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Jul
06
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Well we achieved what we wanted to today in spite of the smog. California apparently has the most stringent air quality rules in the country and it would seem they need it. We checked out Chaparral Motor Sports in San Bernardino then came back into Griffith Park to catch a glimpse of the 'HOLLYWOOD' sign then onto Bert's Mega Mall to sell our bikes so we're ready to depart tomorrow. Job done. Bert's Mega Mall, 1151 N Azusa Avenue, Covina, CA 91722 are the largest dealers in the world and it is massive with motorbikes, ATV's, jet skis and all sizes of motorboats not to mention a huge apparel and parts range, café and lounges. Very impressive and all the staff we came in contact with (many) were all friendly and helpful. They are clearly serious about how they do business. You can find them here

http://www.bertsmegamall.com/

A miserly selection of pics tell the story below:

07-06-la-freeway.jpg 

We thankfully managed to be heading in the right direction while we were on a variety of freeways today which was good but the 90 kms from San Bernardino to Griffiths Park made me pine for my foot pegs given we had removed them for me to bring home. This is a shot of one of the spaghetti (cloverleaf) type intersections of a number of freeways from many directions. Signage has been good so not as daunting as it looks.

07-06-wide-load.jpg 

And an interesting wide trailer we followed for a bit before heading off the freeway this morning.

07-06-police-bikes.jpg 

Check out the Police Bikes parked up at Chaparrel in particular the guns, radar guns etc. All ready to go. BMW bikes you'll note, not Harley's.

07-06-hollywood-sign-1.jpg 

And the 'HOLLYWOOD' sign from the LA Observatory approach road.

07-06-hollywood-sign-2.jpg 

And a second shot to prove it was us there, bottom right hand corner you can just see the bikes (well more Norm's being blue). Glad we could see it from here. It was too hot to hike to it!

07-06-la-observatory.jpg 

The LA Observatory we couldn't go through since it had been closed. This queue is to the restrooms. As we were leaving three coaches arrived so perhaps they had tickets, who knows. We had bikes to sell!

07-06-la-skyline.jpg 

And a miserable shot of the LA skyline, at least what I could see of it and it was worse on the other side of the observatory so I didn't bother taking a shot.


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Jul
05
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We decided to stay on Hwy # 1 rather than 101 again in the hope we would be closer to the coast and we were for the most part until we headed east to our hotel. We left Santa Barbara in good time and called in to Oxnard right on the beach to catch up with Gina Yates (from the Portland area) who we  met many years ago when she did a stint as an exchange student with Norm's sister and family. We caught up with her briefly in Portland in 1998 so it was good to see her again and it was a bonus to also meet her young man and her Mum. Cannot believe we left without taking a photo. DOH! Even worse than that we forgot to wish her Happy Birthday!!

From there we headed for Malibu and had a great time dipping in and out of the great folded up sandstone cliffs / mountains  with sand dunes thrown into the mix with great curving corners sweeping back and forth, a lovely ride. We headed up one canyon to try and explore without success but finally found the Malibu Canyon with a great sealed road and had an awesome ride. It was spectacular and after we found the end of Route 66 on the Santa Monica Pier we were heading east on multi lane freeways to our hotel. It was flat out and full on concentration and boy were my knees ready to get off by the end of that. For the most part the traffic was pretty good but some were oblivious to indicators which aggravated me somewhat. Anyway, at the end of the day we got to where we needed to go safely.

The photos tell the story below:

07-05-cliffs-typical.jpg 

Beautiful cliffs accompany us on our ride.

07-05-santa-monica-mtns.jpg 

It's official, these are the Santa Monica Mountains not just sand dunes.

07-05-back-to-hwy.jpg 

Back to the highway when the canyon trail ended in dirt and a closed gate ... just as well there was also a warning sign about mountain lions in the area.

07-05-malibu-on-the-edg.jpg 

Malibu housing literally hanging on the edge, wouldn't like it for me.

07-05-neptunes-net.jpg 

Lunch at Neptunes Net which was an experience with lots of other bikers and a lot of 'wanna be's' (my uncharitable title).

07-05-acros-the-road-surfer.jpg 

And across the road there were surfers of all ages, a lot even older than us, who were bobbing about like corks on the surface waiting for a wave.

07-05-one-up.jpg 

And one finally up.

07-05-officially-malibu.jpg 

And miles later it's officially Malibu according to a sign which said 'Malibu - 27 miles of Scenic Beauty'.

07-05-malibu-canyon-cross.jpg 

And we discover Malibu Cayon and this is a massive cross in the grounds of the Pepperdeine University at the start of the trek up the canyon. We followed the route through magnificent rugged cliff faces until we returned to ranching country then returned to the coast. Lots of great shots we didn't get but these two below we were able to stop for. Not as impressive as many we coudn't get.

07-05-malibu-canyon-1.jpg

07-05-malibu-canyon-2.jpg 

07-05-parking.jpg

And into Santa Monica to visit the pier and the end of Route 66 and with parking places all full desparate times required desparate measures. Worked well.

07-05-end-of-route-66.jpg 

The official end of the trail. Always a problem getting strangers to take a pic, just checked our faces and sign were in view, didn't notice the missing feet. Ah well.

07-05-heaps-beach.jpg 

Lots at the beach which had a massive stretch of sand so by the time you get to the water you would deserve a swim. The crosses were part of some sort of protest about troops being killed overseas. Interesting that with all the people on the beach these weren't disturbed.

07-05-carousel.jpg 

And the lovely old Carousel now inside a building so it is protected from the weather.

07-05-pier.jpg 

And finally a look to the end of the Pier ... oh and we saw another Bubba Gump Shrimp Company building with diners lined up outside the door and heaps of apparel for sale. What a crack up, actually over my right shoulder in the Route 66 sign.

Bits and Bobs:

 07-05-neptune-sign.jpg

The sign at the front of our lunch spot. Worked well though a little unsettling with people hovering around as we ate.

07-05-phone.jpg 

And look what we had in our room last night. Thought we had the genuine article but it was push button and not rotary dial. Ah well.

Last Night's Accommodation:

07-05-wayfarer.jpg 

The Wayfarer, 12 East Montecito Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

This is an upmarket hostel. Nice room though tiny also a tiny shower room but as the room it is all functional, nice and comfortable. Good storage space but no hanging space. Included WiFi, continental breakfast, parking and use of full kitchen as well as lounge space.


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Jul
04
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We decided to follow Highway # 1 (the original highway) rather than Highway 101 wherever we could today to get closer to the coast and while that entailed a bit of frustration it overall led to a great day. We traveled through great California Ranch Country and Coastal areas looking more like Australia than anywhere else with all the eucalypts and had barely started out when we came across a 4th July Parade. Yay. After our experience in Cody Wyoming last year we had hoped we would find one.This year it was in Cayucos where the theme was 'Home of the free next to the sea' and we enjoyed it. We ended up today in Santa Barbara and looking at the tall palms in front of the hills all that is missing is the Hollywood sign, albeit a bit too far north for that. Had a nice dinner and enjoyed the fireworks display which was supposed to start at 9.30pm and ended up being 9.05pm. Was very pretty. Happy Birthday everyone in the USA!!!

07-04-cayucos-wharf.jpg 

The wharf in Cayucos being rebuilt with people gathering in front and left over from the sand castle efforts. Note the gum leaves on the tree above. Travelled through heaps of them today including really dense roadside plantings and it smelt great.

07-04-4th-july-1.jpg

And the 4th of July Parade for real above and then below.

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07-04-4th-july-4.jpg 

07-04-4th-july-6.jpg

07-04-morro-bay-marina.jpg

Morro Bay StatePark (on the old highway) and this is the Marina.

07-04-morro-state-park-golf.jpg 

And the Golf Course.

07-04-los-osos-valley-1.jpg 

And along the Los Osos Valley to the beach, like in the Australian high country amongst the eucalypts!

07-04-los-osos-valley-beach.jpg

And then at the beach. There were so many cars coming back we assumed a through road (and no signs said otherwise) but not so.

07-04-pismo-beach.jpg 

Proof we got to Pismo Beach, just too much cloud to see a beach! ....and this was followed by over an hour in a frustratingly inch by inch traffic jam only to find the traffic jam was turning into a state park and choking up the road we were on as well. DOH!

07-04-ranch-country.jpg 

We travelled through lots of California Ranch Country reminiscent of cattle country around Cooma in NSW...

07-04-market-gardens-1.jpg 

...and then into Market Garden Central (my title) literally hundreds if not thousands of acres of intensive market garden agriculture. Interesting to see where they use plastic it is white instead of black like at home.

07-04-guadalope.jpg

Guadalupe,  tired little town in the middle of the market gardens.

07-04-vandenberg-a-b.jpg 

After winding through the Californian Hills / Sand dunes / folded up bedrock mountains of California and riding over awesome winding roads we came across the Vandenberg Airforce Base before we headed for Lompoc. We didn't hang around to see the penitentiary entrance further down the hill.

07-04-to-the-coast.jpg 

And to the coast...

 

07-04-bridges.jpg 

Rail and old road bridge. There is apparently an exciting conservation project under the road bridge to get some sort of creature to move from one area to another. I read the board and it made no sense to me so I hope whatever is supposed to migrate has figured it out.

07-04-birds.jpg 

And more beautiful birds taking to flight. Truly soul restoring ... especially when our trip is about to come to an end. Boo hoo.

Bits and Bobs:

07-04-haddad.jpg 

Stella (youngest grandchild calls Norm Haddad / Hagdad...in any case this was near enough to make us miss her and the rest of them.

Last two Night's Accommodation:

07-04-cambria-landing-inn-n.jpg 

Cambria Landing Inn & Suites, 6530 Moonstone Beach Drive, Moonstone Beach, Cambria, CA 93428

Lovely comfortable space with included breakfast (in our room), parking and wine reception yesterday evening. Seemed expensive for what it was, but reasonable compared to others in vicinity.


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Jul
03
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We had barely started out and started stopping to take photos as we did for the rest of the day and the other thing which didn't stop for the rest of the day was the sea mist / fog / great rolling bank of cloud which moved in and out to and from the coast. We loved the ride winding in and out of the great sandy dunes / cliff faces which were incredibly well covered with succulents, shrubs, pampas grass, remnants of redwood forests and eucalypts depending on how far from the coast we were and later in the day around the Hearst Castle open grassland even with a mob (?) of zebras we didnt get a shot of. Mind you, we only had to be one sand dune away from the coast to be immersed in the cool dampness of the forest. Awesome.

07-03-barely-started.jpg 

Barely started our ride and this is the first stop amongst spectacular real estate.

07-03-wildcat-creek-inlet.jpg 

Secluded inlet on Wildcat Creek.

07-03-heading-out-of-carmel.jpg 

Heading out from Carmel proper.

07-03-more-rocks.jpg 

More rocks.

 

07-03-rocky-creek-bridge.jpg 

Above Rocky Creek Bridge and below the Bixby Bridge, both built in 1932.

07-03-Bixby-bridge.jpg 

07-03-lighthouse.jpg 

A lighthouse on a quirky little promontory with locked gate and no way to get there.

07-03-mc-way-falls.jpg 

The McWay Falls, very nice.

07-03-another-beach-and-fog.jpg 

Yet another beach and fog.

07-03-rock-slides.jpg 

Apparently a known area for rock slides so a more serious treatment than some mesh.

07-03-yet-another-bridge.jpg 

Yet another bridge.

07-03-Another-bridge.jpg 

And another bridge.

07-03-beach-and-fog-bank.jpg

And a bank of cloud rolling in. In places we were above this bank and it looked like we were in an aircraft with the cloud billowing below us. Bizarre.

07-03-elephant-seals.jpg 

A beach full of elephant seals relaxing and flicking the sand over themselves.

07-03-seals-at-play.jpg 

And two at play / being amarous with possible other suitors waiting in the wings.

07-03-hearst-castle.jpg

We went to see the Hearst Castle but being the 4th of Juy holiday weekend all slots were taken today and nothing available until late tomorrow so instead we watched the video about the building of the castle and that was enough for Norm.

07-03-san-simeon-birds-play.jpg 

And down to Simeon Beach and there were huge numbers of birds just having fun climbing on the thermals.

Last two Night's Accommodation:

07-02-best-w-carmel.jpg 

Best Western Carmel'sTown House Lodge, Corner of San Carlos Street and Fifth Aveue, Csrmel, CA 93921

Lovely little town / village to be in. Pulled up and wondered if this was a bit of a scary place to be, it looked very 'old and dated' though clean and tidy from outside and inside thankfuly beautifully refurbished so a delight. Comfortable space, roomy bathroom (disabled friendly so a shower, yay, even with a fold down seat so friendly for old weary campers, ha ha). Delicious bed, included WiFi,  parking and continental breakfast and a short walk to lots of restaurant choices and all sorts of shopping choices as well.....shame about hearing every footstep from the room above, their creaking wardrobe door and every time they flush the loo. Well I guess that's what you get with older properties. The value was good though compared to others available.


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Jul
02
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We had planned to do the 17 mile ride through the Pebble Beach area (a private road) today to be turned away as they have decided motorbikes aren't welcome, so stuff them we just enjoyed our own ride anyway without seeing their snobby little enclave.

07-02-shell-servo.jpg 

This is the most deliberately un-service station looking service station we have ever seen even down to a dark green shell with pale yellow writing, on the opposite corner to our motel in Carmel.

07-02-quirky-shops-c.jpg 

And a particularly quirky shop with a really cute shingled roof. I have to stop with this one because if I start with more I won't stop.

07-02-carmel-beach.jpg 

On the beach at Carmel. Beautiful pacific ocean white sand we are familiar with at home.

07-02-point-pinos-lighthous.jpg 

Point Pinos Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast of the USA. First lit in February 1855.

07-02-pretty-beach-lovers-p.jpg 

Pretty beach not far from the lighthouse. There were a number of attractive golf courses in the area as well with literally the 10th hole for one of them on the other side of the lighthouse car park.

07-02-house-on-beach-l-p.jpg 

And a very nice house literally across the road from the beach at Lovers Point. Stunning view.

07-02-harbour-seal-rocks-l-.jpg 

Harbour Seal hang out at Lovers Point. They can dive up to 1,500 feet for around 30minutes but usually only dive for about 5 minutes and obviously not as deeply as that.

07-02-mum-pup-and-another.jpg 

And  a Mum and Pup as well as another adult. They vary in colour from mottled grey to brown to black and to read the official description are described as 'sausage shaped'.

07-02-7-gable-inn-l-p.jpg 

Seven Gables Inn one of many sweet accommodation options at Lovers Point.

07-02-shelterd-beach-l-p.jpg 

Sheltered little beach which also has a volleyball court and a pool one as well.

07-02-main-st-l-p.jpg 

Main Street Lovers Point where we had lunch. Considering the number of people all through the street in Carmel the streets here were surprisingly quiet. There were alternate street plantings here of orange and red flowering gums.

07-02-heading-south.jpg 

And a beach as we head south to get back on the road to Carmel around Pebble Beach. Oooh aaah.


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Jul
01
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Slept in again this morning and me with a GPS on low vision followed Norm all over town (as in San Fran) looking for Highway # 1 so we could follow the coast and finally found it. Passed lots of 'boxes made of ticky tacky' on our way out of town and dipped in and out of mist covered  terrain throughout the day. We encountered overall very little traffic interspersed with heaps of stop start traffic for short , bizarre, and finally after riding through heaps of and dunes and beach areas and pockets of intense market gardens with dry hills behind ended up in Carmel which is a treat for the senses with delightful restaurants  shops and galleries with all sorts of beautiful things to look at and buy. What a contrast!

07-01-gladdies.jpg

In the lobby at the Hilton, Dame Edna eat your hear out at these gladdies.

07-01-n-n-n-celebrating.jpg 

And a celebratory dinner at an Irish Pub last night. Norm quite likes a guinnes.

07-01-little-boxes.jpg

And some 'little boxes made of ticky tacky' as we head out of San Francisco this morning. We had passed many beautiful homes around the park but couldn't stop to take the shot. DOH!

07-01-official-on-the-pacif.jpg 

It's official, we are out to the Pacific Ocean again.

07-01-pacific-ocean.jpg 

And a great shot of the Pacific.

07-01-what-is-that.jpg 

What is that thing on the bluff?....apart from a bizzare shape that is.

07-01-military-battery.jpg 

Ah hah, a military battery from the second world war, incredible erosion since then!

07-01-where-we-came-from.jpg 

Looking back to where we had come from, and the original Highway #1 went to the left of the tunnels and we had hoped to follow it back but it was listed as no motorised vehicles allowed, only pedestrians and cycles. Damn.

07-01-up-close.jpg 

And a close up. It was an impressive tunnel which was longer than it looked but we could see light at the other end for the whole lot of it so was deciving.

07-01-beaches-ahead.jpg 

And beaches ahead beyond the battery.

07-01-lovely-beaches.jpg 

Lovely beaches.

07-01-cute-lighthouse.jpg 

Cute lighthouse even though tiny.

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A rugged coastal cliff (check out the tree at the top).

07-01-check-out-the-tree.jpg 

Yep, the wind has moulded it to exactly the shape of the cliff. How's that for a stiff westerly breeze!

07-01-smart-birds-out-of-re.jpg 

Smart birds, out of reach of people.

07-01-birds-in-flight.jpg 

Beautiful sights in passing. Birds taking to flight.

07-01-pigeon-point-lighthou.jpg 

Pigeon Point lighthouse (looks better from the distance, looks very tired close up) and shows the intensive market gardening going on right up to the cliff face.

07-01-r-l-stevenson-house-m.jpg 

Robert Louis Stevenson's home at Monterey. Unsure how long it was his home, we saw a home of Mary Queen of Scotts in Scotland where she stayed for 3 months too ill to travel further, but now billed as her home, so who knows?

07-01-customs-house.jpg 

The Custom House at Cannery Row Monterey. This is at the start of a six block Harbour front street which was once the site of 720 fish packing plants that procesed sardines. In 1945 the sardines disappeared and the buildings now house restaurants and shops. It's a bit like a permanat fair site. Didn't know much about sustainable fishing in those days we have to assume.

07-01-monteroy-marina.jpg

The Marina.

07-01-cannery-row.jpg 

Part of Cannery Row where I had a delicious hot chocolate (Norm a coffee) and I checked out some beautiful sculptures. Sometimes it's a bugger to be on a bike!

07-01-surviving-fishing-ind.jpg

Surviving fishing industy.

07-01-fishing-boats.jpg 

And a couple of the survivors.

Last two Night's Accommodation:

07-01-hilton-san-fran.jpg 

Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 333 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Nice hotel (huge) and room (reasonably small but nicely decorated and comfortable). Handy to the trolley cars and shopping. Staff friendly and helpful. Bed nice and comfortable. I personally didn't enjoy the hotel, seemed way to big and noisy in public spaces and limited eating options with only one restaurant and a Starbucks which was always bulging with customers. There is another coffee area being developed which is way overdue in my opinion. Surprisingly, Norm thought it was okay. Go figure, we are so different!


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