Monday, September 10, 2012

What do Sunsets mean to you?

It was labor day weekend and I had an extra day off secured after the long weekend. The question that my unquenchable wanderlust asks me is always the same...

"Wanna get away?"

Why, yes of course I do! How long does it take to pack my bags for a fun 4 day get away (2 day riding, and 2 day lounging at the beach)? No time at all when I am motivated. Never mind that I worked really late last night, or that the oft repeated question in my psyche wasn't posed till I woke up at 7:30am in the morning. I was heading out the door by 9:00am. 

The route, the exits, the gas stops, the food stops and the fun roads you can make great time on - I am beginning to have them memorized. Just point the mighty FJR in the right direction and shoot away through the central coast of California. The route being I5 to Hwy 156 to Hollister for late breakfast, Hwy 25 to Hwy 198 to Hwy 101 to Hwy 41 to Hwy 229 to Creston for a late lunch, to Hwy 58 back to I5 to I405 and then back again to I5 to have friends and dinner waiting for you. 

Which brings me back to - "Wanna get away?" Thanks Southwest, but I already got it covered, and I will pass on that groping hand up my legs till it "meets resistance". 

What do sunsets mean to you? The only other time when you can look directly at the cosmic force which is our sun, without burning out your retinas? :) or is it the anticipation of a new day? The promise of tomorrow? or is it those magical few moments when everything turns color, ever changing color, what was once white, turns to amber, same with blue, which sometimes turns to purple, when the sky even though the fireball in the sky has sunk below view, remains ablaze for a few more precious moments. 

For all of the reasons above and then some more that I do not have the ability nor the talent to put into words deserving, I love sunsets!

One of my absolute favorite things to do when by the ocean, everyday I am by the coast, if possible. My best chances are at the southern California coast, being so that our northern coasts often pull a thick sheet of fog over their heads about this time. 

My first day at the beach, a big smile on my face .. :D

So many sights one sees by the ocean - surfers paddling, sandpipers skeltering, sea gulls swooping - all of which gets enhanced a million fold in the backdrop of a setting sun. I enjoyed watching this lone stand up paddle boarder slowly paddle across my viewpoint. 
I was back again the next day. This evening was going to be a treat. The skies were turning at first a muted shade of purple.
My hopes of a purple sunset were rising. I have never seen a purple sky at a sunset along the coast before, not in person. This was indeed going to be a treat!
As the sun dipped further towards the horizon, I zoomed in to catch a closer view of the fireball as it first flirted with the clouds in the distance. No shades of purple here, this close to the fiery sun.

Then watched it dip behind the clouds, fortunately they weren't thick enough to cloud the sun completely. 

Zooming back out. The skies were once again a different color. The sun was almost kissing the horizon. It would soon dive out of view..

The light show wasn't over just yet. The seconds after the sun disappeared beyond the horizon. The sky was set ablaze in it's swan song. A last burst of fire in the clouds...

Then declining, finally succumbing to the night. My first purple sky sunset. It was all that I had hoped it would be, quite the bonus for the last night of this short trip to southern California. :)

It was time to head home once again. I had purposely avoided riding down the coast to southern California during Labor day weekend. Trying to avoid traffic patterns, I had stayed inland. I was using the extra day I had off after Labor day to travel back home (a Wednesday actually, I worked remotely on Tuesday). A perfect time to cruise up the central Calif. coast. 

The route once again having been committed to memory, even though I had to change it slightly due to weather patterns. I was hoping to ride one of my favorite highways on my return trip. Hwy 33 north of Ojai, however, when I reached Ventura the weather radar was showing significant rain on my route through Hwy 33. Not that I wouldn't ride in the rain, but riding like I wanted to ride on Hwy 33 was not going to be advisable. 

As an alternate, I ditched the plans (better the plans than me) for Hwy 33 to Hwy 166 west to the coast and headed towards Santa Barbara and clear skies instead. Hwy 154 from Santa Barbara takes me to Foxen Canyon which is a great road running parallel to Hwy 101 into Santa Maria, from here I jumped on Hwy 101 to the Hwy 1 exit to Morro Bay. One of my favorite lunch stop along this route.

There were still some leftover props from the long weekend in Morro Bay. Pictured below is the US Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV). When a submarine is in trouble at the bottom of the ocean, this is the craft that they sent to rescue the sailors. This particular vehicle is one of two the navy has (that we know of anyway). The DSRV-Mystic. It was also featured in the Sean Connery film "The Hunt for Red October".

Snail's eye view..

 Rode the big blue FJR up close to Morro Rock. The FJR likes it when I make it appear small in comparison..

The run up the central California coast was as alluring as it ever has been, no matter how many times I make this trek, it always feels refreshing, feels new, and invigorating..

Just a little north of Morro Bay is a view point to watch the Elephant Seals which lay along the beach sunning themselves in hordes. This day, I could only find this one fat fellow, who probably lay here waiting for the others who might have gone fishing, to bring him his fair share of the bounty.

You also see some unusual things along the coast. Tell me what you think of this? Seems like if two is company, then three is a real party! Rock on (to each their own)!!

You also see coastlines of unsurpassed beauty. I don't have the words..

Foggy or otherwise, the California coast just takes your breath away..

Still, nothing beats finding the sun again along the coast, as it plays a game of cat and mouse with you from behind the fog..

The coastlines of Big Sur, as you stop and gaze, they seem like they would hold your gaze forever. Hard to look away and continue on.. 

I like to slip in the FJR in these shots as well. Makes it happy! Gotta keep her happy! :)

This one below is a private beach in Big Sur. I wonder who owns it...? Looks so tempting...amazing!!

Having photographed the unfettered view of McWay Falls in a previous ride. This time I went for a different view of McWay Falls hiding behind the foliage.

Although if you were wondering what the unobstructed view of McWay falls looked like. The background was bright and the foreground dark so it was hard to get a good picture..but here it is..not as good as last time.

I availed the opportunity to take a last couple of shots some ways north of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park, before a dense fog completely enveloped my view of the coastline. 

Simply stating that I love it here would be an egregious understatement!

Compared to riding along the coast, everything else appears to be a slog. The fog had  long shrouded the coast and it was getting pretty dark as I left Monterey after dinner. With the Clearwater Krista's and my HID headlamps blazing a path through the dark night, I found my way back through Hwy 152/156 to I5, bypassing the Bay area traffic, to home sweet home...

As always, thank you for reading! :)


  1. A comment from my friend Tyler, to the question I posed.

    "What do sunsets mean to you?"

    I just had to share her beautiful words.

    "Ah, Sam... you and I are definitely kindred spirits when it comes to the coast and sunsets... your photos are just glorious (I didn't say fabulous, OM, so bugger off)!! I have been a sunset aficionado for years... I will stop pretty much anywhere, anytime to enjoy those few gloriously colored moments in our world... when Shannon, my daughter, was around 12 or 13 she was always giving me crap about how I was always looking at the sunsets and what was the big deal?

    So I explained to her that, to me, sunsets are a work of art made by God (or whatever power/energy/science you want to call it)... that each one was different, unique, and special... that there would never be another one like it... it was a gift and that we should always remember to stop in our lives to enjoy those types of gifts no matter how small or fleeting they may seem because that truly is what life is made up of.

    A couple of weeks later, she said, "Mom, look at the sunset." I thought she was giving me a hard time again... but then she took me by the arm, turned me around to face the multi-colored sky and said, "No, Mom, really... look at the sunset... it's beautiful tonight." Made me tear up... one of those moments that will forever be etched into my memory and my heart.

    Thank you for sharing your gifts, Sammy!!" - Tyler.

  2. The waterfall shot is so so so ... it is everything good. Great shot



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