Three years ago I took a solo-tour around the American Southwest and chronicled the trip in the posts on this site. @chaneytweeting once told me how he enjoyed the posts and asked when I was going to finish it up. I've now done so...in fact part of this post was written three years ago. As I plan the new father-son moot-tour across the country from California to South Carolina slated for next month, I'm reminded again the joy of the open road. Ride Safely!
Day 11 – Cypress, CA to Lompoc, CA
After two restful days, my belly full of breakfast, and my bags packed with clean clothes, I departed my sister’s house in Cypress and joined the throng of Orange County commuters north along I-405 (Sand Diego Freeway). Commuting in Southern California can only be described as a nightmare. And because of my aversion to lane sharing (filtering), I feathered my clutch level hundreds of times while waiting to clear Los Angeles County.
By the time I got into Malibu via US-1, I was ready for a break and stopped at a Starbucks to get a little nibble as well as some real coffee. The two days I spent with my sister, an avowed Irish tea kind of girl, I subsisted on Via packed, the instant microbrew solution I’d come to appreciate over the past two weeks.
Traffic cleared to the point where I could gain a cruising speed and I made my way north into Ventura County, a beautiful, monied place that is a good alternative to the hustle and bustle of the L.A. Basin. The air if cleaner, saltier, and a lot cooler. The RT was happier and so was I.
A few miles north of Malibu US-1 (Pacific Coast Highway) detoured north to become one with US-101 and I rode along encountering Carpenteria, beautiful Santa Barbara, Goleta, and miles of some the most scenic coastlines in the world. The total mileage for the day wasn’t much at just under 200. But I wanted to get into Lompoc early and spend some time closing out the trip in my mind.
I knew that the next day would be my last on the road and then I’d be back at work and entrenched in the routine that I’d come to abhor. I was both glad and sad to be nearing the end of my solo-tour. Full of mixed emotions and thoughts, I veered off of US-101 and rode US-1 the short but scenic downhill ride through the mountains to Lompoc.
The Motel 6 didn’t have a vacancy and so I booked a more pricey room at the Holiday Inn Express. It was my last night and the upgrade did hurt, plus it was directly across the street from a Starbucks Coffee and I enjoyed an afternoon cup there as well as breakfast the following morning.
Day 12 – Lompoc, CA to Rio Del Mar, CA
Just as the ride into Lompoc was thorough the mountains, so was the ride out the next morning. After a morning coffee and veggie breakfast sandwich at Starbucks, I rode north along US-1.
When I encountered the Big Sur coastline, the road was a bit more challenging for the RT. I didn’t expect the hairpin turns and the 15-20 mph speed limit that the RT was able to perform ride them.
I stopped at the Big Sur Coffee establishment for a midday espresso and was soon joined by a foursome of BMW riders from Southern California. We chatted for a while and they before I eventually headed northward toward home.
The ride from there gets a little murky in my memory but I do recall the joy of getting into Monterey, Seaside, Watsonville, and finally Rio Del Mar. I decided to finish the tour where it began, at the Starbucks on Trout Gulch Rd.in Aptos.
As I look back at the solo-tour I leaned a few things about the bike, about riding, about the southwest and about myself. Though it’s been three years since that trip, I’m giddy with excitement and more of the same trepidation that others have no doubt felt about an undertaking as ambitious the cross-country trip in June.