Trip Of A Lifetime: Part 7

Article By: Heather Callen

Photos By: Chris & Heather

Originally Published In The September 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

After a good meal, great company and a bitter sweet good-bye with our brother Ray Ray we started barrel assing south towards San Francisco, I wanted to check another thing off my bucket list before nightfall … The Golden Gate Bridge. As much as I had really wanted to take Route 1 down the entire California Coast there was just no easy way to get there from where we were and in some ways time was not always on our side. Despite the plan for this trip was to no have a plan we knew that eventually we would have to go home so we could get the next issue to press. So, at times like this we had to pick and choose because there were a few stops that we knew we wanted to make before we headed back east. As we neared the wondrous bridge the air cooled and the fog rolled in. Chris, having been there before knew the way to the best lookout point I could have hoped for. Not only could we see the Golden Gate in all of its glory but we had a pretty cool view of the legendary Alcatraz as well. This was one of those pick and choose times, we both really wanted to visit this historic spot but it just wasn’t in the cards for this trip. After a few quick pictures we rolled on through the streets of San Francisco. Now, I don’t know if there was some Super Moto event in town or if that’s just thing to do out there but man did our loaded down Black Pearl stick out like a sore thumb as those little whips went racing past us up the inclines.

The sun had fallen and we had no idea where we were going to bed down for the night but we knew it wasn’t going to be in the city so we continued south hoping to find a decent campground along the way. We stopped at two KOA’s, however we struck out twice because they only catered to RV’s. I wondered then if Kampgrounds Of America should change their name to RV Sites Of America?! Tired and a bit chilly and just wanting to rest, the road eventually led us to a little motel in “The Artichoke Capital Of The World” Castroville, CA. It wasn’t a tent and two sleeping bags but it was a place to sleep and it was pretty much at a junction of Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, so we sucked it up and slept inside. We woke early the next morning so we could hit the PCH. I had never been there before so I was excited to be on the great roads, see beautiful vistas and feel the ocean air that I had heard so much about. Let me tell you, despite the morning being a bit cool and a little dreary there was absolutely no way to be disappointed. I don’t know if I have the words to describe the PCH in all of its awesomeness, not sure if the photos I captured will do it justice either, but I do know that not only do I want to visit again but you should definitely put it on your bucket list. We rode for about 50 miles before stopping at the Big Sur River Inn for a phenomenal breakfast. Fully satiated and ready for more adventures we happily geared up and headed south. Chris made the mistake of telling me to let him know if there was anywhere I wanted to stop, I say mistake because he later retracted his offer…I wanted to stop everywhere…and we wouldn’t have made it very far at all! It was just that cool. At one of the first look out points we pulled into we were blessed with the extraordinary: as I sat on the cliff looking out over the Pacific just below our feet there was a small pod of whales feeding and frolicking. I could have stayed in that one spot all day… but Chris assured me that there would be many more places along the way. He didn’t lie, over the course of the day we lay witness to seals, dolphins, eagles, pelicans and elephant seals, all in their natural habitats. No cages, no glass walls just there, where they belonged. Who needs Sea World when we are still lucky enough have places like the PCH.

As we rolled down the coast we came to the historic Hearst Castle, boy oh boy did we want to stop but alas we had a very important visit to make with some special people the next day so we reluctantly rode past, giving us yet another reason to return to the west coast. This is about where I broke a cardinal rule of journalism… you know the one that says if there’s no picture then it didn’t happen? Well, as we passed a herd of zebras… yeah, I said Zebras, I was just too stunned and maybe even momentarily considering it a hallucination that I didn’t get the shot! But I do solemnly swear that there were zebras, maybe you should just go see for yourself. We continued the journey south and as per Chris’s tradition as soon as we came across a somewhat swimmable area, Chris was in the water! It was getting a little later in the afternoon, Chris had been out of the water for more than the required 30-minutes post swim and we hadn’t eaten since morning so on the recommendations of our friend, Handsome Charlie Ransom, we bee-lined it for Morro Beach so we could hit up the legendary Giovanni’s Fish Market. So glad we did, the food was outstanding and so was the company. We ended up dining with a family that would routinely drive 4 hours round trip to partake in the fine fair at Giovanni’s. They were intrigued by our ride and invited us to join them. In a day of cell phones and social media it seems as though people often forget how to interact on a human level, and it was nice to know that all humanity was not lost to technology.

After dinner it was again time to make a hard choice, continue on the PCH or make tracks and hit the 101 so we could bed down in Ventura for the night. We decided on the shorter of the two routes and a few hours later found ourselves setting camp on the shores of Ventura Beach. Under a star filled sky and with camp set in Hobson County Park, Chris and I walked toward the darkness and sound of the ocean; stripped of our riding boots so our toes could enjoy the softness of the sand we said our thanks to the powers that allowed us to take this journey. That night we rested our heads as the sound of the ocean lulled us to sleep thinking of what the next day might bring. Morning came quickly when we were awakened by the park ranger… wondering to ourselves “what did we do wrong- did we take someone else spot?” Nope, she was trying to give us change for overpayment on the site…wait we hadn’t paid yet! Needless to say she thanked us for our honesty and went on her way. Well, we were up, may as well hit the road. Today was going to be a special day for Chris, we were going to Altadena to see his Aunt Linda and Cousin Lisa. Now, I know most of you are wondering why this is such a big deal. Well, Chris hadn’t actually laid eyes on either of them for almost a decade and they are really the only living blood family he has left in this big old world, so it was extra special for him to get a real hug from them both. It was wonderful to know that Chris had family and even better to be embraced and accepted with open arms by both. After an all too short reunion it was again time for us to keep moving south. We had one other place to be that day and we were anxious to get there. We were headed to visit my son and his family at Camp Pendleton. In the four years that he had been in the USMC I had only seen him and our grandson Eli twice. So, after a teary good bye and promises of not letting another 10 years go by, we hit the 5 and headed south. This was my first experience with lane splitting, which I’m totally a fan of…with my eyes closed. We made it safely through the gates of Camp Pendleton and into my grandson’s arms. At that moment, there was no other place in the world I would rather have been.

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