Start – Menlo Park, CA 9:50am
End – Simi Valley, CA 7:05pm
The final day. We knew it when we set out, 4000 miles and then pau, no more trip. We joked about just doing it backwards, turning around and heading back to Canada like hippies during the draft. Or to Iowa and the birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. But we had to head south and finish what we started, though one bike and two riders lighter.
Too Good’s parents had been wonderful to us the night before and fed us again this morning. It was great to see my friends too. Missed them. The girls, Lillypad and Stitches, left in the U-Haul, taking the shorter, more boring route, and we headed towards the coast. (Ed. Note: The doctor’s verdict on Stitches sickness- a asthma attack which had been going on for three days. She’s a tough chick, barely complained, and she couldn’t breathe! Almost makes me glad Lillypad’s bike broke down. Her shoulder has been slowly getting worse as well. A bad thing that couldn’t have happened at a better time.)
It got cold and foggy fast and it wasn’t long before we pulled over to layer up. (Ed. Note: I was cold, I hadn’t put on my jacket before we left. I wasn’t about to pull a Sidekick and stop us because I was a little chilly. Luckily, even heated grips are no match for Bay Area chills. Machismo rules!) Our coastward commute was otherwise uneventful and soon we reached the 1. Like yesterday, northern and central California’s coastline is more foreboding than friendly, but even the twisties today weren’t all that difficult. We’re weathered veterans of all kinds of roadways by now, we can do this road with one hand. In fact, I did just that for most of the day. Why not? Easy day.
The only drama came from the cager corner. Kalifornia drivers are officially the worst of any of the eight states we spent time in. They don’t get out of the way, they don’t look around, and that new cell phone law is working real well. (Ed. Note: I could have texted this entire journal and no cops would have noticed.) So we were impatient and leap-frogged past a dozen too-slow-for-us drivers down the 1. (Ed. Note: That, by the way, is both fun and scary. Two lane highways on the coast are not meant for passing. All the more reason to get your gigantic helping-the-terrorists-win tank out of my way.) That’s exciting. Nerve-wracking. But exciting.
After paying $4.00/gallon for petrol in Big Sur (Ed. Note: Isn’t it nice that we can complain about $4.00 gas because it’s rare again?) we got back on it. At some point in the last few days I developed a new law: The Coastal Road Rule. This Rule states that if a road follows exactly the coast it shall be a fun motorcycle road. (Ed. Note: I live in Hawaii, thou shalt not question the Coastal Rod Rule.) However, the Coastal Road Rule comes complete with the Coastal Road Rule Corollary: This Rule can, and will, be rendered null and void by any number of things up to and including weather, rock slides, random acts of nature and, as always and most often, idiotic acts of cagers. Damn cagers spoil everything.
Honestly though, we’ve been pretty lucky as far as cagers go. The last two days have been by far the worst (Ed. Note: Though the start of Utah was by far the scariest). Like I mentioned yesterday, we were not around too many cars for most of the trip so it’s an unpleasant awakening.
Outside of San Simeon we stopped to check out the elephant seals that congregate on the beach near Hearst Castle. Cool. Stitches would have liked it. Too Good also met the bravest squirrel in the history of ever. He must have been the head-chief squirrel. (Ed. Note: The bull goose squirrel? “I wanna watch the World Series of Nut Gathering Nurse Ratchet! Raise your paw chief!) Came right up to Too Good’s boots and looked him in the eye. Too Good was mildly concerned about a rogue squirrel attack. Thankfully, the squirrel moved on peacefully and an interspecies incident was avoided. (Ed. Note: Because it has to be done, and was done constantly… SQUIRREL!)
It got more depressing from there. The 1 and the 101 used to be my backyard and, as such, are familiar roads. Sad to be back where I know where I am. I liked being surprised. That’s when I knew it was over.
Bad highway hypnosis for the very end, straight freeway, some traffic, and on into Simi Valley. Not the best ride of the trip, but you can’t argue with a 400+ mile day at the end of a 12 day trek. It’s good to be back…and not. I want to go again.
407 miles today
4131 miles total*
*All mileage based on the trip on my bike. Papa Rocket’s numbers are a little different. Close enough for bikers.