Thursday, 4 November 2010

Reaching the West Coast, FLHX Dave, BB, Willy D and Doug

It was 19 weeks ago that I first saw the east coast on this tour. Now I was to see the west coast.

I rode south out of San Francisco which has to be one of the most beautiful cities on the US. I hadn’t been there long, but I had grown to really like it. I could have left via one of the main busy roads that would have carried me swiftly away, but I chose instead to ride through the streets of South San Francisco to get a better understanding of what the whole city was like, not just the centre.

I had seen glimpses of the Pacific Ocean on my right side as I rode south, but the first main view I stopped to look at was near Pacifica....



















It was a beautiful day. Warm and sunny wit a large swell in the ocean which caused huge waves to come crashing into where the land and sea meet. The power behind those big waves is immense. The breaking waves were causing a lot of spray and with so much moisture in the air a mist had developed.

The end of this pier near Half Moon Bay is ghostly in the mist....



















The radar station at Pillar Point. The first thing I thought about when I saw it was that is a big golf ball. Silly really!....



















Yachts in Pillar Point Harbor....


























Further south I tried to take some pictures of the waves crashing onto the rocks....



















The sun and mist were making this a little challenging and I was concentrating on trying to get a better picture, so I didn’t see this coming to my right....A wave that seemed to be much bigger than the rest hit the rocks I was standing on and I took this picture just as the water hit me.... I was soaked through....




















Even though I was soaking wet, I couldn’t stop laughing! I dripped my way back to my bike but soon dried out as I rode.

There are many places to stop and look down at the ocean....



















It was an impressive sight watching the waves rolling in and breaking on the rocks....



















One of the things I have taught myself to do when riding is to sometimes look backwards in the direction that I have just come from. There are as many good views looking back as there are in the direction of travel. I did this at Pigeon Point and was rewarded with a splendid view of Pigeon Point lighthouse....



















Just before arriving in Santa Cruz is Natural Bridges State Beach....



















On the outskirts of Santa Cruz....



















I really liked Santa Cruz. It has that marvellous blend of beaches and a small town atmosphere that I find very attractive. There are some terrific looking houses facing the water, a pier and enough tourist shops and restaurants to make spending a week or two here a great time. I think I would like to come back here.

This part of the coastline clearly produces some of the best surfing waves as there were hundreds of people surfing in the huge waves. In most places they are some way from the beach or cliffs, so taking pictures of them wasn’t really working as to save space, I don’t have my telephoto lens with me. At one place though, they were just close enough to capture with my 17-55mm lens....



















Okay, they are very small in the picture, but I enlarged a few....

This is the same picture, but blown up....




















I think this is the same guy....




















This is an interesting way to leave a surf board....




















Another early wave departure....




















My absolute favourite surfing picture from today.... I was lucky to capture this.... it is a very elegant, although somewhat dramatic way of getting off a wave....




















I wish there was some way I could find the surfer, as I am sure he would like a copy of this picture!

Even though it was a bright and sunny, due to the mist that was lingering all day, a lot of my pictures were disappointing when I reviewed them on the camera as they looked blurred. I looked around for different ways to photograph the ocean....













































I was pleased with this shot....


























It was possible to ride onto the pier in Santa Cruz, which I of course had to do. Having lunch on a pier is rarely going to be good quality and it wasn’t today, but I was enjoying playing at being a tourist. This is the view back to the beach and fair area....




















Seals playing in the ocean....




















I could hear seals barking (is that the correct word) so I went to find them. There is a deck on the pier that is lower than the main level and it was here that the seals rested and slept. It is fascinating to watch these creatures from so close....



















































My wife Jackie will like those pictures, I am sure of that.

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Due to the gritty style of writing, one of the bogs I really enjoy reading is appropriately called Road Grits Cafe. I knew that the writer, FLHX Dave, lived somewhere on the coast in California and I wanted to meet him. I was very pleased that I was able to do so today along with his wife and some of their friends.

Dave is an interesting guy who has a farming background, worked successfully in the IT business and who now has cast off many of the trappings of his computing work to now run a smaller business where he can enjoy life to the full. Dave is a very creative and gifted writer. His blog it seems is like his lifestyle – centred around friends and the people around him. From reading his blog and from talking to him, I think it is correct to say that he values friendships much more than material things. He says he is very content with his life and that is very refreshing.

This is Dave....




















Dave’s friend Doug....


























As a real bonus, Willy D showed up as well....




















Of course, I wanted to meet Dave’s wife as well. That is BB above with Dave. Doug had to depart but the rest of us went to get something to eat and I had a great time with them. I get the feeling if you needed their assistance with just about anything, if they could help, they would. At a moment’s notice.

It was a privilege to meet them. Guys, if you ever come to the UK, you know who to call.

14 comments:

Beck said...

Great post! I think the pictures are wonderful. You are a good sport laughing at yourself getting drenched. It is nice to hear that you were able to meet up with some of your friends. Thanks for sharing.

Webster World said...

Gary you just finished the ride of a life time. Along the way you not only got to see some awesome sights but some interesting people. It's great to end this ride visiting folks who have rode along with you on this trip. What a lucky guy. And to a a wonderful wife to support you on the adventure. Yep! You are a lucky man.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

I'm glad you posted some photos of Dave. I follow his blog, nearly daily, but from the tone of his writings he scared me, but he looks likeable in your photo. I think I would like to meet him one day too

It appears that they all have a bike similar to the Leading Ladies, so your bike isn't that rare after all. They even have the same type of helmet as yours hanging off the mirror

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

FLHX_Dave said...

Love those surfing picts! It's weird how I see these things all the time but your picts somehow make it look different.

It was great meeting the man behind the myth. Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us. Wish we could have had more time to goof off! The pleasure was all ours and thanks again for the pitstop. Your a down to earth guy who is exactly what you say you are. I appreciate that. Hope to bump into you again here. You have our admiration!

BeemerGirl said...

Love the picture you snapped of the wave...as it hit you. Priceless. I am glad it didn't knock you over or ruin your camera.

B.B. said...

Gary, it was such a pleasure to meet you! Thanks again for dinner! I hope you enjoy the rest of California! Great pics of the coast. It's amazing that I live here, but seeing it in these pictures reminds me just how beautiful it is!

motoroz said...

Great seeing you good bloggers got to meet each other. The west coast has some great scenery. Glad you got to see so much of it. Love the photos, especially the surfer going down. :)

George F said...

Once again great pictures. It must be nice to meet someone you follow on a blog, thanks for pointing me to "Road Grits Cafe" I will be reading it :-)

Charlie6 said...

Gary, caught by that wave eh? That's some cold water there in the coast isn't it? : )

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

bluekat said...

Great pics, and nice that you met some fellow bloggers. Watch out for those waves...they seek out anyone who dares to take out their camera. I love going to the coast to shoot the waves, especially when storms have kicked up the surf. I hope you dried off quickly! :)

Gary France said...

Beck – Thank you. Even though I was soaking wet, I still found it quite funny - I did get some odd looks, being wet and laughing.

WW – I haven’t quite finished yet as I still need to ride down to the border with Mexico, but I agree it has been the ride of a lifetime. Lucky indeed!

Bob – If you can, you should meet him as he is a really likeable guy. Amazing about them having the same bike, eh?

Dave – I really enjoyed meeting you, Becky and Willy D. I too wish we had more time. Next time my friend, next time! I will keep reading your blog and following your experiences.

Beemer Girl / Lori – I think the reason I was laughing was because it didn’t knock me over!

Gary France said...

B.B. – California is a beautiful place. Sometimes we don’t really look at the area we live in, because we see it so often. I enjoyed meeting you too!

Oz – That picture of the surfer isn’t great quality as I have to enlarge it so much, but I think it is one of my favourites of the tour.

George – It is really good to meet someone that you have previously only met “electronically”.

Charlie6 / Dom – Yep, it was very cold!

bluekat – It was surprising how quickly I dried off riding the bike. Luckily it was a warm sunny day.

Eve said...

Great photos of the ocean and the views Gary! LOVE the surfer shots and the header was a perfect choice! That was really a great shot and perfect timing!
Glad you caught up with a fellow blogger and friends!

Gary France said...

Eve – I was lucky to have been pointing my camera in the right direction when that surfer came off the back of the wave and also lucky that he was in such a great pose!