The Mendocino County coast is nothing short of spectacular, and CA-1 south was nice and quiet for much of it. However the first 100 or so miles there is literally no town or place to stop for gas, a restroom break, a snack, or even a picture. I only managed to find one pull out to take a picture at in fact.
There, once again, the magic of being on a bike opened the doors to conversation, and I had several people tell me not to give up on CA-1 and take it all the way to the end (rather than take off at Bodega and cut over to the US-101 freeway). I decided to stick it out. Leaving Bodega Bay it wasn’t bad until Point Reyas, and then the traffic hit, and then the mountain hit, and the combination of a road barely wide enough for two lanes, Mother’s Day traffic on a road with absolutely NO straight stretches with a 10% grade and people on peddled bikes made for one slow clutch/brake crawl that had my wrists screaming. I could hardly wait for the road to end, and mercifully it did – at a Highway 101 onramp with no place to stop to pee which I desperately needed to do by this time, let alone get off the bike and stretch.
Right after getting on the 101 was one last exit before the Golden Gate Bridge. I thought surely there would be a view spot and restroom – but no. A view spot there was, and I was able to pose for a quick picture – but NO restroom. So, back on the bike I go – after tucking $6 in my pocket for the toll. I tried to take a picture while riding – but I’m not as good at that as Tony is.
After inching across and over the city - up Lombard St. and VanNess, I finally made it to the I-80 ramp -- and came to a dead stop. I’ve never seen such a clogged freeway at 4pm on a Sunday. By now it was near 80 degrees and the air-cooled Harley crawling at 5mph was not a happy bike, nor I a happy rider, fully clad in black leather. In California, riders are allowed to split lanes – that is ride between lanes of stopped or slow traffic, and a number of bikers were doing that. Not this one. I wasn’t about to risk myself like that. Once across the Bay Bridge however the traffic opened up and so I opened up the throttle and zoomed up the freeway at 70mph to the East Bay suburb of Dublin where I checked into the hotel and called my oldest friend Dave who lives a few miles away, and who’s family was anxiously awaiting me to get there for dinner.
After showering and changing I headed off to Dave’s house, where his youngest boy Ben was waiting outside when I roared up on the bike. He gave me a high-five and wanted to go for a ride right then and there. Fortunately Dave’s wife Elayne met me at the door and rescued this starving biker who hadn’t had anything but a Snickers bar since breakfast that morning. After some great chicken soup and home-made cookies, I had a troop of four anxious kids to take for rides around their quiet subdivision. I'm sure the neighbors got a wee bit tired of us looping the 'hood, but we all had fun. Ben by far had the most fun, saying "motorcycles are awsome! go faster! and refusing to hang on, and he vowed to get a motorcycle as soon as he’s old enough. I’m afraid we’ve got another biker in training on the way.