July 4 Weekend Tour, 2000

Day 1 - San Diego to Pismo Beach

Here's the trusty steed saddled up and ready to go. The bag on top of the gas tank (magnetically attached) is official motorcycle gear. On the other hand, the bag bungeed to the rear luggage rack is a bicycle handlebar bag I pressed into service from the closet when I realized I didn't have enough room in the saddlebags for the clothes I wanted to carry. Besides, it gives the bike that "I'm on tour" look it wouldn't have with just the regular saddlebags. I'd targeted 9 AM for departure, but was happy to get away by 9:45.

Remember me complaining about the chrome rivets and conchos I couldn't avoid having on the saddlebags? Well I just found out that the manufacturer now offers similar bags in a "contemporary" style with no shiny bits. Only a year too late for me.

In the background you can see the peeling paint on the front of my house, just one of many more productive projects I could be doing this weekend.

The first part of the trip is to get to the north side of L.A. as quickly as possible. That means steaming up the Interstate (805 then 5 then 405 then 10) before joining up with the coast road I really wanted to ride. On the 405 I took advantage of the carpool lane, where motorcycles are permitted even with only one rider. Traffic was heavy but there were only a few stretches where it slowed down from warp speed.

Magically we are in Santa Barbara. I skipped over a non-scenic Carl's Junior near the intersection of I-405 and I-10, where I stopped for breakfast at lunchtime. Here in a beach parking lot I take advantage of a space most cars would be afraid to try, wedged in between two huge RV's. The parking attendant waved me in for free!

I HAD to stop at Santa Barbara, to walk off a serious case of monkey butt. I have a better (I hope) saddle on order for the Magna, but it hasn't come in yet.

The beach at Santa Barbara. Where are all the holiday weekend crowds? The pier can be seen in the background.

This represents the walk I took to the end of the pier. The whale-watching boat (which was actually about to run a tour of the old nuclear submarine that has taken up residence here) was using this rope to jockey itself into position by the pier. That rope is about two inches thick.

Boring picture, but this is where we ate last time I passed this way. Remember?

Back on the road. This is a rest stop in the hills near a pass whose name I have forgotten. It was completely full. There's a line of cars at the entrance waiting for parking places. This is one of the times it helps to be on two wheels. I nipped by the line and parked (illegally, I guess) someplace a car would never have fit.

Arrived about 7:15 PM after running over a couple hundred miles of the coast road. Some stretches were just perfect, with no traffic, new pavement, and nice curves. Other stretches were so crowded with holiday travelers (I presume) that traffic slowed to a crawl. I was surprised to find that the region south of Pismo Beach is dominated by agriculture. But I didn't get photos of any of that. Maybe I need to rig up a way to mount the camera on the bike so I can snap pictures of the road without stopping, unpacking the camera, etc. Instead, we have this: the hotel room in Pismo Beach, with my motorcycle bags on the dresser.

This is the view I didn't pay extra to have from my hotel room. Instead I have a view of the main central deck of the hotel.

The hotel features convenient access to the beach.

They're having a problem with jellyfish on the California coast right now. This one won't be stinging anybody.

Obligatory beach art shot.

Convenient access to the beach.

This is what the coast looks like right here. The blue hotel in the middle is the one I'm staying in.

Copyright 2000 Paul Williamson. kb5mu@amsat.org