I’d become a country bumpkin, my pace of life has slowed down greatly.
Time to head north. Back along highway 1 and 17, back on the Bay area freeways. As soon as the highways became freeways the speed and frenetic, take no prisoners, pass any side you like pace hit me – almost literally. It was our one and only near miss. A freeway was splitting and not knowing the road we stayed left until knowing we were on the right road. Despite indicating and checking as we moved over, a jerk in a cage decided that waiting noon-seconds for two bikes o move over was too long and the driver swung to the right at the same time as we did and ended up passing us half on the shoulder. Needless to say we were level within a few hundred metres as he traffic slowed down. This little incident was a rude awakening. I’d become a country bumpkin, my pace of life has slowed down greatly. Although reactions were fine and no harm came to either Elliot or myself, it really did shake us up for a while.
The concentration level was upped as we took a detour to Oakland.
Why Oakland? Twelve years ago, we saw our first (and only) MLB game at the A’s stadium and Elliot wanted to revisit the area. So, rather like calling in on Apple, we stopped by the A’s.
We were running late so stopping in San Francisco was now off the agenda. The Bay Bridge line up was painfully long and hot, but once across we slid down on to the Embarcadero and headed for the Golden Gate which really had to be the way out of the city.
As there was a tourist stop off just north of the Golden Gate, we stopped for the obligatory photo shot. Yep, the only way to enter and exit the city.
After an old school diner pit stop we continued north. Despite our motel for the night being just off the 101, Elliot had planned a route to take us back on to highway 1, across more wine country and along the coast before heading back inland. The roads were wonderful, full of twists and turns and the Ducati performed flawlessly. It’s such a well balanced bike and even though I’m not a hard-core, experienced biker I can appreciate the ease with which the bends were negotiated.
The coastline was very reminiscent of Devon and Cornwall, quite rugged, a reminder of a west coast far away from the road currently travelled. The thought of being on a California road trip wasn’t even a dream for me when living in the UK, however, I didn’t even need to dream, the ride was very much happening.
1375 miles (2200 Km) after leaving home, we arrived in Healdsburg. We were still in wine country and the Tuscan villa style motel reinforced that. Healdsburg was a lovel town and once again mobile apps like urban spoon provided a great choice of places to eat out. Tonight it was the Wurst Sausage bar & grill. Top marks for a tasty bratwurst and the really friendly folks serving. It was a smashing way to round off the day.
The idea of planning but not planning was working well. We’d set a target for the day either the prior evening or on the morning of the ride. We’d book a motel using hotwire and a route would be set. It was semi-spontaneity. Fixed enough to keep us heading in the right direction. Flexible enough to take in stops and detours if that’s what we decided.
Day five was done and two contented bikers retired, wondering what our last full day in California would serve up.