Wednesday, January 19, 2005

California Delight 2: Coastal Highway 1

I try to ride this highway every year, if only from Half Moon Bay to San Francisco. I first took Highway 1 the summer of '86. I rode a Kawasaki GPZ 750 down the length of the West Coast to Los Angeles, and while I recommend this mode of travel to the adventurous (so long as you don't have small children who will miss you should you veer too far to the west), I need to cite three caveats:

1) The logging truckers of Oregon. Don't ask me how they do it, but those cats can take a hairpin curve at greater speeds than you on your souped-up Japanese scooter. Stay out of their way!

2) RV drivers in California. Sooooo sloooooooow. You will best avoid this white-haired scourge by planning your motorcycle trip in March, or April at the latest (a logistical nightmare, if you're Canadian - but there you go).

3) Having said that, I completely sympathize with these elderly road-hogs. The one thought that kept flashing on my brain's digital read-out was, "TOO FAST! IT'S ALL HAPPENING TOO FAST!" The geographical changes, the differences from one small coastal town to the next, even the attitudinal shifts that occurred within the populace as you crawled further south - on motorcycle, the transformation of my environment was witnessed at a speed that did not do the landscape justice. And I was but a cad of 21 - an age when things usually occur at too slow a pace. Bicycle, I thought, might be more appropriate.

No matter what vehicle you choose, this ride is among the nation's most spectacular.

If you can manage the entire trip to San Diego, you will fully experience the mystic lure of The West. You will also experience some of the frustration that comes with living there, and you will understand why people put up with it. It is an awe-inspiring journey that just might move you to quote Shakespeare, with both Hamlet's irony and your own baffled conviction: "What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties!"

My #1 California Delight

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