Sunday, May 18, 2014

Coast to Coast: Day 11: San Francisco, CA - Los Angeles, CA. Sunday, May 18, 2014

     I didn’t take most of Route 1 on the way to San Francisco, so I wanted to be sure I could see everything I missed on the way back to LA. Traffic wasn’t too bad in San Francisco, so I didn’t have to lane share to get out of town.

     Before I got on the Route 1, I stopped at a gas station and talked to some other motorcyclists. There was a middle age man who said he had been riding motorcycles since he first got a dirt bike when he was 9. He was now 49. He said he had never been east of Nevada though.

     There was another motorcyclist in her 30s or 40s who was with him. She had just recently picked up riding a year and a half ago. She didn’t seem to know too much about how her motorcycle worked. I told her I had six months of riding experience on her, and that I was crossing the country, which the two bikers found hard to believe until I showed them my Ohio plates.

     I’m really glad I traded the fast route for the scenic South Pacific Highway. Most of Route 1 hugged the coastline, especially in the northern parts of the road by the mountains. I took the most pictures here. The view all along the highway was breathtaking, and the highway, I’m glad, was very long.

A view just off Route 1 

The view on top of a mountain by the water 

Another view from the mountain. My bike was behind the white truck and just barely visible. 

The highway went on for many miles, as visible in the picture 

     It was nice that there were so many clearings by the side of the highway to stop and take a picture. Some views were better than others, but all of them were picture worthy.

Liz parked in a clearing off the highway

     There were so many elevation changes and winding roads that it began to wear me out, so I took more breaks than usual for food and water to perk me up. Northern Route 1 was beautiful, but it was also in the middle of nowhere. There weren’t many gas stations or shops, and I didn’t have cell service until I was halfway to Los Angeles.

     Speaking of getting worn down, I wasn’t actually getting fatigued anymore. Every time I felt weak or tired, it was usually because I was hungry, thirsty, or just needed to stretch my legs. I was riding from sun up to sun down over 500 miles a day, and it was nice to be fully awake to see the South Pacific Highway, among other places. I was getting in good shape from my distance riding.

     I stopped in a small tourist area which hugged Route 1. Everything was expensive. Burgers were almost $7. I decided that it wasn’t worth taking a break from my gas station diet for a 7 dollar burger, so I got a Starbucks priced coffee which I felt I really needed.

     I met an older motorcyclist who said he was from the Midwest. The conversation started when I saw him looking at my CB750 on his CB1100, which was the modern version of my bike. He didn’t travel on his motorcycle; he was RVing his way across the country and had his motorcycle stored in a “toy box” on the RV. I said that I was really interested in purchasing a CB1100 when I finished college, and asked him about it. He said that because the engine was so large and forward, it put a lot of weight on the front tire. As a result, tire changes were frequent. The engine also didn’t have a lot of power for its size. My engine was much better tuned. I decided that if I was going to spend as much money as that motorcycle cost, I would find something with a little more power. We didn’t talk too long before he parked it and went into tourist area, and I continued riding.

     It was surreal travelling on Route 1 for hundreds of miles. It was so beautiful for so long that I began getting tired of it. I knew it was a road that I would rarely ever see again, but I can only enjoy the same thing for so long before it starts to feel normal.

     I didn’t see a whole lot of other motorcyclists taking Route 1. Those who were I spoke to, and most of them were Germans who didn’t speak a lot of English. I guess Americans really aren’t that adventurous. I saw most of Route 1 but it was starting to get late. I left Route 1 at the point I made it to when taking the highway north, and followed 101 to Los Angeles. Along the way, I saw an amazing town seated on the beach.

A view of the town just off 101

     I don’t know what the town was called, but it was very clean and well maintained. I only stayed around long enough for gas, but it was neat that the gas station was right next to the beach. As a matter of fact, everything was next to the beach. The whole town was a beach. The sand even made its way onto the streets. 

     I carried on as the day turned into evening. I stopped at a vista point. Vista points in California were essentially rest stops, except they are accommodated by fantastic views. I wish Kansas had rest stops like these.

A view from a vista point 

     It was dark by the time I reached LA. There wasn’t much traffic, so I was happy I didn’t have to lane share again to the hotel. I had done enough lane sharing for one lifetime. Strangely though, my journey felt rather incomplete. I had already seen so much of the country, but something was missing. I figured that I had made it as far as the west coast, and that I should reach the east coast before I got home. It might have been because my good buddy David joked that I was on a halfass cross country trip without reaching the other coast. I knew he was kidding, but it still struck something deep. Peer pressure all the way.

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