Shucks, that’s Gravel!

Day8 Shaun
Day 38 Alix

Distance traveled 201 miles

We geared up heavy today for the ride, it was freezing. We waited until noon for the big fog cloud to burn away. Apparently, the sun wasn’t hot enough to do so. And apparently, there is a name for this phenomenon-June Gloom.

June Gloom chills to the bone. I navigated us through Santa Barbara, and when we reached the edge of town we stopped to look at traffic on Highway 101. A lady at the gas station said it was the worst time to be on there. We confirmed that it was way to busy to be a pleasant ride. We jumped on San Marcos Pass and the temperature went up about 15 degrees.

The Gloom disappears inland. We crossed some gorgeous mountains, with a bad crosswind and heavy traffic, but not hardcore at all. Our road ran into Highway 101 and we shed a layer before jumping on it. Traffic was steady, but we held our own. The wind had ceased and didn’t restrain us. In fact, both of our scooters performed better than ever before. I was hitting 73 easy. The hills were perfect to slingshot ourselves on the incline. 62 miles later we arrived San Luis Obispo.

Looking at my clock, I saw that we made it in real time, automobile time. We were both joking that 55mph just wouldn’t be the same again. Seriously, I’m doing this on the 125cc to prove a point, that we use big machines when they often aren’t needed. If I can ride this scoot 22,000 miles, you can ride one 20 miles to work, etc. But if I ever do a long trip like this again, ha ha ha, it’s got to be on a 250cc. That blissful moment today, without wind and in the perfect air temperature, rocking hills-getting the full top speed from my scoot-well I want that without hoping.

IMG_1072We picked up the coastal highway and let it rip. I let Shaun take the lead and was impressed how he handled the curves. I think he’s learned a thing or two about riding. I have some of the most gorgeous scenery to upload later. We were stopped by a roadblock outside of San Luis Obispo because a helicopter was filming a scene from a movie.

We are camping tonight in Big Sur and there is no internet. We stopped in this cafe for food and to watch the 4th quarter of the Laker/Celtics game. Although it is beautiful in this area, the locals capitalize on it. I just paid $6 a gallon for gas. Usually I say point two fingers, but this time-I’m pointing, er, one.

And to celebrate that we are uninjured. Highway 1 has numerous curves, runs along the ocean and the road usually meets air-plummets 500 ft or more without guardrail. We were on the mountain side though, with the ocean on the opposite side. There were several Land Slide area warning signs that usually indicated rocks lying like dice thrown.

However, one particular curve was hosting an 8 ft stretch of gravel, about 1 ft deep. The sun in our eyes, we had no time to see it. And it was masquerading as asphalt anyhow, black gravel. I was so pissed and am actually looking for someone to tell about this. They are going to be picking up bones off the highway from that patch. It is miraculous that we both knew not to hit the brakes-and actually fought the impulse. The weight of my bags pushes the scoot around and I just held on while the bike moved back and forth on the patch. All I thought about was which leg might break. Fortunately, all is well and we get an adrenalin rush when we talk about it. 17,000 miles and I’ve never seen an ambush like that!

We are off to stoke the fire and set up tents. Peace! Those of you reading in San Fran-see you soon!

Highway 1 from Alix Bryan on Vimeo.

3 Replies to “Shucks, that’s Gravel!”

  1. For some reason, I just want to make a wager that “shucks” was not the wording you used when you hit the gravel. It might have had similar word structure however….

  2. I just rode this stretch a couple of weeks ago and remember that turn. Scary as hell.

    I’m back in ABQ, but will be heading to Portland and Seattle after a visit in SLC.

    It’s looking like I’ll be around there when you are.

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