Coming home on Day 3 was a mostly highway run from San Franscisco to highway 17 in San Jose down to Santa Cruz. Northern California is fabulous for motorcycle commuting: all the highways have HOV lanes and motorcycles are allowed to use them. This includes the on-ramps as well as the highways themselves. Motorcycle commuting is very common there: you see many practical bikes such as SVs and dual sports, many with top boxes. You are allowed to “share” lanes–basically ride in between cars when they’re stopped or below a certain speed. Of note here is that the cars seldom pull in front of you and seem to never exhibit aggressive behavior toward motorcyclists. This alone makes me want to live in Northern California badly.
Route 17 is a twisty, mountains version of the Schuylkill Expressway–fast moving, crowded with no run-off. I live and ride in Philadelphia so I fit right in. Missing was only erratic lane changes by car with no regard to contents of the drivers blind spot: just like home but less deadly.
Day 4 found me stitching together some of the most beautiful and in some cases terrifying roads the Santa Cruz mountains have to offer. I paid for a subscription to pashnit.com and tied together most of his recommended roads in the area as an extended route from Santa Cruz to Palo Alto to visit B at her hotel. I won’t disclose the roads as he really deserves the small fee. He’s done his homework not just on the Santa Cruz mountains but throughout Northern California.
Day 5 was B’s introduction to packing everything you have with you into motorcycle luggage that is just slightly smaller than the contents. This included her case books: basically a summary of key cases in her first year of practice that she must present at her oral exams. She’s a trooper. We rode some Pashnit-recommended roads out of Palo Alto, took Skyline Blvd to Alice’s for lunch and then La Honda road out to Route 1. A brief and slightly-too-sandy stop at one of the many beautiful beaches along 1 and on to Santa Cruz for dinner with H & N at a family seafood restaurant on the pier.
Saturday and Sunday involved shopping, killer tacos, napping and cooking at H & N’s. And early morning run up highway 17 (B: once again a trooper) and many hours on planes and we were back in Philadelphia in time to unpack and get to bed at a decent hour.
All in all a great first vacation in 6 years.