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Old 05-05-2009, 09:01 AM   #10
whitham_wannabe OP
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Feb 2008
Location: Mukilteo, WA
Oddometer: 1,077
Day Five – Can you have too many curves?

San Simeon State campground provided us with an opportunity for a first on this trip … the chance to take a shower in the morning! Fantastic how good a luke warm shower can feel after 4 days on the road.

And so on to scenic Highway 1. I am quite sure everyone is aware of this sinewy ribbon of tarmac that hugs the west coast, providing constant curves, dips and climbs and beautiful views over the Pacific crashing angrily onto the rocks below your wheels. I first rode this route back in 1993, at the end of a cross country mountain bike ride, and I was pleased to recognize a lot of the road from back then. I was also pleased to have 800cc of teutonic technology pushing my lard arse along it … I’m not as fit as I used to be.

I’m sure we have all seen enough pictures of this highway, right? No? Okay, here’s a few more …

Careful on the turns, you never know when a sightseer is going to be on the other side of the turn taking a picture.

The Stealth Ninja GS creeps into the corner of the photo.

Chris! You’re going the wrong way!!

Waiting for the road works to let us through. There are worse places to loiter …

There’s just special views wherever you look.

Through Monterey and Carmel (where I spent a week sitting outside intensive care on my last visit, after my mate took a header off his bike in Big Sur), a brief freeway stint and back onto Highway 1 for lunch. For two Britons on German bikes, the flags on the front of the building were a good omen. And so was the steak and eggs …

San Francisco was the end of my journey last time, so as we crossed the Golden Gate, I was on to fresh pastures once more. We paused at the bridge overlook, and got the news that Chrysler, our former employer, had gone bankrupt. Chris got on the phone to find out the scoop from friends who still work there, and we both breathed a sigh of relief that we were not still there.

Taking pictures on the road is always a difficult balancing act, between the desire to record all the fantastic sights and experiences on the road and the drive to keep rolling down the road. Stopping every 10 minutes to snap a picture breaks the mood and the rhythm, and that is why I have a very few pictures of the next section, Highway 1 north of San Francisco. My poor attempt at a description will have to suffice, or better yet, get on your bike and go ride it.

This road is an insanely twisted route, the first part over the hill from SF was beyond belief, all 2nd and 3rd gear switchbacks on perfect clean smooth asphalt. Once more all the car drivers were jumping out of the way, and we bombed away from the city grinning like the motorcycling fools that we are. For a while the road curves inland and straightens out, and looks remarkably like Herefordshire, before returning to its twisty glory along the sea. As the traffic thinned, our speeds increased as we played follow my leader down the corkscrew coast, Chris eventually had the front end step out on him, running wide onto the gravel. No harm no foul, and we continue heading north.

As the evening came so did the rain and we pulled into Van Damme State Park, named not for the kung fu star, but for Charles Van Damme, a local ferry operator. Apparently this area was a hive of wooden ship building activity in the mid to late 19th century, but you would never guess now as it has all reverted to its natural state 150 years later.

A quick fire to warm up, and early to bed in the peace of the forest, dreaming of endless curves down the California coast …
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