant in Seiad Valley if memory serves, full of log truck drivers and such. I believe it was there that I ate about 10 years ago one time. Good food;fair deal. I don't think you will find anything except a gas station/store in Orleans and it may or may not be open. Happy Camp is a bit bigger than either and they have a regular grocery store and more than one restaurant. My advice to you regarding Hoopa: Don't stop. Just keep pedaling and make good time. It is a very impoverished Indian reservation, and crime is very bad there. It is a weird little pocket of undesirable territory surrounded by awesome scenery and otherwise nice people in nice little towns. There are no police there to help you if you get into a situation; only tribal police (the inmates in charge of the asylum as it were), so they look out for their own. I've heard lots of bad stories from there. My brother had to go to a year of high school there because there is no high school in Willow Creek; he had so many troubles there. The people are very hopeless. I would just keep on rolling as fast as possible. Stock up on supplies in Orleans and roll. It's like 15 miles from there to Willow Creek, but it is hilly and windy so be careful. Willow Creek has a grocery store and a few restaurants, a motel etc. No problems there.
I would have to be very thirsty to drink Klamath River water even filtered. Its very green, full of algae. Not of the best quality. That being said, I've never used a water purifier, so I don't know how well they work and if they could do the trick for you. The trinity river which flows along the highway somewhere around Orleans, down through Hoopa and Willow Creek is much cleaner and clearer.
The little town just before hoopa is named Weitchapec, and it just has a little convenience store if my memory serves.
I don't know anything about that Blair road. It may not be paved. I would take 299 unless you can find someone who has traveled it and can tell you about it. That is wild country down there. People grow a lot of pot up in those hills. If you plan to do any stealth camping, be very careful. Hang all your food, there are a lot of black bears in that area; I've personally seen many.
Regarding 299 to the coast: it is doable; people really fly on that road, but it is well paved; pretty much a regular higway with passing lanes and such on the hills. Not like the little 2 lane narrow affair of hwy 96 from Yreka. There would be no services until Blue Lake which is most of the way to the coast. You would have to haul water and you would need quite a bit; the hills are big; you are crossing a mountain range.
Whether or not you can dip a water bottle in anywhere on the entire trip depends on when you are going. I didn't notice you saying. This time of year things are dry. It's the river(s) or nothing;
One more thing I can think of which may help. This Journal on Crazyguyonabike has reference to some of the route you are inquiring about. Your thread sparked my memory of it.
As an aside, when you get to Yreka, if you chose to take hwy 3 (which loops into 96 near Hamburg), it is really, really pretty country. It may add some miles, but you will be following the Scott river from Fort Jones on and it is clean and pretty and the scenery is wonderful. I just like it better.
Just checked on Google maps; it would add 7 miles total if you start from Yreka.
Have fun. You can PM me if you have any other questions. It's been about 4 years since I made that drive, so a few things may have changed, but my guess is not much. Most of those stores and restaurants would be open during regular business hours would be my guess. If you go the Hwy 3 route, Fort Jones will have everything you need.