DEPART: Santa Cruz, California 07:00am

DESTINATION: Santa Barbara
ROUTE: Highways 101 and US1
MILES: 7329 kms

I woke up early in this dumpy hotel, at 05:00 am a garbage truck came right into the hotel central courtyard and was thrashing around with large dumpster bins, then turning his truck around in tight quarters with the backup beeper blasting at way ridiculous volume. I didn’t even try to get back to sleep, I wanted out of this shitty hotel. I showered, packed up and got the hell out of there. Back to McDonald’s for a crappy breakfast, then onto the freaking busy freeway US101 at 07:00 am, just in time for the morning rush hour commuters and delivery trucks. It was a particularly busy highway all the way to Monterey, CA.

I had long since wanted to check out Monterey as it has an old history, it was once the Capital of California before California joined the rest of the US. I believe it was under the domain of Mexico up until this time. In any case it has a rich history based largely on the seaport, and the fact that it was the State Capital for many years. The downtown core has many preserved buildings from the old days, including Robert Louis Stevenson’s house. I went for a tour of the city, starting with the dock area and the old famous Cannery |Row and even Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Restaurant. There was a nice seafront road which took me along the bay and out to the point where the Pacific Ocean pounds the rugged rocky shoreline in a relentless fashion, a beautiful park and lighthouse where I just enjoyed the waves and spume in the air. I stopped at a Shell gas station to fill up and asked the attendant for a restaurant recommendation, which he obliged me with.

The restaurant was small and very old, like most the buildings here. It was very neat and well maintained. It was around 10:30 am, between normal breakfast and lunch so there was not a crowd. The waitress invited me to sit by the window at large round table. The table had an abundance of reading materials from newspapers, to local flyers and tourist recommendations. I ordered a sausage and egg breakfast and was awed by the meal when it arrived. Two large spicy sausages cooked to perfection, eggs cooked perfect as well, tasty hashbrown potatoes and toast. A meal fit for any King! The waitress was very attentive with her coffee pot, and it was good coffee. She was also very talkative and told me all about the town from her perspective. It’s funny how some places just make you feel so welcome and treat you so good. Everyone in the place, be they patrons or employees were of Mexican decent. If I ever get back to Monterey, I would look forward to eating there again.

All fueled up in the bike and my belly, I returned to touring the city. I checked out the old State buildings, the old Jailhouse and enjoyed the historical ambiance. On my way out of Monterey, I opted for a cruise through Pebble Beach, which is of course renowned as a Pro Golf Course, but it also is host to many lavish Estates along the sea. You have to purchase a Park pass to get in so I cut my visit short and got back on the road.

I picked up US1 and headed south along the ocean towards Big Sur. The old highway is narrow and winds it’s way along the coast, up, down and around, it is a slow drive, one which you have to pay attention to as there were many tourists and tour buses driving blindly and doing typical tourist maneuvers in front of me. Stopping in the center of the road to take in a view, or turning in front of me as if I wasn’t there. The views are incredible though. This is definitely a must ride road if you are a motorcycle enthusiast. As before on the US1 North of San Francisco, I could taste the salt spume thrown off the craggy shore as the big rollers came in. As you approach Big Sur, you can fully understand why it is so popular with the surfing community. Big Sur is a tourist trap these days, when I drove here 35 years previous, it was just a tiny quaint little place, …it still is tiny, but not so quaint with the thousands of tourists. I enjoyed seeing the sights but kept rolling South.

The entire California Coast, or at least the sections that I traveled along on Highway 1, rate very high with me as a must do for the intrepid motorcycle rider. The road is slow, but then you don’t really want to whiz through without enjoying the sights. I think that I preferred the section from Ft. Bragg to San Francisco better than the southern section from Monterey to San Luis Obispo, however, it is a must ride!!

I enjoyed my ride down the coast and was in no particular rush. I had not planned where I would stop for the evening and just kept riding and enjoying the sunshine and sites. I pulled into every town that I came to, and drove along the ocean front, and or through the main drag to see what was there. Pizzmo Beach was interesting, miles and miles of deep sand with more motorized recreational vehicles parks as in Oregon. The sand filtered back into the town several blocks, I can’t imagine how these people keep their houses clean?

After Pizzmo the road sways inland away from the ocean. I stayed on US1 as it threaded its way through farming communities. Huge vegetable farms here with a smell of fresh produce thick in the air. Reminded me of the produce farms by Stockton, CA where I used to get loaded up with onions direct from the fields. I would drive my semi tractor trailer in bull low gear through the fields while the Mexican laborers would pick, bag and load them onto my truck until it was full. I will never forget the smell of those onion fields, …made me sooooo hungry!!

I opted to divert my route to go through the small town of Buellton so that I could stop at Anderson’s Pea Soup Restaurant. I bellied up to the bar and ordered a large bowl of Pea Soup and was disappointed that it was not as good as I had recalled, or nearly as good as the soup that I make at home. It used to be so much better. I found a car wash in Buellton and blasted the salt and sand from my bike. Back on track, I went past Williams Air Force Base, but was there a week before the Space Shuttle arrived. A massive Base for sure. Soon I was back along the coast and heading to Santa Barbara. I pulled into a couple of campgrounds and pondered camping, however, I hadn’t brought any food in preparation for such, so I rolled on. The campgrounds were empty at this time of year.

I recognized a street name on the exit signs along the freeway and opted for the State Street exit, before long I was cruising on familiar roads down by the Marinas and public wharf. It had been an awesome five days on the road, I was glad to be there and looked forward to seeing Greg, catching up with my wife and to enjoy the fine restaurants this beautiful city has to offer.

End of Day 5. I had arrived! Time for some chilling and grilling in Santa Barbara, Montecito area for the next week. Watch for some highlights.

MILEAGE: 7900 kms
FUEL STOPS: Shell in Monterey, 3.21 gallons
Shell in Pizzmo Beach, 3.06 gallons
Chevron in Montecito, 2.2 gallons


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