Our story begins in the rolling sea meadows of the California coast. Two aimless riders hug their motorcycles along highway one. Following the winding road as it wraps around the contours of the headlands. Hanging between earth and sea. Sea lions, exhausted by their own blubber, lie on the shore like boulders. Great swaths of empty wind blown grass roll from the ocean to the hills above. There is a rugged majesty in the heavy seas as they pound the coastline into deep coves and cliffs, leaving rock islands orphaned out in the bays. The green sea surges, hissing as it attempts to swallow the land.

The age old battle of land and sea is waged upon this coastline. The shrapnel is everywhere: broken boulders die upon the shore, split tale islands hold out – isolated encampments in the thick of it. Logs, like fallen soldiers, pile in backwater lagoons beyond the sandy battlefield. But the land behind stands strong and high, fortified in great cliffs that seem to beat back the persistent sea. Wave by wave they stoically meet the attack and after each wave they slowly, indeterminately lose bits of ground. For the sea seems boundless and indefatiguable while the land seems stuck within its path, unable to retreat or if it does the new territory quickly swallowed up by the hungry sea. A longer losing battle was never fought. The victor is clear even now, but a thousand years from now these two adversaries will still be waging their battle upon this violent and rugged shore.

But the story began long before our hapless adventurers stumbled out of the Oregon woods fresh off the Trans America Trail. It really begins in the Caribbean, on a boat in which a passenger mentioned this mysterious trail and was overheard by our two wanderlusts looking for their next adventure.

And so it was, a few used dirt bikes and a few months of preparation and they were off. Over the slick red clay dirts of Georgia, north, through the Piedmonts, round the black ribbon roads of Appalachia and finally to the start of the Trans America Trail in littleTellico Plains, Tennessee. And after days in the dark eastern forests, through streams, over boulders and mud onward through Mississippi and into Arkansas. On empty gravel roads through the wonderous Ozarks until finally the forest broke. Oklahoma’s big sky and endless fertile valleys, dodging combines and wrestling dust. Then New Mexico, that enchanted land of empty, lonely scapes until the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Riding loose rock 14,000 feet above the sea, not a tree in site, over mountain passes that dropped them into little towns like Silverton and Telluride and finally through the San Juan mountains and finally out onto the long endless plains of eastern Utah. Up into the Lasal mountains and then the rock sand Utah desert beyond Moab. Into the heartbreakingly desolate lands of old Nevada where the sunsets could make a man cry and getting lost became a way of life and then finally the trees came back in towering forests of mighty spruce, fir and pine. The bigger than life trees of a dying planet until the dusty riders stumbled, blinking and confused out to the mighty Pacific Ocean.

Not satisfied to stop there they pointed their bikes southward down winding highway one, peering into misty forests and oceans through the wonderlands of California. Scraping along sea cliffs till they got so close to LA they could smell the madness and turned East again back into the void, deep into the lonely American desert, the mighty Mojave.

And when it was all over, bikes safely stowed in a tin box with a roll top door in Las Vegas, Nevada there wasn’t much to say. What’s done is done. The trip accomplished, like hundreds of riders before them. Their only real claims are a complete lack of experience in adventure riding and their volumnous blog documenting almost everyday of the journey. If there is one thing they might claim it is possibly taking the longest amount of time to complete the Trans America Trail. Over two months to traverse the American land, from sea to breaking sea. But it was never about getting done quickly. The point was to take their time, enjoy the view, sniff the sunflowers. There was a kind of routine, lazy mornings sipping coffee and writing, then planning the days route and packing. Finally riding across whatever incredible landscape they happened to be traversing until pitching camp, building a fire and collapsing dusty and tired into their tent.

Next season approaches. The bikes wait at the edge of the Mojave. Ideas are pondered. South into Mexico and beyond, could they make it to Patagonia? Or perhaps Mexico is too dangerous, perhaps Arizona and all the adventures of the desert southwest. Or north up into Montana and Canada and Alaska.

In the meantime there is work to do and money to save. The blog must go on and there are lots of new things to write about until the moto adventures begin again. New gear to research and buy for the dirt bikes, sailing trips in the Caribbean, mountain bike adventures, life in the tropics. And so it goes…



2 thoughts on “california coast revisited

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