Tag Archives: San Francisco

NORTHERN CALI PCH, SAN FRAN TO MENDOCCINO


MAY 24 – Took the bike to the shop in the morning near downtown San Francisco. Decided to go for a walk while I waited. Made it to Alamo Square where I saw the painted ladies (row of Victorian homes with downtown skyscrapers in background). For those who use to watch the television sitcom, ‘Full House’, in the opening credits, you see a shot of this area with the family having a picnic in the foreground.

After Alamo Square, walked over Haight-Ashbury District, known as one of the major centers for the Hippie movement back in the 60’s. Not what I had expected at all… Although it still maintains a Bohemian atmosphere, with interesting boutiques and coffee shops, the Hippies have now been replaced with a younger generation of Hippie wannabes, drug addicts  and panhandlers.  Where have the Hippies all gone you ask? Most have migrated outside San Francisco to smaller towns, especially Mendocino and surrounding areas. This is where I stayed the night in fact. Mendocino is recognized as the town in ‘Murder She Wrote’. It is very small but very scenic and peaceful. Took a walk over to the cliffs overlooking the Ocean as the sun set. I’d have to say this place is definitely one of my favorite towns so far. I will be back again.

Take note: started with 13,600 km on this trip from San Fran. Left at 12:30pm. The ride up to Mendocino from San Francisco was fantastic! I’m not sure why Big Sur gets all the hype. I really enjoyed that too but after this ride, I think it is a little overrated. This section of the Pacific Coast Highway has its share of breathtaking Coastline but it doesn’t stop there. It takes you through old growth Red Wood forests, meadows, rural farmlands, many curves and what seems to be less traffic! If I had to choose between the two, I would choose this stretch over Big Sur.

Now off to cruise through the Red Wood forests of Northern California into Oregon’s captivating coastline. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

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PHOENIX TO SAN FRANCISCO


I guess some of you may have been wondering where I might be since I haven’t typed much in over a month and yet on the right hand side it says that I’ve gone to Phoenix to pick up the bike. Well, I did pick it up at the beginning of May and headed straight west to Los Angeles. It was about 40 degrees celsius. Hot, hot, hot! But started to cool off as soon as I left L.A and dropped to about 25 degrees by the time I made it to San Francisco. From Laguna Beach, CA, I stuck with the Pacific Coast Trail (Hwy 1) through L.A and would not do that stretch again, as it took me over 3 hours to get through the city, stopping at stop light, after stop light. My left wrist was so sore from holding the clutch in, that it became more of a rush to get to Cambria,CA for the night to rest. I was planning on visiting a couple of sites around Hollywood but didn’t realize how long it would take to get through the city. If I could offer a piece of advice to anyone who is planning on doing the Pacific Coast drive, it would be to not bother staying on that stretch of Hwy, you won’t see much anyways, take the time to see Hollywood and / or Venice Beach and stick to one of the Interstates to get you through instead.

Cambria is a little town situated along the coast, North of L.A. It was my first time staying in a bed and breakfast and left me with a great first impression. The B&B I stayed in was called the Olallieberry Inn, http://www.olallieberry.com/ noted as providing some of the best B&B breakfasts in North America and has won several B&B awards in the last few years. Breakfast was really good! And there were homemade cookies on a tray

Olallieberry Inn, B&B

waiting for me on my bed when I checked in that evening. The community it very artsy, lots of art shops, boutiques and restaurants line the main street of this sleepy little town. The home itself was built in 1873 and there is an 120 year old Redwood Tree that stands in front of it. I liked the novelty of sitting with other guests at the same table at breakfast time and having a chance to interact with everyone. It felt very warm, engaging and welcoming. I will definitely try to get more into the habit of staying at B&B’s from now on.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

The next morning I visited Hearst Castle http://www.hearstcastle.org/. “It was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947[2] for newspaper magnate and film director William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and ’30s. The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate’s airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores Del Rio, and Winston Churchill were among Hearst’s A-list guests.”

After half a day spent touring the premises, I headed for Carmel By the Sea for the night.

‘Roman Pool’ Hearst Castle

Another town that has a heavily influenced arts community. Had the opportunity to walk barefoot in the sand along the shore that night and watched the surfers till the sun set. Made it to San Francisco the following day and spent some time at Fisherman’s Warf and Golden Gate Bridge. The bike was parked at the hotel I was staying at and flew back for work for a couple of weeks. I found this website http://www.parksleepfly.com/  that will store your vehicle for free for a certain

Bears going for an ‘afternoon cruise’. Found in parking lot at Golden Gate Bridge view point.

number of nights if you stay with them for 1 night. For $130 I stayed for 1 night, was able to park the bike for free for 7 days and get a free shuttle to the airport. Shuttle alone would have cost me $30. I talked to the manager about storing the bike for another 9 days for free if I stay another night when I get back so it was a good deal. A bike storage company would have charged me $100 alone and about $80 in taxi fees to get to airport and back.

I will be flying back to San Fran this week to pick up the bike and continue North

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

and try to make it to Calgary by Tuesday. May is still too early to be riding in the mountains but hopefully the Bike Gods look over me and keep the snow away.

Will keep you posted…