Central and Northern California: days 2 and 3

Tuesday I rode from a cheap ($39.99!) Motel 6 to Laguna Seca and then headed to route 1 which I took down the coast past the Hearst castle, east on 46 and then up 101 to Santa Cruz to visit my friends who live here.

Laguna Seca has beautiful if rustic camp sites with the best view I’ve seen at a campground. Not much was going on but it was fun to see the facility and say that I’d been there.

Route 1 is an unbelievably beautiful road. I am not sure I’ve ever seen scenery like it. And it’s relentless. I rode about 125 miles down the coast and it was just one cliff with bright blue water washing up on the rocks after another.. It is interspersed with beautiful suspension bridges and views of the road snaking down the coast.

I stopped in Big Sur for breakfast and had some excellent if overpriced pancakes and bacon. Big Sur, as h pointed out on the phone, is populated with old hippies running little grocery stores for the tourists. It’s actually exactly what I would expect.

Nacimiento-Fergusson road was closed due to fire but I rode it anyway and have to tell you is scared me to death.. there’s no guardrail and it snakes relentlessly up into the mountains with sheer drop-offs that overlook route 1 and of course the ocean. The scenery is beautiful. I basically rode until i saw the fire and then gingerly turned the ST1300 around and headed back down.

ST1300: We have a love hate relationship. It’s unreasonably big which in itself I can live with but combined with top heavy it leaves me terrified to move it around or come to a stop quickly. Combined with the snatchiest throttle I’ve experienced on a motorcycle our relationship is somewhat tenuous. Day 3 is finding me a little more comfortable but there’s no way I’d buy one.. give me a CBR600 with soft bags any day.

Among the highlights was a visit to the Hearst Castle: the private home of William Randolph Hearst.. it’s unbelievable. He imported architectural artifacts from all over the world: statues, doors, ceilings, archways, on and on. I will post photos shortly but I can’t begin to explain the beauty of the place. The only thing that comes close is maybe the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA but for different reasons.. It’s *much* more fabulous than the Mercer Museum.

I had a chance to see zebras on the estate: leftovers from Heart’s private zoo: once the largest in the world.

Day 3 was a ride up route 9 to skyline boulevard: easily the finest motorcycle roads I’ve ridden. I continued on to route 1 over the Golden Gate bridge up to Stinson Beach.

The stretch of 1 above San Francisco is unbelievable: crazy curvy, no guardrail but very well maintained.

More tomorrow..

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About morgan

Morgan is a freelance IT consultant living in Philadelphia. He lives with his girlfriend in an old house in Fishtown that they may never finish renovating. His focus is enterprise Messaging (think email) and Directory. Many of his customers are education, school districts and Universities. He also gets involved with most aspects of enterprise Linux and UNIX (mostly Solaris) administration, Perl, hopefully Ruby, PHP, some Java and C programming. He holds a romantic attachment to software development though he spends most of his time making software work rather than making software. He rides motorcycles both on and off the track, reads literature with vague thoughts of giving up IT to teach English literature.

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