Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Because I can: A ride down the California eat!

It was 4:30AM, as I opened the garage door, to be greeted by a dark and cold winter morning. It was the morning of the annual Ride to Eat (RTE) organized by a venerable Dutchman called Ninjaboy. I was going to ride some 390 odd miles (with detours) to Guadalupe, CA for their famous Rib-eye steaks today and socialize with fellow riders and then ride a little beyond into Santa Barbara.

Sunrise wasn't until 7:23AM. I was wearing a couple layers, with my winter windscreen on the FJR, but after riding an hour and half in the cold darkness at 77 mph and above, I was chilled right down to my bones. It was time to whip out the electrics for the first time since I have owned an FJR.
Temperatures were in the low 30s, I had ridden in the low 30s several times before without the need for electrics, I think no warmth from the sunlight and the new Firstgear Rainier jacket had something to do with this.

Looking to the east on Hwy 152, the sun was painting the sky amber, portending it's arrival over the horizon. There was no stopping to watch the sunrise, I wasn't stopping because I was heading west straight for the ocean. Couldn't see the fireball rising behind me from the east, but I could still see it's handiwork in the early morning light sky canvas.

First stop was Point Lobos State Park, just south of Carmel. The entrance fee is a bit steep at $10, but is good for any other state park on that day. This park has one of the last two remaining Cypress groves in the world and can be reached via the Cypress Grove hiking trail, but first I headed to Whaler's cove for some pictures.

It was a beautiful sunny and clear day and the ocean seemed a bit calm at the onset..

Although, it was just the calm before the storm. The ageless love-hate affair between the ocean and the rocky California Coastline, calm and flirty one minute, raging the next..

On the Cypress grove trail the Cypress trees make one of their last two stands. The climate in this little park is just damp enough for them to thrive on these rocky cliffs along the coastline.

Although, some would eventually turn into driftwood, the ebb and flow of life continues..

The Cypress grove trails loops around some very scenic rocky cliffs along the coast. The trail is entirely guard-railed to keep people from going off trampling into the foliage, so you can't get to the edges of the cliffs in many places and have to frame your shots in between.

Although, sometimes you can find just enough break in the tree lines for a good view of the gorgeous coves.

Since, my state park was good for all day, I wanted to visit another scenic must along the California coast in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park. Along the way, I found some more scenic calm before the storm overlooks, the surf was high this day.

As my luck would have it. I lost my way around the Julia Pfeiffer state park and could not get to either of  my planned scenic photo shoots, in addition I also lost an hour looking for them - an hour I will never make back for the day. I was planning on being fashionably late for the RTE gathering. It would now appear I would be horribly late!

The shutterbug in me however, could just not resist stopping at some scenic overlooks as I raced down Hwy 1 to the rendezvous for lunch. 

The scenic and historic Bixby bridge.

Look at that coastline! 

A second look at the Bixby bridge from Old Coast Road. Great vista's but it's an all dirt road.

Yet another look at Bixby bridge some ways south of it. Once again look at that coastline! :)

A closer look. 

Another bridge south of Bixby. Not sure of the name of this one..

No more stopping till Guadalupe, the sun was just about overhead and I still had quite the ways to go and the cagers (cars) had shaken off their slumber and were crawling at a snail's pace along the coast. I got around them the best I could and would find great stretches of empty road, before the next batch of crawlers.

Finally, made it to Guadalupe. An hour later than I was planning on. The group lunch was over, but I still managed to get there before the riders had left. I then set upon to track down the ride master and mark my attendance. It was great to see some great people and connect, even if it was briefly!

After everyone had left. I enjoyed the biggest steak I have had to date! The 18 oz Bulls eye steak at the Far West Tavern in Guadalupe! Home made potato chips as well. I think my arteries got a nice lining of grease that afternoon!

I was hoping to make it to Santa Barbara before the sunset, but once again got stuck in a parking lot situation on Hwy 101 and then again on Hwy 154. By the time I got into Santa Barbara the sun had just dipped below the horizon, nevertheless I headed straight for Stearns Wharf as originally planned. Stearns Wharf is right next to Santa Barbara harbor and I wanted to catch the sun setting over the ocean behind the sail masts....but it wasn't to be this day!

I spent some time on Stearns Wharf  watching the sailboats motoring in, in the dying light. 

Manning the coastal defenses..

I wanted to have dinner here at the Moby Dick seafood restaurant, but at the recommendation of some people I happened to chat up on the wharf, I headed to the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company instead at the tail end of the wharf. Really good food and when they say shellfish they mean shellfish, nothing else! :)

It was a great day or riding and sightseeing. Thanks for riding along with me through this report and thanks for reading! Good night! :)


  1. Hey Puppyface! Gorgeous scenery and nice job with the photography. That steak and Papa Chuy would say (albeit in a different context) "hubba hubba" :D

  2. Thanks Mary Ellen! I am looking forward to seeing you in June! Let me know what your plans are and we shall rendezvous! :)

  3. A+ on the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company. Eat there every time I'm in Santa Barbara. That coastline never get's old, and nice pics, too :)Have to try out that dirtroad behind Bisby Bridge sometimes.


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