Days 8 & 9: Redwood City, CA and Riding to the Coast

(January 24, 2017) Friday, June 17, 2016 was Day 8 of 17 of my ride to the Pacific Coast at San Gregorio, CA north to Bellevue, Washington and then home by way of US 2 across the US. On this day, I rode from South Lake Tahoe, California on US 50 into Sacramento where I stopped at the Harley-Davidson dealership, as I mentioned in my last post. From there, I got in Interstate 80 to US 101 and Redwood City, California. At Redwood City, I stayed at a luxury hotel called the Sofitel (now owned my Pullman).

On Day 9, I rode south on El Camino Real to CA 84, Woodside Drive, south and then west. As the name changed to La Honda Road, I passed the wildly popular Alice's Restuarant. The restaurant and trading post was so packed--it was a Saturday morning and the weather was perfect--that I chose to continue on rather than attempt to find a parking spot. This area is extremely popular with (1) bicyclists, (2) motorcyclists, and (3) sports car drivers, in that order. Some of these cyclists are hard core: I actually had bicyclists passing me in places on CA 84!

I stayed with route 84 all the way to San Gregorio. At San Gregorio, I made a stop at the popular and historical General Store. It's an interesting place, taking you back to the 60s a bit as there was live folk music being played and the modern versions of Hippies hanging out. Just beyond San Gregorio, at the Pacific Ocean, I turned north toward San Francisco with a planned stop at Half Moon Bay.

This was the first time I had ever been to the west coast, driving, flying, or riding. I'm glad I got to see it first from my Harley!

Here is a collection of videos from my stay at the Sofitel (Day 8 into Day 9) and my ride to the ocean (Day 9) and then on to San Francisco. In my next post, I share some photos and videos from my stay in San Francisco, with my cousin Ray.

Sofitel Hotel (now called Pullman San Francisco Bay)

I spoiled myself with this one. I felt awkward though. I identified more with the staff than with the other guests, there were so many wealthy guests. I was grateful for the nearby parking garage: for $12 I got to keep my $30,000 Harley in a safe place.


Woodside, La Honda, and San Gregorio Roads

I had help planning this part of the ride from a co-worked, Todd Plessel, who used to live in this area. He exhorted me to ride this loop south of the Bay Area and it was worth ever minute I spent on it.

I had cupping on my front tire, which caused me some front-end wobble at times throughout the entire 7500-mile ride. (I've now switched from Dunlop tires to Michelin.) Combine that with the fact that I'm on the motorcycle equivalent of an RV -- a "win-a-bike-o" as my friend Tim calls them--and the steep curves and grades on CA 84, and you can imagine that I took this route slowly. I even had a pair of bicyclists pass me on a steep, curvey descent.

On of my favorite experiences on this route was when a Lamborghini passed me and then just a few miles later I passed it as a California Highway Patrol office (CHIP) had pulled the driver over for speeding. 

Below: Riding Woodside Drive to La Honda Road

Below: Riding La Honda Road - 1 of 3

Below: Riding La Honda Road - 2 of 3

Below: Riding La Honda Road - 3 of 3

Below: A Stop at the San Gregorio General Store

Below: Turning North of CA 84 onto CA 1


Half Moon Bay, California

I was so excited to stop at Half Moon Bay because it was my first time ever at the Pacific Ocean. I celebrated with a tasty cigar and lots of pictures and video, some of which I share below.

On to San Francisco on CA 1

I was fortunate that my cousin Ray, whom I was meeting in San Francisco that morning, was only going to be there one day--a Saturday--and that meant my two days in the area would be over a weekend. Consequently, I did not have to deal with the heavy traffic that occurs normally during the week. If you're going to ride around the Bay Area, try to do it on a Saturday or Sunday! 


As always, keep the shiny side up and pray for a short winter.

-The Long Rider 

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