Wow, what an incredible weekend. We planned this weekend expecting a nice relaxed, sunny coastal ride to Half Moon Bay, but what we got was the total opposite. Despite the challenges however, it was an oustanding weekend and I’d do it again in a heart beat.
We hit the road at 9:00am on a nice Saturday morning. We cruised up 99 and cut across 152 heading for Los Banos. We made our usual stop at Starbucks just inside the Los Banos city limits and grabbed some coffee. It was then I realized Michelle wasn’t herself. She had been feeling under the weather and had recently started taking some antibiotics for a lingering infection and I think it was just catching up with her. The weather was quickly going south and we knew we’d be facing cold, rainy weather soon so I made the decision to run her back home while the rest of the group continued on to the coast. So I ran back to Fresno, dropped Michelle off, then hauled butt to catch up to the group. I stopped only to fuel at Casa De Fruita and finally caught up with everyone in Santa Cruz a few hours later.
The group had already been there for several hours so I took a quick break and got back on the bike to lead us into the hills. We had planned to ride Skyline Blvd., which is a favorite road of bikers and car enthusiasts with it’s long sweeper turns and beautiful vistas. What I didn’t realize was that the GPS had plotted a route to Skyline Blvd. using a very small, one lane road aptly named Black Rd.
We got onto Black Rd. and quickly found that it was extremely cold, extremely wet, and extremely twisty with harsh swtichbacks and severe elevation changes. Nowhere near the ideal for big cruisers like ours. The going was extremely tedious with several of us nearly dumping our bikes on the slick wet pavement but we continued to climb until we finally reached what we thought was surely going to kill our trip; A downed tree across the road.
A giant sequoia, nearly 15ft thick, had fallen across the entire road. And not only that, there was a kitten trapped underneath it wailing for help as it faced a certain slow death. Quickly assessing the situation we determined that our options were limited. Matt could either carve a hole through the fallen beast of a tree with his pocket knife allowing us to drive directly through it, but this would still sacrifice the flailing kitten. That was unacceptable. Instead, Wayne rolled up his sleeves, took a deep breath, summoned the strength of the gods, and single handedly lifted the giant tree, while simultaneously grabbing the kitten with his spare hand. He then tossed the giant tree aside, opening the road for the thankful travellers who would have certainly starved waiting for the authorities to come clear the mess. The day was saved and the ride continued!!!!!
Ok, that’s the story we all agreed upon on, but I have to confess that’s not really what happened. There was in fact a tree fallen across the road, but it wasn’t a giant sequoia, it was a regular tree about 10 inches thick, and with about 6 of us there, we easily pulled it off the road. Oh, and there wasn’t a kitten trapped either, but I’m sure there was a squirrel or something close by that would have surely been emotionally distraught had we not moved that tree.
Anyway, with the road cleared we continued on to Skyline Blvd., and on to the famous Alice’s restaurant for a rest and a beer. After the break, we continued on to Half Moon Bay. We checked into a cool little hotel called the Harbor View Inn and had a our ritual beer and cigar before heading to dinner and stuffing ourselves, and I mean literally stuffing ourselves, on fish and chips.
The next day I woke up early and looked at the weather. High wind warnings and heavy rains were in the forecast, predicted to hit hardest at around 11am. We had planned to leave at 10am which would have surely put us in the middle of the storm as we headed south down the coast. Instead we quickly packed the bikes and hit the road early and thank God we got all the way home without hitting any serious weather. It was cold and damp in places, but nothing crazy. We literally rode between storms all the way home!
So despite the cold weather, the rough roads and crazy circumstances, we had a great weekend. This is what motorcycling is all about. Dealing with things as they come, making the best of situations, and hanging with great friends. This will certainly be a ride to remember.