Day One - August 14, 2001
San Fernando Valley to Big Sur

I left the house late, around 11:00am and headed out the 118 freeway towards the 23 to eventually connect with the 101 freeway North. It was hot the day I left. It was supposedly going up to about 103° in the San Fernando Valley. A good day to leave for the Pacific Coast. The FJ1200 was hummin' - running beautifully and feeling great despite the approximately 80 pound load of camping gear, clothes, and tools.

I got as far as Camarillo, about 40 miles, when I hit traffic, so I started splitting lanes only to find that the 101 freeway was completely shutdown in both directions. A Cal Trans truck used for painting lines on the highway rolled onto the freeway right in front of a fully loaded 18 wheeler that was carrying propane - both trucks exploded. The freeway would be closed until sometime the next day I would later find out. What a traffic nightmare for those traveling north in cars. So I get off the freeway and start winding my way around Camarillo towards Ventura - with about 100 million other people - until I'm able to get back on the freeway. I was sure glad I was on a motorcycle - I was able to pass about 95% of those cars. From the point that I rejoined the 101 north, it was smooth sailing. Everybody else was stuck back in Camarillo.

Map 1So I headed up the coast through Santa Barbara and Paso Robles to San Louis Obispo where I stopped for lunch. I cruised around for quite a while checking out the town looking for a decent Mexican place to eat. I saw a little place called "Cabo San Lucas", but it looked more like a fast food place. They didn't serve beer (what's the point) so my search continued. Up this street and that street until I spotted a place called "1865". It looked good so I stopped for some eats. I'm not sure that I would ever be able to find this place again but if I'm ever looking for a place to eat in San Louis Obispo, I'll try and find it. I ordered a Margarita - Rocks (of course) to get me started. Excellent! For my Entree I chose the Classic Caesar Salad with grilled chicken. Absolutely Fabulous. It actually had whole anchovies and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Truly one of the great caesars I've had.

A couple of Coronas with lunch, settle the bill, and I'm off to Highway 1 - North through some of the most spectacular coastline in the Country. I was really surprised at the lack of cars on the road. Most people were traveling South.

About an hour later I stopped along side the road to pee. I thought I had picked a fairly private place. So I'm standing there peein' - minding my own business. I look up to find myself surrounded by tourists - Europeans for the most part. I have no idea where they came from. They all just kinda' gave me a smile or a little laugh and waved. Very embarrassing. I'll be more decree in the future!

As I traveled North, it got cloudy and much colder. On go the warm clothes. As I was riding, I came around a corner, the clouds broke and it was very sunny. A spectacular view. Something I didn't expect to see for quite some time after turning North on Highway 1.

Map 2

It was starting to get late, and cold, so I started to look for a place to camp for the night. The first campsite I came upon was really nice. Lots of green grass and trees, but no place to camp so I continued North a few more miles to the next campground. A National Forest campground. Just beautiful. Sunny and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. What a great place to camp, but was also full. The next thing that I could see on the map was Big Sur. I thought for sure there would be some place to camp up there so off I go. The ride was wonderful. Graceful corners and beautiful views. Just what I had come here for. After arriving in Big Sur, I found a privately owned campground near the Vantana Wilderness, called (go figure) Vantana Campground. At $25.00 a night - a little expensive for camping, but where would the next place be? An hour, maybe a couple? It was getting late and I was tired so I decided to stay. It was surprisingly warm there. It was off the coast and down in a valley sheltered from the coastal winds. I found a nice place to set up camp next to the little creek that runs throughout the campground, drank a few more beers, called home (I was amazed that I had cell service) and went to bed. All in all a great day. From hot to cold. Through bumper to bumper traffic to almost abandoned roads. A wonderful start to my summer motorcycle ride to parts unknown

309 total miles traveled for day 1.