Sports bikes along the Big Sur

Day 15: Thursday 18th July 2013 – Lompoc, CA to Monterey, CA

Today was the day that the coast highway would start getting really interesting with some nice curves and switchbacks, but the initial section out of Lompoc and up past San Simeon is fairly smooth.

From California, July 2013

From my last trip along this road, I had forgotten how much agriculture there is between Los Angeles and San Francisco. For most of yesterday’s ride and the start of today’s, I was seeing field after field growing vegetables and fruit, sometimes in huge fields of poly tunnels. I haven’t ridden the 101 freeway between LA and SF, always preferring to stick to the coast, but I’ve been told that for pretty much the whole journey there is industrial scale agriculture along the whole road.

At Cayocus, I stopped off for refreshment and noticed that it’s not just British seaside towns that have piers.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

Usually when I am riding in the US, the vast majority of other motorcycles I see are Harley-Davidsons. I’d already noticed in LA a higher proportion of sports bikes, but as I continued up the coast and the road became more interesting with twisty turns and hairpins, I was seeing tons of them and hardly any Harleys. I began to wonder whether this was a Californian thing. These guys are in full leathers and full face helmets, which isn’t surprising as the temperature by the coast is a lot cooler than it is inland.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

When I stopped for fuel, a young lone GSX-R rider, came over to ask about my plates and, of course, we chatted. He told me that there was a Moto GP event on over the weekend at the Laguna Seca raceway, near Monterey, and that’s why there were so many sports bike riders out. They were all heading up to the race. He’d travelled up from San Diego, and this trip, of around 400 miles each way, was the longest he’d taken on his bike. He was very jealous of the trip the Trooper and I were undertaking.

From California, July 2013

I was enjoying the ride despite being overtaken periodically by the sport bikers, but by the time I got to Gorda By the Sea, the only gas station for the next 40 miles which was out of gas, the fog was beginning to come in. I was thankful the Trooper still had a half tank left.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

And the fog didn’t really let up from then until Monterey, apart from a few brief sections were I managed to grab the odd photo.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

Aside from the fog obscuring the view of the sea and coastline, it was also getting cold. I’d really enjoyed yesterday’s sea breeze after the heat of the desert, but you can have too much of a good thing. I considered stopping and digging out some winter gear from my dry-bag, but that would have meant unloading most of the rest of the luggage to get to it. I hadn’t expected to have needed it so soon. Instead I just contented myself with winter gloves and pressed on, but the fog rather spoiled what should have been a fantastic ride. By the time I reached Monterey, I was cold, hungry and tired, and checked in to pretty much the first motel I saw despite the $109 price tag.

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