California Highway 1

Lonely Planet’s 10 best motorcycle roads lists California’s highway 1 as #1, now I know why. We spent all day on this road except for a short detour on 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The whole time we were riding I kept thinking this must be one of the best motorcycle roads I’ve ever been on. We left Fort Brag with overcast skies and light rain but for the first time we started the day with the temperature above 50 which was nice. By noon the clouds were starting to give way to the sun and the roads dried nicely. Highway 1 twisted and turned along the coast keeping our average miles per hour down but our average smiles per mile way up.

Here is a shot of the road winding down to the ocean.

A nice bit of typical shoreline

Cool bike shot for the day

We made a lunch stop at Goat Rock Beach which is part of Sonoma Coast State Beach, from the road we saw sea lions resting on the beach and more playing in the water as they were surrounded by hundreds of gulls.

We took a walk to the beach and saw this sign

I believe it, huge waves were crashing on the beach as we sat and ate our lunch of bagels from the morning breakfast bar at the Holiday Inn. Pictures don’t do it justice but here are a few.

Deby is still smiling

On the way out of the park two deer were spotted posing for the tourists.

Back on the serpentine ribbon of highway 1.

The last 20 miles on highway 1 before San Francisco were crazy turn after turn after turn. There had been plenty of twisties before this but by now it seemed like we were constantly banking left, right, left, right, brake, downshift, bank, accelerate, shift, repeat. Over and over. It seemed like we were back at Deals Gap (see best motorcycle roads #2) but longer.

It was almost 4:00 when we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco, just in time to maximize the traffic. I didn’t take any pictures as I was intent on just getting through town in one piece. Highway 101 goes through town on city streets for a ways and then becomes a major highway. There were a few places where we were subject to major slowdowns and merging and I led the way in some spirited lane splitting which is legal in California. (lane splitting is where motorcycles can ride between lanes on multilane roads) I could tell Deby was not very enthused about this from the yelling in my headset but we managed ok. I ended up going further south on 101 than intended and finally cut over to highway 1 into Half Moon Bay. Our previous experience on 101 had us going through a small town every 10 or 20 miles so I expected the next stretch to be more of the same, it was not.

By now it was starting to get dark and I wasn’t seeing many towns ahead on my GPS. We stopped at a random beach access point along the way to check the map and saw some incredible rock formations.

Deby was really happy here! No worries that it’s getting dark and cold and we don’t know where we will be spending the night.

At least we had a nice sunset

We left the beach in the dark and continued south for another 10 or so miles when we saw one of the only building we had seen for 50 miles and it had a Vacancy sign. It didn’t matter we were done riding for the day and were staying there. That’s how we found ourselves at the historic Davenport Roadhouse. Restaurant and bar were downstairs, rooms up the creaky steps in the rear of the building.

Downstairs we were rewarded with the ideal traveler roadhouse fare, burgers with avocado and carmelised onions, fries with truffle oil and parmessan and cold local IPAs. You’ll notice from the pictures the beers went down fast….

Stats for the day:

Tomorrow – more highway 1.

Donn and Deby




3 thoughts on “California Highway 1

  1. Loved being “back on Hwy 1”, seeing the rock formations and Deby’s smiles! Your meal photo and description was a perfect ending to what had to be yet another perfect day! It is only noon now today, but I can’t wait for your next blog. Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic voyage with those of us less adventurous…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *