Agave Maria's Restaurant & Cantina, Big Sur CA, Blue Iguana Inn Ojai, BMW F800GS, CA-166, CA-33, Caliente Range, Cape Hurricane, Cape San Martin, China Basin Beach, Chumash Indians, Cuyama, Garrapata State Park, KLR 650, Los Padres National Forest, Monterrey CA, Morro Bay CA, Morro Rock, National Recreation Trails, National Trails Database, New Cuyama, Pine Mountain Campground, Pine Mountain Ridge, Pine Mountain Ridge Road, Rocky Creek Bridge, San Martin Rock, San Simeon, Sea Otter CA, Ventucopa CA
Canada 2015. Days 27 & 28 (Aug 25 & 26, 2015). It took us two days to go back home from Marina, CA. This is a trip that one would normally do in one day on a car but we wanted to take time to enjoy the California shore and we did not want to cross Los Angeles during the rush hour traffic of the late afternoon. So, on the 27th day of our trip we rode to Ojai, CA, a touristic town nested in the Topatopa Mountains of Ventura County, north west of LA. We left Marina after breakfast at around 9:30 pm. A few miles south of Monterrey, CA, CA-1 begins to runs along the shoreline although usually high above the sea level. Our first stop was to watch a group of at least three whales that were swimming (and perhaps feeding) in the kelp forest close to the shore. The whales would take short dives and then emerge spouting water. Sometimes we could see large portions of their bodies out of the water. We managed to take a few shots of the plumes of water shooting out from one whale’s blowhole. The next stop was at Sea Otter to enjoy the view of the beach below and of the Rocky Creek Bridge. We continued riding south and stopping frequently to take pictures and to enjoy the breathtaking views of the shoreline. After passing Big Sur the traffic was lighter and the ride more enjoyable. I have done this stretch of CA-1 many times on a car but it is so much better on a motorcycle; there is no comparison. The next major break was to visit the elephant seals near San Simeon. The bulls were quite content lying on the sand. No major fights erupted while we were there. From San Simeon we rode to Morro Bay to visit the impressive Morro Rock—a 581-foot-high mountain of volcanic rock rising from the water. You cannot visit the rock without wondering about the decision of placing an ugly power plant across the bay from it. The plant started operations in the 1950s and it was officially shut down in 2014. Dynegy, the Houston-based company that owes the plant, put it on the market for a while but then took it off claiming that the offers for the plant were too low. I can’t wait to see that disgusting thing demolished but that might never happen.
From Morro Bay we took CA- and US-101 south. Right before Santa Maria we left the freeway and took CA-166 towards New Cuyama. The road runs along the Twitchell Reservoir (which is normally empty except after significant amounts of rainfall during the winter) and the Cuyama River (also dry) on a canyon between the Caliente Range of San Luis Obispo County and the Sierra Madre Mountains of Santa Barbara County. At the end of the canyon CA-166 opens up into the Cuyama Valley passing cattle ranches and large irrigated fields planted with vegetables that grow well in sandy soils, like carrots. The name “Cuyama” comes from the Chumash word kuyam, meaning “clam”. We did not see any but apparently fossilized clams are very common in that area. A few miles after New Cuyama we turned south onto CA-33, known in that area as the Maricopa Highway. From Ventucopa, CA, to Ojai the road is a lot of fun to ride as it crosses the Pine Mountain Ridge (part of Transverse Ranges of Southern California). We took a 5-mile detour onto Pine Mountain Ridge Road (a single lane paved road) which takes you to two campgrounds (Pine Mountain and Reyes) located at 7,000 feet in a dense pine forest. There are two additional campgrounds (Raspberry and Chorro Grande) that can be accessed from that road but one must hike to get there. These campgrounds offer breathtaking vistas of the areas around. To the north are the dry, rugged Cuyama Badlands; on other side are the tree-covered mountains of the Los Padres National Forest and the ocean beyond. We sat for a while under the tall pines of the Pine Mountain Campground admiring the amazing infrastructure that “yanquilandia” offers for outdoors activities. Campgrounds, trails, visitor centers, view points, National, State, and County Parks, National Seashores, State Beaches. The US National Forest alone lists 2,383 developed campgrounds. The National Trails Database lists 1,256 National Recreation Trails (NRT) in all 50 states. Many more trails are yet to be granted the status as an NRT so there is a lot of hiking trails to choose from in this country. The US is a great place to play outdoors. We arrived at Ojai in the late afternoon and checked in at the Blue Iguana Inn. After unpacking the bikes and getting out of the ridding gear, we went for dinner at Agave Maria’s Restaurant & Cantina. Adrián had fish tacos and I had fajitas. We enjoyed Stone IPAs and a lot of water. It was a long day of riding.
On day 28 after a lovely breakfast at Blue Iguana we rode for two hours on the well-maintained but still awful freeways of Metropolitan Los Angeles to get back home. We completed 5,592 miles (9,000 kilometers) on our motorcycles and rode through some amazing places. We have built so many memories; we have met so many interesting people on their own journeys. A fortuitous encounter with Craig from Calgary in a hostal in Argentina was the trigger for this adventure. Our minds are already thinking about the next one.
ps: In the days after our arrival to Claremont, our dear nephew Nicolas purchased a beautiful KLR 650. We are very proud of him and hope he can endure the huge amount of shit he will get from his friends for acquiring such a low performance motorcycle.