San Diego to Skaqway
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Day 22 - 24
Carizzo Plain National Monument
Day 22, Wednesday, June 20, 2007
We woke up early and had our breakfast bar and morning tea outside in the garden. What a glorious morning! Vince invited us out for a quick morning ride and some lunch before we continued south. In the meantime, the winery’s tasting room opened for business. It's not my usual to have wine in the morning, but I tasted their wares and purchased a case to send home. Too good to pass up!
We had lunch at Don Giovanni's in Napa County! It has a terrific sculpture outside in the garden that looks very Renaissance Italian. Very light and humorous! The lunch was amazing. I had Pesto Ravioli in Lemon Cream Sauce. I have to figure out how to make this, because it was one of the most delicious ravioli's I've ever eaten! Craig had Lamb meatballs with Pasta, and Vince had Pesto Ravioli with Marinara. All were delicious! It inspires me to want to get out my Pasta machine!
From there, we waved good-bye to Vince and headed toward Salinas. We went on a wonderful road that started as Mine Road, then changed to CA-130 San Antonio Valley Road at the Alameda County line, which took us the back way to the Lick Observatory. It's a great twisty road. The road from the Observatory to Santa Clara is was very winding, and steep too. SUPER stuff! We saw three adult turkeys with 9 chicks! They were running along the opposite side of the road, then headed over (or the chicks, through) the fence and away from us. It was more of the beauty of spring.
Yes it was good!
We pulled into Salinas and stayed at the Economy Motel. The owner there was from India, and he told me that he had a Bullet motorcycle in India. He said it was an English motorbike, and that it took a long time to warm up, but was really fast once it got going. (I looked this up on the internet and found this site: http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com/bzz_history.html )
We had a nice supper at the nearby family restaurant, then turned in early. It had been a long riding day, and we were both beat.
Day 23, Thursday, June 21, 2007
Up early again, we left Salinas and headed south on CA-1, through the gorgeous Big Sur! What a wonderful California the first settlers must have seen!
Craig ducked in on a dirt road
behind the famous Bixby bridge
to get a nice shot.
As we were about to leave a couple of motorcycles cruised over and Craig got them in the photo. We caught up to them and got Jack’s email address. It turns out they were from north San Diego County!
It's rather a shame that so much of the coastline is so heavily built up, but at least we have this jewel that reminds us of how lovely our coastline was at one time. The coastal sage hugs the hillsides closely, and the flowers were so thick in some areas that it was a blanket of color! The waves on the shoreline broke against alternating beaches and bulkheads and rocky cliffs.
The ocean was it's famous Pacific blue, and there were numerous birds, including a flock of Pelicans that Craig photographed. We made good time along the coastline. It was a beautiful day with cool breezes and sunny skies, and lots of great curves in the road.
We stopped just past Hearst Castle at a nice restaurant with an Egyptian theme. There was a gift shop, and in that shop was a blown glass lamp of a frog sitting on a brass BMW motorcycle! I gotta get one of these for the house! The lunch was delicious, and the view spectacular! This has been the ride of a lifetime in so many ways. One more perfect day.
Another twisty backroad, Santa Rosa Creek Road, took us through more Oak woodlands to Atascadero to visit Wayne and Shelly.
I asked Craig, "Did you see
the snake on the sign?"
Nope... back for a look!
When we arrived a Wayne and Shelly's we talked trips and motorcycles... and when the guys started talking parts, parts, (yawn) parts, Shelly and I toured the garden. (I know, I should be more excited about the roundness of the tire and all that, but I'm on the back. I'm into the ride!)
It was great to make the acquaintance of Wayne and Shelly's cats: Lily and Scooter They are two of the most loving and gentle Siamese cats I've ever met. What a pair! So affectionate and curious! I played with Lily, however Scooter was more shy. What a great family!
We had a lovely Italian dinner, and talked some more. I found out that Shelly liked to knit, and she showed me some of the blankets she's made. I'm so impressed! These are really lovely, and very intricate. We talked about all sorts of things, and I know that I've found a new friend. Atascadero is a very peaceful town, and we enjoyed our stay and a restful sleep.
Day 24, Friday, June 22, 2007
Homeward bound this day. Shelly made us coffee and set out cereal for our early start. Nice to get a break from the breakfast bars!
It's the ride home, and we have to get through L.A. I'm not sure why there is always traffic in L.A., but it is what it is. One must just gear up and accept what cannot be changed.
First, however, there are a few more great roads to ride and we take Wayne’s advice and we roll east a bit on CA-41 and quickly cut south on CA-229 to CA-58 east. On CA-229 two turkey vultures took flight across the road in front of us, one VERY much in front of us. Craig had to brake and duck to miss clipping it!
Soda Lake Road Video
We had an early start so we decided we could include just one more dirt road: Soda Lake Road that traverses Carrizo Plains National Monument. The road was a beautiful desert scape on one side with the chaparral and oak woodlands on the other side. There was a Soda dry lake in the middle of the plains. Although there were supposed to be Pronghorn, we didn't find any. More turkeys. Lots of turkey vultures, crows and ravens along this route. There were lots of fallen down buildings and rusted vehicles of various types. An Old West sort of feel to the ride. Then we headed up Cerro Noroeste Road, continuing on Mil Potrero Highway to eat lunch at the “Screaming Squirrel” in Pine Mountain Village.
We dropped down the grapevine, and stopped at a very breezy gas station. We met another couple, Angie and Bob, who are riding all over the world, but currently set on Alaska. You can check more about them at smellybiker.com!
L.A. was hot, smoggy, and all those things that outsiders say with utter disgust in their voices. Okay, it's crowded, but it's also larger than life. If you just get into it, you'll notice the architecture, and some of the quirky roadside stuff. Being in the back seat, so to speak, I decided to take notice. The former tire factory, no Egyptian Mall, is splendid. There are numerous amusement parks that pop up from time to time on the I-5, and areas of skyscrapers and billboards. If it hadn’t been a really hot day, it could have been rather fun. Orange County is housing, mostly, but Irvine has some wonderful architecture, as well. And, San Clemente is gorgeous, even from the interstate. And, of course, there's San Onofre - home to the "Dolly Parton" Nuclear Power Plant facility, along the San Onofre fault line. There are nice things along the road. I also made the firm decision to fight for Camp Pendleton to stay open space forever. It would be too tragic to lose this jewel that separates San Diego from Orange County and Riverside County. It has the only wild river left in San Diego County, the Santa Margarita River.
However, the heat finally got to me, and as soon as we were in Oceanside, I wanted a break. Craig pulled over at the Rest Area, and we decided that a milkshake was in order. We continued to the Carl's Jr. at Santa Fe Rd. and had supper, since it was already 5pm. Then, back into the hornet’s nest of traffic on I-5, then home.
The end of a journey is always bittersweet. I'd have liked to go for at least a couple more weeks, but we'll just save Craig's vacation time for another ride in the future! San Diego is a friendly place, and I was reminded of this when we pulled up to an intersection near our home. A man leaned out of his truck and asked where we were going. When we said we were just coming back from Alaska, he grinned big, laughed and said that he wished he could convince his wife to go. (she was sitting in the truck). Craig commented around the corner that he was sure someone was going to get an earful after we rode off!
That's it!! Thanks for being a part of our ride everyone... both in person and through your comments and interest!
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