November 21, 2015
A day like the previous one can definitely shake you up. Losing confidence on the most technical parts of the ride in tough conditions – whether it’s difficult light, ridges or cracks mid-corner or a heavy fog – can really make you start the day with a gut-full of trepidation. I’d failed to hear what Nita was saying over the intercom. I kept hearing “The light’s really screwing with me.” What she was saying was “this is freaking me out.” She needed me to slow down and guide the way. Sometimes the pragmatic side of me misses the more important stuff and I woke up with a knot in my stomach for not being more aware when it really mattered.
Nita’s night was a little off due to it but she had put on a brave face. I was worried that she’d be a bit shaky first thing but she would prove my fears completely unfounded. It’s one of the things I love about her – I’m often wrong in the best possible way. Right out of the gate she was in a rhythm and rolling gracefully through the tight hairpins and onto the long sweeping corners that reached out along the coast. The night was behind us and new day revealed renewed joy.
Somewhere along the way we’d picked up an extra day which made the last two days to Monterey short jaunts with many stops along the way. We rode practically non-stop to San Francisco from Fort Bragg cutting east along HWY 128 which yielded some amazingly technical parts, some great scenery and some of the worst tarmac yet :) It was a total blast! Onto HWY 101 south and we were reminded why we love B roads and rural areas. Rounding a corner to the Sausalito turnoff, the giant red masts of the Golden Gate Bridge revealed themselves. I forget how massive the bridge is – it’s breathtaking to look up as you pass under it’s arches.
Once in San Francisco we needed to stop at Dubbelju (pronounced “double-u”) and finish up some paperwork for the bikes we’re having at the wedding. I can’t begin to say how helpful Cherie and the crew have been in the planning of this for Nita and me. The space is super-cool and it’s just down the street from the BMW Motorrad SF shop. After grabbing a coffee I got into a chat with a guy who was poking around the bikes – well more studying that poking. Ryan had ridden through South America and was just prepping for a world ride that was planning to leave in a week. He and his pals had picked up some F800GS’s and he was interested in some of the points of our setup. After a while we traded websites and promised to hook up for a pint should our paths cross. I really dig moments like that.
Back inside we swiped some cards, picked up some maps, bought a shirt, smashed a full mickey of Bacardi (a crime!) and talked to Bobby about the best place to stay on the way to Monterey. He recommended some great spots to stop and enjoy the view, a few great eateries and Oceano Hotel to spend the night. He also showed us a much sweeter way out of the city to HWY 1 than I knew and, after some hugs and handshakes, within 20 minutes we were on the coast again.
Pulling up to Oceano Hotel in Miramar and I had to wonder about Bobby’s salary – it was some pretty lush seaside rooming :) In reality the prices we pretty reasonable considering the amenities – it was a sweet setup that would have easily been double the cost at home.
This trip has had a soundtrack set in the ’80s. Everywhere we go, Berlin, Kenny Logins, The Cure, REO Speedwagon – they all follow us. Our night at the Oceano didn’t disappoint – Top Gun was on the boobtube and we watched as Mavericks over-confidence cost Goose his life. Tragic. Still, watching it now, Goose was the only mildly decent guy in that movie. And Michael Ironside. I digress.
We relaxed in the morning knowing that we only had an hour or so to Monterey. After a (huge) breakfast and a workout we slowly hit the road and felt the sun get a little hotter. Back in the saddle, the miles drifted by and the smells of the ocean filled our heads. Past Santa Cruz and its Lost Boys, and into the sleepy town where Nita and I first met. This is where we’d stay for the next nine nights and would leave as a married couple.