Saturday, May 24, 2014

A one horse race (San Jose to Pismo Beach)

I slept in until 8am. That was a good thing because today was a big riding day, over 300 miles. I think it was due to being in a familiar bed. Or maybe it was because I had pushed through the post ride tiredness that has been putting me to bed by 9:30pm each night.

It was so nice to stay with Kris' parents. Alice, Kris' mom, cooked us a delicious home cooked meal consisting of pork chops, red potatoes, and green beans. We shared stories of our adventures with them and despite being exhausted to the point of collapsing, Terry, Kris' dad, and Alice helped us clean the filthy bikes for the first time this trip and washed our dirty laundry for us.

The night before, as we pulled into the driveway, I could see Terry's eyes tear up with emotions I could only guess were a mix of relief that we were ok and happiness or gratitude that we chose to visit them on our honeymoon. It was really touching.

Alice was the one who teared up this time as we were leaving. She has always done so as we say goodbye. We both waved as we rode down the neighborhood streets Kris grew up in. I'm glad we rode to San Jose to visit them.

We left San Jose the same way we came in, I-280 to San Francisco. There was much less traffic than when we came in the night before. Kris tried lane splitting in that terrible traffic and decided it was too stressful. We were glad the traffic was easy headed back to hwy 1.

The wind was pushing us all around on the freeway. I would guess Kris remembers wind from this trip the most. I've heard that increasing speed helps to keep the bike from being blown around. I think that is Kris' excuse for making me follow her on the KLR at crazy speeds.

People in California drive one of two ways. 1. WAAAAAAAYYY below the speed limit
2. WAAAAAAAAYYYY above the speed limit

Thus, we were keeping up in traffic at 80-ish mph?? I can never trust the speedo on my bike. All I know is my bike doesn't like it.

We pull over for gas near Pacifica and a guy started talking to me at the gas pump. Due to the same issue as before (ear buds  and helmet) I couldn't hear him. He mentioned something about liking our helmets. Kris and I both have Scorpion EXO-500s with the built in sun visor, sun glasses thingy.

We continued on to Half Moon bay and rode right through. Sorry, no pictures. Traffic got heavy at one point at we tried lane splitting again. This time, I lead. I didn't have any issue and nor did Kris. Later, I told her I had the jitters the whole time.

At some random town the speed limit went from 65 to 45mph. This happens often along hwy 1. It was one of those radar speed limit signs that reminds you to slow down by showing you your current speed. Kris, our resident speed demon, was clocked at 73 mph in a 45 zone.

We stopped in Santa Cruz at this little independent bakery and had the best strawberry rhubarb pie I've ever tasted! After that, we met a fellow biker named Nick on a KTM 640 dual sport. He mentioned just buying a Triumph Tiger. We told him our story and our route plans and to that he gave us a ton of useful information. Like, what to do after we hit San Diego (you'll just have to wait and see). We said goodbye and continued on our journey.

Because we had only stopped for pie, Kris and I decided a second lunch was neccessary so we stopped in Monterey. This place is strange. It seems like a mix of Army base and business district. We rode all around the town and finally (and randomly) ended up at a cool restaurant called Turn 12. It was a cool formula 1 slash vintage Italian bike restaurant. The food was delicious. They had Gran Tourismo and a full wheel/pedal setup so I decided to show off my racecar driving skills to, no one really.

We continued on through endless crop fields which were flat, straight, boring, and smelly.

Finally, Big Sur! A place I had been secretly looking forward to the most on this trip. How was I supposed to know the lost coast was so good? Big Sur did not dissapoint. The views were spectacular. The roads were cliff hangers with endless curves. The trees were gorgous. The bridges were spectacular. The only issue? Cars.

Only on brief stints was I able to go more than 25 mph. There were so many mini-vans and rental V-6 Mustang convertibles, with the odd Toyota Prius mixed in, that we could only enjoy Big Sur at a snail's pace.

I made Kris stop at Bixby Canyon Bridge. I had never imagined I would be at this place in my lifetime. It was a place I had vividly imagined in some random interest I took in Jack Kerouac's life. To be there, on my honeymoon, on a motorcycle, with my best friend was one of the most moving experiences of my life. We snapped a few pictures and left.

Kris' bike needed gas....again. Gas in Big Sur is nearly $6 a gallon. Just a word of caution for anyone who is thinking of driving or riding there.

One Mustang driver in particular was being a pain. 10 to 15 mph in the corners. Seriously!! Pull over! There was a line of cars behind him and in front of us 5 long and another 3 or 4 behind us, depending on how many just gave up and pulled off in frustration. Once we were through Big Sur, this same Mustang driver decided to not let anyone pass him on the long straight sections of 2 lane road where yellow dotted lines allow for passing. He just floored it. I suspect he was doing 90-100 mph on the straight sections. Some folks with high powered cars could get around him, Kris and I were still 3 cars behind him and I know the baby Ninja would have trouble doing 100.

Eventually, he pulled off to watch the sea lions lay around on the beach. Must have been really important for him to get there first.

We continued on and the road widened into a 4 lane freeway. We followed it for many miles with me in front. This was a good thing as I quite enjoy doing 65 in a straight line.

We stopped off in Pismo Beach, found a cheap hotel, got some yummy pizza, and crashed for the night.

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