Riding California’s Hwy 1 – Motorcycle Bucket-list Trip
So there I was listening to the ocean, watching the endless waves crashing one after another. The water temperature was 75 F and I’m with the love of my life. It’s absolutely perfect…….I would love to call work and say, “Hello HR, I have discovered paradise and I won’t be coming back, please send my checks to this address. Now, who doesn’t consider, Riding California’s Hwy 1 a Motorcycle Bucket-list Trip?
It is agonizing for someone like me; knowing that I deserve to lay on the beach, and still get paid………..doesn’t anyone understand this except me? I need to look into those, “Go Fund Me” programs…….
There is this moment when you know you have to head home; there won’t be a beach, don’t even think about wearing shorts…… But I love Oregon, I think sometimes it’s just the change we resist, once I’m there, even when it snows I love it.
I was packed up and on the bike at 4 AM; early enough to beat some traffic, but this is LA and everyone knows the, “leave early game,” heck they play it everyday. San Clemente to the Southern Part of the Metro area was OK, until I hit the 405…….Everyone knows of the 405, even people who have never, and will never see it. It has a life of it’s own.
Being on the 405 is like getting a root canal. You know you’re going to have to do it, and you know it’s going to be painful, but then when it’s over you’ll feel better and eventually it’s just a memory. See that’s the difference in being a tourist in Southern Cal and being a resident……I had a root canal……they have one twice a day.
For the first time, I split the lanes…..good idea?, probably not.
I say probably not because that is easier than saying, “Even at this age Don still makes incredibly stupid decisions when Karla is not there to point them out,”
I’m a roller coaster fanatic and I will ride anything. If you told me the roller coaster may collide with another coaster and neither are really set in their tracks, I would say, “you’d have to be insane to do that.” I’m not asking you to draw any conclusions as to my sanity……
If I had four wheels I could hit I-5 and be home in two days .
I only have two wheels, so this is going to take 4 days…………………. finally math that makes sense.
Big Sur was perfect, no summer fog, light traffic and 80 degrees. This stretch of Hwy 1 is widely acclaimed to be one of the most beautiful roads in America and I would have to agree. But anywhere on the West coast, outside of congestion, is stunning. I think the Oregon coast may actually be more beautiful; but that’s like comparing Superman to Batman, and no one is winning that argument. This stretch is most definitely a bucket-list trip.
I made it as far as Monterey that day, but it was a long one arriving after dark. I love to explore towns early in the morning, before traffic and noise become the focus. Here at Cannery Row, the shops were beginning to open and construction noise had yet to shatter the quiet.
The, “Monterey Monument” with John Steinbeck perched atop, tells the story of a long history all from one rock. Monterey captured my interest and definitely deserves to be a multi-day destination for Karla & I.
I thought I should take the opportunity to practice……. it’s got to just be a matter of time before I get pulled over, and this fellow looked pretty darn serious…….”Don’t Tase me Bro!!!”
While a little disgusting looking…..this is one of our go-to lunches all summer. Safeway (Kroger) deli will custom make sandwiches and this is a vegan favorite. Hummus on one side and avocado on the other and then sitting in the saddlebag until we find the perfect place to eat, the bread gets a little soggy……..but veggie delicious they are ! We add Tofurkey slices.
Davenport, CA. North of Santa Cruz is home of Swanton Farms, a place I have long admired but never visited. Come along with me as I meet the folks and explore the magic.
Honor Till……How I wish we were of the character in this society that we could all use the Honor Till……From the Bakery I had a fresh organic strawberry scone, made my own change…….beautiful.
San Francisco cannot be seen in a week and I don’t even have a day, I’m just passing through so what do you………
One from the South before you cross…
One from the North after you cross…….
One of, “The City.”
One of, “The Rock.”
And be on your way……of course this city must be a destination unto itself, a week of photography will not be enough.
I love to meet people while we’re on these adventure’s and there’s something about a motorcycle that helps strangers open up. Right across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin county is the nice little artist community of Mill Valley. I stopped to check out a vegan deli and grab a caffeine booster when, “Gail” approached……”Where you headed she asked?” And that’s how conversations begin and you make a new friend. She gave me great advice on the best route to take back to the coast…..not the one I was going to use, but this is the beauty of meeting locals. A bonus when riding a motorcycle bucket-list trip!
It turns out her family is coming to Bend, (my home) for Thanksgiving and I was able to help her with some suggestions too. She offered to call a friend in the coastal town of Jenner and arrange a place for me to stay……you couldn’t script this stuff. But I had plans to go inland to see this vegan restaurant in Santa Rosa for dinner. It’s out of the way, not much but certainly off Hwy 1 and I would have to backtrack the next morning……but this place sounded too good to pass……Oh how I love the serendipitous aspect of the way our travels go.
The hot table had so many choices, it was frustrating to know you could not try them all. That is something you rarely hear a plant based person say…..too many choices !
I only made one trip through, but I did eat two plates of salad……
I spent time with Jerry the owner, Chef Iwaca and a couple of regular customers talking about food, travel, life, philosophy……all the things that seem so natural when you make new friends on the road. Loved every bit of this place and everyone I met……can’t wait to take Karla there…….
I don’t know about you but I never look at gas prices, if I need gas, I get gas, it’s only going to be a few gallons….right? So I know I need to fill up and there’s only one station in this NorCal coastal town…….I’m about to start pumping, when a lady across the pump exclaims, “Holy Cow, do see the prices?” I stopped and said well no I didn’t look. $5.55/gallon for regular……uh that is a little excessive…..so I only got 2 gallons.
Grab a tissue, I have to tell you a sad story. When I was growing up, my family only went on one vacation; we were poor, I guess really poor but I didn’t realize it, so OK it’s really not that sad….. My brother asked me not long ago, “Did you realize we were poor?” and I said, no it was just normal. And we agreed we wouldn’t change where or how we were raised for anything……so I guess it’s not really that sad……but if you’re feeling it…… I have this, Go Fund Me campaign……Toes in the water, ass in the sand………
Oh yes the vacation…..
The place I remember the most was, Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox……..and here it is 50 years later and there they are…………I’m pulling in and doing a little reminiscing, I mean this was a really big deal at the time.
You know how sometimes your memories of childhood turn out to be wrong………I thought Babe was a girl …….during this visit it was pretty obvious…….from distance even……..that I was mistaken. I wonder what else I’m still have incorrect impressions about 50 years later?????
Now heading into Oregon on the Redwood Highway, the roads become more familiar, like a book you’ve read or old friends you hang out with.
Getting close to home, Oregon Hwy 230 looks up to Mt Thielsen. At 9200′ it has the nickname, “Lightning Rod” of the Cascades due to frequent strikes on that peak.
That’s the end of my first solo trip, even if it was to go see Karla, she wasn’t there to share the great people I met, or to experience another unique adventure. We shall do it again, together in 2016.
California Hwy 1, a bucket list trip for everyone who rides. Choosing your trip based on weather, is vital. Summer fog is normal and will hide everything.
“There’s too much too see waiting in front of me, so I can’t look backward too long.” Jimmy Buffett.