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Old 05-01-2010, 11:34 PM   #46
IslandSpark OP
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Location: Nanaimo, Van Island, BC
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Day 7 – April 30 – 470KM


Today would start out slow and uneventful, riding straight, flat roads through the orchards. The amazingly engineered irrigation canals give me something to ponder and the smells of the fruit trees some stimulation on an otherwise boring ride.




Miles upon miles of perfectly spaced fruit tree's




The engineering behind the canal structure and complete irrigation system had my mind going.



I head southwest until I come to Del Puerto Canyon Rd which runs across the mountains towards San Jose. At first the road is a little beat up but soon after passing the local OHV park the traffic clears and the road improves.




A small medow on a plateau near the joint in the roads






Winding through a narrow canyon where every ounce of usable room is used by small cattle ranches and a few hardy families scratching out a living I slowly start making some vertical.


Soon the gentle curves have transformed into steep switchback's set on cliffs with little shoulder and a generous drop off. The few oncoming vehicles i see are ALL in my lane around the corners, Lucky I was watching for them.






When I arrive at the top of the hill I find the University of California's Observatory. An unexpected but welcome discovery I decided to take some time and explore a little bit. I stop in and take a tour of the 36”refracting telescope, one of over 20 on the site. The largest telescope on the site is a 102” reflector which is used every clear night of the year by university students and scientists from all over the world.




My first view of thetelescopes of the Lick observitory




the 102" reflector




The 36" refractor 'scope that I toured




There it is in all its glory... Amazing to see up close, an old but extremely precise instrument.




I thought the truss structure made a great backdrop.


The road down into San Jose was more of the same, not that that's a bad thing at all! Tight, twisty and technical with more than enough 10-15mph corners to keep you on your toes.






After a quick stop for some gas and an apple from my tank bag I head south down the 101 trying to make it to Corbin Seats in Hollister before they close at 4pm. Yesterday I had (or my ass had) decided that enough was enough. The stock seat on the KLR is okay for a 100KM day or maybe a 500KM day once in a while, however, after putting 2000KM on the bike in the last 7 days I was sore. Realizing that I had nearly 18,000 more KM before the end of the trip i decided that spending some cash on a comfortable seat was something that I could justify.






New seat installed and my rear end thanking me I headed over to the coast towards Montery, CA where I had planned to spend the evening. Someone forgot to tell me that it was the weekend and at 5pm on on Friday afternoon every campsite that I came across was full to capacity.




The coast and coast road.




A cool bridge










I figured I would keep heading south and eventually I'd find somewhere to put up a tent. Soon I ended up in Big Sur passing both state and private campsites either full to capacity or with lineups down the road.




Quite the house cut onto the side of the cliff




Coastal views as the sun starts to set.




There are many single lane sections of the road, seems keeping the road from falling into the see is a full time job.


By 8pm I was contemplating pulling over in one of the many pullouts on the side of the road and just laying down to sleep. And just as I'm about to do so I come across a national forest site that while being fairly full has a few openings in the hiker/biker area where I sneak in and hastily set up camp.




The view from my tent as the sun slips over the horizon.


The night was long, the sounds of obnoxious 20 somethings and drunken 40 somethings filling the night air. I make some soup and warm up by my neighbours campfire before turning in for the night. At least it was warm!


Pat
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Old 05-02-2010, 06:40 AM   #47
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A great RR.............Looking forward to reading more....
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:28 AM   #48
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Day 8

I'm awake and underway early after a surprisingly restful and warm night. Though as I load the bike an eagle eyed camp attendant looking a little frazzled and like she just woke up swoops down on me asking if I self registered last night, I fess up that it was late and I just wanted to sleep so I hadn't. She labels me a “bad boy”and gives me a break only charging me the $5 for a hiker/biker campsite.




Elephant seals on the beach.

I head south hoping to find a decent cafe along the cliffside and get some food. I find one just south of camp, the door is open but it seems deserted, not a patron or employee to be seen. I get back on the bike and continue south, covering almost 40 miles before seeing a sign for “Hearst Castle”(http://www.hearstcastle.org/) National Historic Monument. I decided that it sounded worth checking out.


The castle on top of the hill in the distance.

The $22 tour was well worth the money! I'll let the pictures tell the story, but the presentations and history given by the tour guide really made the experience. Hearst Castle features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theatre, an airfield, and at one point the world's largest private zoo. The main building “Casa Grande” is over 60,000 sq feet.


The view from one of the many terraces


One of the many fountains, this one in front of the "Casa Del Sol" guest house (2500 sq ft)


The "Neptune Pool", much of the roman stonework was brought over from Greece.


Some playfull mermaids, everything is marble, the sculptures, the pool walls and flooring, would have taken quite the craftsman to do all this tile.


A view from poolside


Very Intricate detail on one of the guest houses


The oldest piece of art on the estate, an egyption godess statue that dates to 2000BC


Here we have "Casa Grande" or the main house.


Just inside the front door lies a huge entertaining room


with a fireplace brough over from france


and a roman marble mosaic tile floor


The dining room was nothing to scoff at either


and finaly the indoor swimming pool which was actuallly an afterthought and was excavated in under the main house after contruction had been completed.


Take note of all the gold colored tires in this photo and the previous... All are covered in 23 karet gold leaf!

The whole place is really an engineering marvel and I could have spent a whole day or more there taking in all the intricate details. No wonder the “ranch” took over ten years to build and was never fully completed.


If ony i had been allowed to ride my bike up to the castle rather than having to take the tour bus.

After my tour and taking wayyy to many photo's in hopes of getting a few really good ones I return to the bike and make my way south a ways before coming upon a small strip of hotels and cafe's on the beach where I stop for some “breakfast” (its noon by now) at the “Big Sur Cafe” where I have the smoked salmon omelet on the recommendation of the cook, its amazing, and the view wasn't bad either.



Continuing south I soon find myself on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Its about 4pm and I figure if I decide to cross the city tonight I'm going to hit some crazy rush hour traffic. Then I realize that it's Saturday and that easily just cut the rush down by half. I jump on the 405 making good time until we near the centre of the metropolis, here the traffic slows to a crawl as incoming traffic try's to merge and and through traffic make last minute lane changes to get to their intended exits.

All of a sudden a Honda CBR1000RR zips past me between the fast lane and the HOV lane and I remember that lane splitting is completely legal in California. With this in mind I physc myself up and give it a shot knowing full well that I have a pretty wide bike with the panniers and such mounted to the rear.

I end up making great time through nearly 15 miles of slow traffic with this method. Exhilarating but slightly scary this keeps me on my toes for what could otherwise be a monotonous ride.

I end up heading to the coast in order to get away from the hustle of the big city. Laguna beach is a stereotypical beach town with bronzed beauty's walking around town, surf boys trying their hardest to look cool at the beach and muscle bound steroid jockeys working out at the gym. Its all too Hollywood, too ritzy and too fake for me and I continue on my way without even a stop for a picture.

I finish the night in San Clemente where I enjoy an marvelous Mexican meal at “La Siesta” resuraunt. With a full belly and a worn out body I retire for the evening after quickly posting a couple days of reports.

Tomorow will see me in San Diego to meet one of my riding companions to be, Rob. Monday w will make our way to LA again to pickup Dave an Australian who if flying in, buying a bike and will be joining us on his way to south America.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:07 AM   #49
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Fantastic start! I envy your adventure.
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:31 PM   #50
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Nice read ,enjoy the trip
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:23 PM   #51
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Wow. Awesome report Pat. All-in.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:30 PM   #52
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Thanks for posting all the coast pix...it's one of my favorite places to ride-sorrry you had to find out the hard way about the lack of camping places....Usually the coast of CA is pretty much booked solid for reservations months in advance!

I'll be following the adventure. Keep it up!

Steve
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:36 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steves1150RT
Thanks for posting all the coast pix...it's one of my favorite places to ride-sorrry you had to find out the hard way about the lack of camping places....Usually the coast of CA is pretty much booked solid for reservations months in advance!

I'll be following the adventure. Keep it up!

Steve

Yea California's lost coast area has been the highlight sofar! Hope to cross into Baja tomorow morning though and if everything goes well im thinking the loast coast may loose that top spot!

Thanks for following guys, make it easier to write knowing some people are enjoying this!
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:43 AM   #54
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Great ride report and pictures. Keep 'em coming. Some of us riding our desks can almost smell the sea air from your posts.

Be safe.
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:30 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandSpark

Yea California's lost coast area has been the highlight sofar! Hope to cross into Baja tomorow morning though and if everything goes well im thinking the loast coast may loose that top spot!

Thanks for following guys, make it easier to write knowing some people are enjoying this!
Visually, Baja loses to Big Sur but culturarily it is another world. You will continue to meet fabulous people!

Any plans for baja? Mulage is a beautiful spot to camp (The Orchard on the south side of town) - but they charge money
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DantesDame screwed with this post 05-04-2010 at 01:18 PM
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:56 AM   #56
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Reading and Enjoying, keep it up. In order to get a picture of anyone interesting/attractive that you meet, use ths magic phrase: "Hey, since I am going to be on the road for so long, I'm doccumenting my trip. Can I get a picture with you?" EVERYONE says yes to this request. Just lean in, get an armful of them, slap on a stupid grin and do the old arms length portrait. Works every time.
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:40 AM   #57
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No such thing as too many photos
Memory cards are cheap!

Keep it up
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:56 AM   #58
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Glad to have met you (briefly) at Corbin. Sorry I didn't chat more, I was trying to get my husband out of there before he "crashed" in the grass

Have a great time on your trip!

BTW, I snagged your old seat before I left. We'll donate it to the next despriate soul, otherwise it would have been put in the trash bin.
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:21 PM   #59
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Great RR, keep it coming! Enjoy the ride, there are too few in a lifetime.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:53 PM   #60
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In San Vincente. Missed the turn out to Santo Thomas where we camp for the night. Tomorow, hopefully to Mikes Sky Rancho or the coast somewhere! Propper reports to follow!
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