Monday, May 28, 2012

An old fashioned ride report to Southern California.

Another month and another run down to the beaches of Southern California for an extended long weekend of fun! The previous two runs to and from the area in about as many months, had been along the coast to enjoy the crystal clear coastal beauty that the Indian summer serves up along the coastline. On this day, I chose to play on some of the more in land roads of Central California, to enjoy them before the summer heat burns everything to a crisp, including the riders..

The route I had planned was a mixture of a some twisty but fast highways, some boring slab and then also some remote back roads to keep things interesting. I left out some other very tempting offerings in the area  for another day, possibly the return trip, but this was still going to be a 736 mile day. Narrating that story here, no fancy and pretty pictures in this one, mostly just 'from the saddle' photography..

An early-ish start and some early slab work through Sacramento (love the new car pool lane on Hwy 50!) and I-5 through Lodi, Stockton and Manteca areas, put me on Hwy 152/156 towards Hollister where I planned to stop for breakfast at the Country Rose Cafe. In my opinion it is the best Breakfast joint in Hollister and when not in a hurry to pile on the miles, very worth the while to stop for a leisurely breakfast.

Breakfast stop Country Rose Cafe. This time I tried the Steak and Eggs with Salsa. The Salsa was homemade and very good! Found a seat at the big glass window overlooking the very small parking lot, as popular as the place is locally - parking is usually an issue on weekends, but not this day as it was a weekday and I was here for a late breakfast.



The high speed runway Hwy 25, also known as the 'airline highway' was next on the agenda. The road is pretty popular with motorcyclists looking to avoid the speed trap laced drudgery of Hwy 101.
I have always taken from the saddle pictures from over the top of my windshield while riding, this day I took most of these shots from the knee or below level to see how they would turn out...here are the results..

A fellow rider putting his BMW through the paces on Hwy 25..

Another rider demonstrating that it is indeed possible to ride 10 miles below the speed limit on this stretch. To each his own, not everyone feels the need, the need for speed..

When you are flying, so does the time! Fun on Hwy 25 followed by Hwy 198 and it was back to slab work on Hwy 101. Once again I found myself skipping past San Luis Obispo, one of these days it might be very well worth it to stop and explore Old Town San Luis Obispo..some day soon, but today I headed straight to Pismo Beach and the ocean. Lunch was calling at a long standing establishment in Pismo Beach that I had been wanting to patronize.

Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach.



Maybe those guys shouldn't be standing/freaking out in the middle of the road..

















































The restaurant has been around since 1989 at this location. The place was packed to the gills for lunch, I found myself a seat along the wall and waited for my Grilled Salmon sandwich to show up...didn't take long and it was delicious!

Got Hat? Sweating under the A/C vent?

















































Walked over to the Pismo Beach Pier after lunch, it was a beautifully sunny day for sunning at the beach. There is about 20 miles of sunny sandy beaches at Pismo Beach for all kinds of fun by the ocean! The coast was clear, so as promised - I snapped a picture of some beach babes for Old Michael and BeemerDons!
































Looking inland towards Pismo Beach from the pier. Very cute little town.
































Back on the road again, wading through traffic on Hwy 101, until I could escape to Hwy 166 East. I found the sun behind me and caught glimpses of a shadow racer..
































































































I was heading east towards Cerro Norestes Road. Leaving the cool green coast, it seemed I was heading towards what will in a month or so become a steaming inferno. Evidently everything had already been incinerated over here, not much green left to gander through here anymore.
































The landscape through here was pretty much devoid of color, just stark and lonely.


I didn't spot another vehicle till I reached the outskirts of Pine Mountain Club, where Cerro Norestes changes into Mt. Potrero Hwy - this road is a lot of  fun!





























Followed by another remote lonely road - Lockwood Valley road back towards Hwy 33. I had never been on this road before, and it passes through some desolate eroded landscapes, it seems in the rains, this route is prone to flash floods and the loose eroded sand/gravel just washes across the road. I was glad it was dry and sunny today!
































Eroded hills on Lockwood Valley road..




































Finally! One of my favorite roads/highways in Southern California! Hwy 33, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this fantastically twisty road! Have I mentioned how much I love this road?

Looking back towards where Hwy 33 starts climbing past Lockwood Valley road.
































On one of my photo stops I spied this guy on a cruiser pass on by as I tinkered with the camera. A few minutes later I found this rider again and settled into a following distance, waiting for a chance to pass, but the cruiser rider had other ideas, he saw me behind him and decided to pick up the pace and run from me and not let me pass...Unfortunately this ended in him going wide on a turn and end up in the dirt and gravel. I saw it all unfold in front of my eyes, my first thought for an instant as I saw him go wide was..."Ohh he is pulling over, he has had enough..", the very next thought was "Ohh shit, he isn't slowing down at all!!". The cruiser hit the uneven mix of dirt and fishtailed and then went airborne! The rider was holding on for dear life and by sheer luck or skill or maybe a mixture of both and a lot of help from his guardian angels above, he managed to ride it through and come to a stop.

I pulled over and helped him check out the bike for damage. There was no apparent damage, so I waited with him till he had gathered his senses and followed him for a bit to make sure he was going to be all right..
It was a good reminder to ride safe and within our abilities and not let our egos get the better of us!












































































What a great day or riding it had been. California is truly a motorcyclists Mecca - some of the very best riding in the country and all year around! I was going to spend the rest of my mini vacation in my other happy place on the beaches of Southern California. The sun in my face, the sand between my toes and the music of the ocean in my ears!
No matter how many times I visit these beaches, it is always different, just like the patterns on the pebble beaches are never the same twice!
















































































Leave your footprints in the sand, so your loved ones can follow, or better yet walk by your side!

PostScript:

What is it about the irresistible appeal and raw unadulterated animal attraction of the best super-sport touring motorcycle in the world, which makes attractive, shapely women in form hugging bustiers press themselves against the window to get a good look at their object of desire!




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