Day 5 - Cloverdale to Paso Robles

Time to head South again.  We have to meet up with John and Kaz tomorrow.  We heard from them last night, landed safely.  John rang this morning, he's getting ready to go get his bike from Eagle Rider.  It will be interesting to see the difference.  We picked ours up from Eagle Rider, but we hired it through DestinationUSA, a company based in Utah but with bikes all over the country at various depots owned by other companies, like Eagle Rider.

We set out early - 8:15am.  OK that sounds late, but California works on daylight saving.  Sunup is not until seven or so and it stays up quite late, even at this time of year - Autumn - or Fall as the locals call it.  We headed south on US 101, a multi-lane freeway, but only stayed there for a short while as we wanted to get back over to the coast before hitting San Francisco.  The GPS took us in through Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, then via some back roads and a little town Bloomfield, (following Larn?) then down to Tomales Bay.  What surprised us about this area and even all the way from here in to San Francisco was the number of Eucalypts.  Big ones they are too and in great groves here and there, as well as along fence lines - something like the camphorlaurals are in Northern NSW.
Just north of San Francisco the houses are built closely in great stands of them and they are big trees and growing still.  Heaven help them when that lot goes up.  Maybe they need to release Koalas to help keep them under control.

Anyway, we travelled down the inside of Tomales Bay, very scenic, then stopped for breakfast in a small touristy town called Point Reyes Station.  Here we met a couple of GoldWing riders on nice shiny blue bikes.  We parked our "Rough Blue" between them, apologising for its looks.  After a chat, they recommended a diner around the corner, so we had our breakfast there.  The Pine Cone Diner - good food, prickly service - that's their motto.  Good stuff in the way only America can.  Lots of free coffee, topped up all the time, big meals so we don't bother with lunch.

Full bellies, we went back to the bike to find a couple more riders ogling our setup, the video camera and GPS etc. After a long talk - the bloke even knew we call home "Brissie" - we got under way again.  We travelled the Golden Gate National Recreation area.  So did everyone who normally lives in San Francisco.  We did a few short miles with the camera running on some interesting cliff-top fog-enshrouded twisty road, then joined the end of a long procession all the way into San Francisco.

Back on to US101  we headed for the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was midday, but the fog was swirling all around and we crossed the bridge without being able to see the top of it.  There were lots of holiday makers on pushbikes and walking and a heap of traffic.  Lucky it wasn't busy!!  We planned to just drive straight through the city on the freeways, but the GPS had other ideas.  I think the map-maker is a local as it led us right into one of those step/stair type roads.  Look up Divisidero Street.  Then a couple of turns and right past the City Hall.  Very impressive.  Then it led us back up a ramp to US101 and away to the south, through all the spaghetti-shaped freeways.  Don't know about ordinary days, but on this holiday weekend, San Franciscans drive Fast.

I had heard of a good riding road, California 25 or the Airline Hwy. At last - a named road.  We turned off US101 and headed for Hollister, scene of some great bike gatherings in the past.  Through the town and onto the Airline.  The Airline basically follows a flat valley between two mountain ranges, but is built into the side of the ranges, so it follows the curves of the hills.  The result is a lot of curves and the road is well maintained smooth bitumen and even on this holiday weekend, almost no traffic.  Motorcycle heaven.  Maybe a little hot at 100F but we didn't mind too much.
It went for about 40 miles until terminating at Hwy 128.  From here we took the little-known Peach Tree Road through to San Miguel.  This road is a lot rougher than the Airline and on this hot day, taxed us a bit.  The gauge reached its now almost customary 104F.  By then we had had enough so instead of continuing on, we decided to stop at Paso Robles, back on US101 and picked out a Motel6 for a try.  They are a cheap chain all over the country.  And that is all they are - cheap.  Well enough appointed, but only the basics.  Not even the ubiquitous coffee machine we have started to get used to.

We had noticed a funny vibration under the bike and something lumpy when driving slowly.  So upon stopping this afternoon, I climbed underneath for a good look at the rear wheel.  Sure enough there is a tear in the rubber, inside on of the grooves.  It might be OK - it might not.  But we have a long way to go and sure do not want to take the chance.  A call from John and discussion and he got out his Gold Book which lists all the Honda dealers and we found one at San Luis Obispo, about 40 miles south of here.  John and Kaz are leaving tomorrow morning at 7 and will take about 4 hours to get to our meeting place, so that leaves us most of the morning to arrange a new tyre.  Here's hoping it works.

Today's Pics:

Sebastopol - check out the flags.  These were an all the CBD streets
Bloomfield Road - a fog rolling in
Stands of eucalyptus
Aaah curves
Tomales Bay - right up the top of the inlet
Decisions decisions
Great decision
Now this looks like real koala food
I'll be along later after food - and a sleep
Holiday weekend, even with a covering fog
Like this one
We got five minutes of good riding.
Then this - Our little procession leader - fine until it met another bus
Golden Gate Mist
Topless bridge
Up we go
Down the other side - the trolley bus lost his booms on the corner
Fancy City Hall
101 south out of SF
More grapes on the Airline Hwy
Flying the Airline
Dry country around the Airline Hwy

Next Day