Ride to Santa Cruz and back through La Honda
Saturday, March 8, 2003 

Saturday, did nothing much all day so feel like getting out.  About 6:00 head out looking for a good place to get a bite to eat.  Head down Prospect, down Campbell to Hwy 17.  South over to Santa Cruz.  Traffic is not bad, the weather was clear if a bit cool.  Probably in the mid 50's.

This is the first time over 17 with the Harley.  Road is not too bad, averaging 50-60 MPH.  Traffic is moving pretty much at that speed.  Not passing too many people, not too many hot dogs passing me.  Some of the marked curves require slowing, about 10 MPH over warning speed seems comfortable.

After about 45 minutes, I'm in Santa Cruz and lost as usual.  How come North Marina is South of town?  Rode around wondering if I'd ever find a recognized road.  Finally, I hit upon Hwy 1.  Aha, I know where I am.

A little up 1 is a Togo's.  Sort of a dump really, but a hot pastrami and a cup of coffee seems like just the ticket.  Alas, have to settle for some luke-warm pastrami and no java, they donít serve it.  Visit the pee room, a risky undertaking.  Happy the business I have to do only requires me to stand.  Interesting, though, the bathroom has the reminiscent odor common to other near-the-ocean restrooms I have used in my life.  Not a smell normally associated with a poorly maintained bathroom, although the maintenance of this one will not win awards.  More an odor of tile and grout that is continually damp;  a wet masonry kind of smell.  Growing up on the Northern California coast, it reminds me of youthful days.

Eat half the sandwich, wrap half and into the tour bag for later.  Undecided as to whether to return by 17 or continue North on 1.  It's 7:20 and I'll be home and warm by 8 if I go back 17.  Traffic going North was moderate when I came down.  Probably be worse going back at the end of the weekend.  On the other hand, 1 is a long haul and probably cold.

Not being overly bright, North on Hwy 1 I go.  Buzzing along, the road is clear, the sky is full of stars, the traffic is very light.  After all, who else would be dumb enough to be on this road at this time.  Only problem is that I wish I had worn a flannel shirt as another layer and my flannel-lined levis.  It's cold.  Probably in the high 40ís.

Thank goodness for the motorcycle bib I'm wearing.  One of the better purchases I've made.  Wish I could find another one or two.  Bought this at Road Rider down on Monterey Road when I first bought the Honda back in '98.  Had no idea how good it would turn out to be.  I only remembered how cold my neck and jaw felt a quarter century previous when I was younger riding to work in an open-face helmet with the snap on face shield.  About half an hour after I got to work before I'd warm up enough to be able to talk without slurring.  Went back to RR to look for another a year or two back, didn't seem to have them any more.

Back to trip up Hwy 1.  It is a long road.  Just out of Santa Cruz the sign says Pescadero about 36 miles.  Hmm, as I remember, it's a ways from Pescadero up to Hwy 84 where I'll probably cut back inland.  That reminder, putting a number to the distance, brings home just how far Iíve got to go.  Not thinking of reversing my route, but knowing I'm in for a bit of a long trek.  Jeez, it feels like the wind comes right in through the leather of my boots.  Some thicker socks could be better in the future.  Does make the boots snug though.


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It's really beautiful and I'm enjoying.
  Gassed up yesterday, only one commute trip on this tank, so plenty of confidence there.  Bike is running quite well.  Feels like it's happy being out stretching its legs.  Stars are beautiful, considering stopping by the road to look up at them and out onto the ocean, but it is colder than I'd like.  Also, it's dark and there are not too many comfortable places to be out of the occasional traffic.  Actually, other cars are rare and absolutely no other fools on bikes.  One BMW cager follows for about 3 miles and then passes in a questionable stretch.  Doesn't bother me, I ride to the right and let him go.  Have a good life.

Coming to the lighthouse, blink, blink.  This guy seems coded as one bright and one dim each revolution.  Must be reassuring to sailors seeing the light, recognizing the code and being able to figure out where they are in the dark night.  Kind of fun.  After passing the lighthouse, there is the beam sweeping across the countryside all around me.  Also kind of eerie.

I'm now starting to climb up the on the cliffs a few miles South of 84.  Damn, the coast is beautiful.  Stretches where the coast is kind of horseshoe shaped and you can see the surf pounding the faces of the cliffs ahead.  A shame the moon is not fuller to provide more light.  Of course, later in the month, I might not be blessed with such clear weather at the coast.  There have been only a few wisps of fog in the Pescadero area, but I'm well past that now.

Right onto 84 and East toward civilization and hopefully warmer air.  Passing Stage road about 2 miles from the coast, there are quite a few cars at the saloon.  Must be something going on.  La Honda is totally dark as I go through.  When I get up to Sky Londa, it too is dark.  I've never seen before at this time of night.  It seems strange without lots of life going on.

Down 84 from the top and it is slow going at night.  The vistas of the lights around the bay are truly spectacular.  Wow, more than 180 degrees sometimes as the mountain sweeps around a big left curve.  The cold is not nearly so biting and my feet have stopped complaining.  At the bottom, I go left to Sand Hill Road to 280.

South on 280 and I'm soon on the my normal commute route feeling home is just a few minutes away.  Home at about 8:45, not too bad really.  Total miles, about 100.  Second half of sandwich is not much better than the first had been, but I'm happy.  Now if I can just warm up a little.

Updated: April 20, 2013 11:01 AM