Sunday, 26 August 2012

Day 63: San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles via the Pacific Coast Hihway

Evening all
Well this will be a different post because there will be no photos. Maybe later if Diana is able to send me some. Today was mostly a getting-on-with-it kind of day because we had to be in LA tonight but still wanted to come an interesting way if we could.

We took our time leaving San Luis Obispo and Dick led us on a delightful meander through market gardens with broccoli, cabbages, maize and other vegetables and on to the coast at Guadalupe. We tried to stay on California 1 as much as we could but being a sunny Sunday the roads were pretty clogged. People seemed in a good mood about it though with one car pulling up alongside us and holding up a sign which said "New Zealand?" Nonetheless it was a lot of stop-start driving which is not what an R1200GS is designed for!

Fabulous scenery though with lots of people enjoying the sea. We rode past Neptunes Cafe which must have had at least three million motorbikes parked outside it. Easily. We also saw some bikers taking risks that made us cringe as they weaved through the heavy traffic. Us middle-aged bikers were much more sedate. :-)

The route took us down to Santa Barbara and through Malibu to Santa Monica. We basically just turned the bikes then and headed for our hotel on Santa Monica Blvd. And here we are. I went out for a walk and was a little surprised at the number of men I met walking along the street holding hands. I didn't think too much about it until we were at the restaurant having dinner. I went to the loo and asked the waiter where the restrooms were. His question was "straight or gay?" I went straight; I did not pass go and I did not earn $200. So there.

Tomorrow we take the bikes into the BMW agent for their 30,000km service. I plan to do some sightseeing then before heading for LAX at about 7pm for our flight home. And so dear readers (and John M), this blog will be on hold for a couple of weeks. I may write some commentaries from Wellington but that will depend very much on how quickly I get the painting done! And on my grandsons.

Thank youse all for your forbearance and your nice messages to Kiwi.

Diana has written a great summary of the trip so far on her latest blog here:

Today's run: 352kms
Cumulative: 18,735kms
Tipovers: 2

Location:Los Angeles, California, USA

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Day 62: Monterey to San Luis Obispo via the Sur Highway

Evening all
Hope you are all still there. Whoever you are. :-)
We had a pretty cool day today. We were up relatively early knowing that we had a shortish run today and headed off out of Monterey towards San Luis Obispo. The plan was to ride together today so I headed off, then D&D got stuck at a traffic light and Karen promptly took me onto the beginning of the freeway on 101 via Salinas direct to San Luis Obispo. Oh no .... this is supposed to be the magical coastal route through. So we rode separately again today. But it was fine.

First opportunity I took an off ramp to the right and asked Karen to take me to Carmel. Which she did! Down a lovely zigzag of country roads (John Denver, where are you?), rural landscapes and great scenery onto the Sur Highway just south of Carmel. This is the famous Sur Highway, which for some reason I had always thought was the Sewer Highway and had assumed there was something stinkie about it. But it was great. Much better than the Australian Great Ocean Road, right up there with the Paekakariki Coast Road, only much much longer. It was great.

Along the way Kiwi and I stopped, as we do, to have a look around and take photos. I thought this view was a bit grotty really.

But I was ready for a bite to eat so sat there and had a banana and watched the swell roll in. We then headed on up the road and soon came to a "vista point" and pulled in to have a look. It was much better so I reached for Kiwi to put him in the frame and reached for Kiwi to put him in the ..... Oh no! No Kiwi! His little pouch on the tankbag was empty. I realised at once what had happened. I had left him behind. Bugger! We can't carry on without Kiwi!
I u-turned and went back down the road looking for the place where we had stopped. When I thought I had gone far enough, I turned again and went slowly looking for the spot. No joy. I turned and went back again, not so far this time. And back. No joy! Oh dear. So I turned and went back yet again. I remembered that when I had sat eating my banana, I had rested my boots on a barbed wire fence. Yes, this looked likely and in we went. And there he was. Waiting. Patiently?

Man, did he give me a telling off! I didn't know he had learned so many swear words! Who from I wonder?

Back in his little pocket we rode back to the vista point where the other visitors there were beginning to give me funny looks. And took some cool photos.

We went back on the road and rode a little further. Stopping just past some road works when this huge group of bikes went through.

I followed them for a while. And then left them to take some more photos along the way.

I then pulled in to Big Sur for a break. Just as I was parking the bike, I heard a voice behind me say, "is that you Ken?" It was Angus Duthie, a Ulysses member from Wellington. Gus was part of the group, some of whom we had met in McBride ages ago, a group of some 40 kiwis who had been to Sturgis and were now riding back to LA and home. This was the group i had photographed earlier! They were in the process of pulling out of Big Sur so I only had a brief chance for a chat. Gus has collected a Harley trike for his daughter (?) and was in the process of delivering it to NZ, via Sturgis and many of the national parks that we had also visited. Amazing.

A bit up the road there was another view point, this time with chipmunks.

Kiwi went in to check them out.

He wasn't all that impressed. Nor were they!

Back on the road I was taken by this sign. High surf? Yeah right.

I then stopped at the Hearst Pier near the Hearst Castle. I could have been in Oz!

Somewhere out there is Aotearoa. Just past the tourists! :-)

I took a little side road down to the beach and parked for a while. A woman there told me that there were whales out in the sea. She was right! They were a long way away so you'll have to trust me. :-)

Here is a spout.

And here is a tail. Honest!

And this could be a hump, back.

There were also some gorgeous pelicans. I love these birds.

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican.
(Dixon Lanier Merritt)

And that was about it. We are now in San Luis Obispo (Bishop Saint Luis?) an ok motel with free beer from 530-700 and a six dollar BBQ. Not bad. :-)

Today's run: 285kms
Cumulative: 18,383kms
Tipovers: 2

Location:San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Friday, 24 August 2012

Day 61: Mariposa to Monterey via a lot of back roads

Evening all
Well it was a funny old day today. After our difficulties in meeting up at our lunchtime waypoint yesterday we decided today to ride separately and meet up at our destination in Monterey. It worked ok but it was odd riding in your own and I was super-sensitive to tyre pressures and engine noises. But it was all ok.

From Mariposa I rode through quite dense forest which gradually thinned out to be replaced by paddocks and then by cultivated areas - both orchards (pistachios!) and fields of maize, tomatoes and peas.

I overtook a caravan of about twelve truck and trailer units with open trays piled high with tomatoes. And also past a truck which had just lost a crate of peas on the road. Interesting to ride through I must say.

Not too many photos I am afraid because I was getting on with it, except for the obligatory Hayden Road photo. Sorry Frances, I am still looking. Honest!

I arrived in Monterey in mid-afternoon and went for a walk down to Fishermans' Wharf and Cannery Row. (I can hear all you John Steinbeck fans gasping.) it was quite incredible. Millions of dollars worth of boats.

with homeless people above begging for handouts. Weird. Weird too, just how many of those seeking handouts are smokers. Double weird. Just what does a packet of smokes cost these days?

Lots of wildlife here. Seals and sea lions and sea otters in the sea. Lots of pelicans and different birds. Just great.

I came back from the wharves and went to a barbers. It was pretty hard case really - an old style barbershop where Spanish was as commonly spoken as English. So now I am trimmed up again.

After dinner I went for a little walk with the camera. Here are just some images. Amazing banana passion fruit?

I think..... What a wonderful aroma.

I thought these houses could have been in Cooper Street.

But probably not this one.

Or this one....

I wandered on back down to the wharf but it was getting dark. I wondered what these guys were watching.

And then realised....

A successful day fishing...

Even the pelicans were hopeful.

Out on the buoys the sea lions were settling for the night.

Along the wharf there were a number of fishermen jigging. I got chatting the Grandpaw and Joey. We talked as granddads do about the benefits (both ways) of granddads taking grandkids fishing.

Joey needed to go to the loo so I took over his rod and while he was gone caught three squid and five sprats. That was a hoot. Mind you they all had to go into his basket.

So that was about our day.

Today's run: 253kms
Cumulative: 18,098kms
Tipovers: 2

Location:Monterey, California, USA

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Day 60: Bishop to Mariposa via Yosemite National Park

Well we had a quieter start to our day today but still got up reasonably early and got away in good time. A great climbing run from Bishop to Lee Vining where we stopped for a coffee before heading into the famous Yosemite National Park. This is a park dominated by meadows

Huge rocky outcrops

Lovely streams

and forests which you can't see for the trees.

It's hard to get the idea of how massive these rocks are.

Can you see the climbers?

Here they are.

Even some lovely lakes.

The forest vistas were great.

Kiwi and I checked out this lovely little stream.

And intriguing growth of one side of the trees.

Here were some great views.

I stopped at Yosemite Village for lunch and on the way back I saw these beauties grazing right alongside the path.

Pretty kewl huh.

I was supposed to meet D&D here but somehow it didn't work and with no cellphone cover we were unsure quite what to do. In the end I rode out to where there was cover in a town called Mariposa and checked into the Best Western in the hope that they would do the same. Which they did.

Now it will be time for a beer and something to eat.

Today's run: 273kms
Cumulative: 17,845kms
Tipovers. 2

Location:Mariposa, California, USA