Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 2-Back on track and CA cruising.

After an epic 13 hours and 367 miles, day two is complete. It was kick stands up at 7:30AM and we were on our way once again. In order to get back on track from yesterdays detour we needed to get back to the coast, so we headed northwest from King City on the G16. It turned out to be an incredible road, and an amazing way to start the day. In the distance behind us, fog slowly rolled over the mountains as we wound our way through the back country road, just the five of us and Mother Nature herself. It's moments like these that make this far more than a Canadian Caper, it's truly a Soul Ride.
A little while later we pulled into the small town of Carmel Valley, about 12 miles inland from Carmel itself. We stopped at a little coffee shop & bakery for breakfast, and it was quite good, organic coffee too. Bellies full and warm, we threw on our jackets, gloves, and face masks, and headed out to cruise once more. It was cold outside, but the incredible scenery and riding more than made up for it.
Back on track, and back on the 1N, we rode up the coast and through the forests,every turn and vista seemingly more incredible than the last. Looking to our right we would be greeted by an incredible variety of forest, the types and kinds of trees changing as we rode. To our left, the Pacific ocean, going from sandy beaches to rocky shorelines right out of The Goonies. Just past Santa Cruz we saw what I can only describe as a wall made of clouds, thousands of feet high from the ocean as far up as you could see. Thinking about it now it makes me realize just how small we are in the big scheme of things. We stopped at a beach to take a moment, soak it in, and grab some pics.
It's hard really to describe what it's like viewing nature in this way. There is a saying that goes "If you don't ride, than you don't know," and I think that it is in this context that it is most significant. You may have driven along the 1N yourself in a car, and while I agree that it's incredibly beautiful, compared to riding it on a bike it's like watching scenery pass by you instead of actually moving through the scenery yourself.
Our next stop was Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles south of San Francisco. We stopped to stretch our legs and grab a drink before heading out on the next leg of our journey. I went inside the cafe to wash my face, as I had sunscreen in my eyes that was unpleasant to say the least. It turns out that while I was inside, the rest of the guys were having their photos taken for a local blog! You can check it out at Guess the BBMC is now officially famous.
We had just 30 miles to go in order to reach San Francisco and cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Our plan was to do this and then meet up with a good friend of mine for lunch just past Marin. What should have taken 30 minutes or so ended up taking us 2 hours. 2 hours to go 30 miles! It was some of the worst traffic I have ever seen, and bare in mind I lived in LA for 8 years. The only reason we were even able to get through in that amount of time was a bike's ability to go in between the lanes. And in case you are wondering, it is perfectly legal in CA for bikes to do so. Nonetheless, it is by far the most intense riding I have ever done. Because we are traveling at such a slow speed, and having to be extremely precise in order not to destroy all the cars next to us, it takes every ounce of muscle and concentration to safely and effectively get through the cars. Bare in mind, we are not riding sleek sports bikes here, they are thousands of pounds of machine, luggage, and rider. My left hand was aching after 2 hours constantly squeezing the clutch, and my whole body was sore from all the maneuvering. After such an incredible morning, it was a terrible way to start the afternoon.
We finally made it across the Golden Gate, and to be honest, I was so exhausted and stunned by what we had experienced that I barely even noticed the bridge. It was a lot of fun riding across though, especially since the traffic finally started moving. A little while later we were back on the 1N and stopped in Stinson Beach to get some lunch. We were 2 hours behind our original plan, and we realized we were in for a long day. We still had 160 miles to go in order to reach Fort Bragg, and our reserved hotel rooms. Averaging 40MPH on the coast road, that was still another 4 hours of riding,not including stops.
We saddled up, and headed out to conquer the remaining miles, BBMC style. The further we road, the better it got, and the memories and muscle pains of San Fran's traffic blew away in the wind. I was tired, there is no doubt about it, but the experience of riding up the CA coast with my Dad and some great buddies is priceless, and no traffic or time constraints are going to spoil that.
After many more miles and many more hours, the light getting low and our bodies very tired, we rolled into Fort Bragg just before the sun went down. We had been traveling for 13 hours, and had covered some of the most challenging miles of our riding careers. As we checked into our hotel, we were all exhausted in the best possible way. Today had been a mixture of beauty and battle, a real taste of the bitter and the sweet. If there is one thing that it taught me though, it's that the further we go, the better it gets. With that in mind, I'm going to bed, excited to see what tomorrow's journey through the Redwoods and into Oregon has to show us.

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