Claremont to Oceano, California – 3rd July 2021
So at last it’s time to pack up the bike for the very first time and get this blooming tour on the road!
Just a final check over and James suggests we adjust the suspension to accommodate the additional weight
and before you know it it’s time to go. I am a little sad to be saying goodbye, again, to James and Colleen… I cannot fully express my total gratitude for their kindness and hospitality, just fantastic!
So, the plan was to ride down to San Diego and start the PCH1 from there all the way up to the end in Seattle near the Canadian border, but the advice is that it is practically all urban riding right up until past Ventura in North LA County so I decide to skip all that and join the PCH further up. James has suggested putting San Luis Obispo into my gps as a destination, so that is what I do.
Making my way out towards Ventura and I see a sign for Mulholland Drive… mmm isn’t that where the Hollywood sign is?? If you have read my previous USA 2 blog you will know I was a bit gutted not to have seen the sign properly, so I figure a small detour is in order. I take a right, then the road turns left.. mmm that doesn’t seem right; ok so I stop and have a look on google maps for the Hollywood sign and it is 11 miles away! Ok not doing that so I turn around, first one this tour lol.
Before long I see a sign for the PCH1 and take the off ramp which takes me down towards Santa Barbara and finally I ‘hit the beach’
As you can see from the photo I have now got my jacket on.. the air temperature is significantly lower here on the coast and the sky is pretty overcast heading north… ho hum… but at last I feel like the tour has begun in earnest, hurrah!
I stop for some lunch and start to have a look at where I might stay tonight… I am absolutely shocked at the prices, I mean I am looking at over £100 a night for a basic motel, I can’t believe it. Now I don’t remember who told me about it, but there is a website called Bunka-Biker where bikers open up their homes to other bikers to stay overnight, or even a couple of days when they are on the road, for free. I have taken a little look at it before and didn’t really think it was for me as I always think of myself a quite shy so the thought of turning up at some strangers house and spending the night feels a bit weird, but this is something I am now considering as I really cannot afford the extortionate motel prices here. I look at the map where bikers who are prepared to host have placed a pin for their location with their details on so you can contact them direct. I find a pin in Oceano belonging to Lori.. well I am a bit nervous about it, but I think it’s good to stay with another woman for my first stay so I text her. She texts back to say she is away from home at the moment, but will be home about 8pm… well Oceano is not too far from me, I will probably be there for about 6pm, but I can just go and get something to eat and then go along to Lori’s after 8. She asks me to send a photo of my drivers license and myself with my bike, sounds reasonable to me so I do
Back on the road making my way towards Oceano and I pull over to take a photo, the side of the road looks like firm earth but when I get on to it I find it is soft sand and before I can stop it the bike falls over to the left… I can’t hold it so I just have to let it go, but I don’t get my left foot out in time and suddenly I am trapped, the bike has fallen on my left boot… ouch! Of course the engine is still running so I really need to get myself up and get it turned off. I manage to pull my foot out of my boot… as I am wriggling away I hear another motorcycle come up and just as I am getting up and switching the bike off the other biker has parked up.
He comes and helps me lift the bike and we have a short chat about dropping bikes, he has just recently slid his down the road a little way too, think he was taking a bend too quick and came off, but he’s ok. What a great guy to take the time to stop and help. I check out the bike and there isn’t a mark on it beyond a puff of dirt on the saddlebag.. my foot is a bit sore but nothing broken so I put my boot back on and take the photo I stopped for
then it’s back on the bike towards Guadalupe
Ah ha, my first water tower of this tour.. yay… so Guadalupe is the ‘Gateway to the Dunes’ which of course is what I was taking a photo of when I dropped the bike. Here are some more
I then receive a text from Lori, she has returned home early, she says I am welcome to arrive any time.. Ok I tell her I will be there about 6.30 after I have eaten, but she tells me I can eat with her, how kind is that. I let her know that I should be with her in about 20 minutes.
When I arrive I am greeted by Lori who is a very friendly woman of about my age. She welcomes me into her home and shows me into the room where I will sleep, I also have a separate bathroom too, how great is that. Lori makes us some tacos and we spend the next few hours chatting away like old friends, what a fantastic host she is and nothing is too much trouble. Wow I am so glad I found Bunka Biker and the experience with Lori makes me think I will probably do this again while I am on tour in the US. Bunka Biker has hosts all over the world and even some in the UK, so check it out.
Am hoping for an earlier start tomorrow as I must be in San Francisco by tomorrow evening, I already have some accommodation booked in Oakland and will meet up with the Dykes on Bikes club on Monday for a ride with them.