| Sunday morning dawned clear, bright, and 58 degrees. We point
the bikes north up Hwy 1 to San Luis Obispo, with it college campus
on the hill to our right, then on to Morro Bay with its three 100’
smoke stacks dominating the skyline. Once you leave Morro Bay, this
becomes beautiful country with green hills, small rock formations,
and cattle dotting the valleys. The further north you get the more
“quaint” the towns appear and spectacular the scenery becomes. There
are numerous little communities along the coast and we intend to visit
several before we get home.
Our next stop was the small community of Cambria. The old part of
downtown is filled with character while the streets right next to
the ocean are dotted with B&B’s, motels, and hiking paths. Dave
and I dismounted, took a few pictures (photos 40 & 41),
and just enjoyed the views. This would become our Modus Operendus
for the rest of the trip. Ride the coast, stop and take pictures,
enjoy the views. It made for a slow trip but a memorial one. For
those on high performance crotch rockets, this would be tedium indeed,
but for those who see our motorcycles as magic carpets taking us to
those special places that speak to us, this is what motorcycling is
Our next stop was just north of Cambria and right before Pedres Blancas.
This beach has the distinction of being a resting spot for a variety
of sea lions, seals, and elephant seals. They look like so many dead
fish washed up on the beach and smell just about as pleasant (photo
Elephant Seals are big mothers (photo 43), and can be up to
six feet in height. They have a loose skin “snout” that sounds somewhat
like blowing air through a straw into a class of water (photo 44).
In addition, they seem to enjoy a good fight with the biggest elephant
seal usually the winner. A natural case of “might makes right” so
to speak. Around the beach, you would see a couple of young bulls
raise up and bang each other around (photo 45), or just posture
and bluff, and then lay back down (photo 46). Much like you
local middle manager or CEO. If you will notice in one picture,
the biggest bull Elephant Seal does a little ballet step (photo
47) then has the space all to himself (photo 48). Can
you say “bully” boys and girls?
The ride was falling into a routine now with Dave’s Harley in front
and my Goldwing in back. Mile after mile of spectacular scenery passed
by in sweet succession, the ocean, headlands, and beaches on our left
and the green rolling hills rising up on our right. Does it get any
better than this?
Our next stop is at a motel complex out in the middle of nowhere,
the Ragged Point Inn (photos 49 & 50). Prices start at
$99 a night and go to $240. For that kind of money you get solitude,
exquisite scenery, good food, and almost every room has a view. It’s
a long way from civilization but they make up for it by providing
surroundings that allow you natural beauty and a large dose of peace
and relaxation (photos 51,52, 53, 54).
This is becoming a slow trip for such a short distance, relatively
speaking. On the superslab we could cover this distance in two or
three hours. But Hwy 1 should never be taken quickly; it should be
savored and appreciated, like a piece of fine art (photo 55).
We pass several bridges built in the 30’s by the CCC. This is an
example of government at its best, public works that were beautiful,
yet functional (photo 56).
Soon we stopped at Julia Phiffer Burns State Park that has its entrance
on our right going south. A trail from the parking lot took us through
a tunnel that passes under Hwy 1 (photo 57) to an intimate
little aqua-green cove with a small waterfall at its southern end
(photo 58). This cove is spectacular.
This was once the property of Latham Brown, a wealthy socialite from
New York, and a friend of Julia Phiffer Burns. They liked the place
so much, they had a home built overlooking this cove and with stunning
views of coast looking north, as well (photo 59).
The property was deeded to the state in 1961 with the instructions
that it was to be turned into a museum or torn down within five years.
They tore the house down in 1966 (photo 60). I’m not quiet
sure what they were thinking because I’m sure it was something to
behold. I must admit to the internal conflict I feel when I go to
a place like this. On the one hand, this cove has so much natural
beauty that it just does not seem right to have it in private hands,
locked away, simply because a person has had the good fortune to become
rich. On the other, I would buy this place in a nanosecond if I had
the money. Ah, the hypocrisy of self-interest.
Leaving this ideal setting behind, we are getting closer to Monterey
and will soon be turning east to head home. I’m on the lookout for
Bixby Bridge, the famous bridge that spans Bixby Gulch and which you’ve
seen photographed in a whole potload of movies and commercials about
driving on the northern California coast. We stop for a photo op and
I click one of Dave and his Road King as well (photos 61 &
We have not eaten lunch yet, just snacks and sodas, and now the day
is quickly drawing to a close. Dave suggests a special BBQ place
in Castroville called The Central Texas Barbecue, ran by a fellow
who is a Willy Nelson look alike. There is sawdust on the floor;
a jukebox filled with country music, and cowboy memorabilia all over
the walls (photos 63 & 64). Central Texas BBQ it is and
a great choice it was too. Almost every meal on the menu costs between
10 and 12 dollars. They give us so much meat we thought it was take
out for a local high school picnic. There is no way on God’s green
acre that we can eat all of this meat. Then again, I hate to waste
food. Oh, well.
You knew you were getting back into civilization when we hit traffic
backed up several miles from the Hwy 17 exit. Dave new some secret
routes so we jumped off and took some local winding back roads through
mountains and trees. Who needs freeways anyway? Dave and I live
on the same street and as the five-thirty shadows were making their
way into our neighborhood, we pulled into our respective driveways,
the end to a perfect trip. I hope you enjoy the photos.