We are going to Southeast Asia to begin a motorbike tour where we are taking our dog Buddha with us. In order to understand how he will react, we decided to take our Harley Davidson from San Diego to San Francisco on Highway 1. We set off with one small suitcase strapped to the back of the bike, and Buddha's travel bag on the gas tank with the strap around my waist and set off for an adventure. Something we will always remember doing and look back on as a little crazy.
Solvang California -Svendsgaard Danish Lodge
As we motored along the 5 freeway, we finally stopped to eat around 10pm in Camarillo, north of LA and ate at a Denny's. It was alternating cold and warm, and we had been on the bike for 3 hours at this point. We finished up, and took off for on the road once again. We made it to Gaviota (quite possibly the windiest place on earth) which is just north of Santa Barbara and decided on making it to Solvang. We found a coupon at the rest area in a traveler's hotel guide for the Svendsgaard's Danish Lodge-Americas Best Value Inn in Solvang for $69.00 a night. We made it around 1am to the hotel, and the room was great! Big, soft beds, fake fireplace, two lazy boy recliners, pool access from our room. It was great!
Solvang is a nice little German/ Danish style place with English tudor style buildings and a nice little quaint downtown. We didn't spend any time there, and headed out around 11am for the coast and Highway 1.
Central Coast of California and Big Sur
San Diego to San Francisco on Highway 1
The coast was gorgeous! Nothing like taking a winding ocean road by motorcycle. It was pretty cool however, and the wind gusts were sometimes uncomfortable, but we were in good spirits and stopped in Cambria, another quaint little town on the southern portion of the 1. There was far too many amazing vistas, and incredible sights to name and we stopped again at the Big Sur River Inn and Restaurant in Big Sur, California. It's a welcome oasis, warmer than the coast. We ate a fantastic dinner, and sat by the river for a while on an Adirondack chair in the river. The river ran through large redwoods and cypress in a beautiful backdrop. We got back on the road, and headed for San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown
At this point we were getting pretty tired, and our bodies were beat up. We decided to get off the 1 highway and take the 101 through Watsonville, and up into San Francisco. As we finally approached San Francisco at about 9pm, we were hit with the coldest, wettest, and windiest climate known to man! It was bone chilling cold. Not something these summer weather searchers enjoys. We decided on making our way out of the city to the outskirts of Lombard Street. We tried a few hotels, and they were ridiculously expensive, and didn't want to honor our "coupon book". We decided on the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites-San Francisco/Golden Gate on Lombard Street. We got a pizza at an authentic Italian pizzeria up the street, and closed our eyes in our less than awesome room for the night.
Bridge Hopping and Moving to Oakland
I don't think my head hit the pillow and I was up again 7 hours later! It was hard getting up this morning. We decided to drive around and see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Area. We headed over to the Golden Gate Bridge, and on a lookout on the san Francisco side, we took some pictures and generally just relaxed. We did the same thing on the Marin side, and then took the 580 outerbelt around the bay. We went over the Golden Gate and Richmond Bridges and videoed our experience. It was nice and warm on the other side of the bay, opposed to the San Francisco side. We drove until we reached Oakland where we decided to get a hotel room there. It was so much nicer, and cheaper than San Francisco, and it seemed friendlier too. We decided to stay at the
Imperial Inn on the corner of MacArthur and Telegraph. A very seedy neighborhood, but decent large room, with a huge king sized bed. We were able to leave Buddha there, and do some things including driving to Chinatown to eat some food.
We walked around Chinatown and settled on a place called the Four Seas Restaurant. Great ambiance, not the greatest service, but overall a delicious dinner. We got back to Oakland and decided to go look for a place to hang out and maybe have a drink. We stopped by what seemed to be a cafe, but there was live music and people out front, and for a Wednesday. What more can you ask for? I saw the front area of the bar and peeped inside and decided this place was perfect!
Cafe Van Kleef - Oakland
Cafe Van Kleef In Oakland
Cafe Van Kleef. It's an old art gallery turned bar. The owner is an eccentric named Peter Van Kleef who is an artist and avid collector of "things". This bar is FULL of things. Random things, like an sculptures, random busts, pictures, skulls, taxidermy, musical instruments, swords, shields, a 1940s searchlight, hats of every type, strange figurines, and dolls. This place is top to bottom (and these ceilings are 25 feet tall) front to back with cool things and oddities. Absolutely funny how we stumble onto things like this. The place fun, and we listened to an alright, no-named band from the area. We stayed until about 1am and went back to the hotel.
Calistoga Hot Springs and Alpha-Omega Winery
Calistoga Hot Springs and Wine Country
Today was Thursday, and we decided to go to Calistoga Hot Springs and Wine country in Napa Valley. We took off for the sun once again as today, it was even cloudier and colder in Oakland too! 70 miles north of Oakland is Calistoga California. We drove through Napa valley and it was beautiful!! High 80s and dry. It was a welcome environment from the cold, damp, dreary bay area. We ended up and stopping at a winery called Alpha and Omega. They said they have no religious affiliation and they picked the name because it was catchy, and showed up first on a wine list. We tasted 4 white wines, and relaxed on their patio for a while soaking up the sun. There were exquisitely manicured gardens, and a large pool with fountains. We got back on the road, and made it to Calistoga around 4pm. We decided to pay the 25 dollar entrance fee (each) to go to the pool area. We sat around in 3 separate pools. One was 80 degrees, one was 90-100 and another was 105. It felt great! No sulfur smell, and water almost had a soft feeling. We soaked up some more sun, and headed back at 6pm to go to dinner with our friend Rachel in SF that evening.
Hanging Out Around San Francisco With Rachel
Hanging Out With Rachel
Rachel showed up and we made our way to SF at around 10pm. We found a restaurant in Little Italy on Columbus street called "Tutto Qua" which means"Everything's Here". Truly everything was. We had a great dinner of authentic Italian food. I had the stuffed chicken breasts and Shelly had the salmon pasta. We also had an appetizer of truffle glazed scallops and calamari. It was perfect!! We got stuffed, and went home and chatted the night away until 3:30am. Rachel stayed with us in the king sized bed, and in the morning we got coffee at a San Francisco cafe with excellent coffee and the best chocolate chip muffins I have ever had before heading to Haight / Ashbury.
We went to the Haight/ Ashbury district and walked around, shopped, and people watched. It is always fun to be around such an eclectic place. We were going to go to Fisherman's wharf, but realized the day had slipped away due to our late night adventures the night before, so we realized it was time to head back to Oceanside. The 580 highway was a mess getting out of San Francisco, took us a lot longer to get out than I had wanted. Bumper to bumper pretty much from Oakland to Tracy. A LONG WAY..
We stopped for the night at the Best Western Kettleman City Inn & Suites. That was at 9pm. 6 hours on the road in hot steaming-desert like heat took it out of both of us. We hit the road at 12am the next day and after stopping by Pyramid Lake (just north of LA) we made it home around 6pm safely.
Great trip! I needed to get out on this bike one last time for a long trip before I sell it. I cannot take this on a world trip, and storing it just doesn't make sense. I was extremely impressed with Shelly and Buddha for making it this way in such great spirits. It's not easy going this distance (1400) miles on a motorcycle. Know anyone who wants to buy a motorcycle? We felt that the bag will work perfectly as well. The bag has flexible rods inside that create structure on the bag, yet compresses as well. Buddha appeared to like it as well as long as he is in his bag. He doesn't like the wind in his face, but actually seemed to like riding around. The bag is called a Sturdibag Extra Large Pet Carrier .