North County Cruisers

2007 Big Sur Motorcycle Adventure

September 7th-9th, 2007

Ride Leaders: Carol Dugger and John Piner

Writeup and Pictures by Carol Dugger

Previous Years Club Big Sur Trip Reports

North County Cruisers Group


Friday -- September 7th, 2007

On a beautiful Friday morning we met at the Oceanside Harbor parking lot. The group included: John Piner/Carol Dugger, Dan/Marie Lehtonen, Ray/Jo Barber, Mike Buys/Rebecca Young, Art Roberts, Rick Widmark and Jim Cash. Paul Garren and Jack Jennings had been on a separate trip and met us for dinner in Morro Bay. That would bring our group total to 9 bikes and 13 people. John's bike was loaded with digital movie camera, GPS and Ipod rendering it the name "Gizmo Wing".

Our route was similar to last year with a few exceptions. John took the first lead up I-5 to Bison Avenue off the 73 Toll Road. After a short stop for fuel and coffee, we headed back on 73-North to 405 to 10 to Santa Monica. Traffic was minimal and we only had to lane split a couple of times. We pulled into a parking structure at the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica and roamed for awhile. (note: must carry 25 cents to use restrooms). Dan took over as we headed up PCH-1 before cutting inland to Camarillo and Bandits for lunch.

After filling our bellies with BBQ, Art took the lead up 101 to the Old San Marcos Pass - and this year we do have pictures. As I mentioned last year, this pass is more suited to dirt bikes ridden by devils that don't care. But we enjoyed the challenge and made it through. There was an impatience driver bringing up the rear who kept pushing us. At the 157 intersection he pulled a severe left turn in front of Art. I'm sure all of us spoke a few choice words inside our helmets towards him.

A Tight Turn

Art took us on a leisurely ride via the "newer" San Marcos Pass 157 to 101. After a while Dan thundered by Art with his "Harley blown pipes", taking over the lead and picking up the pace bringing us to rest in Nipomo. Upon stopping Art complimented Dan's "Harley blown pipes" when Marie nudged him and said "it's a Yamaha, a Star Stratoliner". Dan (a Gizmo Squad Member) was tinkering with his GPS and too focused on it to hear the exchange. Our stopping point was in the parking lot of Jackos Steak House that was next to a corral with a ram and ewe's. This place looked like something Goodwill refused to take but it's known for serving the perfect steak cooked over oak. From there Dan took Rt.227 through Arroyo Grande, Verde, Edna and San Luis Obispo. This is a nice sweeping road that brought us into Morro Bay a little after 5 p.m. and home for 2 nights. Paul and Jack arrived on a different path so they can comment on their trip. After a couple of hours rest, we regrouped and walked to the Harbor Hut for dinner.

Dinner in Morro Bay


Saturday -- September 8th, 2007

Riding along the coast

As the group gathered for the ride, Dan, John and Ray were setting their electronics. Art sat patiently on his BMW and commented "this is like watching the Gizmo Squad". Saturday morning brought sunshine and temperatures in the low 60's. It also produced a suitably attired John Piner. Complete with jeans and jacket this year, along with digital movie camera, GPS and IPod, John took the rear of the group getting left behind and lost. Art pulled up to Dan signaling a "lost bike" so Dan pulled the group over. The "Gizmo Wing" caught up and we headed north. Our first stop was at Moonstone Inn, a place that Dan and Marie have stayed at. There is a paved parking lot and rest rooms. We took advantage of the delighted view and lots of picture taking. We don't want to talk too much about this place because it was a slice of paradise and should remain a secret. From there we headed north (duh).

Our 2nd stop was in Gorda Springs at the Whale Watcher's Inn. There is a cafe, lodging, market, gift shop, and fuel. Because of the deep water immediately off shore, Gorda is one of the most unique Pacific Coast locations for whale watching. The beach below Gorda is a designated sanctuary for elephant seals. However, we didn't see a whale or an elephant seal. At one point, a large delivery truck making a stop there and was backing in looking like he was about to cream Ray's, Art's, Paul's and Jack's motorcycles (all in a row so to speak). As we gathered to leave, we were entertained by the "espresso man" riding his weed-whacker powered bicycle.

We passed Lucia Lodge. This could be considered for future ride stops. It's right on the cliff and has "I wanna stop there" appeal. During this part of the ride, we had another "car driver gone berserk" who weaved himself in and among us as he desperately tried to pass the whole one by one through a series of blind turns.

Lunch was at Nepenthe Restaurant - a beautiful place. WOW, the architecture and beauty of the place is a treat. This is a family owned business that has served visitors for 50 years. The Phoenix gift ship opened 1964 and the Cafe Kevah in 1992. We were put at 2 tables, albeit a bit cramped by the host (aka: pompous ass by a few of our club members who felt much better after saying it a couple of times). But they did bring extra umbrellas for shade and "Emily" a delightful server, especially appreciated by the guys, quickly dispelled the attitude. The food was excellent and environment restful.

Dan and Marie headed for San Francisco; Mike and Rebecca headed further up the coast; the rest of us meandered our way back stopping at various places like Julia Pfieffer Burns Day Park, Whale Watcher's Inn and Ragged Point. (note: fuel at the Whale Watcher's Inn was $5/gallon). Along the way we saw many seals taking an afternoon nap in the sun. That evening we headed to the waterfront for dinner at Rose's Landing.

A sweeping turn


Sunday -- September 9th, 2007

Mike and Rebecca left early. Dan and Marie would be returning from San Francisco. Paul and Jack packed up their gear from camping and met us at La Serena Inn. Our return group was: John/Carol, Ray/Jo, Art, Rick, Jim, Paul and Jack. The day was a bit cooler and the sun took longer to come out, but once again perfect riding weather. John's GPS was trying to take us on 1 South to 101, but when "she" gave the directions to "turn right on left street", I took over and found the directional road sign. Art brought us over the 154 San Marcos Pass and back to 101 with a much needed stop in Santa Barbara. We made excellent time. Ray and Jo headed home while the rest of us stopped in Camarillo for another mouth-watering BBQ experience. From there everyone broke off and headed home via the 405. Rick stopped in Long Beach to visit friends. Most of us were back by 3pm in our easy chairs, nursing a beverage and ready to watch football with just over 850 miles on our tires, depending on the individual route. This was another great trip with great people, great riding, great views and great food. AWESOME once again!

Another Group Picture