Sorry for breaking up Day 2 there. My lunch break ended a little sooner than I’d expected. 😉
When last we left our intrepid explorers, they were finishing up at the Bee Rock Store and continuing on Interlake Road towards Fort Hunter Liggett…
The fort, named for the WWI General Hunter Liggett (1857 â€“ 1935), is primarily a training center for field maneuvers and live fire exercises. The area in general has a fascinating history that I won’t bore anyone with right now, but suffice it to say that a few Google searches will bring up stories of haunted missions, ancient pictographs, buried treasure, and more. This was my first time there and I’ll definitely go back to spend more time history-hunting.
Entering Fort Hunter Liggett requires a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance at this checkpoint:
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road bisects the military reservation from the checkpoint to the coast. It’s the only east-west road that connects Hwy 1 and Hwy 101 over the Santa Lucia Mountains between Big Sur and Cambria. In the east, it meanders easily through open fields (often dotted with tanks) but ascends quickly and becomes a series of tight turns amongst moss-covered cliffs.
Nacimiento-Fergusson Road continues west all the way to Highway 1, but we took a detour — the 15-mile unpaved South Coast Ridge Road that straddles the Santa Lucias and separates Fort Hunter Liggett from the Los Padres National Forest.
Most of South Coast Ridge Road looks more or less like this. It’s well-packed dirt (again with the “we were there when it was dry” caveat), pretty smooth, and narrow. We encountered a couple of oncoming cars, fortunately in the rare wider sections. There are some parts of South Coast Ridge Road where you can’t even consider worrying about oncoming cars because, really, where would you go? Off the cliff?
Everyone says hello!
My guidebook says the road is “mildly steep in places”, leaving me idly curious as to what they would consider just plain steep. Even standing on the pegs with my head over the bars, there were a couple of uphills that had me pegging the throttle and hoping I wasn’t about to flip over backwards onto Tony. 😉 The highest elevation on the ridge is just about 3000′, but it seems like it gets there pretty darn quickly.
Not a steep section:
To add to the fun, South Coast Ridge Road also gets really rocky. That was fun to come up on. Nothing like a super steep ascent covered in big rocks to get the blood pumping! Gary was a superstar leader and picked really good lines; it was pretty easy to follow him through the tough parts. I don’t have any pictures of the hard areas because I was too busy shitting myself, but here are a couple more from easier areas:
Why must I look like a pudgy 12-year-old boy in my helmets?
The last section of road before Hwy 1 is actually Willow Creek-Los Burros Road, not that there’s a street sign or anything. According to Tony, we “turn left at the tractor”, but it seemed to me we went straight at the tractor, so probably it’s a good thing I was in the back.
Willow Creek-Los Burros Road winding down to the coast:
This section is much wider, as you can tell, and a nice hard packed sand. It’s a relaxing ride down an easy grade with a few sweepers tossed in to keep things interesting.
Partway back down Highway 1, the F650GS rolled over 10k miles…granted, only 5k of them by me, but it’s still a motorcycle birthday. 😉
Back at the ranch, by which I mean the bar, we were met by the good Dr Gil! He was on his way south from his home in Eureka on a 10-day trip to San Filipe, Mexico. We got him ready for “south of the border” food by going back to the Mexican restaurant in San Simeon. 😉
STN representin’, yo:
There was some beer, a bit of bullshitting, more beer, and perhaps some more. We bar hopped from the San Simeon Lodge to the Mexican place over to the Orchid Inn and across to the Motel 6 bar. The night life is rife in San Simeon on a Saturday night, let me tell you. We were finally chased away from our beers and scotch and off to bed by horrific karaoke at the Motel 6 bar.