Well, looks as though things have heated up pretty good for us in the Valley of the Blow Torch. For those of you out there like me that are still riding your bike to save a few bucks on fuel, hang in there, your body will eventually get used to it. Haven't started my four wheeler since last Saturday and don't plan to for a while. Although that 111 degrees I saw on the thermometer on the bike yesterday did kind of hurt. For those of you reading this letter and can't quite imagine how hot it gets here, take a look at the following pictures. Mrs. C. bought a clock last Sunday to hang on the wall by the pool. The clock looked like this when we hung it up. After 2 hours on the wall I noticed that it had stopped working. Here is the reason why. The face of the clock melted and blocked the hands from moving. That is how hot it gets in Phoenix.
So when it is this hot in Phoenix, it is time to throw a leg over your bike and head to somewhere cooler. And that is what Mrs. C. and I did on Sunday, June 15th for 9 days. In the newsletter last week I wrote about our first day with the stop at the Reagan Library and on to Santa Barbara. If you missed that, Click Here. After a night in Santa Barbara we headed for our next destination, which is widely considered to be one of the top 10 Scenic Drives in America, The Pacific Coast Highway 1 in California. If you have not yet done this ride, I would recommend putting this highly scenic road on your list of things to do. And not only that, you will be in temperatures ranging from 55 - 70 degrees, which is why you were going for the ride in the first place.
There are a couple of different ways to get to the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from Santa Barbara. After having done them both, I would take the inland route through Solvang and then North to San Luis Obispo where you can connect with Hwy. 1. The ride and the scenery from SB to Solvang is good and Solvang is a good breakfast stop. The 30 mile ride from San Luis Obispo to Cambria is a little anti-climactic, but when you gas up in Cambria and head North, be ready to be impressed. I have now done this 100 mile route from Cambria to Monterey 3 times and it still continues to thrill me as much as the first time I experienced it.
The Pacific Coast Highway is not your typical drive along the beach. It is much more than that. Heading North of Cambria you will be at sea level with the ocean on your left and the California golden rolling hills on your right and will soon come upon San Simeon where you could visit the Hearst Castle. We've been there done that, wasn't going to do it again. Especially not when we had a rare blue sky and sunny day to enjoy this ride. It doesn't take long until the flat road at sea level gives you your first look at the coastal mountains that have one of the coolest roads you will ever ride carved out of the side of them.
The rolling hills will soon give way to low level jagged rocks that connect with the brilliant blue Pacific Ocean and wind swept cypress trees that line the road. The narrow 2 lane road follows the coastline and will have you meandering from an ocean view on your left and then have you heading directly towards a tree lined mountain as you serpentine your way North towards Big Sur. Before you know it you have made your way up the hill and will be greeted by as much as 800 foot drops straight down to the ocean below. Just when you thought you had seen the most beautiful ocean view, the next one is even better.
About 45 miles North of Cambria you will see a sign on your right that says Naciemento Rd. This road leads to the Hunter Liggett Military Reservation. Ride this winding road up for about 2-3 miles for some of the BEST VIEWS of the Pacific Coast Hwy. that there is. You can literally see for miles in each direction from Naciemento Rd. I would highly recommend experiencing this view. For next 27 miles before reaching Big Sur you will see dramatic views of the coastline and you will cross the highly photographed Big Creek Bridge as you wind your way at the waters edge and as high as 1000 foot above the Pacific Ocean. Just North of Big Sur you will see the infamous Bixby Bridge, one of the world's highest single-span concrete arch bridges built in 1932.
A must stop along the way is Nepenthe Restaurant perched 700 feet above the water with a gorgeous view of the Pacific Coast just 2 miles South of Big Sur. The views from this restaurant that feature a large outdoor patio are stunning. Mrs. C. and I enjoy this as a great place to take a breather after experiencing sensory overload for the last 70 miles. About 7 miles past Big Sur you will round a corner that will be extremely windy, it usually gets foggy and the temperature will drop about 20 degrees. I have no idea why this is, but every time I have been through here it is the same way. So be prepared to throw another layer on for your ride into Carmel or Monterey.
As I write this I am finding it very hard to take the experience of this ride and translate it into words. The pictures are pretty, but they just don't do it justice. This is one that you really have to experience for yourself. I have ridden entirely up the coastal roads from San Diego to Washington and none of it compares to this 100 miles of road from Cambria to Monterey. The twisty road, the ocean views, the mountain views, the transition of the road as it goes from Redwoods to 1000 foot cliffs straight down to the ocean are just not seen anywhere else. The constantly changing scenery, elevations and remarkable views of the ocean is what makes this patch of asphalt one of the best in the United States. I hope you all get your chance to ride the Pacific Coast Highway 1.
The Cyclerides.com Rating for this ride is a solid 5 spokes.
We ended this day on Cannery Row in Monterey staying at a nice little motel a block off of the Ocean named The Otter Inn. I would recommend it for under $90. The weather along PCH is a crap shoot. I have been there 3 times under different conditions each time. This one was certainly the best by far. But I have also been down this road when you couldn't see the water from the road there was so much fog. Regardless, it is a good ride but will be very cool this time of year.
We were fortunate to have sunshine and a beautiful blue sky that made for some exceptional pictures of this area. As usual, most of them are taken from the motorcycle on the road. These are some excellent photos that will give you the feel of the area. I think you will enjoy. Click Here for Photos.
Tips for this ride:
1. I would plan to be at Cambria by about Noon at the latest. This will give the morning marine layer a chance to burn off before you get there. If you plan to see the Hearst castle, make noon your time to leave there for the ride up the coast. This will give you plenty of time to make the ride, enjoy some stops along the way and will easily allow you to hit Nepenthe by 3pm to enjoy some time there. The entire ride from Cambria to Monterey took us over 5 hours.
2. Dress for cool weather. You will be surprised how cold it could be.
3. Be sure to stop at Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur.
4. If you have limited time, a great ride would be to go up and then back down the same day.
Map of Ride:
I am using some new technology from Google Maps that allow you to interact with my routes and information. The Blue Tabs on the map are the roads. Click on them for the description. The Purple Tacks are "Points of Interest" with pictures and links. You can zoom in and out on the map to get as detailed as you would like to get.
Route: Hwy. 154 out of Santa Barbara to 246 to Solvang. 246 from Solvang to 101 to 1 to Monterey. Total Distance from Santa Barbara to Monterey is 235 miles.
Click Here for the Map.
Things to see along the Pacific Coast Highway. Excellent resource
A great resource of the Big Sur Area.
History of the Bixby Bridge built in 1932
Nepenthe Big Sur Website. Our favorite stop on PCH 1.
Cannery Row in Monterey. All about Cannery Row.
Bike Nights This Week
Chandler Harley-Davidson Bike Night at Tilted Kilt Mesa. Stop by the brand new Tilted Kilt in Mesa for Thursday Bike Night sponsored by Chandler Harley-Davidson. Sit out on the spacious patio or the cool inside. No matter where you are there will be the Tilted Kilt girls there to wait on you. Enjoy great food and drink, Door Prize Drawings, Music and 15% off your entire ticket on Bike Night. The NEW Tilted Kilt is located at 1910 S. Gilbert Rd. in Mesa. 480-507-5458.
Chester's Harley-Davidson Bike Night at Dos Gringos Mesa. Ride by the New Dos Gringos Mesa located on the northwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline in Mesa. Dos is sure to make an impact and add some flare to the east valley. Enormous patio, complete with its own outdoor bar and separate dining areas on each side. Dos is a casual neighborhood hangout with great food and cold cervezas. Feel free to dine at one of our four tops, relax at one of the booths lining the edge or just belly up to the bar. Click Here to View. There will be drink and food specials and Raffles and Fun from Chester's Harley-Davidson. Ride with Chester's from the dealership at 5:30pm every Thursday located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa. 480-894-0404.
Vito & Nick's II Thursday Bike Night. A NEW Bike Night for the SOUTHEAST VALLEY.
Vito & Nick's II is putting their great outdoor patio to good use on Thursday nights with an all new bike night. This is a brand new location that features an outdoor patio, a comfortable dining area and bar. Bike night specials include $1.00 Off All Beer, $2.00 Off All Appetizers, $2.00 Off All Shots, $2.00 Off All Large Pizzas, Raffle Prizes. Get your raffle ticket when you ride in. Plenty of outside seating and dining inside. Stop by this Thursday for some Great Food and Fun! Vito & Nick's is located at 3321 E. Queen Creek Rd. (SE Corner of Queen Creek and Higley Rd.) 480-279-4482. Click Here to see Vito & Nicks.
Hooter's Thursday Bike at Peoria location. The parking lot will be blocked off and it will be a night for MOTORCYCLES. Ride by Hooters in Peoria every Thursday night for Prizes, Giveaways every 1/2 Hour, Specials and of course great service by the Hooter's Girls. Enjoy $2.00 Bud and Bud Light Pints and $5.00 Bombers as well as those tasty Hooter's Wings. Sit on the huge outdoor patio and watch your favorite sporting event or inside with TV's every where you look. Enjoy this perfect riding weather with a ride to Hooter's this Thursday. Plan to check out the first night. 16550 N. 83rd Ave. just South of Bell Rd. 623-776-0123.
Fuzzy's Southwest Sports Grill Bike Night. Riders on the far west side in the Surprise area finally have a Bike Night. The brand new Fuzzy's Southwest will be hosting a bike night on Thursday Nights. Fuzzy's features an outdoor patio, 17 HD TV's, Pool Table, Large Horseshoe Bar and all glass front to see the bikes roll in. Enjoy Great Food, Pool, and Your Favorite Sporting Events all on new Flat Screens every Thursday Night at The Newest Bike Night In the Far West Valley. Bike Night Specials Include: 2.25 Corona's, Corona Light, Dos XX, Dos XX Amber, Pacifico, Tecate. $3.00 Jalapeno Poppers. $4.00 Super Spuds. $5.00 Chicken Tenders. $6.00 Baby Burgers. From 6-9pm. Fuzzy's is located 18795 N. Reems Rd. in Surprise at the corner of Reems and Grand Ave.
The Bike Night At The Billet Bar. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures.
Thursday, July 10th
Monthly Bike Night at K O'Donnell's. One Night Per Month Only! Ride by K O'Donnells located at 14850 N. Northsight Blvd. in Scottsdale for Bike Night from 5-10pm Featuring Bikes on Display from Hacienda Harley-Davidson, Ducati, BMW, Arizona Victory and Sucker Punch Sally's. Door Prizes, Live Music, Lots of Giveaways, Promos and Freebies. Blocked off Bike Parking and Drink Specials. NW corner of Raintree and Northsight just off the Loop 101. For more information call 480-922-7200.
Saturday, July 12th
Chester's Harley-Davidson Ladies Night Party. Attention ALL Lady Riders! Stop by Chester's HD on Saturday, July 12th from 4pm - 7pm for you very own Ladies Night Party. There will be a DJ spinning your favorite disco hits, Fondue, Snacks, Beverages, A "Bling" Belt Buckle Raffle and more. Escape the heat and stop by for a little Saturday Night Fever. Enjoy some Food, Fun and Party time with fellow Women riders. Chester's HD is located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa, AZ. 480-894-0404.
Saturday, July 19th
Chester's Harley-Davidson Ride With Us to Ft. McDowell/Saguaro Lake. This is going to be a beautiful ride and it is FREE. Chester's Ride With Us is quickly becoming a popular event every month at the dealership. Riders from all over the valley make their way to Chester's for these rides. This is a good opportunity to ride with some friends that you haven't met yet. Saddle up with Chester's Harley-Davidson for a fun 70 mile ride to Ft. McDowell Casino for breakfast and then on to Saguaro Lake. Ride Starts and Ends at Chester's located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa. Registration from 8:30am - 9:00am. Kickstands up at 9am. This is a FREE ride for ALL riders. Call 480-894-0404 to Pre-Register by July 15th to reserve your spot.
LED Lights From Light It Up. Since the weather is going to be questionable this weekend, it
might be a good time to get those LED lights you have been wanting installed on your bike. This Saturday from 9am
- 4pm Light It Up Products of Arizona will be inside at Renegade Classics installing LED Lights on your bike. Make
an appointment before Saturday and receive 10% off. Purple Slice details will also be available. To see more about
the Light It Up Products go to http://www.lightitupofarizona.com/products.htm. Call Renegade Classics at 602-595-9597. Renegade is located at 3102 E. Cactus in Phoenix.
Gas prices are definitely a topic of conversation these days. I have had a tough time figuring out why they went so high so fast. This video from MSNBC sheds some light on this subject. If this is true, we should all be sending a letter to our congressman to get this taken care of. I would take the time to watch this. It is very enlightening. Click Here to View.
This is one of the those amazing animal tricks on Leno. This is one quick dog. Pretty entertaining for as crazy as it is. Click Here to View.
This is one of those amazing human tricks. Watch this guy load a bobcat on the back of a truck with no ramp. Now this is creative. Click Here to View.
Ever been around that guy or gal that has no cell phone etiquette? Check out this cell phone karma video from Kyocera. Click Here to View.
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