After a couple of years of saying “I'm going to do this” and a handful of false starts, I finally forced myself to get off my ass and go ride this KLR for the express purpose for which it was purchased – adventure riding, or at least something resembling that.
The “plan” was five-six days and about 2000 miles around California along with a slight detour into Oregon. The existence of a time buffer and lack of set destinations, theoretically, would make it easier -- ah, the dreams of the uninitiated.
Day 1: Long Beach to Monterey
Things started going weird from the start. Originally, I was going to take my XR1200. Unfortunately, it needed to get its initial service first and as I ended up being too lazy to take it in, the KLR had to make do as a stand-in. I ended up being really glad that I'd ended up on it instead of the XR for several reasons – greater range, some semblance of wind protection and heated grips.
|Lunch with a Daihatsu-driving friend|
Now, LA might be infamous for its traffic, but what nobody mentions is that it largely clears up past 9 am for approximately 2-3 hours. I leave around 10 thanks to prep time and sloth and head directly for PCH since there's no good reason to sit on the 405/101 to and through the San Fernando Valley unless you have to. The original planned called for a pass by Vandenberg AFB to the northeast of Santa Barbara, but lunch plans in Atascadero resulted in the first detour of the trip just 3 hours in.
After consuming a rather large carne asada burrito, I headed straight for the nearest coast-bound road, which happened to be state route 41 – this trip’s first encounter with the twisties. It ends in Morro Bay and runs partially through the northeastern tip of Los Padres National Forest. After all that time on the 101, it was a welcome reprieve, especially since PCH wouldn’t get twisty until well past San Simeon and Hearst Castle.
|Outside Hearst Castle|
|Just about dark...|