I rode a Harley 1200 miles and have lived to tell the tale. Riding a motorcycle is as fun as it is dangerous. I guess that’s what makes it so exhilirating. Throwing the bike around corners on narrow winding roads like the Big Sur Coast highway (above) is a heart pounding adrenaline rush. A mistake could send you into and oncoming vehicle, into the mountainside, or off the edge of a cliff towards the waves crashing below. I was grinning the entire time. The #1 highway along the California coast is reputed to be the best ride in the world. I certainly couldn’t see how you could design it any better: spectacular scenery, sharp turns, ups & downs, bridges, and no traffic.
Although Tom and I both agree that the coast highway was the most fun to ride, we also enjoyed many other stretches on our 5 day odyssey. Our trip took us from LA up the California coast to Monterrey. We then cut inland to Yosemite national park. We completed our big circle through California by coming back to LA through the desert east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We escaped the heat of the desert by going on side trips into the mountains. Big Pine creek is pictured above, just a few minutes ride from the scorching desert of the valley floor.
The variation in California’s geography is astounding. Our trip took us from sea level to passes 10,000 feet high. We passed through lush forest and barren desert. We rode by snow at the side of the road only to be plunged into 110 degree desert heat less than an hour later.
The most dangerous part of the trip was not the narrow twisty mountain roads, but rather the LA freeways. 5 lanes full of maniac drivers travelling at ridiculous speeds cutting crazily towards exits with no warning, plus poor road conditions, combine to make LA freeways “comically dangerous” as Tom put it. It would be hard to design a road more hazardous for motorcycles.
After riding for 5 days straight, I am tired but content. I could get used to the Harley lifestyle. Harley riders all wave when they pass each other on the road. At rest areas, gas stations, and road-side restaurants, Harley riders are drawn to each other. I had all kinds of interesting conversations with my newfound kin. One guy had ridden all the way from Florida with his woman. They had been on the road for 5 weeks. They were kind enough to give us their Yosemite passes. Harley riders take care of their own.
I love the sound the bike makes when you pull into a place. No one can miss your arrival. It’s great to walk in the door wearing biker leather and carrying a helmet under your arm. People love the bikes. Random people will come up to admire them and start conversations. I was even invited to a party just because I arrived at a motel on a Harley. Now I know what it feels like to be cool, if only for a little while .