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Old 05-28-2010, 10:36 AM   #1
Teddy Hashbrowns OP
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Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Bay Area, CA
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SLO Ride (…take it easy)

A year and a half ago, David’s pressures to pursue a motorcycle license got the best of me. I took the class, went to the DMV and bought a lightly used Ducati Monster 620. 6 months later I found Long ‘Way Round and (immediately afterward) ADVrider.com. I made it a goal to be more adventurous and plan a motorcycle ride like the ones I stayed up reading on this fantastic site. 2 months later I sold the Ducati and bought a pristine 2005 BMW F650GS.

Last weekend, a 4-day ride from San Francisco through Pinnacles National Monument, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Big Sur and back was a realization of a yearlong dream. My first ever ride report:

We set off from Palo Alto, CA on a beautiful Thursday morning.



Dave



Me (Ted)



First stop: A big breakfast at Jonie’s Café to prepare for the 4 hour ride to Pinnacles. Shoot – I forgot to take a picture of my omelet – rookie ADV rider mistake. Oh well… The first stint was a relatively boring hour south on HW 101. East on HW 152 led us to HW 156, and finally the open road I was waiting for.



The area around the HW 152 / 156 intersection was beautifully paved with green vineyards.



Back on the bikes and just a handful of miles before reaching Hollister California and the start of HW 25. Hollister was the last town before Pinnacles and our planned grocery stop. Shopping List: 2 cans of chili, fresh sourdough baguette, beer. Impulse buys: Jack Daniels, glazed donut holes, Jell-O pudding snack pack. With my top case a little heavier (and much stickier) we continued to HW 25. Quickly we found a sea of yellow.





And then the local Bear Valley fire helicopter. Cool!



We rolled into Pinnacles around 3:45 PM and found our campsite.





Check in with the ranger, procuring fire wood, setting up camp, etc. took about 35 mins but left us plenty of daylight for an afternoon hike. The ranger recommended a 3-mile hike that would get us back to camp well before dark. Instead, we decided to do the full hike, from base to peak that committed us to a steadily brisk pace.

Pinnacles is a place unlike any other I’ve visited. The geography and the trail were equally breathtaking.















A sign told us Pinnacles is a Condor relocation habitat and soon after, we saw for ourselves…



7 miles later we came to a crossroads. One trail headed up another hill toward a distant peak; the other headed down into a cave system. The Ranger told us the caves were closed so we opted for the high route. 2 miles later we realized we were on the wrong route and the sun was setting. Back down the hill quickly to the crossroads and further down into the cave. Turns out the deep caves were indeed closed but a less technical route was open and a necessary traverse on the return to camp.



Back to camp with 15 minutes of light to spare. My chili dinner was memorable for 2 reasons: 1) after a long day’s ride and hike it was seriously delicious and 2) cooking chili in the can over open fire gets hot and I burned the hell out of my mouth.

A few sips of the impulse Jack put me to bed. Up early the next morning to close camp and hit the road. Day 2 takes us from Pinnacles to Pismo Beach via central California back roads.

HW 25 south of Pinnacles is fantastic! 38 miles of gently twisting shaded tarmac were a pleasure to ride. It was so great in fact, we forgot to stop for pictures. Rookie mistake #2. HW 25 connected with HW 198, which runs under HW 101 and connects with this bridge:



After crossing the bridge we were faced with what looked like unlimited open (and gas-less) miles. The Honda has a range of about 140 miles and the trip meter already read somewhere north of 60 miles. We decided to reroute further South to San Ardo for a drink of fuel (and beef jerky for Dave). Google Maps showed a grey road that would take us back west to our previous goal. The road turned out to be 10 miles of easily traversed dirt and a highlight of the trip. About 3 miles in we found this sign:



Why did they put that sign so far up the road? Oh well, this sign clearly depicts a dirt bike - good thing we’re on a BMW and Honda. I’m cruising, enjoying the scenery at a leisurely 15 – 20 mph pace when a rather large snake stretched across the path took me by surprise. A panic swerve put me into deep sand and almost on the ground. I would share a snake-picture but I’m terrified of snakes and got the hell out of there!



A few miles and one snake later we reached G14, the road that would take us to Lake Nacimiento. Seeing the lake brought back many great memories of time spent there with my sister and her friends.



G14 connected to HW 46 and then with HW 229, one of the most picturesque roads I’ve seen. One lane of smooth tarmac twists through an evenly shaded canopy of oak trees. Evidently this section of road is well documented and frequently traveled by other motorcyclists. On my day, it was traveled by a yellow Z06 Corvette and a first-generation Audi S4, both driven toward me, too quickly, and with 50% of their car-ness in my lane. It was an enjoyable road nonetheless.

Back to HW 101 and down into San Luis Obispo. We stopped briefly at Big Sky Café for a tasty buttermilk ranch friend chicken salad.



SLO to Pismo is a quick ride. It was a beautiful but extremely windy day. We decided to hug the coast and avoid fighting my side cases on the freeway.





We checked into The Sandcastle Inn in Pismo. Unpacked, bought some Makers Mark and hit the hot tub dramatically situated against the beachfront.



Day 2 ended with pruned fingers and a quesadilla at Viva Mexico in downtown Pismo.



Days 3 and 4 will be posted shortly. Thanks for reading.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:20 PM   #2
1P8RIOT
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Thumb Welcome!

Great report and outstanding pics!
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
TallRob
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wow Pinnacles. ,,,,,,gotta go there. I wish I could go THIS weekend. But you have to be careful riding bikes on roads with those no bike signs. That can get all of us introuble and those tree hugger lobbiests can use your photos as proof that signs dont work and close off even more dirt roads for us in Cali.
Sorry to pee in your beer.

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Old 05-28-2010, 02:59 PM   #4
staudio
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nice ride report/pics

SLO my home town, I miss it
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Old 05-28-2010, 03:27 PM   #5
Teddy Hashbrowns OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TallRob
wow Pinnacles. ,,,,,,gotta go there. I wish I could go THIS weekend. But you have to be careful riding bikes on roads with those no bike signs. That can get all of us introuble and those tree hugger lobbiests can use your photos as proof that signs dont work and close off even more dirt roads for us in Cali.
Sorry to pee in your beer.
TallRob, Thanks for the welcome advice. This is all new to me and direction is appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:30 PM   #6
Teddy Hashbrowns OP
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Day 3 took us from Pismo back north via the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur. We left early knowing we had a stricter timetable than the previous two days. (My girlfriend left the Bay Area early that morning in route to Big Sur to secure a hard-to-come-by campsite for that evening.)

Bye Pismo



The California Coast, particularly between San Luis Obispo and Monterey is gorgeous. We stopped frequently to rest our bodies and soak in the views.







By noon, we covered good ground and decided to stop for lunch at Lucia’s. The view from our table was hard to beat.



We were lucky to have limited traffic on PCH. Previous trips along this route in my car had been painfully slow stuck behind an RV or rented drop-top Chrysler Sebring. This time, we mostly had clear sailing. We maintained an engaging but modest pace.







“Hey bird, say hi to your mother for me.“


We arrived at our campsite to find a cold case of beer and an empty hammock. Our friends were out on a hike but returned shortly. The evening was spent making pasta, chili, sausages, chips, smores… generally more food than our small contingent would ever eat when not camping. More beer. More Makers, then bed.

On day 4 we woke up late and began preparing breakfast burritos. (It had been 7 hours since we last ate!)



After breakfast we set off to explore the river running adjacent to our camp. Most of the pictures didn’t turn out because of tricky lighting. The boulders were easy to traverse but difficult enough to add some excitement.



We packed camp, said goodbye and Dave and I hoped on our bikes. The last day of riding required we cover a decent amount of ground. We narrowed our focus, twisted the throttles deeper and made a B-line for Capitola. Capitola welcomed us with sunny weather and a beachfront table.



A few pounds later we set off again, this time for home. Capitola turned into Santa Cruz, then Pescadero then the famous Alice’s restaurant at the intersection of Skyline Blvd. and HW 84. 20 minutes later we were home, sore and happy.

This ride was truly enjoyable and hopefully a learning experience for rides to come. Thanks for reading and contributing to this site.

Teddy Hashbrowns screwed with this post 05-28-2010 at 06:36 PM
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Old 05-28-2010, 05:32 PM   #7
BusyWeb
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:07 PM   #8
SikDMAX
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Nice RR! Didnt know there was dirt up there at the 198/San Ardo area..... gonna have to go check it out.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:29 PM   #9
Jedi5150
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Great pics and thanks for the fun report. Even with all the bigger, faster bikes out there, the 650GS is still a great looking bike and very capable. You chose well.

It's funny, I've been down 25 many times, from Hollister to Clear Creek and beyond, but I've never stopped at Pinnacles. I'll have to do that one of these days. San Luis Obispo is a great town. We go there as a family several times a year as a nice close place to kick back.
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Old 05-28-2010, 10:19 PM   #10
waltwhitman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy Hashbrowns

Day 2 ended with pruned fingers and a quesadilla at Viva Mexico in downtown Pismo.



Days 3 and 4 will be posted shortly. Thanks for reading.
looks like a good time
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:28 AM   #11
SauS TaR-TaR
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:43 AM   #12
Teddy Hashbrowns OP
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Thanks for all the comments.
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