Gina had three months to ride around the country, and for her first day I would be seeing her off. How novel, I get to be the sendoff party!
As with so many journeys down the coast, we met at the morning standard, Devil's Teeth Baking Company.
We hashed out a starting route, paired helmet intercoms, and excitedly hugged our farewells. Both of us were electric with anticipation and old hands on the PCH south of the city, so once we hopped on the bikes our only rest breaks were once past Pigeon Point, and a brief hello to Bagel in Santa Cruz. I wanted to make sure to leave plenty of opportunities for photos and didn't want to rush Gina through her first epic launch, but I suspect we were both itching to get out of the Bay Area. The weather was kind of shitty for photos anyhow.
|Mexican lunch break with a view in Seaside, CA.|
My art direction: Gina, look out the window towards the bikes as if deep in thought. Contemplate...burritos.
The most direct route to our overnight destination of Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo-ish would take about 4 hours, 240-ish miles. Of course, if you're riding with me, you don't take the direct route. Unfortunately, epic rainfall had closed off the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur, so we would have to reroute inland regardless. I spied a small road to Carmel Valley that Gina's friend, Chantill, assured us was beautiful, and we would still be able to swing back out towards Jolon to pick up my old favorite, Interlake Road.
With the power of technology, we would simply check the weather as we went and discuss where to set up camp over the intercom. It was fantastic having someone to chat with as we poked around the interior of California, though much of the conversation amounted to, "Ooh tight turn ahead, this road is awesome," "Ahh, this is so beautiful," and, "Wow, this is really great." On the occasion that we ran out of words and I forgot to switch back to music, even the static sounded blissful.
The road to Carmel Valley was indeed glorious – quiet, narrow, winding, occasionally flanked by... is that Spanish moss? Over intercom, we joked we'd found a wormhole to Louisiana or South Carolina. Then around the next bend the road would dive under tree cover, and open suddenly to vineyard after vineyard. The landscape seemed infinitely mutable. Were we even still in California?
The last time I'd ridden Interlake Road, the hills were dusty and straw-colored, brittle and ready to crackle into flame if you gave it even an incendiary glance. The recent rainfall transformed the landscape into a luscious land, unrecognizable from my memories. Every surface was covered in a velvet coat of bright green, semi-translucent in sunlight, the kind that can only come from fresh growth. Blue stones accented the rolling hills, darker green patches came from tree shade.
It's hard not to love California, with roads like this.
|Bridge Street Inn in Cambria, CA. I'm pretty sure the last time I stayed here was because of rain and cold too.|
We'd managed to nearly double our riding time taking these smaller roads, and setting up camp at Morro Bay was looking less desirable with 100% chance of rain overnight (but look at all this camping gear we have!). I suggested an old favorite that was backtracking a bit, but might have indoor bunks: Bridge Street Inn.
On our way to see what was open in Cambria, Gina commented how I never seem to have helmet hair. "Oh, I just have a haircut in the shape of a helmet, bwa ha ha."
|Thanks for the photo, gogogooutside and samperrydotcom, two surfers who live and work out of a converted ambulance!|
As forecasted we woke to steady drizzle. Gina had an appointment in LA, and I had a scooter campout to catch back in the Bay. I asked Gina to say hi to Fred for me when she passed through Boston, hugged farewell, and watched her carefully pull away. Day 1 of 100 Days Of Obsolescence (Gina's trip name) complete, on to Day 2.
My day was mostly going to be Highway 101, but a small, squiggly line was pointed out to me on the map. Santa Rosa Creek Road led out of town and would eventually join the highway. In spite of the rain, I couldn't resist. I'd just take it slowly and carefully.
|I swerved to avoid this guy and then went back for a photo. Turns out this lizard is already dead. Eww.|
|Thanks for being my umbrella man, Bagel!|
I stopped in to chat and change a bearing, but upon opening the case I realized it was just dirty and didn't require replacement.
|Found a hidden tear in the body, probably from being rear-ended in Atlanta.|
Dammit, Atlanta, I like you but you try to kill me every time I'm there.
Gina was on her way and the mini-adventure of Santa Rosa Creek Road was behind me. Wrapped in hi-viz rain gear, I cranked up the tunes and flew along main highways, all the way through Santa Cruz and back into the city. Tomorrow would have more scooting, but tonight it was time for a hot shower.