Friday, May 10, 2013

A Long and Winding Road.....

We spent a lot of hours in the saddle yesterday.  Our desire to ride the California #1 Coastal highway has it advantages.  The beautiful and scenic coastline is a joy to follow. 
Fantastic views
It also has its disadvantages!  To ride this coastline requires solid control on speed.  The twists, turns and endless switchbacks means one cannot possibly make quick time in terms of distance.  Add several 5-10 minutes stops for  road construction and by the end of the day, we realize how little distance was traveled for the time in the saddle.
When the highways are in great condition, they are a joy to ride.  But...and it is a bit BUT, when the highways are in poor condition, they are absolutely horrible to ride. 
The rugged coastline reminded Jeanette and I of our journeys along the coastlines in Wales and Scotland.
There are some quaint little towns along the route......and they are costly to tourists.
Can you imagine buying fuel at $7.65 / gallon?  That's right!  We saw one gas pump advertising that rate.  Whoa!
One of the many lovely spots to admire the scenery.
The co-pilot took well over 150 photos yesterday.
With two humans in the saddle, luggage and the weight of the motorcycle, we are rolling at about 1200 lbs.  The tight twists and turns are fun...but after ten hours of that, I was tired....really tired.  I was never so happy to get off the road.  It was my doing though.  No regrets....but...we are not likely to put in that kind of hard day on the balance of this trip.
The lovely little city of Carmel by the Sea (also home to the famous Pebble Beach Golf courses) was a treat.  It is not our first time here....but it is always a pleasure.  We rolled in at lunch time and the setting was perfect for some time off the bike.
Rolling into the City made famous by its one time Hollywood star Mayor, Clint Eastwood.
Clint Eastwood continues to live on the Monterrey Peninsula.  Many other stars and people of note also call this area home.  For loyal PGA Golf followers, Jim Nance, CBS-TV Senior Sport host  has called this place home since 2009.
Beautiful buildings.....clean roads, flowery boulevards, tidy yards and speed limits of no more than 25 make this a most pleasant place to spend some time visiting.
We checked out several restaurants and settled on this lovely spot for a feed of pasta.  It was top class.
With our lunch cravings tamed, we rode down to the beach.  To see this lovely bay once again was great.   To catch a view of two Pebble Beach Golf holes was a treat too.  Although we wanted to ride the 17 mile tour around the golf courses, motorcycles are not allowed.  Some years back, some punk on a dirt bike tore up a couple of greens and the residents voted a ban on all motorcycles (including big road bikes like ours.)
Directly behind Jeanette lies a couple of Pebble Beach Golf holes.
A European couple we met on the beach were feeding these ground squirrels.  They gave us some bits of bread that we too fed to these friendly rodents.
We could even pet them.
"Come on lady.......give me more........"
The best I could do, from such a long distance, was to capture this shot of one of the Pebble Beach greens.
A similar view with a wider lens.
Jeanette walked down to the waters edge and had to work hard to get back up in the very soft sand.
There was no emergency....but this drive by seemed routine.
Great looking sign on our way out of Carmel.
We continued our journey north on #1.  We were met with more great ocean views intermixed with fields of fresh produce.
High cliffs remind one of Ireland.

Now in San Fransisco
Although we had not planned to get into San Fransisco at rush hour, it's the way it worked out.  Traffic was no worse than what we face in our coastal city of Vancouver, BC.  What is different though is the awful condition of the roads.  Bumpy and uneven, our ride took quite a beating in this city.  There is some serious need for infrastructure improvements.
It was our fourth time in this city and our fourth time crossing the lovely Golden Gate Bridge.
As is our custom, we stopped at the north end viewing area to gaze over the bay, Alcatraz, the city and more.  It was incredibly windy - almost gale force while we were here.  I heard on the local news that a sailing crew, training for the Americas Cup Sailing race, tipped over and one seasoned racer was killed.  That happened at about the time we were at the lookout.
I've watched a documentary on the building and maintenance of this bridge.  It was an engineering marvel at the time it was designed and built.  It remains a marvel today too.
Alcatraz - The infamous prison.....
The lovely city.....
We have spent time in the downtown area and the piers....but to visit once again was not in our plans this time.  
It was 6:30 pm when we left the Golden Gate lookout for points north.  Once again we chose to ride the #1 highway to Petaluma.  Not that it was a mistake, but I regretted that decision when we discovered that riding to Petaluma (only about 40 miles north from San Fransisco) ended up being a most taxing two hour, hard and incredibly slow, ride through some of the tightest twists and turns imaginable.   
Looks beautiful....and it is....but at 10 to 15 mph, this road can drive a seasoned rider to exhaustion.
The last bit of riding we did, last evening, would best be traveled in the morning when one is fresh.  We slept like babies last night......let me tell you!
High cliff side road.  Way back in the smog (looking south) is the city of San Fransisco.
Out of the cliff side, this nail biting road and the coolness of Redwood trees helped us to understand why there was so little traffic. The road was in pristine condition. We presumed this road is not widely driven.

We are glad we did the ride....but that won't happen least not in the near future.  Highway 101 would have been faster route.  Oh well!  The countryside and seaside presented incredible views.  I now understand why the posted signs restricted vehicles over 30 ft. in length.  No hitch pin vehicles recommended!  RVers need to keep this in mind.

Today (Friday) will see us make far better time.  We'll ride the 101 on our ride towards Eureka in Northern California.  We are not sure if we'll overnight in California or somewhere along the coast in southern Oregon.  We'll see how the ride goes today. 

We're looking forward to a less taxing ride.  The weather is overcast - mainly with marine cloud - but we'll suit up for rain.  Sun is forecast for mid-day or later today and the weekend forecast is looking good too.

Time to roll.....!

Thanks for dropping by.


  1. So many beautiful photos. It was great to see so many familiar places that we've enjoyed visiting.

    Ten hours riding on those roads is enough to tire anyone out. Hope today goes a little easier.

  2. Excellent pictures of a great adventure, thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Now I am drooling on my iPad looking at this ride!