Rolling Home – 226 Miles

Getting into town was a bit of an adventure. I turned on the wrong dirt road winding up in someone’s backyard that I didn’t think they wanted me there. With a bit of backtracking and some help from the phone, I made my way from dirt road one over to dirt road two and found my destination for the night.

Mo-Tav (C is average. No grade inflation here):

Category Score Comments
Seating B I thought we hit the place after the evening rush, but things were comfortably full. Expect a bit of a wait at peak times.
Atmosphere B+ They invest in keeping their place nice. The bar had a nice feel to it.
Wait Staff A Right on top of things. The waiter knew my friend by name. That’s always a bonus. San Luis is a smaller town, but not that small.
Food A- The fries were hot, the beer was cold, and the burger was cooked to perfection.
Value B A bit better than what you’d get set back for the same in the bay area. Always a bonus!
Overall B+ I’d go back! The fries were exceptionally good.

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I’d tried breakfast in a few places in town and never had much luck. Solution? Find a local who knows the area. Colby Jack’s was a nice shift from the usual fare.

Colby Jack (C is average. No grade inflation here):

Category Score Comments
Seating A Plenty of places to sit for Sunday morning brunch.
Atmosphere B+ The cafe sits at the base of the Carlton Hotel. The hotel is nice by it’s looks, but word on the street is that they are not doing so well financially with the down economy.
Wait Staff D- The waiter took a long time to respond to things. That’s surprising as it was a buffet.
Food B The food was really good. Very much a step up from the standard.
Value C Right on target.
Overall C It’s not the Paso Robles Inn, but your not paying for that level of service either. Had the service been better, I would have marked this as a clear win. I’d go back, but It’s not a strong recommendation from me.

Leaving town things were damn cold and wet. We’d had near record high the pat few day so I was expecting warm weather for the ride. Not the case at all here! At noon the weather was in the 50s and drizzling. The odd thing was the weather report said that it was nicer on the coast.

Ross and I were having a discussion last night about Highway 41 and the Allman Brothers band.

I thought it was only fitting to take CA-41 down into Morro Bay because of the coincidence (even though the song is about US-41).  The rock down at Morro Bay is pretty cool too.  Climbing up Highway 41 the weather got worse and worse until near the summit it was raining fairly well and just about everything around me was wet. However, coming down the western side the weather men were right. I could see blue off into the distance. I took the 41 all the way down to the rock at Morro Bay. There were some surfers on the beach, but other than that it was pretty quiet.

The rock itself in my opinion is quite impressive. This is the first time I’ve got up and close to the backside of it. While the front side is much more round, the backside is way more severe. The rock formations are quite cool when you get up close to it. The sun was just starting to Pete through so I had hoped that it was going to be a pleasant ride back to San Jose.

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I’m starting to learn to work with lower light in some of my photos. It was fun to take pictures of the bike in the ocean in the overcast conditions.
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I took a few pictures of the motorcycle in the softlight. Also I used the zoom lens. Rather than being very close to the bike and taking the photo I was quite a bit further back and zoomed in. It definitely changes the depth of field and brings about different features from the light. As a look at the photos now, there are a number of soft shadows that I don’t think I noticed at first. I think the zoom softens the photo just a little bit.

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Behind the rock is a big power plant for I believe Duke Power. It’s definitely an icon or shall we say landmark for the area.

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Once north of Cambria, the skies really started to open up. Also, one of the things that really struck me about the ride is how colorful the ocean was. I was expecting the default dark blue, but there were a number of spots in the ocean that were emerald green. There was a little bit of wind but nothing that was really out of the ordinary for the area.

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Heading further north, the next stop on the ride was the Piedras Blancas lighthouse.
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Over the past few years I have piqued an interest in lighthouses. This is one I’ve not seen yet. Upon stopping at the gate it’s clear that visitors are not welcome here. Researching in it a bit more now that I’m home it turns out that the BLM controls access to the area. Tourers are available but they have to be scheduled. That being said, it has a very different look than most lighthouses here in California. One day I do hope to see it. The other interesting piece of flora in the area is a California Poppy. It’s getting to be that time of year and the poppies are starting to come out. Every so often I see one in bright yellow. This was the case here. The color was so bright, it matched my bike. 🙂
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Just a few miles north were the elephant seals. Patrick brought us here on his Death Valley tour in 2008. It’s an interesting stop, as there are hundreds of seals on the beach. They very much seem to be soaking in the sun at this particular moment. I think we were both having a great day! What I find really cool about them is there faces that seem to carry so much expression. It would’ve been nice to get a little bit closer to have more detail on the photos, but I think with a few I have here is apparent what I’m trying to capture.

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Upon arriving in Gorda, I was shocked to find out how much gas was. It seems interesting that midgrade gas is $0.10 more than regular gas and premium gas is $0.10 more than midgrade gas. It’s been that way since gas is under a dollar a gallon. Now they’re charging $6.50 for regular gas! Now premium is only $.20 more! What a value over regular!
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Today really turned out wonderful. It was plenty warm and there are very few clouds in the sky. I thought this photo very much captured the essence of Highway 1 in this area. It is tight and windy for miles on end and brings you very close to the ocean.
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I’ve been working on doing a bit more work in retouching my photos. The original photograph here had a big power line streaking across the middle. I thought it was a nice photograph and wanted to spend the time to take the powerline out. It’s amazing over the past few years how easy it’s become to use Photoshop to do some of the more “advanced” editing.
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By the time I was in Monterey I was ready to get home. Breakfast was so filling I had sort of skipped lunch. I found a little market at the junction of Highway 1 And Hwy. 156. I hate to be that guy who uses someone’s bathroom and bolts without buying something. I stopped in and it was well worth the stop. It’s definitely more established than a farmers market but not quite a grocery store. I found some good fruits and nuts to tide me over until I was in San Jose.

The rest of the ride was back in the uninteresting section of US101. Got to have dinner with a buddy of mine who I’ve not seen in a while. Always good to catch up with old friends.

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