Dirtbike Adventure Ahead!

Looking forward to another completely new experience this weekend. But since it hasn’t happened yet, there’s not much to post, except to say that I am damn excited! Check it out (and check back in later to see how I did)….

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Home again

Arrived home after a week+ trip. I fell a bit short of my mileage goal (1k), but I have to say that I am damn proud of myself. A year ago I had no idea that I’d be riding my very own motorcycle, and a little over a year ago I had no idea I’d be riding a motorcycle at all, so that’s a pretty big accomplishment.

I logged approximately 775 miles total, a very respectable amount. Farthest south was Solvang, spent most of the trip on and off hwy 101, a beautiful part of California. I loved my stay at Fort Hunter Liggett, and absolutely intend to return very soon.

Observations

One of the best ways to ensure great weather is to go to the trouble of installing wiring to support heated gear, purchase heated gear, pack it, and then only use it briefly twice. If I hadn’t had it though I would’ve been a popsicle, and riding unsafely (hard to throttle properly when you have no dexterity). Still, my heated gear is about the most amazing invention, ever. And having downhill skied in my youth, I appreciate it all the more. Will have to try a smaller pair of gloves, but considering the mild winter we’re having, there’s no rush to exchange them.

I didn’t mention this before in my pre-trip list but, I replaced my saddle in late October as the standard seat was causing my ass (for lack of a better term) to be sore after long rides. Running around town was no problem but if I was on and off my bike for more than an hour it wasn’t great. I headed off to Corbin, located in Hollister (yes, that biker town), to get my seat replaced as you can wait while they custom fit your bike. They were terrific and I had a nice time while there. I honestly couldn’t tell a huge difference except that the shape felt better. I was told that it takes about 1k to properly break in one of their seats (made with high-density memory foam), which was another reason to take this trip- I’d log a lot of miles on my new seat instead of it taking months. Crazily enough, it wasn’t until about the fifth or sixth day of riding that I realized my butt wasn’t sore after riding several hours. Whoo-hoo, thanks, Corbin!

So- I traveled around more of California’s great central valley; enjoyed terrific wine, olive oil, and beer; went zip lining for the first time; got to stay in a Julia Morgan designed hacienda on an army base; and generally felt really proud of myself for completing solo moto trip longer than an overnighter.

Upcoming adventures will be of a different nature. Won’t be able to do more than very short day trips via motorcycle, but that’s okay. I’d like to take my boys zip lining now, so that’s something to look into, and I’ll go back to Fort Hunter next month. Whatever I do, I’ll make it an adventure, that’s what life’s about for me.

Off the Beaten Path

I’m not completely off the beaten path, but it sure feels like it. My dad, as he so often does, came across a very small blurb in the LA Times travel section recently that mentioned rooms open to the public at Fort Hunter Liggett. And such is the case. But these aren’t just any rooms, they are on the national register of historic buildings as it’s Hearst’s Hacienda, which he had Julia Morgan design after she finished his castle. The “cowboy” rooms go for $50 a night, with shared bathrooms, the rest have private baths, and the most expensive room is about $100.

This place feels incredibly remote, and is located on the Hunter Liggett army training base, so you have to have a reservation and show ID to the gate guards. The Santa Lucia mountains surround the area, there are tule elk, and Mission San Antonio is just down the road. Breakfast is included (see photo) and the rooms have refrigerators and microwaves.

There may have been one other occupied room last night, but there couldn’t have been much more. It’s been a very surreal experience. Other than the two gate guards, and one gardener I saw from afar this morning, the place feels deserted. I’m sure that’s partly timing, not exactly most people’s idea of a rocking place to be for New Year’s Eve. The only thing I’m really bummed about, but which will bring me back, is that there’s a terrific looking bar, which should be open tonight, but I think is closed due to the holidays.

Will I return to Hearst’s Hacienda? You betcha. It’s a hidden gem and, in the words of Huell Howser, it’s part of California’s gold.

http://www.liggett.army.mil/sites/mwr/hacienda.asp

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Here’s my “garden” room

 

 

 

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Breakfast in a box! Orange juice, hard boiled egg, yogurt, granola bar, apple, and a bagel w/cream cheese, peanut butter, and jelly. I was really impressed!

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This is the bar, all decorated for the holidays, looks like a great place for a beer. There’s also a bowling alley down the street!ImageImage

Day 3 (day 4?)

Two days not riding wasn’t what I had planned, but then this was supposed to be an unplanned trip, so it’s all good.

Met up with my folks in Paso Robles; beautiful weather, and lots to see and do, so I’ve been in this area exploring and enjoying my parents’ company.

We visited Kiler Ridge olive farm and had an amazing tour, with a tasting. Fascinating owner who had much to share about the process of creating olive oil.

Olive oil tasting, Kiler RidgeKiler Ridge, olive farm, Paso Robles

Several lovely meals over our few days here: Firestone Walker Brewery, Villa Creek, and Artisan, not to mention delicious treats from Brown Butter Baking Company.

Wine and cheese please!

Wine and cheese please!

Had thought I might try zip lining in Santa Cruz if the opportunity presented itself, but it didn’t. However, zip lined instead with Margarita Adventures, which is part of Margarita Ranch, a sizable (but smallish) vineyard and cattle operation. Zip lining over vineyards, cattle, and through oak trees was simply awesome, I cannot wait to go again! We had a terrific tour of the ranch and still had time to do some wine tasting in their tasting room when we returned.

My first zip line experience!

My first zip line experience!

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Enjoying more wine with my dad

Enjoying more wine with my dad

My folks bought a bottle of Renegade wine from Ancient Peaks, but I went for the t-shirt

My folks bought a bottle of Renegade wine from Ancient Peaks, but I went for the t-shirt

 

Said good-bye to my folks this morning and headed to Solvang, beautiful weather and ride down here. Don’t think I’ve been to Solvang since I was seven or so.  It’s been fun walking around this kitschy little town, even bought myself a tiny cuckoo clock.

Will write about tomorrow’s adventure as it unfolds, but it’s a place I’d never heard of that my dad told me about. It’s going to be very cool…

First full day

Well, just like a proper vacation/adventure, I wasn’t sure what to expect today, except that I didn’t want to have too many expectations. So I woke up, went for a self-guided cell phone tour of historic Monterey, had a bit of breakfast and packed up my gear. During which I spoke with my folks and arranged to meet them in Paso Robles for the night.

Odd weather today, almost balmy, meant a layer on, then a layer off, etc. Almost could’ve ridden with my clear visor. Thought I might make it to Hearst Castle, but left too late that squeeze that in. Wound up making an unexpected stop at Mission Soledad, which was lovely.

Met up with my folks in Paso Robles, hooray! Dinner at Firestone Walker brewery and now hitting bed. Spending tomorrow touring around with my folks and then not sure. Another 100+ miles today!ImageImageImage

Mission Soledad

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Firestone Walker Brewery- pint of DBA

I’m off!

All packed up, hitting the road. Have decided to head to Monterey, then??? Might check out Hearst Castle (haven’t been there in years). Whatever I decide, the peninsula is a good jumping off point, and it’s going to be a beautiful ride down there.

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