Bahia de Los Angeles

We rode 314 miles further south today and stopped at the Costa Del Sol hotel in Bahia de Los Angeles. I checked my GPS log file from my last trip here and verified I stayed at this exact hotel exactly one year ago. How strange is that?

Thursday morning was cold and wet when we left to met our group at San Diego BMW. By the 10:00 meeting time the rain had stopped but they sky was grey and threatened more rain.

I had the route to the border programmed into my GPS, but to be sure, I asked directions and wrote them down. When it came time to leave and we all said good bye to the fantastic staff at SD BMW I was volunteered to lead the pack. Within riding 5 feet, (really!) my Garmin Montana 600 went completely blank. Oh great, I’m the leader with a blank GPS. Well, good thing I had the written directions in my tank bag right? No, not for me. I was busy trying to fix the GPS including removing it from the cradle while on the freeway and cleaning the contacts with my sleeve. It didn’t work. Really? Somehow while attempting repairs we missed the turn for 94 and ended up going north on 54. It took an embarrassing amount of miles before I decided to pull over and turn on my backup GPS (GPS60csx). Funny thing is that no one else seemed to know something was wrong or that we were going the wrong direction. Hmmmm, lesson one in getting to know my new riding partners.

With the backup GPS on and working we rode back to the missed turn and had an uneventful and enjoyable ride to the Tecate border.

Similar to my last time crossing the Tecate border the gate went up and we rode through without really seeing anyone. This time however, we knew to stop and procure out tourist visas, something I neglected to do on my last visit. After getting the visas and finding a bank to load up on pesos it was about 2:00 PM before we rode out of town.

Parked at the immigration office

We got as far as Santo Tomas before we were running out of sunlight and decided to stop for the night at a small hotel Deby and I had visited on our last night in Baja last year. Our first meal together was fun with great food, cervesas and margaritas.

Our room had vines growing through the window from the outside. Nice to have some green in the room.

Eager to get on the road we started riding by 8:00, it was cold, in the 40’s and we were thankful for our heated liners.

We stopped at an excellent taco stand for lunch.

The owner asked if I could put his picture on the internet…. here you go!

I did manage to take a few pictures while riding again.

Further south we came across an area that was filled with huge boulders which was extremely distracting for Deby. We had to stop to take a closer look. Good thing none of these would fit in her bag.

It was a long day today, 315 miles, but fun. Hopefully tomorrow the temperatures will get above 50 and we can turn off our electric liners, burrrr.

More to come.

Donn and Deby 🙂 🙂




Tomorrow – Mexico

Tomorrow we meet with the rest of our group for a 10:00 AM launch from San Deigo BMW. Deby and I had dinner last night with Jim who arrived earlier in the day after riding south from Seattle on I-5. Jim said he’s heard from Keith, Dave and Michael and everyone was close by and expected to make the scheduled rendezvous.

Since the last post we stayed a night in Burbank and visited with Dave, a college friend of Deby’s that we’ve kept in touch with over the years. Good to see you Dave! From there we  rode to San Diego where we spent a day at Balboa Park, home to the first World’s Fair in 1915. Today it houses a collection of museums, gardens and the San Diego Zoo. We checked out the art museums, the Air and Space museum and the Automotive museum where there were two Norton’s and a Vincent Black Shadow on display.

We didn’t take too many pictures but needed to get a shot of this glass art that was throughout the Prado restaurant inside the park.

Zooming in a little closer…… (warning parental bragging ahead….)

Martin Blank is the Seattle glass artist our son Jonathan works for. I had no idea some of his work was in the park. Click HERE to read about Martin Blank. Click HERE to see some work by Jonathan Ross Harvey.

I noticed our friend Pedro left Redmond today on his way to Brasil, safe travels my friend. We are hoping to catch up with him somewhere in Central America. You can track his progress HERE. Our friends Tad and Gaila made it to Guatemala, we hope to catch up to them as well. You can track them HERE. And don’t forget to follow our progress on SpotWalla HERE.

I have no clue what is in store for tomorrow, what time we will cross the border, how far we will ride or where we will spend the night. I’m turning off my phone when we enter Mexico and will post next time I have internet access. Be sure to check in on SpotWalla to make sure we are moving during the day and stopped at night, hopefully in a village and not in the middle of a desert.

More to come, Donn and Deby




Elephant Seals, Hearst Castle, A day off

We took a day off today and are spending an extra night in Cambria CA, which is along highway 1 click HERE to see where it is on a map. Yesterday was a short but fantastic day of riding with clear skies, light traffic and warmer temperatures. My on board thermometer actually got up to 61, a new record high for the trip.

Somehow, we scored a primo room at the Cambria Landing Inn. When we walked in this is what we saw. Yes, not only is that the ocean right out our window but those are authentic La-Z-Boy chairs!

The sun was just setting and the corner, second floor room with a fireplace and balcony was perfect. I immediately made a u-turn and asked if the room was available for another night, yes, and at a discount too.

I ran upstairs for a few sunset pictures (hey – what is a travel blog without sunset pictures! And besides, sunsets like this can be rare in Seattle.)


Ok, just one more….

How far did we get yesterday? Here are the stats:

So, another wimpy day of riding but that’s what happens when we stop at places like this:

An art gallery made out of old wooden water tanks.

Or keep stopping to admire the views

Here is a shot I took riding with one hand taking a picture with the other over my shoulder (kids, don’t try this at home).

Looking forward

We eventually came to this most phenomenal place, an Elephant Seal rookery.  I thought I was looking at a bunch of rounded boulders at first then noticed they were mammals. These guys were Huge! As big as 5,000 pounds.

They seemed pretty happy.

They come here in winter go give birth, here is baby dinner time.

Nap time after feeding

If you want to learn more about these amazing mammals click HERE. Even better, click HERE to see the live web cam that is on during daylight hours.

On the way back to the bike we came across a bus load of tourists from abroad. They were totally fascinated by the local wildlife.

After spending way too much time watching the Elephant Seals we resumed our path south along the coast. We knew from the signs every few miles that we were approaching the Hearst Castle built by William Randolph Hearst over some 30 years until it was completed in 1947. For one hundred miles Deby and I had been going back and forth in our headsets debating weather to stop or not. I was leaning towards stopping and I think Deby could have kept going. Countless friends had admonished us not to miss this landmark but what tipped the scales was the docent we spoke with at the Elephant Seal rookery that insisted we visit, told us which tour to take and recommended places to stay in Cambria. That did it, we reserved a tour for 9:30 the next morning.

I took a few pictures but if you really want to learn about the castle, the art and the man I recommend checking out the website HERE.

I have to post only one picture that I thought was too funny to not mention. First the back story. The tour started in the visitor center and then a bus took us up a 5 mile winding road to the castle while a recording gave a brief history of the road, scenery and the castle. When we arrived we were greeted by our tour guide who reviewed the rules with us. In short there was one rule – don’t touch anything. He repeated it over and over and over. The priceless treasures, oil on our hands, the terrible things that would happen if we touched anything. Seriously he told the group this every 5 minutes for the whole one hour tour.

After the tour we arrived back at the visitor center and they had a small museum with more history and some artifacts from the house. In the last room before the exit they actually had a touching room. I suppose in order to thank us for not touching anything in the castle and to satisfy our curiosity about what real marble or bronze felt like they had a variety of things we could touch all we wanted and it was encouraged. Part of the display was pointing out the damage done by people touching. An example was the following piece, …. really…. THAT’S where people want to touch the bronze? Says something about human nature.

Tomorrow we leave Cambria, highway 1 and the coast to make our way into la la land (LA). We’re looking forward to visiting our long time friend Dave in Burbank so there might not be a blog entry for a day or so. Don’t forget you can follow our progress HERE and click HERE to see more pictures in our SmugMug gallery.

Later, Donn and Deby


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




The “Lost Coast” and Avenue of the Giants

First of all, welcome to everyone who is being referred to this blog by our, soon to be, riding partners, Keith, Dave, Jim and Michael. We are all meeting in San Diego on January 10, where we will continue together to South America. Deby and I (Donn) left Seattle a few days ago and are gradually making our way down the coast. Once we are all together I’ll be sure to mention them often in my report and convey their status from my point of view. But, for now, it’s just me and Deby making our way south.

I received an e-mail today from Tom Mehren from Sound Rider, he has copies of the book  MotoRaid for sale on his website HERE. Motoraid documents the story of Keith Thye and David Yaden’s trip to Pucon Chile in 1963 that we are recreating 50 years later.

As for us, here are the stats for the day:

Ok, not many miles, only 168 but we had a fantastic day riding on some of the best twisty roads in the United States. Plus, it’s hard to get a long day of riding in during January when it’s getting dark by 4:30 PM and we can’t start too early because of all the frost and ice on the road. Today, we were riding by 10:00, the starting temperature was 38 degrees F. The cool overnight temperatures had me on high alert for frost and ice on the road. Sure enough, we were treated to plenty of both which really slowed down our speed.

A crisp morning awaited us as we readied the bikes, Deby’s saddlebag and our bike covers were covered with ice.

We stared out west from Ferndale on Mattole Road in search of the “Lost Coast”, the road was twisty and fun as it snaked it’s way west to the Pacific Ocean. Check out the link in my last post about this road, fun.

It wasn’t long before the ocean came into view, check out the road winding down to the beach.

From there the road cuts south and follows the coast

Deby on a nice little bridge crossing, it’s always good riding into the sun.

We couldn’t resist stopping at an incredible black sand beach where Deby did some rock collecting (ummm, let’s just say it’s a habit).

Another nice bridge crossing

The road eventually turns east again towards 101 and we suddenly found ourselves in the HUGE Redwoods

We stopped along a river and guess what — more rocks:


Lots O Big Trees!

Eventually the road crosses 101 where it ends at the start of the Avenue of the Giants. Click on the link to read more about it. It’s a famous road and we were lucky to have it mostly to ourselves on this cool January day. The tall trees kept the sun out and the cool air in so we were back in the 30s watching for frost on the road the whole way.

A short way after Avenue of the Giants ends 101 connects with  highway 1 towards the coast. Highway 1 was twisty and narrow with very few cars as it climbed a small range of hills before dropping down to the coast. The temperature in the trees again, stayed in the 30’s and we were frequently slowing down for frost and ice on the road. We were glad to get out into the open where the sun warmed the road and the air temperature into the low 50’s.

We rode all day without filling our tanks and arrived in Fort Bragg with both bikes on reserve. It was starting to get dark so we checked out a few hotels and found out the North Coast, as they call it, is a relatively expensive place to stay. We ended up at a Holiday Inn a few blocks off the beach.

Here is our progress from Seattle so far:

If I did everything correctly you should be able to click on the image to see the actual plot.

Tomorrow? South!

Thanks for riding along with us.

Donn and Deby




Happy New Year!

First, I want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year. For the second year in a row Deby and I are starting the year on a motorcycle trip. Last new year’s day was spent riding with our friend Mark in Baja. I’ve been e-mailing with him and he is in Baja again this year and we hope to catch up with him along the way.

Here are the stats for the day, another easy mileage day twisting along the Oregon Coast.

We had SUN all day long and it felt really good. Another first, the temperature climbed above 50 degrees! Yes, all the way up to 52. It felt balmy and I even turned down my heated liner a notch (insert happy face here).

The only downside to riding today was frost on the road from overnight freezing. We had to take it pretty easy on the curvy roads where the tall trees blocked the sun from warming the road surface. Not a problem though, just rode slow….

Here is a good picture – sunglasses all day!

At a gas station in Eureka California an ADV biker came over to look at the bikes and have a chat. He recommended we take a detour off 101 to ride the California Lost Coast Road. Click the link to read more about it. We decided to stop in Fernwood, the gateway to the Lost Coast road and found ourselves at the quaint Victorian Inn in Fernwood. According to their website the hotel was build out of Redwoods in 1890, nice.

Don’t forget to check out the LINKS page for our tracking and pictures link.

More tomorrow, Donn and Deby