I decided to stick with my plan and head East on 198. I do not regret this decision at all despite the anxiety I had later because of it.
The last time I road Highway 198 was in 2007 I think, it was on my first real road trip on a motorcycle and while it was an amazing ride I made the mistake of not filling up with gas in Coalinga and so entire time I was on 198 I was worried about running out of gas.
This time I had plenty of gas so I was able to enjoy the ride. I did not remember that this section of 198 is actually pretty fun to ride. The road is well paved and early in the afternoon on a Friday there was only light traffic. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and look forward to riding it again, since it is close enough to get to in a half days ride. Sadly I have no pictures since it is a fast road with not a whole lot of places to pull over safely.
I took a break in Coalinga, just a quick stop since I was feeling pressured for time. I told my Lovely Wife that I would be home by four and I did not want to be late.
Leaving Coalinga I headed out to a new road for me: Los Gatos Creek Road which turns into Coalinga Road before it links up with Highway 25.
This stretch of road is… unique. The first part, Los Gatos Creek Road, is amazing. It’s well paved, curvy and lots of fun. I had a blast making my way north. Then I passed the entrance to the park and the road changed. It was no longer two lanes and the pavement was not as good. Initially I was unconcerned, it was very similar to Peach Tree Road and Santa Rosa Road so far. So when I saw this sign I was actually pretty happy.
However, what followed was the most annoying 25 miles of my trip. The pavement deterioated and there was so much gravel hiding on the uneven surface it made every corner slow torture. It was made worse by my deadline to get home, I was going so slow that I was concerned that I was going to be very late and with no cell service I was unable to call and let my wife know. The lack of cell service also made the consequences of even a minor crash much more dire, adding even more to my stress. To top it all off I was not a hundred percent sure that I was on the correct road since there was no signs indicating when the switch from Los Gatos Creek Rd to Coalinga Rd. I was pretty sure I was on the right track but there was no way to confirm this. I was very relieved to get to the end of the road about 40 minutes later.
I hopped on Highway 25 from here and headed home. Highway 25 is nice enough, but not that special in comparison to the amazing roads I had been on in the previous 36 hours. I put my head down and did my best to make good time for the rest of my trip with out getting a ticket for speeding.
The trip ended well I made it home just a few minutes after 4PM. Everyone was happy.
(Except all the bugs killed in the journey)