Winding roads hugging high cliffs, dramatic views along rugged shorelines, huge seals and a beautiful sunset watching a sea otter work for its dinner.
We left the River Inn Motel, a rather expensive and tired but clean motel on the outskirts of Carmel, just after 10am.
Today, we swapped bikes so I was on the Indian Scout. For me, this motorbike had a much more comfortable riding position than the Sportster although when we pulled over to adjust the Krieger bags (which I hadn’t attached tightly enough) I noticed a burning sensation on my inner right leg, just below the knee – in fact, just above the heat resistant section on my trousers. Ouch.
So it seems that the pipes on the Scout get very very hot and protrude sufficiently enough that a short legged lady needs to keep her leg away from them when kicking down the stand – a bit of a challenge given that this bike is higher than the Sportster. Gary hadn’t seemed to have had the same problem until, we were having coffee, he spotted a hole in his trousers, at the exact place that I had noticed heat – lesson number two?… or we thought so until he noticed that he had actually received the burn from the Sportster… lesson number 2 was to keep your legs away from the pipes of both motorbikes. These cruisers had hot pipes!
We decided to check out Carmel a little. We headed north along the seafront and came upon, and were refused, entry to a private road – 17 Mile Drive past Pebble Beach golf course. It seems that the residents not only wish to profit $10 per car from siteseers, they also had a big problem with motorcycles. Right then, we turned around.
So we rode south around the seafront seeing if we could see Justin Timberlake – the man at the motel had waxed lyrical about all the celebrities in Carmel, we didn’t see him, it did not spoil our visit to this pretty, if kitsch, town. I say kitsch because I am pretty sure most of the houses, despite outwards appearances and the occasional thatching, were not built in medieval times.
And so we left Carmel, towards Big Sur, the sky clear and promising to give us another stunning day.
Early in the day, we stopped every few minutes to take in the coast line, beautiful rocky cliffs falling away close to the edge of the road. The road became winding after the famous Bixby Creek Bridge, as we headed south, and then straightened a little just before we enter the bit I call the ‘forest area’. This is the area of Big Sur where many of the log cabin style accommodation is located, amongst the trees. A beautiful spot.
We filled with fuel in the forest area, it had been, after all, 65 miles since the last stop and the next wasn’t for 40 miles. Always a good time for a water break and the other kind of comfort break.
Refreshed, we continued on, stopping for the mandatory selfies with and without my helmet and many photos of the motorbikes.
The road isn’t the kind I would get some speed up on, at least not on a cruiser and there’s too many cars. Not unless you’re Gary and you can’t help but try to scrape your boots, which he did. Me, I’m not quite so brave or experienced just yet, especially not on a hired motorbike, I’ll get there one day, but I need a bit more practice and training first, I believe.
As we rode, we bonded with other motorbike riders coming in the other direction; in Australia, bonding involves a quick nod, in the US, it’s a long, low outstuck arm, with the occasional peace sign, I suspect the difference to Australia is due to us riding on the other side of the road and taking your hand off the throttle for a low wave doesn’t really work as throttle power needs to be maintained carefully to control and stabilise the motorbike.
And then we spotted a man taking our picture as we rode pass a viewing spot. Gary gave him the low wave and peace sign, he’s just so cool…
Lunch was at Lucia Restaurant, I got talking to a lady from the UK as we parked and then, during our lunch, she came over and said that her husband thought he had taken our photograph as we rode and would we like a copy. Really? Er, yes please! This was the man we saw and lo, he had that picture!
The day continued, more beautiful curves and stunning coastline.
We were on the final few miles of our day but all was not over yet. Elephant seals! Yes, seals that… are rather large, conveniently hanging out at a beach right next to the road. Very considerate!
Arrived at Morro Bay around 5pm, a town next to the ocean complete with giant volcanic plug rock just hanging off the coast helping the otherwise ordinary seaside town look very picturesque.
We checked in then headed to the waterfront to inspect its charms and we were not disappointed. Along with the seas barking on a pontoon in the harbour, a sea otter played its part in our wild life experience by bashing shellfish on its chest with its favourite rock.
And then there was the sunset, just lovely sitting in a harbour front restaurant enjoying local wine and beer and lovely seafood pasta. What a great spot.
The day finished at Libertines, a craft beer pub, a cool little place, perfect for trying to be young and trendy kids like us.