California

Day 1820 Friday 9th October

The road out of town was straight froward, the sun gradually building heat into the day, and the closer we got to the valley with one hundred feet below ocean level the sky bleached out into pale Pilbara blue, making all our pictures look over exposed!

At the gas station in Stove Pipes the thermometer hit forty four degrees. Bliss, love the heat and miss the Pilbara where every day was hot hot hot!!

Making our way out and up through the low mountains, at the summit the river flood plain lay beneath us like a map, the highway pale biscuit coloured against the dark wet sands of the desert after the recent rains that had washed out the road a few days before hand. Rain in the desert? When it comes, it comes hard and fast.

Asking at a few camp grounds where the fee was to great for a piece of dry dirt we headed on and found a rest stop with a ‘free camp’. A piece of lush grass, toilets and water. With supper cooked and ate, we set up camp as the sun set and lit the mountain range up with pink and red rays. Perfect!

Day 1821 Saturday 10th October

Waking as the sun rose we packed and headed to the highway to ride the ‘Big Sur’, which was more accessible ocean views than the Great Ocean View in South Australia, in my opinion…

At a gas station we talked at length with Niel and Janet from San Diego and vowed to catchup again either in the south or north of the western states.

After sussing out a few camp sites we decided to stop at a hippie stop over in the lower slopes of the mountains beside the gravel road at a pull in. Most of them had a few trucks parked up so we found a deserted one and pitched the tent. Soon, as dark covered the mountains two trucks arrived and we shared a cold one and tales of the road, before scrubbing my teeth and sleeping.

Day 1822 Sunday 11th October

Left hilltop camp at Nacimiento road in early morning fog, with the sky, pink on the ocean promising warm and sunny. We soon picked up route one again and headed north as ever, through wonderful scenery. Both forest and ocean views.

Arriving at Half Moon Bay camp ground we were told of no spaces as the pumpkin festival was in full swing. Heading back south by three clicks we found a great camp out the back of a bar called the ‘Cameron’ maybe named after a former U.K. Prime minister??

Day 1823 Monday 12th October

Arriving in Southern ‘Frisco, after being told of huge fees for camping we hooked up with a guy (name withheld) off a travellers web site, we landed at his pad. Very unusual to us, after ten minutes of chatting he left for the gym for three hours. We are used to hospitality but this was very strange, always we were talking with our hosts and never left left alone in the house so soon. Sensible eh??? He lived alone with an expensive Audi and German made motorcycle, when he returned we had a great night, with food and a few beers.

Sleeping on an air bed was a roll-a-coaster affair but we lived.

Day 1824 Tuesday 13th October

We took Diane’s Honda into town to explore Alcatraz island the notorious former detention centre. Having the unexpected pleasure of meeting a former prison guard from the sixties who wrote his memoirs and was on site for a book signing!

Great day out well worth the visit.

We took our friends advice and found Lombard Street in San Francisco is one of America’s crookedest streets, and found on many tours. The steep, hilly street was created with sharp curves to switchback down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions. If not for the curves, easing out this treacherous slope it was said that if a person fell they could roll to their deaths!! It certainly was very steep and the hair clip turns were incredibly, tight even on a bike.

Arriving back at our friends house he was there with a local sheriff!! We were advised to leave with no explanation given! So we left and unexpectedly landed back at Half Moon Bay camp ground an hour later.

Day 1825 Wednesday 14th October

Leaving Half Moon behind we road through the un-crowded highways and streets. Passing the sights of harbour town and northern ‘Frisco. Riding over the Golden bridge was amazing as I always wanted to do it on a bike since childhood.

The fog thickened dramaticly as we rode around the north side of the bridge searching for camp from where we could watch the Golden Gate Bridge turn colour as we sat in our tent eating soup.

All was good, found a car park with a toilet and swiftly made house and supper. As we cooked we saw the park gates being closed by the rangers, as we were outside of the national park we assumed we would be ok. However at around eight pm the fog was thick and wet, the rangers came back and for the first time in five years we got moved on, in thick fog just after starting to eat our supper. No amount of a hard luck story we gave made any difference. So we packed and moved.

Riding for a couple of hours was much more pleasant than I though. Granted it was dark which we don’t like, but the air was warm and smelt of hay and flowers! Away from the bay, the fog had gone as the ranger said it would. Checking out motels as we went, only to move on due to the hectic cost, like two hundred bucks!!

Petaluma had a KOA, as they had always been good in the past, and it was now passed eleven, we pitched up, finished our wine and dropped into a dreamless deep sleep.

Day 1826 Thursday15th October

Fort Bragg gave us a great camp at Pinewood, where we could camp in the state forest park, have a fire, and cook the great fish and oysters we bought at the small harbour. Very nice big birthday for me!

Day 1827 Friday 16th October

The wet weather was closing in on us today, managing to stay dry in our waterproofs. We took a camp ground at Kalmath by the river where I checked emails. Nothing from anyone…

The site was closing down in two weeks for the winter so fire wood was two thirds discounted (can’t believe I bought firewood) so we had another fire and two girls cycling south camping there joined us. Nice evening huddling around the warmth!!

Day 1828 Saturday 17th October

Packed in the gentle rain fall and blew two bucks drying our wet sleeping gear. We packed the roll bags in the laundry and stowed them as one of the board gardeners that worked on the camp ground told us of his long lost motorcycle days in north Cal. Thankfully the soft rain gave up a few hours later as we moved away from the coast. I five was pleasantly void of vehicles.

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