OK, OK, sorry this took me a day to get back to. I had a hockey game last night and we….oh, wait, that’s a different blog entry. 😉
Jordan woke us all up at the ass crack of dawn on Friday morning, bull whip cracking and barking into a megaphone. Well, OK, no, not really. But we did all meet for breakfast at 8 to have eggs and toast and lots and lots of coffee. This, by the way, is firmly why I believe that Peter doesn’t enjoy touring — he doesn’t like coffee. I think you HAVE to like coffee to be a sport-tourer.
It was a cloudy grey morning as we crossed the Santa Lucia foothills via Hwy 46 from Cambria. I tried to take some photos with my RAM mount, but quickly realized that the camera mount arm that worked for the SVS doesn’t work for the Z — the windshield bisected the photos and screwed up the focus. Another item for the wish list!
I did get this one shot, though the focus is screwed up:
Once we got inland of the Santa Lucias, the weather improved dramatically. Nelson and I made a photo stop along Klau Mine Road to photograph one of the infinite number of tiny mountain wineries that dot this area.
It’s fun for me to think about what sort of landscape backgrounds the Z will look good against. By the time I sold the SVS, I knew instinctively where to stop to really highlight the deep red…the Z’s bright blue is polar opposite.
Just down the road, it turned out that everyone had stopped for a stretch/photo op along Chimney Rock Road. It really was a glorious day, and I can’t recall a single rider that wasn’t smiling and laughing and happy about the ride. It’s really a blessing to ride with such positive and happy people.
The panoramas are too wide to post to the blog, but here’s a good one of the Chimney Rock group stop.
One of the things that I really loved about this weekend was that it was my first real riding trip on the Z, and it was like getting to know a new friend. Steph and I rode to Solvang less than a month after I got the Z, of course, but we mostly took freeways and the weather was shitty, so there wasn’t an opportunity to spend all day in the saddle. The backroads of the Santa Lucias really gave me my first inkling that yes, I think the Z and I are going to get along just fine. It really loves the same kinds of roads I do — anything from 25mph to 70mph, the swoopier the better. Fortunately, that’s what sport-touring (and sport-touring.net!) is all about, and that’s what we enjoyed all day on Friday.
Lake Nacimiento provided another nice photo opportunity to prove that you really can’t take STN’ers anywhere at all:
The day continued on, and twisty road led to twisty road. A pit stop in Lockwood led to the last recorded sighting of my license plate, which vibrated off the bike somewhere along G14 or Hwy 101. Today I wrote my $32 check to the DMV for my replacement plate. Oops.
By the time we made a rest stop along G16 (Carmel Valley Road), I was grumpy and tired and my contact was bugging the shit out of me. For some reason, everyone else on the ride wound up with a photo of me bent over the Z mirror, poking at my eyeball. Nice! I’m so cool.
I felt better after slamming some trail mix; the road was very narrow and very twisty, which required an awful lot of concentration for being so close to lunchtime (in actuality, it was past lunchtime — around 1pm, if I remember correctly, and we were still 60 swoopy miles from our lunch stop).
We finally did stop for lunch at the Big Sur River Inn, back on Hwy 1. This is Peter’s and my favorite place to eat along this stretch of the highway, and I was really glad to see that it didn’t disappoint for my STN friends. The burgers are really good — I wasn’t that hungry, so I instead had a cup of soup (excellent) and a tri-trip skewer appetizer (also excellent). We sat inside because it was misting a little, but the back porch is very comfortable too and has neat river views. Highly recommended!
Jim (CAtourist) and I spent the rest of the way down Hwy 1 riding at approximately the same speed, which was a lot of fun. The other guys took off pretty quickly after we all got stuck behind a slow-moving Fucko Who Knew No Turnout, but Jim and I had bad timing and were stuck longer. As a result, we wound up behind the group a little bit, but that wound up being really fun. Jim was ahead of me, but I stayed on his tail the whole time (er, hopefully not TOO on his tail, now that I think about it…) and we had so much fun swooping and flicking our bikes along the coastlines. Jim has a Honda ST1300, which is one of those bikes that I’ll have in my next life, y’know, when I have the 34″ inseam.
We caught up with the rest of the group an hour or so later at Ragged Point.
Naturally, we stopped again for the elephant seals (some of the riders had never been to Piedras Blancas!! The horror!). They were kinda stinky on Friday so we didn’t stay long…I guess the wind was blowing in a tourist-unfriendly direction. Whew!
This was our last stop with the whole group, as Brian was continuing on to his niece’s house and Tony was returning to his house. We tortured some poor tourist into taking our group photo to commemorate the day.
Jordan (Rogue_Biker), me, Jerry (jjones-lg), Brian (n2q), Tony (cal_tony), Jim (CAtourist), Nelson (nsalas) at Piedras Blancas:
Friday night, we hung out in the San Simeon Bar again and chowed down on appetizers while a local band called Rough House played. Jim and I sang along to the Jimmy Buffet tunes, much to the amusement (I’m guessing it was amusement) of the rest of the group. There was much Firestone beer, and life was good.
The day’s route (243 miles):
Start at San Simeon.
Hwy 1 South
Hwy 46 East
Left on Vineyard Drive
Left on Adalaida Road
Right on Klau Mine Road
Right on Chimney Rock Road
Left on Nacimiento Lake Road (G14)
After the dam, G14 becomes Interlake Road
At Lockwood, G14 becomes Jolon Road (turn R to stay on G14)
At Jolon, turn R to stay on G14
101 N to Greenfield (G16/Elm Street exit)
Carmel Valley Road (G16) to Carmel
Hwy 1 South to San Simeon
(To be continued…one more day to go…)