This is the second of these eclectic adventures to one "Mecca" of riding - Highway One along the Big Sur/Point Lobos stretch. We did this in 2010 and liked it enough to try again with some added touches. Here is our group at 7 am posing in the 42 degree Long beach, CA air ready to go.
I say eclectic because of the mix of riders and motorcycles that somehow get along and stay with one another as we enjoyed the great California coast and interior. We are Tim (a chemistry and AP chemistry teacher) on a rented 2012 1200RT. His other bike is a Ducati 1198!
Matt (a physics and AP physics teacher) on his Honda Shadow
Jeff (an ex-student of Tim and I who currently attends Cypress College riding a 750 Honda Nighthawk that always gets the most attention)
and I, (retired HS Anatomy and Physiology and current biology teacher at Cypress College) on my 2004 R1150RT and wearing anything Motoport has for sale.
The weather was sunny and windy after several days of hard rain as we rode up the 405 and 10 freeways toward Malibu. The wind was an issue all day as it kept building in strength to our left. The coast was superbly clear except for whitecaps as far as you could see. We did well and the morning cold got to some of us as we moved through the lower coast. We took PCH to Ventura/Oxnard and 101 to the highway 154. I asked about fuel needs of the two Hondas and got a pair of thumbs up so we kept going - WRONG! The road gods were against us and cars blocked every attempt to get free of their plodding as we passed Lake Cachuma. The attempts at passing got all of us thinking how to better move a group of four bikes in a safe, but peppy way when we wanted to pass; the training helped later on. We stopped at Pepe Del Gados in San Luis Obispo for lunch and a bit of warmth and fuel. Both Hondas were on fumes! We made plans to avoid that with more frequent fuel stops. Imagine only getting 150 miles per tank!
Highway One was a mixed blessing, we got better at riding together and the scenery improved, but that wind made it tough. We hit the fun turns and just willed the bikes through the twisties. When you came out of a right turn to a left one and the bike needed to lean left the wind said NO with a vengeance. Sometimes just going straight made us all wonder. The gusts were the topics of conversation at each rest or fuel stop along with stories of wonder that you made it through the last stretch. All of us have ridden in wind before and ridden in twisties, but the combination of good twisties like near Big Sur and a killer wind made us a bit thoughtful. I might add that it had recently rained and the mountainside gave us numerous road surprises as we came around corners bent over revving engines. Brick-size rocks, water and nice wife patches of sand made us think about sliding forward on the pretty plastic and metal instead of rubber. We checked our chicken strips and noticed how small they had been made by our progress. The Shadow is a different sort of bike with a Harley vibe and Matt remarked how far we leaned over through the turns. It was new to him to do that, but he was right with us and never whined a bit. Jeff is a bit of a natural with the sort of vintage bike and just turns like he is unaffected by the whole thing. He looks like he never shifts or at least I never see the shifts; quite a kid at almost 21. He wants a BMW as badly as one can possibly want something.
We checked into the Big Sur Lodge around 4 before heading up to Point Lobos. I highly recommend this place for several reasons: they are where you want to go, they in the forest and you drive through the forest to check in and get to your room and they have a nice restaurant with very good food and a clever selection of fine beers. No beer for Jeff yet!
This is Point Lobos with all its wonder.
Somehow the photos were not as important this trip as the wind sapped my shuttle finger of its strength. Here are a couple from our trip in 2010
A great dinner and a comfortable room finished the day with all of us ready for an early bedtime.
We had breakfast on the last trip at the Big Sur Lodge and it was great, but I suggest you get on the road at daybreak. We did that leaving at 7 am with empty stomachs, coffee-desiring bodies and were treated to this
for almost 70 miles with only one car! That one car immediately pulled over and waved us forward. We owned PCH for the entire time. No wind, perfect light, great twisties, amazing sights to ourselves. Tim lead a peppy trip with Jeff next, then me and Matt's Shadow in the rear. Four bikes were in synch like I could not imagine before the trip. The distance between bikes was really close, but not stupid and it was great. I may have taken the twisties of Highway One faster, but we flew! The rocks, running water and sand may have correctly slowed us a bit and we are here today due to that caution. Here is one of the bridges
And here are four hungry, happy riders after 70 miles of Highway One to ourselves.
We stopped and finally ate breakfast in San Luis Obispo at the Big Sky Cafe in downtown. I like that place a lot. Great and noteworthy coffee and unusual, but very tasty breakfast offerings. Go there!
The best might have been what we did next. We took 166 from the 101 and that was different scenery, but really fun. The group knew how to pass and we did just that until we managed the 60 miles almost alone. We would pass a couple of cars and get 10 miles alone as a reward. The turn to highway 33 toward Ojai is SUDDEN and I almost missed it. Jeff, with one front disk brake and one drum in the back, was kinda a bit close on my right when I made the quick turn and we almost had trouble. We stopped quickly to find only a slight tire tread scrub on my side case. Apologies were everywhere from everyone and we decided that I should start using brakes and not just downshift, that my Garmin incorrectly shows a sloping right turn that was really a sharp 90 degrees and Jeff should have more following distance.
Highway 33 was next and the hills had a lot of snow as we looked up. The difference between the coast, highway 166 with the farmlands and now the snow covered mountains in one day is a good deal. By the way, it seems that this area might be good for trying a bit past posted limits (shhhh - don't tell). The highway 33 leg was also about 60 miles with as many twisties as you might want. That snow was melting across the road with a fair number of sand piles and rocks so we slowed down a bit. We met an unusual (mom, dad, son daughter) family in Ojai while fueling up; they had two Honda Valkyries and another big Honda. I think my RT is wide, but those babies are like Bubba-wide. Really nice motorcycles and a very cool family out for a ride. The trip from Ojai on 150 was another wonderful road passing through Wheeler Gorge. You need to make this ride if you have not done so or do it again. Even the 210 freeway was moving well past the posted speed limit so we kept up with traffic so as to not block their progress. We made it home by 4 pm - a very good use of two days of our lives.
Get on your bike and ride and get some great riders to go with you.