Tuesday, November 3, 2009

California 09 - Day three

Day three really starts out the night before in Seaside. After a great day of riding, I parked for the night at the Holiday Inn Express. I'd avoided my computer for the previous nights but I was in need of a plan for the next day so I sat down and fired up Mapsource. Looking at routes for the next day led to scouting for things to see which combined with trying to catch up on emails and voice messages, led to overload. Better find something to eat. After a quick sandwich, I wandered down to the local quick mart to grab a pen as I'd inadvertently shipped my pens and highlighters home with my suitcase full of business clothes and paperwork.
Didn't seem like a big deal until I discovered they had no pens to sell. Really??
The nice ladies at the Shell in Seaside were nice enough to give me a pen from behind the counter. I really wanted a highlighter but beggars can't be too picky.
Back in my room, I looked over the maps, considered suggested routes laid out by Wolfgang from Dubbelju and a few things I'd cribbed from Roadrunner magazine. I pieced something suitable together and augered into the pillow for the night.
The next morning broke clear and cool, with a mist lingering over the ocean. I packed the bike and promptly locked myself out of the room. Doh! Fortunately, I had my wallet with me so a replacement key at the front counter was not a hassle.
Before I headed down the coast, I decided to grab a quick shot of the ocean from Seaside.

See the cars in the mirror? Every one of them had someone sleeping in it. There were about six cars in the parking lot, all seemingly serving as home to one or more people. A good reminder it ain't all sunshine and palm trees.
The plan I'd crafted the night before had me riding a bit down the coast and then heading inland. I'd ridden a long section of 1 in 08 with my friends the Fuzzmops so I was not planning a "redo." What I did not plan for was a perfect day for a ride. Sunny skies, moderate temps, light traffic. On top of that, I was feeling very comfortable on the bike, something I really could not say was the case with the bike I rented last year. Predictably, I rode much further south than I'd planned. It was fantastic, with only a few interruptions to pass some cars or thread through a construction zone. I had to force myself to stop and take a picture or two. Hey, I had LOTS from last year.

It's hard to describe how perfect the ride down the coast was. One of the things I like about riding a twisting road is finding a pace, a rhythm that lets you feel the bike work and gives you that great sensation of speed. If I ride too slowly, my mind drifts and all the things I am hoping to take a break from seep back in. That wasn't a problem here. One of the great things about the R1200R is it's nimble handling and great power delivery. Ideal for a day like that on a road like this.

As I worked my way south, I decided to take the opportunity to see Hearst Castle. Hey, I was this far down the coast, why not? Now, my total data intake on this attraction, prior to this trip, was an article from a motorcycle magazine circa 1967. No, really.. It was a story about a couple from LA that modded an old BMW for travel and headed up the coast. In the article, they rode right up to the place and had a look around. My plan, if you could call it that, was to ride up to the place, and have a look around.
Um, no. If you've been recently, you are chuckling at this point as you know what I did not. There is a visitor's center at the bottom of the hill. You buy a ticket, you wait in line, you ride a bus to the top of the hill and then you get a tour. Eleven seconds after riding into the parking lot, I decided my plans did not include the time all that would take. So, here's what I saw instead.

Close enough. Besides, the ride was the thing, remember?
Having had my tourist moment, I rode a bit further south to reassess my plan and buy some petrol. Gas station sandwich in one hand, map in the other, I worked out the rest of my day's ride. What I was beginning to refer to as my 'anti-plan' was serving me just fine, thanks very much.
I motored inland across 46 and north on 101 just long enough to connect with Indian Valley Rd. My plan was to see one authentic Spanish mission and then head north to Pinnacles National Monument.

Ummm, yeah. Shades of Drakes Well circa 2007 anyone?

Ok, so the ride's the thing, the ride's the thing, the ride's the thing....
The good news was Indian Valley Rd., Peach Tree Rd. and Airline Hwy. Fan-freaking-tastic.

As for Pinnacles National Monument, well, it's probably better if you have time to go hike the place but I did meet a nice chap riding back to San Francisco from LA. He'd been there for a side car rally of some sort but was riding a Tiger, sans side hack. We talked bikes for a bit and I was back on my way.

My plan for the evening was to wind up near Atascadero. I had a route suggested for part of the ride into LA and it began in that vicinity. I rode west to King City for gas and called ahead for a room. Discovering that there was some sort of power outage affecting a large block of the city, precisely where the majority of the hotels in town were located, I called a bit south and got a room in San Luis Obispo. A quick look at the map suggested a few of the 'G' routes that run south and parallel 101 might be a nice ride. Once again, minimal planning worked in my favor and the rest of the day's ride was a nice mix of curves and scenery.

All in all, a really pleasant 460 mile day.

1 comment:

fuzzygalore said...

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie LOL

Even though you might have had lots of shots of the pch from the year before, they really never get old. So beautiful and so unlike anything on this side of the country.

Good stuff~