San Francisco – Santa Cruz – Monterey – Carmel – Morro Bay – Santa Barbara – Los Angeles – Mojave – Death Valley – Bodie – Yosemite – Sacramento – San Francisco
1800 miles around california with my old man, on 2 harley fatboy's from san francisco, down route 1 through monterey bay, carmel, morro bay to santa monica pier in LA, and back up to san francisco by way of death valley and yosemite national park, in 2007. a big thanks to eaglerider SF for providing some lovely bikes, and an apology for the state they were in when we returned them
View 2011 California in a larger map
inspired by the likes of the long way round, the race to dakar, and the long way down, two men embark on a roadtrip around california. they plan to take two harley fatboys, and eat up a lot of highway, some 2500miles from san francisco, south along R1 through santa cruz, monterey, carmel, morro bay, LA, and then back north through mojave, death valley, yosemite, sacramento, calistoga, and back down to san francisco, with their final stop at diablo point overlooking the golden gate bridge and alcatraz. for jamie, this will be his third trip to california, but the first by motorcycle. having seen the likes of death valley, yosemite national park, san francisco and route 1 down to LA, he was inspired to take along his father for his next trip - tony. tony was an established rider, but has been out of the saddle for nearly 10 years, so this is going to be an adventure one way or another. so after a lot of planning (and saving), the two have booked flights and bikes, and planned a vague route that you can see above. they have all the kit, clothing, navigation equipment that they need, but have absolutely no idea what they are doing. if you'd like to see the latest diary entries, read on...
well, we arrived finally. it seems like a long time coming, and even longer sat on the tarmac for 5 hours before take off. but we're finally here. got a yellow cab from san francisco international, to fisherman's wharf, dumped our stuff after checking in, and headed off to the piers. tony hadn't seen the sea lions at pier 39 before, which left him a little lost for words. but after clam chowder in bread bowls, and a few jars of sierra nevada (a most pleasant and sweet hoppy beer) he seemed to settle into his stride. i think he's keen to collect the bikes tomorrow and get going, somewhere - anywhere on them. we're planning on heading up to napa and calistoga tomorrow after dropping our cases and bits into storage, and getting the bikes into some sort of order for a 2 week trip. we've also spent a little time studying the maps we have and come up with what looks to be a reasonable route. that said, i dont think either of us want to lose the sponteneity of stopping where we please. so it all looks good to go for tomorrow. the music i've had dropped onto my mp3 looks set to be a real roadtrip soundtrack, to which i would like to extend my greatest thanks to the author. it made me smile - big time. anyway, signing off for tonite, will have access to the pc for another night here in SF, and then not sure when again, so we'll be in touch as and when we can. j and t
well, today we both woke at 5.45 am, a combination of an early night, and jet lag. we grabbed a cab over to bryant street, where dad was supriased to hear that his request of a windscreen could not be fulfilled on a sportster, so he was upgraded to a fat boy too free of charge. after shitting himself, and feeling like a kid in a candy store, we headed back to the hotel, sated on the "best breakfast in the world" - truely! we grabbed the bits we needed and headed over the golden gate bridge to diablo point overlooking the harbour, SF, and alcatraz. then onto napa valley and calistoga for the geyser. we were, however, too late for the geyser, so had a very late lunch instead - 5pm. then back onto the road to SF. however, after my fuel light came on with just 5 miles of gas left, and 3.5 to the nearest station i pulled the old man over, to find his light was on as well. the trusty sat nav said there was one 3.5 miles away into the hills, we followed to no avail. the next was 5 miles away, and we were running on vapours. after several thoughts of sending him off with the gas he had left to find fuel, and come back to me, with 1 bar of battery on the garmin (desperately not enought to get us home), and no cell phone battery for him to call me, i wondered if the first day would be our last. we stumbled across a chevron station with engines spluttering, and fed them heartily. then back to SF in the dark, 21 miles of pitch black in sunglasses (for fear of encountering flying insects at mach 5) and a tshirt, we found our way home, and ofcourse to the nearest bar. it was 9pm by the time we were home, and about 9.03pm before we arrived at the bar. tomorrow will involve another trip to the motor cycle hire eaglerider to drop a few more bits off into storage, and then a bit of sight seeing in SF - golden gate park, then the beginning of our nomadic journey down route 1 to monterey and carmel, including the monterey bay aquarium, and the 17mile drive through pebble beach golf course. missing you all, j and t
ok, so its friday, and its been a while since the last update. we're now in northridge LA. left SF on wednesday, and headed to the pacific coast highway, just south of the golden gate bridge after a trip through golden gate park to see the buffalo. started our jourey south, heading for carmel through santa cruz, and monterey. stopped at the aquarium in monterey, to see the otters, jelly fish, and alike. then intended to drive through pebble beach on 17 mile drive, only to find the pretencious golfers dont allow motorcycles though as they are too noisy!!! arrived in carmel and checked into the candle light inn, dinner at the forge in the forest, and too many drinks in jack londons. which would explain why we were sat on the bikes at 1am laughing and stroking them!? woke, had breakfast at the little swiss cafe, and then south towards big sur, julia pfeiffer muir state park in thick sea fog, with visibilty down to 200m which is just as well, when youre riding with a 1000ft drop to your right into the cold pacific. on the occasion we headed in land momentarily, the skies cleared and it was warm, but for the most part, cold, misty, and damp. caught the last tour of hearst castle, and then south on US 1 to morro bay. ate the best cajun swordfish in the great american seafood restaurant, and a few beers along to live music from some old timers in the otter rock cafe. the next day was our biggest so far. south following US 1 (not the 101), through santa barbara, and malibu to the famous santa monica pier, where our journey along route one ends. we then headed through thick LA traffic to sandra and ardies, arriving at about 8pm. 10 hours riding. tommorrow we hope to grab a few provisions, and are heading to one of ardies favorite sea food / sushi bars for lunch, and will be catching up with eric and nancy (aka poppet) tomorrow in pasedina. nite all...
ok, quiet day today. up late after another night of dad snoring. out of bed for 10am, and lazed around for the morning (much needed). then off to todai's for sushi. not had it before! great!!! then stocked up on a few provisions at sports mart: stove, thermals (for yosemite - 12000ft), and back to sandra and ardie's where we spent some time looking at the maps contemplating the distances we had to travel from monday to thursday evening to get back to SF. long days, lots of miles, mmm.... off out in a bit for a blossom orange and a few drinks with sandra, dad, maybe ardie, and nancy and eric, who have kindly agreed to come up to northridge so dad and sandra can come along too. will be taking sandra and ardie to odysee's tomorrow for lunch, and prepping for an early start on monday to get to mojave, ridgecrest, then stovepipe wells and furnace creek in death valley, and back out to lone pine or somewhere like that for much needed sleep. then onto lee vining tuesday night, and onto chinese camp or something for wednesday night, and through modesto and sacramento to san francisco over the bay bridge for thursday night to spend friday and saturday in SF, alcatraz, and whatever takes our fancy until the sad moment when 2 fat boys need to be returned to eaglerider, and to other fat boys head home on the plane...
well, its been a few days since the last update, mainly because we have had no cell reception, let alone internet access. since the last update, we have sadly left sandra and ardie in LA, and ridden up the 14 to mojave and ridgecrest into the desert. from ridgecrest, we rode into death valley, to stovepipe wells, and furance creek, very hot and windy, and stayed in panamint springs in death valley for the night. stars like you dont see often. then onto lone pine, and north on the 395 to lee vining through independance, big pine and bishop. the scenery changes drastically between bishop and lee vining, from desert, to forest. stayed there for a night, and then up to 12000ft to the tioga pass and into yosemite. breathtaking, to say the least. past lakes, and mountains, and rivers and streams. didnt see any bears, but then im used to the sound of them with dads snoring. stopped in yosemite village, and took about 15 layers of clothes off after the bitter cold and wind getting up to 12000ft, and had lunch in the sun by the river that runs through the village. stayed in buck meadows in stanislaus park on the 120 out of the park, nice hotel, good veiews of the stars from the middle of nowhere, but very odd, and expensive restaurant. all they served was meat - pork, beef, ribs, or chicken. BBQ style! rode today from there, along the 120, to manteca, and then onto oakland, and back to SF, where we were greeted by 4 fighter jets in formation as we crossed the bay bridge. was nice of them to lay that on for us, but i think they are planning to join the fleet weekend show after their welcome for us! we'll head down to the embarcadero in a bit for some diner and a stroll. was odd unpacking the bikes for the last time. feels very final. anyway, weve booked to nights in the royal pacific motor inn, aka the roach motel of SF. heading out in a bit, to evaluate if we can stay here for 2 nights or not. jets still flying overhead. see you soon, j&t...
ok, so its the last day. our taxi is here in 20mins. and we appear to have finished it in style. went back o'reilly's bar last night, where dad appeared to consume his body weight in guiness and brandy, and i wasnt far off it with jd. met an irish guy there who said he was happy it was 2007 otherwise he'd have had to kill us! were there from 7pm-1am, and dad literally fell out of the bar, straight onto the street. lay there like an overturned turtle fo a moment, then i had to carry him the 2 blocks back to the motel. neither of us noticed the smell this time! he was up at 7am, and i think regretted getting straight out of bed, but we both appeared to have not lost anything other than our dignity from the previous night. today is the beginning of fleet week, so we'll be escorted out of us airspace by the blue angels i think. its been an adventure! 1652miles, a long way, and a lot of tarmac under our boots, and some sand and gravel too! the chopper flight under, and then over the golden gate bridge at 140mph was something to remember, as were the views of the city from up there! the bikes were dropped off this morning, and it was sad to see them go. very sad! so as the sun sets slowly in the west, we bid you a fond farewell... jamie and tony :)
in association with kyte-clan.com