After a week of scanning the state’s weather, I decided on heading to Los Padres National Forest for a sub 36hr adventure.
With less then a 2 hour ride to the Big Sur area, I was thinking of alternative “longer routes”. To save me the boredom of getting to camp and having too much spare time.
My goal was to leave home a 9am. Seeing as I hadn’t packed yet, I woke up at 7am. Got to packing, eating, etc. And was ready to walk out the door at 9am!
I gave the bike a quick check over. I had just changed the oil, installed new brakes, front tire, and foot pegs. Upon getting to the rear of the bike, I noticed Slime oozing from the tire!! Quickly wiping it clean and checking the psi….30. Phew! That’s what I had put in it over a week ago.
So once loaded up (triple strapping a duffle bag to the back), I was ready to go. It was now 10am. I made it 2 blocks to the stop sign only to realize I hadn’t test ridden the bike with the new foot pegs. Which meant, I couldn’t press the rear brake…I thought, ehh. I can get used to it…no! So I turned around to try and adj the rear brake pedal. Which lead to just reinstalling the old pegs.
It was now around 11 or so and I really just wanted to leave. Thankfully an hour later I’m on hwy 92 heading into Half Moon Bay. Traffic was light, the sun was shining, and the wind was minimal.
Hwy 1 was a time warp. I hadn’t been down that stretch on a motorcycle since I was 18! I also was seeing all the rest stops from the ALC rides to LA from years past.
Pulling into Santa Cruz I thought about taking a break and get some food, but I kept on. I pulled over near the city of Marina thinking the same. All Though I didn’t find a stopping place. So I got back on the freeway only to pull off at the next exit. The winds were getting to be way too much!
After gas, food, and the last of the cell service. I was ready as I’d ever be to battle the winds. Heading towards dark clouds, I was starting to second guess the weather forecast. I also didn’t know exactly where I was going to sleep. Around Big Sur, I did some “exploring”. But after crossing a couple of locked gates, I figured they didn’t want me there. So back on the road with the sun at the horizon, I figured I’d settle on paying big bucks and went to the state park. But they were booked! The ranger told me where the nearest entrance to the National Forest was, and the race against sun light began. It also ended very quickly. I lost. Winding up a one lane road through Redwood trees in the dark, not knowing exactly what I was looking for, was, well, an experience that I’d rather not do again.
The road ended at a campsite. The ranger walked up to me shining my head light on a gate that said “prohibited”. I told him I wasn’t planing on going any further. He recognized the idle of my bike and asked what year KLR I had. He has a ’96. We chatted bikes only for a bit. He then told me that all the good sites here were taken. I was wondering when I was going to actually stop riding and get some rest!? But there were still sites available. He told me the reason all the “good” sites were taken, were because of the hunters. He further explained, not to be alarmed if I hear gun shoots as early as sun rise and as close as 150 feet from me. At this point I just wanted to rest and eat! So sure, whatever.
I lugged my bag up to my site. It was cold and damp. Larry (the ranger), told me it had been 37 degrees that morning and it was supposed to get colder.
I asked if he was selling fire wood. He said no. He told me, what ever is “dead and down” I could burn. Only problem with that I thought, was that everything is wet! Oh well. I was still fairly warm and wasted no time setting up my bed and eating food. Once that was done I realized there was a tree stump in my site. Well, it once was a tree stump. It was now dead and down! It was also wet. But I had brought my axe. After a few hits, dry tinder! So with a small fire burning, I got in bed a watched the embers go out.
I woke up around 7am with leafless tree branches as my ceiling decor.
I could hear voices, but defiantly no gun shoots. I lied in bed for awhile trying to warm my feet, and then. Gun shoots. Lots of them. With in 151feet. They were close enough that I was getting showered with shotgun pelts. It was time to get up and leave.
A couple miles down the road, I found the perfect spot in the sun to warm up and eat breakfast. I planed on riding south on hwy1 to Nacimiento-Fergusson rd. which would take me to 101. And let me tell you. The ride south on hwy 1 was amazing! No wind! Sunshine. Few tourists. It was amazing. The ocean was a beautiful green and blue. I even saw 2 whales! Truly enjoyable.
Nacimiento-Fergusson rd is very curvy. Yes, very. It leads into Los Padres NF. Which made me appreciate California’s many landscapes.
I needed water. So I pulled over at a camp that was empty. It had about 6 sites. It was in a small valley. Lots of shade. But there was no running water. I turned the knob on the spigot, and nothing. Luckily I brought a water filter (hey, it’s good to be prepared!). And there was a rushing creek right there.
Back on the road I realized this is where I should of came yesterday. A few miles out of the NF. There were dozens of dirt roads to go get lost on! I was already racing day light again. But I plan to return there.
This section of the journey was desert like. Small trees, low shrubs. The road straightened out, and I was living my motorcycle dream. Blasting down the road with thoughts that I should be on a custom bobber or something! I was laughing in my helmet. It was the last high point of the day. I soon got to 101. From there on out, it was holiday traffic and no fun for the next two hours.
I arrived home with color still in the sky from the sunset.
A great time had indeed.