I started the ride in March with Joshua Tree, then Death Valley. I was back in Cali in Apr so I added Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Manzanar.
When I finished the USA 4 CTX on July 9 in San Ysidro, I then started working my way North from Cabrillo, to the Santa Monica Mtns to Channel Islands. I almost missed riding the waves kayaking the caves of Santa Cruz Island, but after riding out to the Mojave, I returned across the San Gabriel Mtns on CA 2, what a great ride btw.
I booked a ride out to Santa Cruz from Santa Barbara and I enjoyed the time of my life riding the waves and listening to the pounding surf in the caves and the cries of the Sea Lions as they barked and otherwise rollicked in the waves with us. On the way up the coast, I rode over to Pinnacles and got there in the late afternoon, but not before the visitor center closed. So, I got up and made it there early for the next morning opening. One of the things I did as my ride progressed was I realized how much more fun it is when I slow down and enjoy some of the hiking and sites to be enjoyed for each one of the beautiful parks.
So besides riding the CA 1 most of the way up the coast of California, I then rode from Morro Bay to Montery and then took another incredible set of California roads off the 1 just before reaching CA 17. The road is Porter St just as you are coming into Santa Cruz. There is a Valero gas station as you get off the 1. Then, I rode it to Summit/Highlands. Turned right and crossed over 17 where it gets really small and winding until you end up at CA 35, the Skyline. I rode this all the way into San Francisco. This combined route should be one of the best 15.
So, now I am in San Francisco. I went to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. I needed some help finding this one so I flagged down a blue helmeted parks police officer who offered to take me there himself. I was so happy to have his help.
I got to visit Point Reyes, not once but twice and it was worth every minute of the ride all the way out to the point. I am just sorry the stairs were closed so I didn't get to hike down and back up to and from the lighthouse. One of the local innkeepers offered to help me find accommodations for the night be calling the Olema campground. There were already 4 other motorcyclists there when I arrived and one of them offered to split his site with me cutting the rate in 1/2.
Next was Muir Woods. As usual this place is so busy. I guess its proximity to San Francisco makes it a favorite for tourists, but honestly there are so many more giants throughout other places in California. I am so glad I got to visit a bunch of their locations and see what I might otherwise never seen.
While I was in SF, I enjoyed some good meals, some great company and some even more amazing sites that again, if it hadn't been for this amazing ride, I probably never would have seen.
I don't think I visited any parks on the 16th. I just took my time enjoying exploring San Francisco, Oakland and Berkley among some of the communities I rode through.
The next day, I was at it again. I visited Rosie the Riveter, John Muir's Home, and the SF Maritime Nat'l Historic Park. This place was far too busy for my liking and they even wanted to charge motorcyclists for parking. I finished my day with Fort Point and I was treated to some amazing wind, clouds, waves and spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city. I had dinner at one delicious German restaurant, Suppenkuche, at the corner of Hayes and Laguna.
I then rode over the CA 130 crossing Mt. Hamilton as the sun was setting and was treated to some spectacular view of the San Jose Valley. I wouldn't necessarily recommend doing this at sunset unless you have definite plans for where to crash because finding something suitable is pretty difficult.
The next day I crossed the Tioga pass on CA 120 and visited Yosemite and Devil's Postpile. I loved the conversation I got to share with a couple who was visiting the Postpile's at the same time. We had a great conversation as we looked at the Minaret range vista. I would recommend this view not to missed as well.
After spending the night in Bridgeport, CA and getting treated to a lightening show, I woke up the next day to see fires in the mountains north of there on the 395. I made it to the CA 108 and up the Senora pass to see the sun rising over the mountains. I got to Danville in time for the 2nd shuttle to the O'Neill estate. What a dark man and family. A lot of tragedy that I never knew about.
The final ride was up to Crescent City and through the Redwood Highway. There were some great detours along the way. Then I visited Crater Lake just for fun and completed my tour with Lava Beds, Wiskeytown and Lassen Volcanic NP.
I hope to hear some stories from others who are doing this tour as well.