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600 miles, 2 days- A Thanksgiving ride through California's Central Coast


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With 5 days off for Thanksgiving and plans to spend it as a family on the central coast of California, bringing my bike along and doing some riding was a no-brainer. I made plans for a couple days of riding-- some familiar roads as well as a few I've never seen. And of course I took some pictures along the way to share with those who might be interested. I am posting this "one the road" as I am still on vacation.


With my family having already left over the weekend, I was stuck working in the office Monday and then Tuesday morning for just an hour. I had the bike all packed and ready to go and my rides pretty much planned out in my head. As usual I had a restless night's sleep in anticipation of some fun riding over the next few days.


My bike locked and loaded in the garage, ready for me to get home from the office.





An early trip to the office and then on the road about 9 AM. The temperature was a brisk 45 degrees but with my new Firstgear TPG riding gear as well as a new Widder heated vest purchased the day before, I was very comfortable.


My route to the coast was chosen for maximum giggles. Highway 198 between Coalinga and San Lucas in rural Central California is a total blast. Being the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, there was little traffic to speak of. I took a couple pictures of the junction with the famed hwy 25 along the way. I had plans for riding this road later on in the week.




Time for a pit-stop and a drink. Of water.



Then on to King City and highway G14, otherwise known in different sections as Jolon Road, Interlake Road, and Nacimiento Lake Road. I've never ridden it but the Motorcycle Roads description has always intriuged me and it did not disappoint. Lots of sweeping curves, some twisties, a decomissioned tank on the side of the road by Fort Hunter Liggett and the turn-off for Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd, and then down into Paso Robles. You will spend most of this ride in your top 2 gears, which is not a bad thing. Well worth riding.


G14. Lots of grins.



And a view from the seat.



From Paso Robles, a short hop to Cambria and the famed highway 1. Having just ridden hwy 1 a couple months ago and posted lots of pictures which can be seen elsewhere here, I was more sparing with the photo stops. As in my last ride, the weather was beautiful and clear. After filling up on fish and chips at the Main Street Grill, I was headed north with the ultimate goal being the small central coast town of Watsonville, just north of Monterey.


The Central California coastline is stunningly beautiful and the road is a blast to ride.







Along the way I drove up Nacimiento-Fergusson Road for a panoramic view of the coastline and a couple photos.



Nacimiento-Fergusson Road



Then north onward through the Monterey Bay peninsula traffic to Watsonville. The afternoon air had been warm but this time of year the warmth fades quickly and as evening approached I was grateful for the heated vest, especially driving through the shade of Big Sur. I arrived at the house just as the sun was setting, parked the bike, and snapped this picture. Total miles today, 345.




How can one be anything but thankful when you wake up to this view on Thanksgiving morning. Good day.





Looks inviting doesn't it?



I did no riding today, instead enjoying the beach with my kids and Thanksgiving dinner with family.


DAY 3 - Today


With temperatures dropping to 39 overnight on the coast, I opt for a later-than-usual departure. Wheels up at 8:30, and with electrics pampering me with warmth I make a 30 minute jaunt from Watsonville to Hollister. Along the way is some of the most beautiful and fertile farmland in the country. Lots of artichokes, strawberries, and vineyards fill the countryside.


Ever seen soil as rich and beautiful as this? You could grow rocks in this stuff.



Hollister is of course the host of the annual huge bike fest, as well as the home of the Corbin aftermarket seat company. I've taken a tour of the factory and it's very interesting.


My first target of the day is hwy 25. One of my absolute favorites. 62 miles of a perfect ribbon of asphalt in the California back country, threading through vineyards to the North and oak-treed cattle country to the South. You can sprinkle my ashes over hwy 25 when I'm done.


South of Hollister, beautiful vineyard estates paint the hillsides.



No grapes this time of year but still gaze-worthy.



Hwy 25 is not just a pretty face. Lots of twisty stuff too. Don't you love signs like this?





Rolling foothills. Beautiful asphalt. Pinch me.







The countryside has lots of these old windmills.



One of my favorite pictures.



While riding south an M3 passed me and just about scared the breakfast out of me ( I wasn't going slow). I also saw a 4-pack of full dresser Harleys. Other than that I pretty much had the place to myself.


From King City I hook up to Carmel Valley Road. Wow. What a blast! A tad bit goaty for my bike but still had a hoot. On a Ducati multistrada or similar ride, even better.


Yet more scenic vineyards lead up to Carmel Valley.



View from a little one-lane bridge.



Climbing to the top of the hills...



What a beautiful valley.



Exercising the artiste in me...





Dense forest along the way. Love the play of light and shadows in the leaves.





Gotta get the bike in there too.



Playing with the reflections off the side bag.



At this point it was mid-afternoon and time to head back to Watsonville and the beach and spend some time with the family. I had long since shed the heated vest and liners as it was pushing 70 degrees at this point.


One more shot on the way back, for you racing fans. Does that name ring a bell?



Total miles today, about 250. Great riding! I spent the rest of the day enjoying the sun and the surf.


Tomorrow I will be spending time with the family, and then Sunday driving back home to the central valley. I've been able to ride a few familiar roads this Thanksgiving week that were well-worth the revisit, as well as ride a few new ones. I consider myself very fortunate to live so close to such great riding. Hope you guys enjoyed the pictures. If you haven't ridden these roads, make time and do it!

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Very nice pictorial essay.

Was just down there a few days ago: PCH to San Simeon/Cambria, with a side trip to the James Dean intersection at Cholame.


Weather was superb once down below Bixby Bridge on PCH.


Thanks for the reminder; I didn't take nearly as many pics - wish I had.

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Thanks for posting...some of my favorite roads on the central coast as well!


Have you ever stopped at the Parkfield Cafe or motel? Great food and a VERY restful stop in the area...



Steve in So Cal

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Hwy 25 is a great road thumbsup.gif

This was taken on it or the road just South of it a few years back.


You can tell it was a few years ago. The scenery is green... blush.gifblush.gif


Steve in So Cal

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My first moto was a Hodaka Ace 90 ... I was living in Seaside 44 years ago, an emancipated 16 year old high-school student with a job and a little house overlooking the bay. The bike was my only motor transport and I loved every minute of it! I rode up and down the PCH and Carmel Valley Road a LOT!! Carmel Valley Road from Carmel to Arroyo Seco into Soledad and back was a favorite ride ... Great Pics! Thanks!

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