What a fantastic week. Packing up our gear into the trailer along with the new motorcycle adventure gear that WANDRR Motorcycle Tours is carrying in North America, direct from Australia, Andy Strapz, was, and always is, so exciting that sleep evades me the night before leaving. Riding out early so as to avoid the heat of the day we, including our pup, Gypsy, rode a couple of canyons and over a couple of mountain passes while making a crooked beeline for the Pacific coast and Morro Rock. On the lookout for wildlife the only thing we saw was a BIG, hairy Tarantula big enough to cast his own, long shadow.
Under blue skies with an occasional jet contrail, the 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean came into view as we turned north on Highway 101 and we paralleled the ocean stopping in the funky little hamlet of Cayucos for gas and tacos. This little town seems lost in time as the kids are typical SoCal from 20 years ago with surfboards, skateboards, and dogs hanging out of the windows of old VW buses.
We continue to push up the coast with the views of the Pacific enticing us with what is to come. Pulling over north of San Simeon we got thinking about what life would have been like in the days that Randolph Hearst had his summer home high on the hill with incredible views and the stars of Hollywood visiting his grand castle. A couple more miles and another must stop at the Elephant Seal Vista Point. Standing by the fence and watching this huge beasts sleep, play, and fight for dominance is always a thrill. On the beach is a herd of maybe 200, from small yearlings to big bulls of over 2000 pounds, tossing sand on their backs and standing up while fighting and bellowing. What a sight as the waves crash along the shore and on the many rocks in the surf that forms a protective barrier for the pups that are born here every spring.
Continuing along the unprotected curves, mountains and vistas that make up the PCH, CA1, we twist and turn while heading to the coastal redwood forests north of Santa Cruz, passing through Carmel By The Sea. I have been told the redwood forests here are just as nice as the ones in north California. As we turn north on Highway 9 heading north toward Boulder Creek the redwoods close in on us and force the evening light to hurry away as we find a campsite in a redwood grove with our tent completely surrounded by several trees with their huge trunks thrusting straight toward the sky, leaving a small opening for light to penetrate to us in our tent a couple hundred feet above.
Waking up to a cloud cover and deep under the redwood canopy it is so peaceful as we lay in our bags and just look up, enjoying the smells and views of these giant trees. But,alas, breakfast is calling and a trip up along Highway 35 to Alice’s Restaurant is on the list. This is not the restaurant from the song, but is an iconic stop when riding in the area. Alice’s Restaurant serves up a hearty breakfast on the wooden front porch, (Gypsy was welcome and enjoyed the sausage off my egg sandwich), with views of giant redwoods in all directions.
After eating we rode back down to the coast at Half Moon Bay, headed north across the San Francisco bridge, no tolls northbound, down to Stinson Beach, and north along the coast in an area I have missed riding for years, the Sonoma coast. This area is fantastic! The facilities are sparse and the road zigs and zags in low gear pleasure with nothing but views of the unspoiled coast and Pacific and inland woods, mountains and fields. This is where the happy cows and sheep live in California. We passed a small road motel high on the hill with a restaurant/bar and hot-tub with views of the bay as the sun dipped low into the Pacific as we sat chatting with several guests and the owner sipping our adult beverages.
Today we will make our way to Horizons Unlimited to camp with a few friends and meet some new ones. We pull into one last overlook before turning inland, high above a seal nursery in a protected area on the beach. Come spring, the babies will be born and nursed on the coastal area before moving on. Riding through Napa valley we stop for lunch at my favorite winery, V. Sattui winery, for a tasting and deli lunch in the gardens and grassy area around the buildings. We arrive to HU and find our campsite for the next four nights and dig in for a few days of meeting people, enjoying and learning during the presentations, and hearing of people quitting jobs to begin their own RTW adventures. This is a great group of people and I can’t name everybody that makes up this “family” of travelers. Some we see year to year, some are off on their own long adventures, and some we may never see again as they are traveling through and will be on to other countries. We have a great time with music, craic and grog seeming to take up the evening hours and into the night. Much too quickly the fun times come to an end and we all scatter in many different directions, like the wind.
Ride safe, my friends, and see you you on the road.