Friday, March 27, 2015

Foggy Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)

I reached Palo Alto, CA and the home of my brother Carlos and his lovely wife Ling mid-afternoon yesterday, and reintroduced myself to their sons as its been years since I last saw them.  Their names are Evan and Nathan and Nathan was but a baby then.

After waking at 5AM PST this morning, did some work till 8AM and then it was time for a short break so my nephews could ride in Scarlett's sidecar and be taken to the nearby elementary school.

After I returned back to their home, my brother went off to his job and I geared up fully to go riding US1 or the Pacific Coast Highway portion from Half Moon Bay to San Francisco.

I took US280 to State Road 92 which takes one via a twisty two lane road through the intervening hills and onto the town of San Mateo and from there one can see the Pacific Ocean!  I rode North on US1, mentally noting the spots I'd be able to safely stop at for pictures on the way back from San Francisco.  It was very foggy on the way up and things really wouldn't get better on the way back.

The traffic wasn't too bad till I reached the San Francisco city limits using US1.  I should have gone around 19th Street as it was bumper to bumper traffic due to repair crews doing something and blocking lanes of travel.  You'd think they could do that at night but what's inconveniencing hundreds of motorists instead right?

I made it to the Golden Gate Bridge and crossed over it without incident after failing to find a parking spot at the vista parking lot on its southern end.

There was no room on the northern end parking lot either, popular attraction, the Golden Gate Bridge....who knew?  ;)

Still, I'd spotted what looked like a great vantage point up a hill to the NW of the bridge and found that Alexander Avenue takes one up that hill which makes up part of a coastal highway.  I think there's a children's science museum in the area somewhere too.

Higher up, one could see the bridge with one end of it shrouded in thick fog but still quite scenic.  I briefly posed Scarlett and got proof she'd been to the bridge:

Scarlett on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

A little further down the hill, there's a parking spot for a few vehicles near trails to where a Coastal Artillery Gun emplacement had once been located.  A short walk from the rig and you can get this angle of view on the Golden Gate Bridge

You can see the US101 Highway coming from the hills to the north
in Marin County, feeding to the right and onto the Golden Gate Bridge
It was quite sunny away from the bridge, go figure!

Scarlett and I re-traced our route on US1 once we re-crossed the bridge and this time traffic was much better as we motored southbound.  I soon got on US280 till it got me to the Pacifica exit and from there Scarlett and I motored southwards looking for spots where one could see the ocean.

 In the town of Pacifica I believe, a big beach is available for 
folks to swim and surf.  I remembered Pacific Ocean water as cold, 
so I didn't walk out to the water.

South of Pacific, there's this weird rock "formation" on top
of a sea-facing cliff/hill.

 I've no idea what it's supposed to be.....anyone?

 Further on towards Half Moon Bay, there was this isolated
beach surrounded by steep rock walls with signs warning
folks to stay out, no hiking or climbing!

The rest of the ride was under brightening skies (of course) as I retraced my way back along the Half Moon Bay Road and back onto US280.

Had myself some excitement as I was starting to merge onto traffic on the 280, a bee flew into helmet, under my sun visor and lodged itself between my right lens on my glasses and my eye.  It then proceeded to move around and sting me!  I must have been quite the sight, frantically trying to raise my sun visor and trying to dislodge the stupid bee.

I got off to the side of the road while slapping at my glasses, and looked down to see the stupid bee lying there on the fuel tank, still twitching!  The sting really stung too.

Still, no allergic reaction to speak of, though it hurt like blazes for quite a bit, a very strong stinging/burning sensation.  Still, I continued riding on towards the exit for Palo Alto, stopped for gas, and made it to my brother's place with no further incidents.

This portion of the PCH was not bad in terms of views, the really gorgeous stuff must be further south or north of the area I am in.  I'll have to see about exploring further along US1.


RichardM said...

Nice Golden Gate shot with the fog! I like the second one taken from higher up best.

When I rode there I circumvented the city and the Golden Gate area. Too many cars!

Unknown said...

Here's a link for the bunker

Love the pics, but could you change the background to something other than black? It is very hard on the eyes to read.

Martha said...

Cute monkeys!

VStar Lady said...

Dom you are bringing back so many memories. I didn't even think about riding into the city (they're crazy there.) I parked and took a bus - the bus driver knew all the great spots to park for taking photos.
The pair of nephews look too cute in the side car.

SonjaM said...

Often visited, and hope to return. I am not sure however, that I would dare ride in local traffic though... I very much enjoyed your trip along the coast. Thanks for bringing back those memories, Dom.
And you have two very sweet looking monkeys in your hack.

Trobairitz said...

What a fun ride. I haven't been south of SF on Highway 1/101. Not a fan of the traffic but you saw some great sights.

Thanks to XIA D for that link. The bunks are quite something.

I too think the monkeys look cute in the hack. I am enjoying your trip reports Dom.

David Masse said...

Dom that is one of the great American rides. Susan and I rented a car and drove south on PCH down as far as Carmel. One day I hope to ride it. Monkeys in your hack, much better than monkeys on your back :)

David Masse said...

Dom I can't even begin to imagine a bee under my glasses. Holy Hannah, well managed!

redlegsrides said...

RichardM, the fog was nice....what I should have done is a time-lapse of it moving around the bridge but didn't have the time.

Xia D. Thanks for the link! I'll see how easy/hard it is to switch colors on the background vice text. You are the first to report the difficulty.

VStar Lady, thanks for your comments.

SonjaM, the traffic wasn't too bad but when things go wrong, they go wrong pretty fast I think. Thanks for commenting.

Trobairitz, thanks to you as well for your comments, my nephews are a good looking pair aren't they?

David Masse, the bee incident was indeed "interesting", still some slight swelling but I am just happy the stupid thing didn't sting me in the eye.

Lucky said...

Great photos!

I spy the Taco Bell with the million dollar view. Did you stop in for a bite?

I'm glad the incident with the bee didn't turn out any worse than it did!

redlegsrides said...

Lucky, thanks for the comments and I did remember thinking: "well that place has one heck of a view...." but I didn't stop.

Oz said...

Great photos. I have visited California (San Fran area)once many years ago in a car. I really want to ride the bike in that area.

BMW HACKER said...

Great Photos! We plan on traveling the coast one of these years. Seems that we never get further north than Morro Bay when on the coast in winter. Maybe next year...

BMW HACKER said...

I believe the "odd" structure pictured was probably an observation post / bunker circa WW2.(?) Appears that foundation erosion has taken its' toll.

redlegsrides said...

Thomas Osburn, belated thanks for your comments.

BMW Hacker, sorry for the late response as well, and yes, it was some kind of Army bunker/structure from WWII. Xia D. provided the info link.