Thursday, November 10, 2011

California Trip - Part II

Day 3 was the day of the party at my friends house.  I woke up around 8 and showered.  The B&B owners served breakfast around 9 and I got to eat with the parents of Gael, who runs the B&B.  They we're very nice people and I probably spent an hour and a half shooting the breeze with them.  Breakfast was Eggs Benedict with potatoes and fruit.
I had intended to try to get in a ride on the surrounding roads, but I left the B&B late, and as I was filling up the gas tank my friends called and wanted to see if I could run into Santa Cruz for coffee.  This meant I got to ride highway 9 again, woohoo!

I was told to go to Santa Cruz Coffee Company in downtown Santa Cruz.  They place smelled wonderful.  I picked up a bag of fine ground "Steve's Smooth French" blend and was on my way back to my friends.  If you get the chance to buy some of their coffee..try it in a french press...Mmmm Mmmm.

It was nearing noon and people would be arriving soon.  Some of us jumped into a car and hit the local Safeway for provisions.
Beer and soda on ice.  CHECK!
Food. CHECK!
Some people flew in from the East coast.  Many of them lived nearby.  Soon the party was in full swing.  I believe we had 12 or 13 people total.
We spent a lot of time talking and having a blast.  The highlight of the evening was when we broke out Rockband 2 with two guitars, a drumset and a microphone.  At first people were pretty timid about singing.  Towards the end of the evening we were screaming into the microphone.  I had an amazing time!  The party went pretty late.  I debated spending another day in Santa Cruz, but for various reasons I decided to head back home the next morning.  I shook hands and said my goodbyes and shared a taxi back to the B&B.

Day 4

Daylight savings happened to kick in the next while I slept in a hour later, I was still up by 8:30ish?  I forget the name of the next breakfast but it was _very_ good.  It had eggs, potatoes and sausage baked together along with a side of blueberry coffee cake and a amaretto grapefruit.  The grapefruit had a small amount of amaretto with brown sugar and baked in the oven for 10 min or so.  It was so yummy!
It was dry when I woke up, but as I ate breakfast it started to drizzle outside.  This was my view as I ate.
Luckily the bike was parked inside a garage so I was able to pack it without having to get wet.  I probably left the B&B around 10am?  I made a decision to take PCH1 as far south as San Luis Obispo.  It would add  a lot of time to the trip, but I had to take the opportunity while I was here.  My goal was Mission Viejo, CA.  I have friends who live there who was going to allow me to crash on their spare bed for the night.

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First I promised myself I'd get some pictures of the bike on Highway 9 as I left Ben Lomond.
If you zoom into this next picture you can see another motorcyclist coming the other way.  He waved as he rode past.
I wanted to take some of that coffee home with me so I stopped in Santa Cruz again and picked up some more.  Luckily I was able to find a parking meter with time still on it.  I did see the parking ticket meter lady writing out tickets..on a Sunday morning no less!  Santa Cruz is serious about it's fines.
Then I was off.  South of the town of Carmel, the Pacific Coast Highway hits full swing.  It was so unbelievable amazing!
Me, super happy.  Can you tell?  Ok, well just believe it anyway.
I kept pulling over every mile or so.  I think I had gone 15 miles in the span of an hour.
The sun had come out, but I decided to leave my rain pants on.  They're a pain to take off on the road, and they act as a wind breaker when it's not raining.
There were large periods of time when I'd have the whole road to myself.
The views were truly breath taking.  It's hard to see in this next picture but there is a house on the ridge in the shape of a prism.  Both ends were full windows and you could see right through it.  If anyone knows what/where this house is please post a comment.  I'm sure it must be a famous landmark.
I like this shot a lot.
The winds were coming off the ocean from the Northwest, so it was pretty much at my back as I headed south.  There were a few times it got a big gusty, but otherwise it was easy riding.
Another one of my favorites, with the bridge in the background.  There were quite a few of these bridges.  Some of them had build dates on them from the 1930's.  In addition to the bridges there were quite a few construction sites where they were improving the road.  The road would go to one lane and they had lights on either end letting one side go, and then the other.
 These pictures are farther south on the 1, near San Simeon and Hearst Castle.  Hearst Castle is an imposing structure when seen from the road.  I can only imagine what it looks like up close.  And yes I didn't get a picture of it.  Fail.
Picture from the fence post.
These next pictures were taken at San Simeon Bay.  There were Sea Lions sunning themselves.  If you blow the picture up you can see quite a few on the far end of that beach. 
Luckily there were some others a lot! closer.
They must show up here pretty often, as there was a large parking area setup and quite a few people at the railing.
How come the girls always get to be the inner spoon??  Notice how she's smiling because she's tricked the guy in being the outer spoon?
Can I use you as a pillow??
As I was leaving I spotted this fellow acting cute for some treats.  Too bad he can't read the signs that said don't feed the animals.
From here I stopped for gas in San Luis Obispo and got onto Highway 101.  The sun was starting to set and I still had ~250 miles to go to Mission Viejo.    Needless to say I didn't get time to stop at the "Rock Store".  That will have to wait for another trip.

Lets just say it was quite the _tiring_ ride through Santa Barbara, and L.A. in the dark.  The traffic in L.A. is amazing.  I can't believe how many people live and work there.

I think I rolled into my friends house at 9:30pm?  I had skipped lunch and only grabbed a Snickers bar, for dinner, at my last gas stop.  It felt like the longest leg of my journey, even though it wasn't.  But I couldn't have asked for a better day driving along the coast.

Day 5

My friend had to head into work early the next morning.  So I asked directions to the nearest pancake house, said my goodbyes, and was off once again.  Breakfast was Swedish pancakes with Loganberries.
Today would be the ride home. 476 miles.

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Just before Yuma there is a place called Royla Dunes park.  Some amazing Sand Dunes where people bring there buggies and quads to ride the dunes.  I snapped a few pictures.  I believe they filmed the original Stargate movie here.  The scenes near the pyramid..with the sand.
And that's pretty much it.  I got home around 6pm, the sun had already set.  The wife was waiting for me in the garage.  Overall a very nice trip.  No problems with the bike.  I did find that I had lost one quick release screw that holds the seat on.  It must have gotten loose with vibration.  I'll have to order another one.

I didn't grab a picture of the end mileage...I know _fail_ right?  But it ended up being ~1800 miles round trip.

Until next time!  Thanks to everyone who's been following along.


  1. Wow, what an epic trip.

    That B&B sure took care of you in the breakfast department and it sounds like you had a great party with a huge spread of food and fun.

    I am glad you had such great sunshine riding down the coast. I can sense the smile just by reading your blog.

    Thank you for sharing your travels.

  2. I never can get enough of Highway No. 1, and I have been there a few times now. You managed to get some wonderful pictures, and the weather played along most of the time. Lovely trip, thanks for sharing!