San Simeon, Day 1

Another April, another trip to San Simeon!

The West Coast Regional Meet is the favorite springtime ride for most Californian Sport-Touring.neters, but I’ve always been partial to our annual little Highway 1 jaunt. It’s an easygoing three day weekend that’s always full of great people, great roads, and great beer. My kind of event!

This year, the Bay Area riders met up with the SoCal group for lunch at Bullwacker’s Restaurant in Monterey. None of us had been there before, but it advertised great fish ‘n’ chips and was centrally located on Cannery Row.

Jordan (Rogue), Steve (Asphalt Carver), Gary (twist), and Andrew (Nny) soon arrived and we got down to business. The fish ‘n’ chips were adequate, but they weren’t the best anyone had ever had. Next year we’ll try the place across the street which also advertised the “best fish ‘n’ chips in town!”.

Me, Gary, Steve, Jordan, Andrew:

In Monterey, I also managed to get my first ticket on the motorcycle ever….a parking ticket. The meter guy was driving away in his little go-kart not half a block away when I went out to refeed the meter. *shakes fist at sky* Curse you, punctual Monterey parking cop!

Jordan and Steve managed to lose us Bay Area peeps not 2 miles out of Monterey as they zipped ahead of a poky car as soon as we got onto Highway 1. Being from Southern California, they must have been so excited to be out of traffic gridlock that they split and launched up into warp speeds as soon as the opportunity presented itself….or else maybe their American Iron (well, American Plastic…they both had Buells) didn’t want to be seen with our European engineering.

At any rate, it wound up being we three Bay Area riders hanging out together for the 70 miles down the coast to San Simeon. There’s not a lot to say about Highway 1 that hasn’t been said — and probably by me in past San Simeon ride reports. The F was perfect for this segment; I tried to keep the RPMs up and it handled perfectly around the higher speed sweepers. Many of the turnouts on Hwy 1 are also gravel and muddy this time of year, so I was already happy to have my Mefo dualsport tires.

The ubiquitous Big Creek Bridge picture…I should start a TypePad photo album for all of my Big Creek Bridge motorcycle shots:

At one point, Gary and I decided to park our Beemers in a big puddle. Andrew asked “Why are you parking in a puddle?” and Gary replied in his deadpan Russian accent, “Because there is a puddle for us to park in.”

We stopped a little farther down Highway 1 for some photos and a butt break, and I noticed there was a little access road leading from the vista point down under the highway. There were also bathrooms down there, which was fast becoming a priority for me, so the three of us remounted and rode down to the beach.

Oddly, there were lots of people down there. So many, in fact, that there were no parking spots left. We blocked in a car and when the owner walked over, I asked him if he was planning on moving soon. “Oh no, honey,” he grinned, “I’m not moving ANYWHERE.” “Right on,” I said, not yet catching on.

Funny, all these people seemed really happy. And mellow.

I finally clued in as I walked up to the bathroom and a large man with a bushy red beard brushed past me. He smiled and said, “Happy 4/20, man!” Aha! “You too, dude,” I wished him.

Gary walks past one group of celebrators:

Andrew photographing the beach:

I remained happily mellow for about 10 miles after some deep breaths at the rest stop, when we got behind the Oregon Fucko Who Knew No Turnout. I’m beginning to think it’s a conspiracy. I have been stuck behind slow Oregon drivers — often in white cars — in three different states and two countries now. Every time we would get back out on the highway after a photo stop, we’d catch up with this jerk. By the end of the day, he was literally waving at us when he saw us in his rearview mirror. Yes, hi, asshole, they’re called turnouts. Know them; love them.

Farther down Hwy 1, we stopped for the obligatory elephant seal photos at Piedras Blancas. It seemed like there were fewer seals this year than in past years. I guess it ebbs and flows though, and this particular rookery is relatively new. I was surprised to learn that the first seals started showing up here as recently as 1990; the first recorded birth at Piedras Blancas wasn’t until 1992. Since the seals have a life expectancy of about 20 years, we might be seeing those first pups as parents now.

Back at San Simeon, Andrew and I settled into our shared room at the Orchid Inn while Gary checked in across the street at Motel 6. We all walked back up to the San Simeon Lodge, where we met the rest of the gang and started in on our first round of Firestones. A Mexican restaurant provided both the evening dinner
and the entertainment in the form of a spectacular sunset.

Andrew, Steve, Gary, Jordan, Tony:

After dinner we returned to the San Simeon Lodge, where Rough House was playing once again. For the second year in a row, they made me very happy by playing Jimmy Buffett. Beer, rockabilly, and fellow motorcyclists….life is good.

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