Day 19 – Happy 4th…

Oceano to San Francisco – 4th July 2021

This morning I do manage to get up quite early and Lori is already making breakfast… I am just overwhelmed by her kindness and generosity, what a fantastic person, thank you so much for making my first BaB experience so positive.

After breakfast it’s time to get packed up and on my way. Hang about, where’s my jacket? I had it on yesterday when I was on the coast, but took it off when I came inland to get to Oceano, so where is it? I look everywhere and then think that maybe it fell off the bike when I dropped it yesterday… Lori says if it is on the side of the road then it will probably be gone as there are people here who spend their time looking for stuff people have lost on the road. Oh, well I still need to go and have a look, but Lori immediately offers to take me in her car to see if it is there, I just cannot express how wonderful this woman is. Just as we are about to get into the car I remember where I put the jacket.. I stuffed it into one of the saddlebags last evening instead of bringing it into the house and when I check yep there it is, so disaster avoided.

I pack the bike up and then it’s time to go, but first a quick piccie with the lovely Lori, thank you again for everything.

So next is San Francisco, but first I really want to visit William Randolph Hearst’s castle, which is just up the coast at San Simeon on the PCH. Unfortunately, due to Covid, it is actually closed but I should be able to see it from the road. Last evening Lori was telling me about the Zebra and Buffalo that live there and sometimes come down to the road so I may be able to see them at least.

Lori directs me onto Highway 101 to San Luis Obispo and then I am to take a left straight on to the PCH so I am soon back on the coast road and the view is absolutely marvellous

After a while I decide to stop for petrol and a coffee here in Cambria, I would say, a quintessential American small town

It is here that I discover that in California, if you have been double vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask. I must say I do take advantage of this in the heat.

Back on the road and I am soon pulling over outside the entrance to Hearst Castle, the road is blocked but I can see the property on top of the hill, such as shame not to be able to get nearer.

and alas not Zebra or Buffalo in sight, as far as I can tell they are so far away, but I think these are just cows.

A couple of miles further on and I see a sign for an Elephant Seal viewing area.. oh yes, must pull in here; I hope they are not going to be as elusive as the Manatee

Wow, there are loads of them… and people too, the viewing area is quite crowded but am able to get a good spot to watch the seals. They of course are all asleep, probably saying, “just play dead and the humans will get fed up and bugger off soon”. It’s great to see animals in their natural habitat isn’t it.

I managed to get my finger in the way there…oops. Some of the stunning views along the road, and one of the bridges too

There is a famous bridge near Monterrey called the Bixby Creek Bridge and it features as one of the screen savers in a recent edition of the Apple Mac OS, Big Sur, which is the area of the PCH that I am now travelling through.

The road is very twisty and I decide to break out the video camera. I have attached it to the side of my helmet to try and capture the road and views

Mmmm that’s not looking very good, so I move the camera to the top of the helmet

That’s better.

Before long I arrive at the Bixby Creek Bridge, there are loads of cars parked at the side of the road and people are milling around, but even so there are these little creatures at the side of the bridge, they seem very tame, probably because the humans feed them I suppose

I’m not sure what they are, they look a bit like squirrels without the curly tail

There really are a lot of them, obviously this is a favourite dining spot

The weather has been quite variable, sometimes cool and cloudy and sometimes sunny and warmish, but now towards the late afternoon the fog is starting to roll in so I decide to take the faster road up to San Francisco rather than staying on the twisty PCH.

I arrive in Oakland and easily find my accommodation where I will stay for the next two nights. The area looks quite run down and there appear to be a lot of homeless people too. I also notice that I am what feels like the only white person here. Rightly or wrongly this makes me feel a little anxious, especially as I will have to leave my bike out on the street, but I guess it will either be there in the morning or not, nothing I can do about it now. I unpack the bike and it is now starting to get dark, but I need to find something to eat so I jump back on the bike and take myself off to the nearest Walgreens where I pick up a sandwich etc.

Of course it is the 4th of July today, American Independence Day, so there are lots of people out in the streets and the fireworks are beginning to be lit. Riding back to the room as I am approaching a cross roads an open topped sports car with about 4 or 5 occupants suddenly starts dough nutting in the middle of the cross roads, it is careering around and around and I am sure the driver is going to lose control of it, the smell of burning rubber is horrendous and I can hear, above the squealing tyres, the sound of hysterical laughter!! I pull over to the side of the road, praying that if it goes out of control it doesn’t head towards me. After about 5-7 circles it zooms off into the night… whew, lucky escape I think. The next thing is groups of young people setting off fireworks, which is fine of course, except they are putting them in the middle of the road so I have to swerve around them; now that’s not something I have seen before.

I arrive back at the accommodation and just as I am parking up a young woman comes into the middle of the street and starts setting off some fireworks, does this mean they are pleased to see me I wonder… lol

All through the night there are loud bangs and whooshes and somewhere in the distance the sound of squealing tyres and hysterical laughter….

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