Day 1: We went South on I-5 in brutal wind to Modesto and then hit Del Puerto canyon road East into the mountains. This was twisty, fun riding and a great way to start the trip. We saw many sooty firefighters resting up on the roadside and several fire-scarred hills.

Del Puerto canyon road led us up to Mt. Hamilton and the Lick observatory. We got a brief tour of the observatory and the huge telescope. The road down the mountain into San Jose was incredibly tight and twisty. I had to use 1st gear in places and there was some dirt on the road. As we neared the end, we rode past a “road closed” blockade. We were coming out of an area that had apparently been closed due to fire while we were up there.

The first night we stayed with Emily and Charles Dorr (old friends of the family). They live in Los Gatos which is a really nice area in the hills about 18 miles from the beach at Santa Cruz. We had good conversation and a soak in the hot tub.

 

Day 2: We rode highways 9 and 35 to the famous Alice’s Restaurant (named after the Arlo Guthrie song). This is a very popular stop for bay area motorcyclists, probably because it’s located in the midst of several twisty 2 lane roads. There were tons of bikes there of all kinds. The menu had several sandwiches named after motorcycles.

We left Alice’s and took more twisty roads down to the coast. From there we went South on 1 to the beach at Santa Cruz. The beach walk has a carnival with rides and county fair style games. This is where families and kids go. The northern part of the beach is a more adult crowd with volleyball courts and shopping. We left the beach and spent another night at the Dorr’s.
Day 3: We headed South on 1 past Monterey and into Carmel. We rode through Carmel and stopped at the beach for a snack and some nice views. This was much nicer than the crowds at Santa Cruz. An ad for a small, simple 2 bdrm house in town was $1.5 million!

We left Carmel and continued South on what must be the nicest part of highway 1. The 2 lane road winds along the coast clinging to the cliffs on the way through Big Sur and ending up in Morrow Bay just north of San Luis Obisbo. It felt a bit surreal to be flying through these turns, hanging off the side, and seeing the cliffs and ocean below. Watching the scenery can be deadly! On the way we passed the Hearst castle at San Simeon. We didn’t go in, but saw it up on the hill. Most of our ride on 1 was cloudy and cool. I was cold due to poor jacket choices (I left an important one at home).

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