Roads to Ride
So there I was, working away at yet another motorcycle race and all I really wanted to be doing was be out riding my motorcycle in the Sierra’s with my friend Jeff. Jeff and I have traveled throughout the Sierra Nevada for years. Criss Crossing the mountains over all the passes, Tioga, Sonora, Ebbits, Monitor, Carson, the list goes on. We’ve never had a bad ride. Every weather condition…sometimes on the same day. No kidding, on one trip we went from 28 degrees in the morning to 90 degrees in the afternoon to 29 degrees in the evening, what a day that was!! From slipping and sliding in the snow to thinking we were riding in a convection oven. Isn’t that one of the real beauty’s of traveling on a motorcycle? Yes. If you do it right it’s always a great adventure.
The reason I bring this up today is Jeff and his wife Kathy just got home from a 10 day ride. If I could write this in green ink I would!! Do you watch the news much? then you know that Northern California is on fire, so many fires that firefighters can’t get to them all. Jeff and Kathy’s ride took them up the California coast through Big Sur, I left Jeff a message on his cell phone wondering if he started those fires by riding so fast…he does hustle that big ‘ol BMW GS around pretty quickly. From there up to Oregon and back down to Lake Tahoe. They ran into conditions where the smoke was so bad they couldn’t see the top of mountains, Mount Lassen the most notable. Despite the conditions they had a great ride. It was the longest ride Kathy had ever done and Jeff was just warming up.
I always advocate riding in the Sierra’s but for the next few weeks it might not be a good idea..the smoke can’t be very good for your motorcycle and certainly not for you.
For those of us that live in Southern California, Hiway 1 through Big Sur is our route of choice to go to Laguna Seca for the MotoGP race..this year due to a huge fire up there we might be stuck taking an inland route. Coast Hwy is closed currently and is expected to stay that way for a while. So…if you live in So Cal or are going to MotoGP from So Cal, are you ready for a great route to Laguna? Sure you are…and this route will take you ALL day..you are really going to want a cold refreshing beverage at rides end!!!
Ok, Hwy 101 north out of the L.A environs, at the northern end of Santa Barbara head up HWY 154 (the San Marcos Pass road) entertaining and beautiful. Before you reach the 101 again, turn onto Foxen Canyon Rd…through the Santa Ynez Valley wine country you go…slow speeds but really beautiful (well, there are a few places you can step up the pace)it’s too early to buy wine so keep going. Just as you would reconnect with the 101 at Betteravia Rd in Santa Maria( the end of the Foxen Cyn Route) the restaurant at the truck stop is a great stop for breakfast!
After your fill of corned beef hash and eggs..well, maybe thats my fill…standard road trip breakfast for me, it’s back onto the 101 North, oh..don’t forget to gas up. Along the coast you go..Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach (the best Italian restaurant outside of Italy is there..Guiseppi’s), San Luis Obispo then it’s inland..and HOT!! Stop again in Paso Robles for gas cuz’ you’re going to need a full tank from here. Just north of Paso along the 101 is the town of San Miguel. San Miguel is the site of one of the early California Missions, a beautiful place currently undergoing a major renovation so you can’t visit it..too bad. This is where you turn off, cruise through the tiny town..now here is where you need a California map, you want to be looking north east(up the map) for Hwy 25..you need to head east of San Miguel before you end up back on the 101, the route# is unmarked at San Miguel but on the map it is obvious..
The road from there to Hwy 198 is a bit iffy sometimes and not all too friendly to stiffly sprung sportbikes but what comes next is well worth it. At the County Road G13 intersection you will need to make a bit of a right left jog (about 100 yards) onto Hwy25. Now the true fun begins…no traffic, high “Giggle Factor” riding and great scenery. Next stop, the town of Hollister…scene of the movie the Wild Ones with Marlan Brando and Lee Marvin..They didn’t ride Harley’s, they rode Triumphs and BSA’s.
Now it’s back over to the 101, south to Salinas and over to Laguna Seca. It’s a great ride all the way around. If you are staying in Salinas or if you get there around supper time you have to go to the Pennyfarthing Inn. Check this out…a really good English Pub in the heart of a major farming community dominated by some really great Mexican restauarants?! Yeah. Well worth the stop.
Well, kind of a weird post today, all over the place..which is exactly where I wish I was…all over the place..
Ride safe, ride fast and I’ll see you on the road..