Friday, 19 July 2013

Day 8 - Highway 1 Adventure

I awoke this morning with a stinking headache. Sitting up drinking around the forest fire pit with a bunch of Aussie students was having it's revenge. The weather in Big Sur was sunny and warm but almost as soon as I got onto the road I descended into thick cold fog. This was really not helping the hang over. I drove into Carmel (home to Clint Eastwood) and took a tour around Scenic Drive. They named that right before heading into Monterey for lunch. Even a burger and fries could not fix the head! As I headed towards Santa Cruz (California's answer to Blackpool) there were the odd breaks in the fog but nothing much.

As I entered Santa Cruz the fuel warning light came on with the trip  showing 125 miles so I guess the guy at the rental centre was right - do not attempt to exceed 130 miles on a tank. A short visit to Santa Cruz's famous boardwalks and it was off north again towards Half Moon Bay.

I stopped off at the beach where this had all begun over 13 years ago. Let me explain. In June 1990 I first came over to Northern California on a business trip. Having landed in SFO around lunch time and keen to see a bit of the place before I was incarcerated in a hotel for a conference for a week I headed not for my hotel but towards the coast at Half Moon Bay. I then drove down the coast towards Santa Cruz on a beautiful sunny afternoon (not at all like today) and stopped at a beach to watch some surfers. In those days I was more of a surfer than a biker having got rid of the bike a few years earlier due to it's inability to be able to transport kayaks. While I sat there I saw groups of motorcyclists on the road behind the beach and thought that looks fun, maybe one day that might be me. In that second the germ of a dream was formed that would grow over the coming years. In the years in between I have been back to Silicon Valley many many times both for business and holiday in fact at one point I calculated I had spent over a year of my life here in 1, 2 or 4 week bursts but I had never made the opportunity to follow the dream but the dream had still lingered and grown. Now here I was living the dream and let me tell you compared to the reality the dream sucked and reality rocked. My only problem now is how the hell to I top this?

Finally I pulled off the coast road and headed in land out of the fog and back to my friends place that has been base camp for the adventure. I stopped briefly at Alice's on 84 and Skyline Boulevard, Silicon Valley's biker cafe, for a cup of tea. Finally after a week of riding someone came up to me and commented on the fact that I was riding a Harley Davidson wearing a Triumph leather jacket. Apart from the fact that it was the best suited jacket that I have for the weather conditions that I encountered it was also a way to push the brand. I was informed that Triumph were the motorcycle of choice for the "young hipsters" in California. Triumph Owners club take note. My two teenage daughters take a different note.

Finally I arrived back at base camp for deserved swim and a few cold beers. Tired, aching but smiling like an idiot.

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