Previous Years Club Big Sur Trip Reports
It was Friday morning, September 8, 2006 with kickstands up somewhere around 9am from I-5 and Ortega Highway. We headed north on I-5 to the Toll Road ($4.75), to I-405 and made our first stop at Infusion Coffee shop in Santa Monica. Carol ordered a small, decaf soy mocha no whipped cream. The young man behind the counter looked at her t-shirt which read "Country girl" and commented that it should read" Alley girl" after that order.
Our group consisted of: Walter and Sandy Wilson, Jim Cash, Art Roberts, Rick Widmark, Tolga Yetis, Dan and Marie Lehtonen, John Piner and Carol Dugger. Chuck Johnson left earlier to meet up with his brother, Jim Johnson. Jim and Cathy Roberts drove to Morro Bay with his bike on a trailer. Rick's sister Donna and friend Juana drove down from San Francisco to meet us in Morro Bay. Walter and Sandy's friends, Sid and Nancy Pedersen joined us in their car. That's 10 bikes, 2 cars and 18 people.
Walter and Sandy led up Highway 1 through Santa Monica but we got split up. So he pulled over to wait for Dan/Marie and John/Carol but when they passed by, Walter's bike wouldn't start. It refused to start despite attempts to push, pull and swear. So we did what any good biker friends would do and left them there.
Sandy called AAA for a tow to the nearest dealer, but after calling them all, found none would even look at the bike for another week. So they did the only thing possible. Called Sid and said "HELP!" He called around until someone recommended an after dealer repair shop in Oxnard where they live, that agreed to take a look after Sid said we were on a trip. The bike was dropped off, Walter and Sandy went to lunch and in no time at all got a call that it was ready. Turned out the battery cable came loose.
Meanwhile, Dan and Marie took over the lead up Highway 1 to Camarillo where we stopped for lunch at Bandit's Grill and Bar. After a great barbeque lunch, Art took over the lead through Santa Barbara to the anticipated San Marcos Pass. Now, Art is from this area and used to ride dirt bikes. The first stop was a gas station that USED to be there only it wasn't anymore. Never mind, he meandered along the local roads and found one. We had now passed the beginning of 154 (San Marcos Pass), but Art knew of a "short-cut" called "The Old San Marcos Pass" which used to be the stage coach trail. Well, you can imagine the surprise and challenge as we encountered and maneuvered the tight uphill U-shaped pothole-filled only-a-dirt-bike-type of turns. There are no pictures of this road because everyone was concentrating on the moment. But we safely made it and joined the 154 to continue through beautiful scenery of vineyards, farms and Lake Cachuma.
We connected back to 101 and Jim Cash took over leading the group to Morro Bay. Dan/Marie and John/Carol were bringing up the rear when Dan/Marie suddenly split off. So John/Carol did what every good biker friend would do and followed. Dan picked up the 227 through Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo passing many vineyards and the San Luis Obispo County Airport. It was a fun sweeping local road. This brought us back to the 101 for a short hop over to the 1 and into Morro Bay. As we traveled the 227, Dan and John had dueling GPS systems giving two different sets of directions. We pulled into the La Serena Inn at the same time as Jim Cash's group. Chuck, Jim Johnson, Donna, Juana, Sid and Nancy were already there.
The Morro Bay rock was an awesome and welcoming sight. We walked to the harbor and found Rose's Cantina for dinner. Afterwards Chuck brought his brother's Honda Shadow back so that he could give Jim Cash a ride to the hotel since he had a broken toe which was paining him. Rick, Donna and Juana stayed at the Cantina while the rest of us wandered to another watering hole. Despite the rumors of table-top dancing we have no photos to prove such a thing so it will continue to remain a mystery.
That evening we were pleased to find Walter and Sandy had arrived. Jim and Cathy Roberts arrived also. His wife was going to swim the ocean while he rode to Big Sur.
John Piner arrived for the ride in shorts and t-shirt. We all thought he was crazy but he insisted that it was the California beach where the weather is always warm. So kickstands were up at 9am with Walter and Sandy leading the way up Highway 1. Donna rode with Rick while her friend Juana drove the car. We stopped just past Hurst Castle to watch for elephant seals. Donna and Juana took off to spend the day touring Hearst Castle.
The rest of us headed north to Ragged Point for food and viewing of the coast. North again to Julia Pfieffer Burns Day Park where we parked and walked on a trail to the coast. We were treated with views of a waterfall and the northern coast.
At this point Dan and Marie took off for San Francisco. They had a black-tie dinner to attend at the St. Francis that evening and would return Sunday on their own.
Heading further north we came to Big Sur. Walter and Sandy led us to the lodge in Pfieffer State Park area where we had lunch on the deck. It was great food and a nice environment as long as you dodged the aggressive Blue Jays that wanted to dive bomb your head. John sat between 2 outdoor heaters warming his body realizing that there is a temperature difference between southern and northern California beaches. After lunch we re-fueled and headed back. Jim Cash left us in the dust and was most likely taking a nap at the hotel by the time we rolled back in.
Once again we walked to the harbor for great dinner at The Harbor Hut, a place with a large shark head sticking out the front. It was our receptionist's favorite restaurant so of course we had to try it.
Nobody really wanted to leave. Chuck and Jim Johnson headed out early for home. Jim and Cathy Roberts stayed another day and enjoyed swimming in Santa Barbara on the way home. The rest of us had kickstands up at 8:30am. The destination was a Cinnamon Roll place somewhere past San Luis Obispo. We picked Tolga up along side the freeway. (Tolga stayed at a hotel in San Luis Obispo). After wandering around the block a time or two our noses picked up the cinnamon scent and led us to the place. Donna and Juana left for home and the rest of continued south. So we have 6 bikes now.
Walter and Sandy led us down Highway 1 to Lompoc. Art took over the lead taking us through Buelton and Solvang on 133. We connected to 154 San Marco Pass and ended up in Santa Barbara at the 101. At this point Art left the group to visit friends in Santa Barbara. Walter and Sandy took the lead again to Camarillo and Bandit's Grill and Bar for another delicious lunch.
The remaining 5 bikes took Highway 1 back to Santa Monica, caught the 405 to the Toll Road and ended up back at our start point on I-5 and Ortega Highway. This was an extremely long ride without a break and everyone had aches and groans by the time we stopped. John Piner was leading and Walter commented he didn't like Goldwings to lead because they never need to stop.
We rested there for awhile, chatting with another rider who was heading to Mexico from Canada. Jim Cash, Rick, Tolga and John/Carol headed home south on I-5. Walter and Sandy headed east over the Ortega Highway for home. It was a great memorable ride and we can't wait to do it again next year. The ride was around 900 miles more or less depending on where one started and ended. "AWESOME!"