San Simeon: Day 3

On Saturday, our benevolent leader Jordan let us sleep in until 8:30! A gift from the heavens. 😉

One member of our breakfast club didn’t get quite so much sleep, though…Jim (TheExplorer) had ridden down from the Bay Area at 4:30 that morning to join us in San Simeon for breakfast. Now THERE’S a sport-tourer!

We started out in one big group, heading east once more along Hwy 46. No one was in a big hurry to get back home, so the pace was relaxed, and we stopped for photos a couple of times. I got a kick out of off-roading through a muddy dirt/gravel lot to push the Z right up to a cliff edge for a photo…even though I’ve only put 800 miles on the XT, it’s improved my confidence for sport-touring by 500%. Rutted gravel lots don’t phase me at all anymore.

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Again, the panorama’s too wide, but here’s what the hills along Hwy 46 looked like.

This time, instead of turning onto Vineyard Dr, we continued on Hwy 46 all the way into Paso Robles and beyond. The road straightens out and turns to farmland well before reaching the tiny community of Cholame, whose claim to fame is being along the road where James Dean was killed on September 30, 1955.

Because I have a horrible addiction to touristy shit, I encouraged the guys to make the James Dean memorial our last stop as a group.

Dean was killed along this stretch of Hwy 46, about 900 yards from the memorial, when 23-year-old Cal Poly student Don Turnupspeed (yes, seriously) crossed into Dean’s lane while turning onto Hwy 41. Both Turnupspeed and Dean’s passenger, mechanic Rolf Wuetherich, survived the accident with relatively minor injuries.

The memorial itself is a pretty interesting — it was built in Japan at the bequest of Dean fan Seita Ohnishi and was transferred to Cholame in 1977. I thought it sad how the memorial has since deteriorated and has been vandalized….

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To be continued…

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