(Riding California Highways 1 and 101)

Day Two:

I was up early (6:30 a.m. or so), chatted with Chris and Liz briefly, showered, brushed teeth, packed up the gear that I'd managed to strew all around the guest room (there is something about having to pack everything you need to exist on the road into such a VERY limited space that creates a terrible mess each evening as you drag out all the stuff you need to use) and then loaded up the bike. Chris had recently decided to sell his Suzuki SV650 and has a potential buyer who requested that a mechanic look it over. He was planning on riding his bike to work and then to take it by the mechanics later in the day. So, after saying good-bye and thank you to Liz we headed out on our bikes together (sadly what was to be one of the last rides Chris would probably take on his SV). He led me safely out of the tangle of streets that is Palo Alto. A few miles along he pointed out the direction I needed to go and he headed off towards his job. Me, I was headed into the hills west of town to breakfast at the legendary motorcycle hangout known as "Alice's Restaurant."

Alice's doesn't open for breakfast until 8:30 so I wandered around the area for a 1/2 hour of so waiting for them to open and for all the motorcycles to start showing up. None ever did. I had the place to myself all through breakfast.

I ate a fine breakfast of chicken/apple sausages, egg and hash browns though...and coffee, lots of hot coffee. Chris and Liz don't drink coffee and I was suffering from acute caffeine depravation (ACD).

Hitting the road once more and following the advice from my fellow ST.Netters (thanks Andrew!) and having it verified by the people working at Alice's, I traveled down the Skyline Highway (Hwy 35) south down to its intersection with Hwy 9 and then followed the road westward as it swooped, lifted and dove over to the coast. I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of this delightful set of roads to post here...I was simply having too good a time riding them to stop and take photos. Suffice it to say these roads rank right up there at the top my list of "don't miss" roads to ride. They are challenging, in wonderful shape and on this Tuesday morning they were quite lightly traveled (and I never saw a single member of our law enforcement community).

Eventually Hwy 9 dropped me off onto the coast at Santa Cruz. I used to live in Santa Cruz when I was a wee lad with my family waaay back in (no laughing) 1958. I thought I had a pretty good memory of the town. Well, suffice it to say that the town's grown some. Amazingly I only got really lost twice on this trip (I have almost NO sense of direction). This is one of them...I got totally turned around here in my old hometown.

And it was also here in Santa Cruz that I pulled two of the only really bone-headed moves I made on this trip. The first was that in my confusion from being lost I stopped at a stoplight and then immediatly took off again (in my mind thinking it was a stop sign, I guess). I survived without scaring any locals too badly. My other foolish move was to travel for a couple of blocks going the wrong way on a one way street. I was moving along smartly until I saw this total "wall" of vehicles coming right at me! I realized at once what was going on so much to the horror/surprise of the local pedestrians I jumped the bike up onto the sidewalk and rode down it to where the next crossroad and there was able to get myself situated a bit more properly.

Eventually I found my way back to Hwy 1 and made my way around the bay to Monterey and took a quick trip down Cannery Row made famous in John Steinbeck's writings.

Due to the nature of my work and the time of year it has to happen I've never been able to attend the motorcycle races that happen in July at the Laguna Seca Raceway so I thought that since I was in the general neighborhood I might as well head a bit inland over Hwy 98 towards Salinas to take a look at the track.

Nice! A friendly grounds man chatted with me about motorcycle racing and described the mob scene that is the races...then took my picture

I returned back over Hwy 98 to hook back up with Hwy 1 and headed south.

Continuing south for the next 100 miles or so there isn't much civilization but My, Oh My, what lovely day and what a beautiful coastline!

I MADE myself make lots of stops for pictures

You can probably just make out Hwy 1 there in the background as it hugs the coastline...a perfect motorcycle road

As I got close to San Simeon the road flattened and straightened out quite a lot and was much closer down to towards the beaches. I couldn't help but notice that the sands seemed to be covered with large rocks, or possibly logs. A sign pointed out a roadside rest ahead so I pulled in to stretch, get a drink of water and take a look. It was quite a popular rest but one of the joys of motorcycles is that you can park pretty much I did. It turns out that this rest's popularity is because the "rocks/logs" were actually thousand upon thousands of elephant seals dozing in the sand! The place is named San Peidras Blancas and it is amazing!

I don't believe I'd ever seen an elephant seal before...they struck me as a sort of ocean going Basset Hound. They were bigger and with smaller ears but I immediatly recognized that "life is about dozing in the sun" attitude our own Bassets back home have.

The shear number of bodies on the beach boggled my mind...this is only one of miles of beaches they cover

It was at this point during a phone call to Becky to tell her about the amazing thing I was seeing that I learned that my boss from work had been trying to get hold of me. I called him and found that he needed me to cover a job the following week. Damn, I wasn't expecting that. I shuffled my plans around a bit and decided that I'd simply adjust my schedule (cutting out a day I had planned of exploring the roads east of here) and getting home a day sooner to give me the time I needed to take care of business and get ready for work the following week.

I was hoping to make it to my southern most goal of San Luis Obispo that evening but I was getting pretty tired. No point in pushing it I figured...remember even having a day cut from my trip I was still "the wind." So I pulled into the likely looking town of Cambria and found that motel that I'm always looking for. The Bluebird. Clean, courtyard style, mom & pop kinda place with great rates ($55), a clean nice-sized room and carries the Weather Channel on the TV.

I ordered myself a pizza, pulled a little maintenance on the bike, ate and fell hard asleep. Perfect.

It was a short but again challenging day. Only about 250 miles but stopped for LOTS of pictures (only a small percentage of which are shown here)

To continue on to Day 3 simply click on the palm trees