If you look at Highway One from above, from Google Earth for example, it resembles a long, tormented serpent. It looks like the kind of road you want to ride. What it doesn’t capture are the views, the sea sprayed air and the elemental battle of land and sea. Everywhere this exchange is evident. In the wind sculpted trees, the jagged cliffs, the huge boulders left out to sea by the retreating earth.
We have been exploring it’s curves since Oregon. Reluctantly it is time to head eastward. We say goodbye to all our new friends at the Cambria Inn and Hostel and slowly roll out of town. A few miles later we take the fork in the road towards the rising sun, east. We have been heading west since Georgia and then South since Oregon, east seems too much like the way home.
We have an interesting decision to make. We’ve been on the road for almost three months. Living off the back of two, tiny little dirt bikes. The ride home seems daunting and we are running out of time. We consider our options. One idea is to buy an old RV and meander back to the east coast, motorcycles aboard. But the expense of the RV and of course gas and the chances of making it home without mechanical troubles in an old RV dissuade us. We consider riding back across America but on secondary roads rather than the dirt tracks we took to get out here. Highway 66 is calling our name but we suspect it would be a long slog of traffic lights and miracle miles and might not be as fun as we imagine. We also consider shipping the bikes home but the cost is high. Another option is to rent a truck and haul our bikes home but the cost of the rental and fuel is too much for our very limited budget. We also search online for ride shares, someone with a pickup headed east? Finally we settle on a plan that seems as good as any and the least expensive. We will ride the bikes to Las Vegas and put them in a storage unit. The unit is cheap since the bikes are so small and plane tickets in and out of Vegas are always a great deal. A part of us wants to ride the bikes back home, to complete the journey, to roll back into the driveway months later having completed our Trans American adventure. And we still may, but it will have wait until next year.
So with Las Vegas in our sights we head up over the rolling hills away from the Pacific. We catch one last glimpse of that mighty ocean far, far below before topping the high bluffs and descending into the next valley. We pass ostentatious vineyards with grand entrances, giant fountains and rows of ripening grapes. It’s late fall now, harvest season.
We stop in a little town and picnic in the park. Our dirty motorcycle clothes lend themselves perfectly to plopping in the dusty grass, under a big tree. We feel right at home down here on the good earth eating fresh grown California greens.
Back on the bikes we have a long day of highway riding. A long single lane stretch of tarmac where well heeled Californians strive to knock minutes off their run to Vegas. We find a detour and take it. We are deep into oil well country. Soon it is only us, surrounded by the bobbing heads of a thousand oil wells. Dipping into the earth, sucking out black gold and then withdrawing skyward to do it again. A relentless, unquenchable thirst for industrial progress. An oil truck passes us, gawking as if to say, “what the hell?” Then we pass a cop, I suppose a speed trap for this completely abandoned road where tankers might otherwise consider 100 mph reasonable.
Suddenly we are in the sprawling city of Ridgefield. Huge four lane streets, crowded with stores, billboards and cars. We find a little Mexican restaurant and try to make a plan. We are tired. We drink coffee but we are still tired. So we give up for the day and find a cheap motel. As I go out to the bikes for a few last items I discover a note tucked between the seat and the tank. It is actually someone’s card. A musician of some sort and the card has a hand written message on the back. “It looks like you guys are having a great adventure, do you have a blog?” And with that we crawled into the big saggy bed with dreams of Las Vegas and the great American desert dancing in our heads.