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Old 05-01-2009, 07:40 AM   #1
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Exploring the Central Coast Mountains

Well I took a 2.5 day weekend trip this past weekend exploring the central coast mountains of California, and figured I would share my adventure. Posted this on ADVrider already, but figured the photos would be worth sharing. I strapped on my camping gear to my Wee-Strom, threw in some clothing and my trusty heated vest, stashed my ever important Canon 40D with 2 lenses, and hit the road. Friday afternoon I left from the South Bay Area CA to Pinnacles. Saturday I rode through the central wine country on many narrow isolated roads to Paso Robles, then continued south to the Los Padres National Forest and looped around the eastern portion. Ended up camping at Gaviota State Park (30 miles west of Santa Barbara…don’t ever go there, it’s too close to 101 and VERY windy, like a damn wind tunnel). Sunday I made my way up the famed CA-1 and then worked my way home slowly through the Santa Cruz Mtns.

GPS map and profile for your enjoyment. The 6k foot peaks are in Los Padres National Forest.



Campsite at Pinnacles…despite filling up before the night via the online reservation system, it didn’t feel too crowded and there are some money spots that are well isolated. This plate is mostly frequented by hikers or rock climbers.


A beautiful starry night, though a bit chilly at 43 deg F.


This was the start of a narrow 1.5 lane road with no center line. The only thing I saw here was a few small farm houses and some isolated horse stables. I misread my fuel gauge and ran out of the gas after exiting this remote section….good thing I got that far, I didn’t see more than just a few cars and would have had trouble getting gas. I ended up running dry a few miles outside of Paso Robles…luckily I coasted to a stop next to a California Fire Air Attack station, right when a few firemen exiting the base in their official pickup truck. I asked if they could help me, either with some gas or a ride to the gas station. They let they would check their maintenance shop down the road and would be back in a few minutes. A few minutes later and they came back with a red container of the vital fluid! Now I could get to the next station only a few miles away. At least I got something for free from CA…a half gallon of state paid gas!!!! I knew I paid my taxes for something!!!


“Rossi’s Driveway”, a 10 mile narrow smooth ribbon of road near the Paso Robles wine country.


The fuel is freshest straight from the tap! Somewhere on CA-33 near Fellows, CA


On Forest Highway 95 (Cerro Noroese Road) in Los Padres National Forest. 6k feet, 45 deg F of coolness, and very windy. There is permanent sign warning to always carry snow chains, and that the road is subject to closure at any time. Many signs for flooded water crossings too. Snow was present at elevations higher than the road.


The same overlook as above…


Same…what a view!
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:41 AM   #2
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In Los Padres National Forest, on Lockwood Valley Road.


All the gear in check…including heated grips, which are a must in the mountains and anywhere on the Pacific Coast.


These guys are overly friendly, as a result of overfeeding from all the people who stop to watch the elephant seals. They come out and will almost following you around, expecting food. One lady was feeding them out of her hand and petting them. By dangling my hand above my leg, I got one to run up my leg as high as my knee.


One of the many things you will see on CA-1…a beach FULL of Elephant Seals.


One of the many overlooks in the Big Sur region.


Loud enough for you?
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:42 AM   #3
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Lunch time stop in Lucia, south of Big Sur, alongside CA-1. The place is called Lucia Lodge.


The most relaxing lunch I have ever eaten…BLT with avocado, pasta salad, and a view to please. Hopefully sans pig flu virus.


They had a lot of various flowers in their backyard area, which included a nice trail that led to the cliff edge, 300 feet above the beach.


The view from the backyard of the lunch time stop.


Long way down!


CA-1, south of Big Sur. Big Creek Bridge.


Then I worked my way from Monterey up to the Santa Cruz Mtns…it’s a mess of cars at that point and destroys the feeling of the motorcycle trip. But I was able to hop on a few good roads in home territory before arriving back at home. The northern half of CA-9 to Skyline to Kings Mtn Road (not fast, but tight and fun) to cap off the ride. Sadly I return to go back to work. But weekend rides like this make me very happy that I relocated out west last year.

The trip was a lot of run and I saw many beautiful sights. Only pitfalls were A LOT of wind once I reached Los Padres National forest…this wind remained all the way up the coast and didn’t end until I got north of Santa Cruz. But no rain and a lot of sun, so I can’t complain! I’m just glad I have heated grips and a heated vest…temp’s were in the 50’s for most of the time, which feels even cooler when it’s gusting.

Last edited by isaac004; 05-01-2009 at 08:28 PM..
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:28 PM   #4
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Anyone know what it’s called?
Seems to be Big Creek Bridge.
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:16 PM   #5
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SWEET camera. Excellent photos. I'm going to be riding that this summer. What a site
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:05 AM   #6
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Seems to be Big Creek Bridge.
Or Bixby Bridge?

Great ride and pix! Nice bike too.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:11 AM   #7
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Great report! We'll be hitting many of those same roads - and a few more from the secret stash - on the BARF spring rally next month.

It looks like you ran out of gas on Peachtree/Indian Valley. Where had you filled up before that? I thought those Wee-Stroms had huge range.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:20 AM   #8
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Great report! We'll be hitting many of those same roads - and a few more from the secret stash - on the BARF spring rally next month.

It looks like you ran out of gas on Peachtree/Indian Valley. Where had you filled up before that? I thought those Wee-Stroms had huge range.
I ran out about 5 miles north of Paso Robles, about 5-10 miles south of where Indian Valley turns back into a 2 lane road with centerline. I had last filled up in Mountain View, haha. The problem is that I'm still getting used to my Strom fuel gauge...it's only the second multiday trip I've taken on a bike that has more then just a orange low fuel light. So I thought that after the 5 LCD bars went down, my last bit would be with the display blank. Wrong...the last bit was with the final bar flashing. So I thought I had about a 1 L worth left but did not. Ran out with about 250-260 miles on the tank. Oh well, gotta run it dry at least once! That's what adventure is! Now I know and will be more prepared, since I also may not be so lucky next time!
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:27 AM   #9
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There are very few places in California where you need to go more than 250 miles between fuel. You should be fine in the future.

FWIW, I ride that road on a bike with only about 100 miles of range. I fill up in Tres Pinos, and get fuel again in San Miguel, and I'm good, but it would be nice to be able to go further without thinking about it. Your Strom's range is enviable.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:43 AM   #10
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Yep, I was more or less trying to push the limits of my fuel tank, to learn the limits if you will.

You could double the range of your bike....just bungee cord a red gas can on the bank!
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:08 AM   #11
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Forest Highway 95 (Cerro Noroese Road)
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:28 AM   #12
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Man, I'm going to have to sample some more of those roads. Thanks for the maps and photos and writeup!
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:09 AM   #13
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Great Writeup!!!

Your Pinnicles campsite looks awesome!!!
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:37 PM   #14
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Awesome ride and report!!
Love this camping stuff I've been seeing...really would to try that at least once.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:27 PM   #15
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Cool report!

I love the central coast. There's a lot of fun stuff down there, especially if you like dirt roads



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