Pines to Palms

Project 2012: Day 262

Day Nine

Scott Valley, my sojourn for the night is literally in a Redwood Forest. Awesome location, but pretty much my last for the ride. As we head further south, the fog of Northern California coast gives way to the warmth of the sub-tropics. The pines give way to scrub, and the towns are all palm tree lined.

First stop, Monterey. Everyone, but everyone encouraged me to eat there. And whilst Courteny, with her offer of a free clam chowder sample from Louis Linguini’s, was indeed enticing; I ended up being fleeced at Bubba-Gumps. I mean they do have the corner on the “I’ve seen the movie” market.

Having said that, the service was fun, the view compelling, and the food just great. Still expensive for the US.

The Big Sur

This is pretty much the focal point of a PCH ride. Many people do just this section, and it is great. In fact there’s probably not a lot I could say, that hasn’t already been said.

The weather is splendid, the road fantastic, and the views to die for. About the only downside is, this proximity to San Francisco, ease of access, and accessible beaches, make for traffic. Both local (often inconsiderate) and tourist (often incompetent).

Mostly the traffic is ok. But there is a LOT of it.

So you can’t miss the Big Sur, but don’t expect a movie-like “only bike on the road” type of experience.

The views and the ride definitely make up for this though.


As I caught up on updates this morning, I only left at about 11. Then close on 2 hours in Monterey put me on the PCH at past two. It was then that I realised the distance to Santa Barbara. It seems the trend on this ride is: Late start, long stop, slow traffic and frequent stops for photos – followed by 3 hours of hard riding to get to the next stop at a reasonable time.

The trend didn’t change. But I didn’t stop at Carmel, or Hearst Castle, or any number of great little stopovers. You could take a month for this trip and still not see half of it.

I did, however, finally, get my first sunset shot of the trip.

Santa Barbara

My hosts this evening are the wonderful Wayne and Diane. They’re late to this motorcycling lark, only getting into it in about 2005. But since then they’ve done 75,000 miles – mostly touring. So I’ve been benefitting from great stories, and in depth California riding experience. All the better for my (must miss LA) ride to the border tomorrow…