Wednesday, November 9, 2011

California Trip Part 1

Hey there.:)  Sorry for not making enough posts on the road.  Between staying up late, visiting with friends, and being on the road I didn't find a lot of time to blog as much as I'd hoped.  I'll try to do better on future rides.  I'd still like to share some photos I took while on the trip.  I'll start at the beginning of day 2.  The previous day I had driven ~526 miles to Santa Cruz.  I didn't hit any rain and the temperature was fine.  The only downside had been the long straight roads from Buckeye, AZ to LA.  But I was so excited about being on the road it went quick.

A note about the Airhawk seat cushion.  It exceeded my expectations.  I was a bit nervous about using it in the beginning.  I sat on it while riding down to the gas station, the night before I left,  and not to be gross, but "the boys" felt out of position and I was worried there might be problems on all day use.  My concerns quickly faded as I found the cushion to be quite comfortable.  I'm sure the first day, and my ride from Santa Cruz to Mission Viejo, would have been a lot harder had I not had the new seat.  I'd suggest anyone who's looking for some extra cushion to give it a shot.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

OK.  So I got up the next morning in Santa Clarita worried about rain. It had rained during the night, but I had put my motorcycle cover on.  Luckily the rain took a break during the morning.  I was able to oil the chain and strap on the bags while the sun took peeks from between the passing clouds.  If anything my biggest problem was sweating to death while making my final preparations in all my gear.  The humidity was so high!  I headed north on I5 into the Los Padres National Forest.  You start to climb into higher altitudes, and I saw rain further north, so I pulled over to put on my rain gear.  I snapped this picture just as I was getting back on the bike.  I have no idea where I was.
This was probably the scariest part of the trip for me.  As I passed through the national forest I hit pockets of rain and strong wind.  On addition to wind and rain they were also re-surfacing the roads.  The top layer had been ground down leaving grind marks that my front tire would weave in and out of.  It was the one time I felt very far from home and that if something bad would happen it would all be over.  Luckily I came out in one piece and I just had to deal with strong head winds.

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I stopped for gas and food in the city of Lost Hills.  I made a decision to get off I5, I was tired of interstate and headed west over to the 101.  I pulled over about half way, at a place called Jack's Ranch Cafe to put my rain jacket back on.  There were a few clouds in front of me.
I think getting off I5 was a smart choice since even though I still hit a few pockets of rain I believe I avoided the larger cells and ended up heading into Santa Cruz very dry.  I can remember seeing a very long line of dark clouds off to my right, as I was headed north, and was glad to be behind them.  I drove into Santa Cruz looking for New Brighton State Beach.  I had seen it from Google maps and I needed to take a break from a long ride.  After paying my 10$ fee I parked and headed out to the sand.  This was from the parking lot.
They had a history marker just as you headed down the stairs.  Why can't people just get along?
I called the wife and chit chatted while I enjoyed the sun and the waves.
It's like the long miles I had just ridden melted away.
I got a call from my friends who lived in Santa Cruz, and they decided to come out to the beach to meet me.  So I sat down and waited.  Peaceful.

They arrived and we spent a few moments on the beach catching up and enjoying the company.
As the sun went down it got a little chilly we decided to head home.  We all decided to go out to eat that evening but first I needed to check into the B&B I had made reservations at.  So we parted company and I headed up Highway 9 to Ben Lomond.  Let me tell you this is an amazing little road to ride on a motorcycle.  Here are a few pictures from Google maps.
It's amazing!  If you're in the area you have to give it a ride.  I'm only sad that I didn't get to explore other roads in the area.  Not enough time.

I stayed at the Fair Manor Bed and Breakfast.  This owners of this place were very cool.  Jack and Gael.  Jack is a fellow motorcycle rider and let me store the bike in his garage.  They were actually leaving for dinner when I showed up and had no problem leaving me a key to the garage and the house.  I snapped a few pictures of my room.
The place was great.  If you wanted to come explore the Santa Cruz area you definitely stay here!
 After I unpacked, my friends showed up and we went out to dinner at a place called Sushi Garden in Capitola.  I ordered waay to much..but it was sooooo good.
Needless to say I went to bed stuffed and slept like a log:)  Part 2 tomorrow!


  1. Looks like you managed to see a lot of things along the way. The road through the forest seems like it would be a hoot to ride over and over. It is nice to ride through the redwoods. They are so huge.

    That sushi looks awesome. Did it taste as good as it looks?

  2. Ah, the beach. An bonus, great food. I love sushi!!!

  3. The sushi was very good. I must have had avocado on the brain though as every roll I ordered had it on top, not intended:) One of the rolls was called "Smoking Barrel" and had smoked salmon. After about the third piece it became a little overpowering. Otherwise everything else was perfect!

  4. Stumbled upon this site as I was searching for something else. Great photos! My husband and I took this route on our honeymoon. Loved the sea lions!