Category Archives: California

Reedsport to Eureka, Monday, 30 July 2012, Day 56

get out of the way you are spoiling the view

Oops I have let this slide again so again playing catch up so what happened to day of interest let me think? Bugger it is really sad but I cannot remember much about today other than I have made it to California. Nice road along the coast saw some herds of elks another word for dear or maybe they are just another species I really should have listened more at school.

Chilling!

Oregon Pacific Coast

I ran out of steam in Crescent City but there was no real obvious places to stay so I kept on rolling through the Redwood National Park which was full of huge trees very pleasant run and then I started looking for something in Eureka. Saw I sign for a cheap motel and stopped to look but it was a real dive even I did not fancy staying there and my standards as we all know are not that high. There was another motel just round the corner, which looked at bit more habitable so went to ask them how much. But they where asking to much for my budget so I turned to walk out and the guy an Indian gentleman asked me how much I wanted to pay and we started haggling. I have not done that for ages and I was certainly not expecting to do that in the US. In the end we did a deal and I had a room for the night. Interesting folks in these types of motels mainly people using them as full time accommodation and nearly all of them smokers trying to bum a cigarette of me. Dinner tonight-pure Americana I went to Denny’s. I have not been there for years I used to go there all the time for breakfast the first time I was in the US with my sister and that was about 20 years ago. Well it has not changed much to my delight I spent all night trying to work out the menu and had a cheap and cheerful meal and then went for a bit of a wander and then back and barricaded myself in my room. (I exaggerate for dramatic effect)

Big Trees

In a new State therefore there are new ways of doing things. I went to fill up my bike with petrol so up to now you either fill up and then pay in places states provinces that they just trust you and it is dead easy. In other places you have to walk in and give your credit card and walk out fill up and go back in pay. This is a bit of pain but I guess loads of folks do runners here and there registration system of a vehicle is probably not as efficient as ours (How about that for smugness). Well today I had to say how much fuel I wanted and put this on the card. I did not know, as I have no idea as I just fill it to the brim each time and do not stop until it is sort of empty so I had to put 20 bucks on the card. Go and fill her up and then go back in and get a credit on my card for the balance. I also wanted a drink, which I always do on the same transaction but no this would have to be another transactions what a pain. And to add insult to injury they have funny pumps here that shut of as soon you start to pump to stop overflowing and wasting gas fumes well this system does not work with a motorcycles if you want to fill it to the brim so it took me ages fiddling with the nozzle to get the bike full. I need to practice my technique and develop some muscles in some weird places to get this to work for me. While I am bitching Sales Tax on hot food in California so my 1.99 breakfast cost me 2.14 today what is that all about 🙂

Eureka

Eureka to San Francisco, Tuesday, 31 July 2012, Day 57

The Paarsen Family

Today I was racing as I actually had to be somewhere at a particular time. Peter and Annemieke where in San Francisco and the plan was to meet up with them there. I did my usual Philly calculations on distances and reckoned I would be there at about 3pm. Well we all now how accurate and good my distance and timing calculations are. I hit the road highway 101 a great 2 lane highway with long sweeping bends through gorgeous scenery I was making excellent progress. Only fly in the ointments was a motorcycle crash some poor old fellow on a huge Goldwing and trailer seemingly his side stand had come down and dug in and thrown him of his bike. He was on his knees and moving and the crash scene seemed well organised so I did not get to involved and I continued with my journey.

This was a bit of a wakeup call on the vulnerability of motorcycles but as we motorcyclist do I had rationalised this and had soon forgot and was hammering along just as before.  This reminded me of a time when I was racing and there was huge crash at Zandvoort Race Circuit and we were all waiting for the track to be cleared so we could get out and race. It took a while as the trauma helicopter was called out the guy was seriously injured. Well we waited and then the track was clear and what did we do next we all went racing. Next meeting we heard the poor chap had died we had a minute’s silence and what did we next we zipped up our leathers and went racing no one that I recall wanted to talk about the accident we just got on with doing what we love and that is motorcycling so that is what I mean about a rationalising this you think about it for a short while and then you get your head down and then you are lost in that wonderful world of motorcycling.

Pacific Highway Nr1

Well it got better I turned on to Pacific highway number one the road narrowed and then started to twist and turn and this went on for the rest day. Slow 10 and 15 mph corners according to the signs sometimes they where about right others I may have been going a tad faster. So I really earned my money today beautiful scenery on the coast hanging on the edge and then inland all in all a top day for riding but unfortunately was racing against the clock to get to San Francisco to meet my Dutch friends. I had jokingly said to Peter on Skype that I would find a McDonald’s with free Wi-Fi and call them to tell where I was and where to meet but on this stretch of road no McDonald’s in fact very little in the way of fuel and fast food chains very un-American in fact. I finally found a pay phone and rang Peter with a new revised ETA and continued to enjoy this glorious ride.

I got to their Motel at about 7pm so only 3 hours out on my original estimate! Hard driving all the way so I am knackered. First thing we did was jump in their van to see if we could catch the sun set but this being San Francisco the clouds had moved so not much of sun set and the wind was really blowing me and the Paarsen clan mucked around on the Golden Gate Bridge viewing area for a while and then headed back to the motel for some supper.

Golden Gate Bridge

It was a quite night just chatting it was 2 months since I had spoken any Dutch so that was a bit rusty but it was good to see some familiar people. I ended up setting up camp in their cupboard for the night good to be fed and looked after so well after a long hard day in the saddle I could get used to this unfortunately they are heading North and I am heading South but it was great to see you guys veel lol met de rest van jullie vakantie en bedankt nogmaals voor jullie gastvrijheid

My Cupboard 🙂

San Francisco to Montara, Wednesday, 1 August 2012, Day 58

Lighthouse Accommodation

I woke up in my cupboard to the sounds of Peter singing the little drummer boy song by Bing Crosby and David Bowie and it has been in my head all day Cheers mate 🙂 Early start but I guess that is what happens when you have a young family with you. I said Ta Ta to the Paarsen family it was good to see you and headed to the nearest Safeway/Starbucks for breakfast to figure out the plan for today.

Pieter and Annemieke

I am going into San Francisco to see if I can find somewhere reasonable to stay tonight but this plan fails miserably as I cannot found anywhere to park the bike without paying and the hostels are all full or expensive so plan B kicks in. I am not really in a busy city kind of mood at the moment so I decide to do the 49 miles scenic drive around town and then to head out to Monterey. I am keen to get back on them twisty roads rather than fight downtown traffic. I loose the signs for the 49 miles scenic drive after taking about 20 minutes trying to find it in the first place and I am lost after about 30 minutes so as I am on the far side of San Francisco I just punch in Monterey on my GPS and I head back to Pacific Highway Number 1.

Alcatraz

I am in a bit of funny mood my guts are rotten and I think I am well knackered after yesterday hard physical ride so when I see a sign for a hostel 30 mile outside of San Francisco I pull over to take a look at it and it turns out to be a gorgeous lighthouse keeper house turned into a hostel. Its only 2 pm but I decide I like this place and I want to stay here so onto plan C. They have a place yay but I cannot check in until 3.30pm so I go for  ride to the nearest supermarket get some vitals for the evening and I am back and checked in by 4pm. The weather is still overcast and not so warm but hang around the lighthouse where they have their own little beach and great views which would be even better if the clouds ever lift. It is 10 pm and I have just been chilling around this place for the last 6 hours it was a good call to stop I needed this little break.

Lighthouse home for tonight

Tomorrow Hearst castle I have been there twice before but I find the place fascinating so I will be making it a hat trick of visits.

A couple of days ago in Oregon there was another lighthouse which had a gorgeous B&B in the old Lighthouse keeper house with rooms that started from 250 USD per night. Seemingly there was a 7-course breakfast with full guide and history tour of the food and the lighthouse. I really wanted to stay there but it was well beyond my budget and then a couple of days later same set up only this time a hostel for 26 USD per night and I will go to Safeway’s for breakfast down the road so how cool is that 🙂

Montara to Cambria, Thursday, 2 August 2012, Day 59

The Corkscrew at Laguna Sega

I needed a short break and an early night and I was ready to hit the road again this time to Cambria as I had managed to book a hostel there tonight and it is near Hearst Castle my main destination today. Well that was the plan but I got to Hearst Castle way to late and it was closed fortunately I am only staying 10 miles down the road so I will pop by tomorrow morning before heading to LA. So again my planning on mileage letting me down but I do have an excuse as I was driving to Monterey I remembered that Laguna Sega race track was near so I did a little detour there on my way and before I knew it I was at the race track. I can hang around these places for ages so this is the reason I did not get to Hearst Castle before it shut and that and all the other stops I did along the way as even though the weather was crap and I was driving through clouds and mist most of the day still a lovely ride with lots of distractions and wildlife to see.

    

Laguna Seca

Today I saw a sea otter (I had no idea that you get otters at the sea I thought they were freshwater and it must be bloody difficult building dams in the pacific) seals, pelicans, elephant seals to name some of the animals I saw to-day so an excellent day on the wildlife front.

I saw the famous corkscrew and took loads of pictures (for the racing geeks amongst you will understand my fondness for this holy place) basically a good day if not a bit chilly I finally made it to the hostel at 7.30pm so also a reasonably long day as well. Skype Richard Kooyenga who has offered me a couch in LA, I saw him a couple of years ago at a school reunion and it’s probably 30 years ago at school the time before that so a lot catching up to do and he also mentioned that Russell Fearon another school mate of mine is around as well and I have not seen him since I was about 16 so it should be a laugh catching up with those two.

I saw a sign for the 17-mile drive near Monterey and I recall it was supposed to be quite scenic so I turned of into it. I came round the corner and found out it was a toll route so I thought it may be part of the National Parks of US for which I have a ticket as there is no way am I paying USD9.75 to get in. Nope my pass is not valid and by the way motorcyclist are not allowed in. That pissed me of and made me want to pay the USD9.75 and go in anyhow. It has been ages since I have seen any anti motorcyclist sentiment and it reminded me of when I first moved back to the UK and they where always refusing to serve anyone wearing leather jacket in the pubs. Last no motorcyclist area that I was in was in Quebec but I just ignored those signs but this time there was a rent a cop and barriers so no entry for Philly and his motorbike today. I am plotting a big demo turning up with 100 of bikes and blocking the entrance and demanding to be allowed in, equal rights for motorcyclist, motorcyclist are human, motorcyclist have feelings to etc. My rebellionistic feelings soon disappeared, as the road got more interesting as I entered Carmel valley where the last time I was here I got a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street facing the wrong direction! Something about that this part of the world and me that are slightly at odds with each other.

Carmel Valley

Big Sur

Tomorrow I will attempt to get to Hearst Castle and then to LA I am looking forward to it.

Elephant Seals

Must be love!

Mather from Cars

Cambria to Brea (Los Angeles), Friday, 3 August 2012, Day 60

Hearst Castle

Well I made it to Hearst Castle and as expected I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I spent all morning there, I did the Upstairs Suites Tour as I had been here twice before so I thought I try to see another part of the castle this time.

Hearst Castle

              

      

      

I love this place the pure decadence of the place is amazing and obscene all at the same time. I managed to get away at 2pm and I started making my way to Richards in LA. The GPS reckoned I would get there at 6.30pm so I thought at a leisurely pace should be there by 8.30pm with a stop for lunch and any shiny objects I saw along the way. It turned out slightly different as I did not calculate on LA Friday night rush hour traffic. Bloody hell after driving around on empty roads for nigh on 2 months this is a complete mind f**k I am trying to following the GPS which is telling me I need to be in the left lane of 8 lanes and I am in the right lane of 8 lanes and traffic all around me in total grid lock. You are allowed to filter in the state of California but with all my luggage on the back I have a huge arse on the bike so this is quite difficult so I am not getting anyway fast. The trick I find is to ride aggressively and just to hammer it like the locals do and that seem to work but it needs a lot of confidence and the road surface are also crap with lots of banding so I am fighting that as well.

I get to Richards at 8.30pm right on schedule except the schedule was completely different from the original plan. Its time to fall of the wagon after that experience and Richard had a cold beer waiting for me it will be the first of many as I have been dry for 60 days so there is a lot of catching up to do. Cold Beer mmmm lekker! We headed straight out to a Chinese for dinner and then we hit a few more bars before crashing on the Richard sofa at about 2.30am ish I am knackered , slightly pissed and happy a good night of catch up with Richard the perfect host Mi casa est tu casa 🙂

Brea (Los Angeles), Saturday, 4 August 2012, Day 61

reunion with Richard Kooyenga and Russell Fearon

First sleep in for ages I think we surfaced at about 12am ish and first order of business was brunch. Kimmi’s for quesadillas and then back to hang around the swimming pool. Yes he has a pool as well so guess who is moving in! At about 3pm we headed to Century City as Richard had tickets for Who Shot Rock & Roll a photo exhibition with free concert with Raphael Saadiq and a Band of Skulls I had never heard of either but allegedly for those in the know this is a cool and fashionable line up.

http://www.kcrw.com/events/who-shot-rock-roll

Lots of queuing but a good night as Richard blagged us into the VIP lounge and we spent the evening chatting to girls who worked in “the industry” that is what they call it here for me “the industry”  has a whole other meaning!

John and Oko lovechild!

VIP

Peeing in Bev Hills

So a good evening hanging around with LA trendies and then of to Pasadena for a block party hosted by an other school mate of mine who I have not seen in 30 years Russell Fearon so a mini school reunion. We did not get there till about 11pm so Russell already well pissed as it had started at about 6pm so conversation bit limited but good to see him after all these years. I spent the rest of the evening chilling out on the street outside Russell’s house. We ended up for last orders at In and Out Burgers for last call at 1.30am as we had not got round to eating that evening a cold burger Yuk and then back to Richards. An excellent day the only fly in the ointment was that we got a parking ticket in Beverly Hills like they need the cash!

Brea (Los Angeles), Sunday, 5 August 2012, Day 62

LA Mural cool

Wow another kip in I have got the place to myself as Richard has gone to take his son for swimming lessons so I am just hanging round the flat doing some work on the PC and uploading and downloading photos not realising that I had used all of Richards bandwidth allowance for the full month in one morning oops sorry mate presumed it was unlimited. Richard got back at 2pm so we decided to hit LA downtown first the market for some Mexican tacos for lunch and then wandering all over LA downtown just being a tourist. I have been to LA a couple of time before but I never stayed or went near the downtown I always hung out in Santa Monica Hollywood etc. which I think is what most people do which is a shame as downtown LA is a great place as well and spent a great afternoon in some weird and fascinating bars and just wandering around.

Downtown LA

That evening we went to free open-air concert in Pasadena to see the famous saxophonist called Ernie Watts yep you guessed it I had never heard of him either but a cool venue and pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening. Then we hit another bar so you could say I have officially fallen of the wagon but the company is excellent. Another late night as we pulled out the maps when we got back to Richard trying to figure out where I am going to go next still I am still not sure other than

Las Vegas Baby 🙂

Downtown LA