Saturday, 6 November 2010

20,000 miles and California’s Highway 1

There is nothing quite like riding down California’s Highway 1.

The views are spectacular. The wind blows off the ocean bringing mist and the smell of sea air with it. The sun shines through the mist and you are warm, then hides again and you cool down straight away as the sunlight fails to fight its way through. It parts the road is twisty and in others, straight.

The mist lingers....


























Looking towards the sun makes the view seem monochrome....




















Built in 1931/2, Bixby Bridge is normally photographed from the main coast road that it carries. I chose instead to ride inland along a dirt road to get a different view....


























Looking back up the coast from near Bixby Bridge....




















As I was taking the picture above I was talking to a guy named Brett from Bermuda. He has taken a year off work to go riding and expects to take his BMW 1200GS to wait for it....

The New England States
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
Newfoundland
Quebec
Montreal
Niagara
The Great Divide - Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
British Columbia and all the way to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska
West coast of the US (he has got this far)
Mexico
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica
Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.

Not content with stopping there, Brett will then ship the bike to New Zealand, then ride some of Australia and onto to South East Asia or Japan.

Wow. Quite a trip!

So far, he has ridden 14,000 miles.

This is Brett....


























Good luck Brett, I will be keeping an eye on you via your blog.

I rode on down Highway 1 stopping occasionally to look at the views....




























































I was enjoying the scenery so much, I forgot to keep an eye on my odometer and I rode right passed the 20,000 mile point on my tour! Having stopped exactly at every ‘000 mile point so far, how could I miss that one?? I thought about riding back to roughly where the point it would have been, but decided against it, so I took a picture where I was and this will have to suffice as my 20,000 mile picture....




















I knew of a place where I was certain I would see Elephant Seals. This is near San Simeon....













































There were many hundreds of them here and nearly all of them asleep!

William Randolph Hearst was a newspaper magnate who employed architect Julia Morgan to design a grand house for him near San Simeon, called "La Cuesta Encantada", or the Enchanted Hill. Today it is commonly known as Hearst castle, which is strange, as it looks nothing like a castle. It is quite a place to visit with fine rooms, wonderful tapestries and some gorgeous artwork....

This is one of two guest houses....




















The Neptune swimming pool....
































































One of the verandas. The view looks over part of the estate and to the Pacific Ocean....




















The main house, err, castle.... To me, it looks more like a Spanish Church....


























That is quite a front door!....


























Inside one of the bedrooms in one of the guests houses....




















One of the main reception rooms. Note the tapestries on the walls....




















The main dining hall....




















My favourite place in the house is the indoor swimming pool. I so wanted to jump in here....













































A long time ago I watched a TV programme in the UK about riding down the Pacific Coast and I remembered they featured a hotel called the Madonna Inn, on that show. It seemed so way-over-the-top that I just had to go see it and so I booked a room and stayed there.

They have many feature rooms and I couldn’t resist getting the Madonna Suite.... it is very pink!....


























































Yes, those are real rocks that make up part of the walls.

The bathroom was stunning. This is the basin, where the water flows down the rocks before spilling into the basin itself (which of course is made of rock)....


























I was there in early November, but they already had their Christmas decorations in place in their restaurant!....




















The Madonna Inn is certainly OTT, but great fun. It is located in San Luis Obispo. It is one of those rare place where you need to wear your sunglasses indoors. Even with the lights turned off.

12 comments:

Canajun said...

Gary - once again, great photos. How about sharing Brett's Blog address?

All Over The World said...

Well done Gary.

The pictures are BRILL.

Tony T

Geoff James said...

Love those "monochrome" shots Gary. In my humble opinion, they make the scenery look even more dramatic. Very nice work indeed.

George F said...

Nice photos once again, it's like I'm there :-)
I second Canajun request, how about sharing Brett's blog? I would love to see where he's been :-)

IHG said...

All your photos have been amazing but I would have to say the first photo on this post is breathtaking! WOW!

Eve said...

Beautiful scenes and fancy hotels, no wonder you missed you mile marker! Tell Brett Way to GO!!!
Ride safe Gary.

Charlie6 said...

meeting another world traveler....another coincidence or another example of Gary's magnetic personality?

great pictures Gary, specially the first one!

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

B.B. said...

Wow! That is quite a room!

Susette aka Limness said...

So much coastal beauty in one day! And indoors, the pool in the basement of the Hearst estate is just stunning... can't imagine the time they had when it was at it's heyday.

Gary France said...

Canajun – Brett told me his blog was “low profile” so I didn’t include the address, but I have since checked with him and I have now included it in the list of blogs I read, called “Facta, non verba!”

AOTW / Tony – Thanks very much.

Geoff – Thank you. I didn’t intend them to be monochrome-ish, that is just how they came out, but I agree with you – they do add a certain something.

George – See my ”Blogs I Read” list and look for “Facta, non verba!”

IHG – I like that one as well, so it had to go first on this post!

Eve – I was pretty cross for missing it and I thought about turning around and going back to where it would have been, but that would have been silly....

Charlie6 / Dom – I might hang that first picture on my wall when I get home.

B.B. – It was quite something!

Susette – I would loved to have gone swimming in that pool.

motoroz said...

I just have to smile that I am learning a lot from a Brit that is touring my home country! You did a great job of planning you trip and I love the places you have been. Since I have not been on the west coast much I am getting a lot of information from you. Great photos - as usual.

Gary France said...

Oz - My job was to plan things. In fact my title for many years was "planning engineer" and that meant I worked out how to do things, at what time, in what order etc. For my tour I simply used those ways of doing things to plan where I was going to go, what I was going to see etc. I wasn't about to leave anything to chance as I wanted to see as much as possible. There is a saying in my field of work... "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance".