Day 11
June 23rd, 2005
San Luis Obispo, California

Our ride today is not a long one, 300 miles at the most, so we were in no hurry.  I was up early and ran 4 miles, and felt good, but the weather was kind of foggy.  Common this time of day.  In all my mornings here, I don't recall a single one when it wasn't, but it usually burns off by lunch.

We got on the road, and I lead us out of the city and up the Pacific Coast Highway.  The PCH is one of the most famous, and photographed roads in the world.  I've never leaned it south to north, but did drive it in the Prelude in 2000.  Back then, I use to think a car could satisfy my itch for 2 wheels and exploring.

The best of the PCH is San Luis to Monterey, good road and heights.  It passes through Big Sur, which a lot of folks confuse with Avenue of the Giants in the north.

The group topped off gas tanks at a Shell station, and I checked the pressure on the rear.  It was down 2 lbs, I added 4.  That amount was routine, so the plug was holding fine.
​Checking air pressure in San Luis Obispo.  I was with a 
great group of friends and riders.  Photo MartinB

I had on the leather AGV sport gloves, in the cool air of the coast.

I was in the lead, an unusual spot for me.  Because of my style I usually place myself in the back, I feel like I'm in control back there because I can see everybody.  But the locals wanted to indulge me, so I took the point.  

I led the group around 3 cars and 1 RV near Hearst Castle.  I had to wait till I felt everyone had a decent chance before making the pass.  One of these days I need to take that tour, (of the castle) but I can't see giving up a day of leaning to see some guys house.

The first few miles pass quietly, but soon the highway breaks away from the inland areas and moves closer to the coastline.  The PCH is the kind of road you have to make call on.  Get into the sport position or watch scenery?  Northbound the road seems to be a little more uphill, which I find easier to carve.  Visibility into the Pacific was a few miles.  It was cloudy, no coastal fog.

The road builders blasted and carved the road bed into the sides of mountains and walls.  Falling rock areas dot the shoulders, and should be taken seriously.  A few have nets, to prevent big stuff from rolling out, but it doesn't take a large rock to take you out on 2 wheels.
​Because Jerrol is one of the best ST riders, I listen when
he gives pointers.  Here we are on a vista on the shores 
of the Pacific Ocean and THE Pacific Coast Highway.

After putting 50 miles down we came to a halt on a scenic vista for photos.  It was great.  I love the PCH and when I'm not here, I dream about being here.  

When we finished the photo op Martin took the lead, and I went to the rear.  It was still early and traffic was not bad, we passed a few isolated cars, and waved at the southbound bikes.

You can always tell when you near Big Sur, the highway turns very technical, and the trees grow bigger.  Our group fell behind a long line of cars and was forced through the area slowly.  Caltrans recently layed a slick new surface in the area, and it made for good riding. 

It was lunch time, and we stopped at the River Inn for something to eat.  We sat out back on the deck and enjoyed a great meal, with a nice ambience.  Kind of pricey, but everything is in Big Sur.  Just tell yourself you only come once a year, and don't worry about it.  I had to put on Alan's coat to ward off the chill.  You know how thin blooded southerners can be.
​River Inn, Big Sur.  From rear:  Alan Tryhorn, Guy, Jerrol,
Joyce and Don Cortez.  Photo MartinB

The shops and restaurants seemed to be doing a brisk business on this morning.  I failed to see the gas prices on the local pumps.  I remember 4 years ago, gas was 2.50 a gallon here.  I didn't want to look this time, why we gassed up in San Luis
​Joyce Cortez preparing her equipment, and VFR.
River Inn, Big Sur, California.

I knew the Bixby was not far, and most know it, as one of my favorite spots in the country.  In all my travels, I never tire of this road, and the area.  It is so beautiful here.  The morning clouds were beginning to burn off, and I was having a blast.

We stopped for pictures at the southbound and northbound view areas.  It is hard to describe the feeling I have when I ride across the Bixby.  Because I dreamed so long about doing it, holds a special place for me.  When I was 14, and riding a Honda 70 all over the county, I longed for the day I could ride to my hearts content.  To see all the places I saw Bronson ride.  To cross the Bixby the way he did on his way to great adventure.

I wanted to see the beauty of this land, and I wanted to do it on a motorcycle.  Finding the out of the way towns and people that make America what it is.  Back then I had the trappings of life, of school, and then work to look forward to.  Now my life is my own, and as I closed on this famous landmark I wanted to freeze time, and go in a holding pattern, so this period of my life would never leave me, but I know that is not possible, and because it is not, I must savor these days.  Each and every one must be fully lived and appreciated.
​With the Bixby Bridge in the background, I posed for this
picture on the southbound turnout.  Photo MartinB

Martin documented my time here.  It was over all to quickly.  His photos do a good job detailing how I feel about this place between the mountains and ocean.
​The lone figure of the 1300 crossing the famous Bixby Bridge.
You have to dream big sometimes.  Photo MartinB

Out of Big Sur and across the Bixby, we move on to Carmel and the associated congestion.  Highway 1 becomes a freeway as it makes it way through the Monterey sprawl.  The seaside towns of the peninsula are not much fun.  Traffic lights, busses and SUVs clog the way.  All you can do is be patient.
​   Jerrol completes his ride across the Bixby.
We gassed in Santa Cruz.  Jerrol and I watched a guy get all pissed off when someone cut in front of him and took his spot at the pump.  We thought he was going to jerk him out of the car.  Funny, Jerrol went around him because he was talking on a cell phone and not paying attention.  He didn't have the nerve to say anything, when he saw Jerrol, and a group of riders that had his back.  But the young couple was fair game.  I that thought that was weak.  If it meant enough to him to jack them up, it should have meant something with Jerrol.  But he wasn't going to pick on someone his own size.

The sun was out now, and the riding was good after we cleared the peninsula, and returned to the coast.  I watched Joyce Cortez on the VFR.  Freestyle has made her a pretty good rider.  She is 100% better than my first ride with her 4 years ago, at that time she was still learning, and Free was keeping a close eye on her.  But now, HE has a hard time keeping her in sight.  He has taught her well.  

The landscape along the PCH is less mountainous north of Monterey and not as challenging.  A rider can relax, and enjoy the ocean view.  The guys riding with me indulge me.  They can ride here almost anytime they want, it is no big deal.   As for me?  I live far away from any famous highways, but that has not stopped me from riding them.   Highways like the Icefields Parkway, Cabot Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, US 1 into Key West, Great River Road, the Klamath, Rising Sun, to name a few.  When a road has a name instead of a number; good enough reason for me to seek it out.

We left Highway 1 and followed Martin inland.  We were on a narrow, bumpy road that bounced us along.  I was tired.  The 4000 miles the last 10 days have worn me down, and as a result I backed way down.  I don't know the route number for the road, and couldn't find it in my atlas later.

We joined SR 84 and came La Honda on our way to Alice's Restaurant.  I've been on the road before and just as twisty as I remembered it.  A series of S curves arrives, the others mowed them down rather routinely, as for me I was in no mood for a technical ride.  I feared making a mistake so took it easy, but I still had a good time.
It was a quiet afternoon on this work day at Alice's.  Most were still out there in the commuting wars somewhere.  Only a few bikes here and there.  I was standing out in the parking lot eating a muffin, when a blue FJR came in.  "Nice color," I remarked.  "Yours is nice to."  We sized up each other's bike and I left my card.  He seemed like a nice guy.

Now it was time to cross the bay and land in Freestyle's Homestead.  We took 280 and crossed the San Mateo Bridge and went on 580.  Traffic was building, and we were temporarily hung up on the east side.  I still think about that Friday night when I made my first trip here.  Without knowing a thing about what was going on, I made it across the 580 and landed in Redwood City, I made one wrong turn into Oakland, but recovered.  It was the first time I met Dennis Ryan.  I arrived in town on a Friday night and it as was a mad dash in all directions.
I followed Freestyle when he split lanes around some gridlocked cars, it saved us a generous amount of time.  Alan and Martin had split off, leaving only Jerrol and I to follow the Cortezs'.
The turn off to Don's house is tricky.  The road is narrow and up a long hill, you can't relax, or risk a car surprising you.  I negotiated Free's long, uphill driveway, and landed in his garage.  Made it.  The westbound leg was in the book, and I'm at the turnaround point.  It was a great ride west, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I saw a lot of great country and leaned some great highways.  It was magical.

We put in 277 miles today, and I was at 4,348 miles for the trip so far.

I picked up a voice mail from Chris, and called him back.  He was in Sacramento and waiting for John David to pick him up.  I advised him to be good, and I'd see him in Angles Camp in a couple of days.

Jerrol parked his bike next to mine and Freestyle showed us our accommodations.  He has a great place, comfortable and cozy.  When I finished unpacking, he took me to his PC.  I did the usual spam clean out and checked email.  I also made a post on the ST forum I was in Castro Valley and well.  I called home and spoke to Debbie, she always feels better when I hook up with my friends.

Joyce ordered some great pizza and we enjoyed a quiet night.  I just wanted to relax and soak in the surroundings, and look back on the west bound leg.  Bob Bueno made a surprise visit.  When he found out Jerrol and I were in town, he jumped on his BMW GS and made the ride over the Bay.  Bob was a good friend of Dennis Ryan's and still remains close to the family.  He had just bought the GS, and was thoroughly enjoying it.
Before going to bed I put a few notes in the Axim.  I'm looking forward to the lay over.  I'll be in Castro Valley 2 nights, before making the quick ride to Angels Camp for the wedding.  Tired, I went to bed kind of early, and looked forward to sleeping in the next day.