30 August 2012

Going Down the Coast - Day 1

I've been lazy again. We were out riding on the weekend 18/19/20th of August. Took Monday off to have a bit more time and decided to ride South.

We went on Highway 9 to Santa Cruz, then took Highway 1 South - a classic ride in California and it is just plain breath taking riding along the rough coast line. The area from Santa Cruz to Monterey isn't very nice, but from then on it's pure joy.

Start of the fun part

Around Big Sur

The trusty steeds

We had really nice weather, clear sky, no fog, so we decided to take 1 all the way to San Luis Obispo that day and do the inland routes on the way back.

At Bigsby Bridge

Another short break

It was super windy at the coast, riding was sometimes quite a challenge when a wind gust shook the bike right in the middle of a corner while leaned over. Not nice. Relaxing is everything, the bike does the rest. It's still hard.

Did I say "nice weather"?
We wanted to stay in San Luis Obispo, didn't have a hotel reservation. What a mistake that was. As in our opinion it wasn't any kind of special weekend, we did not book anything in advance, especially as we didn't know how far we'd ride on the first day. 

Arriving in SLO and checking some of the hotels - they were all booked out. Hmmm. Okay. Went into a Starbucks, got the phone out and started calling around. To make the story short, I called 34 hotels overall until I found a room for us. There was a room at #29 or so but these assholes wanted $300 for some kind of no-name crap motel. Sorry Mr. Nightshift, no fluffing up your salary with some additional money from travelers, you can rip off whoever you want, we would have ridden back home if that were the only room available. 

We stayed in the Courtyard Marriot in Paso Robles for ~ $200 for the room. It was a very nice room, the hotel had a bar where we could get some Merlot to celebrate our 10 years engagement anniversary and then fall asleep after a loooooong day. 

Btw: does it strike you odd that a hotel bar in something that considers itself a "wine country" closes down at 9PM? Being from Europe I find that pretty ridiculous - at 9PM the main traffic just starts in European bars. Ah, doesn't matter, it was a great day and we found a place to stay. All was good.


  1. Guido:

    Lovely roads, and nice scenic views of the ocean as you meander on your way to SLO. We only got to see fog the last time we were there 2 years ago.

    Lucky you found a room, and Happy Anniversary to the both of you

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Thanks Bob! So far we've been luck with the weather a few times. But it's hard to predict that's why we stayed on 1 for the day - it was good and we didn't want to spoil it.

  2. Beautiful ocean views. I love that section between Monterey and SLO. N reason to go further south than that. I guess I'm not surprised by the full hotels. For our family reunion in Santa Cruz, we needed to make reservations 6 months in advance.

    Happy Anniversary!

    1. We were actually surprised - but it was the last weekend before school started again, so we should have thought about it. Nevertheless, we rarely like to make reservations as we never know how far we go.

      We'll have to take our camping gear for these cases when we can't find a hotel ...

  3. Finally you got to play with the bikes again. You have been really lucky with the weather.
    Weird that all the hotels were booked, it sucks when this happens but your persistence was rewarded, although 200 bucks is not cheap either. There must have been a car show or something in the area.

    At least you got your deserved rest and a glass of wine at the end of a wonderful day. Happy belated engagement anniversary. Time flies by when you're having fun, eh?

    1. Time certainly flies. I think the hotels were booked as that area has become more and more interesting with the wineries and it was the last weekend before the school started again last week.

  4. Beautiful scenery. One day I will have to venture south of San Francisco. That is about as south as I've been but I see I am really missing out.

    Congrats on your ten years engagement anniversary.

  5. Thanks all for the congratulations!

    Yeah, Highway 1 between Monterey and San Luis Obispo is super nice! Very beautiful. There are also roads inland that are well worth traveling - there are two more days coming up here ... ;-)

  6. 9:00? No problem, so long as you can get in the doors before then. Just pull "hitchhiker" (from the guide to the galaxy) and order six before the end of the world.

    There aren't 74 miles of curves in the whole state of Kansas. To say I'm envious is an understatement that could serve as the definition.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  7. It was just a bit hectic, that's it. We arrived at the hotel at 8:40, got part of our stuff in the room, got the rest from the bikes and stayed right in the bar with helmets, cases, and so on. Annoying.

    California really is a riders dream. We have so many excellent routes here, and the weather is generally pretty good, too. Have a three day weekend planned this coming weekend. So I need to get going on day two and three of this report ...

  8. Did this same ride, same weekend. But we we're a day ahead of you(left Friday back on Sunday. A pair of 1200GS's from the Half Moon Bay area. Had lunch at Nepenthe in Big Sur, than onto SLO. Not too much trouble getting a room on Friday, but Saturday was another story as you know. Did the calling everyone early Saturday morning, and got the next to last room in Morro Bay. Once we had a room we headed for Solvang (breakfast & motorcycle museum) than onto Santa Barbara for lunch at the Endless Summer. Also saw the first and only remaining SAMBOS restaurant while in Santa Barbara. Then it was back to Morro Bay for the night. Sunday's ride home was fun until we got north of Santa Cruz, the winds were something else. As you said these are some of the best roads a motorcyclist could ask for. Glad your ride went well, I'll keep an eye out for you on the road.
    Ride Safe,

  9. We'll be looking out for you guys, too! Your's also sounds like a very nice trip. On the ride back we took Nacimiento Ferguson Road and Carmel Valley Road - highly recommended!