My week long California motorcycle adventure

June 6-13,2007


The first couple of days..... 







San Jose BMW 




San Jose BMW showroom




Half Moon Bay CA




 PCH Highway 1 at the Devils slide




Ocean Beach along The Great highway, just west of Golden Gate Park




 Golden Gate view




 Haight and Ashbury



 Colorful Haight Street




Need $ 4  Weed!

My next job?  



Amoeba Music


Hippie Hill Golden Gate Park

BMW R1150RT at the pump, sporty without the hard bags

It all started to unravel a week before I was to leave. I was eating dinner and bit down on my cubed steak and shattered my #13 bicuspid on a piece of bone cleverly hidden in the meat-like steak item. OUCH,  my tooth, split right down the middle, nerve somewhat exposed, oh crap, this is not good! After a few Advils I went to bed with worries about broken teeth and interrupted vacations, etc.

Next day first thing, I called my dentist and got an emergency appointment. The news was not good, you're going to loose that tooth. I'll have to set you up with an appointment with an oral surgeon. Oh boy! You're a good candidate for an implant though. Oh, that sounds great.

OK, so I'm leaving on vacation in less than a week and haven't seen the oral surgeon and have an exposed nerve. I finally get to see an oral surgeon on Thursday. He says he can extract the tooth and do a bone graft on Friday. So on Friday I go get my tooth worked on, come home seriously drugged out with a bottle of antibiotics and a bottle of pain pills.

So it's Saturday, I'm leaving for Atlanta on Tuesday evening and I'm at home in a drugged haze. I start to feel better by Monday, I still have a swollen face and a mouth full of stitches from the bone graft(cadaver bone) but at least I think I'll be able to travel now. On Tuesday I say my goodbye to my wife and I leave for Atlanta. I would be staying the night at the airport Doubletree Hotel. I really enjoy the no-brain, no-hassle of getting a good night’s sleep and not have to worry about getting to the airport for an early morning flight. So I pop a pain pill and get a good nights sleep in my 300 count sheet, five pillow, king bed at the Doubletree.

My alarm goes off at 5:30am and I get a shower and make sure I have my things organized. I make the 6:30 hotel shuttle to the airport just as it's about to pull away, close call. I get to the airport with plenty of time for my 8:00 flight. Breeze through security, etc. Hey man we're going to Cali baby!

The flight was great, it was equipped with a tv/dvd player screen in the seat back, music, radio, movies, tv, flight data, maps all in the seat back in front of you. The flight wasn't even quite full so I had a seat between me on the isle and the window seat guy. Not too bad. I pop a pain pill somewhere over Oklahoma, chill and enjoy the ride.

I arrive in San Jose around 11:30 west coast time. It's a nice small airport, pretty easy to navigate. I get a cab and in about five minutes I'm at San Jose BMW to pick up my bike.

My rental bike is a late model R1150RT, Black, with hard bags and almost 80,000mi. I ask about the high mileage and Tim, the rental guys says it's bullet proof. It used to be the owners personal bike. Tim tosses in a quart of BMW, synthetic, 20w50, and tells me to check the oil after about 500 mi, just in case. It's not brand new, I'm glad; it has a few scratches here and there, It’s been dropped a few times. That's ok with me, I certainly don't want to be the first person to drop the bike and scratch it up. Tim gives me all the do's and don'ts with the bike. Some of the switches, buttons, and stuff are NOT like a Japanese bike. Those Krauts are always thinking different. Neat, heated hand grips(no need for those in CA?) a windshield/fairing that goes up and down with a touch of a button. Anti-lock brakes, that's kinda cool too. WOW, this is a BIG bike, I can barely get both feet flat on the ground. This thing is HEAVY too. I know its 200+lbs heavier than my ZR550. I’ve got to be extra careful. Tim says be extra careful with that side kick stand. He says it would be better to use the center stand and shows me technique of getting the bike up on it. He however forgot to show me the secret BMW handshake. All week long I did exactly what Tim showed me but was never able to heft that beast up on the center stand! 

 *** A foot note added this fall. It is with sad regret I found out Tim Johnson left us this Sept. RIP Tim and god Bless. Tim went out of his way and above the call of duty for me on my CA trip last year. I'd call him before my trip with all sorts of crazy questions; no matter what he took time out for this stranger to answer all my questions no matter what. Thanks Tim.***


I pack my small bag and back pack into the hard saddlebags and hit the road. I want to take it easy and instead of hitting the main road I tip toe around the block first and find a gas station to fill her up. Good news is once this bike starts moving the weight goes away.  This BMW is nice, big, comfy, with good power, awesome brakes, good handling, but we'll touch on that much later in the adventure. OK, let's find the Hotel.

My hotel for the evening is about six miles away; I already know where it is, thank goodness for Google Earth and having a healthy map gland. So, I'll be staying at the Best Western Lanai Gardens Inn two nights, 6/6 and 6/12. It's not too bad, and cheap, $71/night in San Jose is a steal. It's still early, about one o'clock, my room is ready and I can check in, great. The room has a fridge and a microwave too, awesome.

I take a short nap and then go out for some supplies. I’ve been traveling very light, just carry-on luggage with all my motorcycle gear. I need some toothpaste, deodorant, some vitamin water, maybe a six pack and some microwave dinners. I’m living high class, huh?? I'm staying in tonight, relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.

My dinner for the evening is a vitamin water, two beers, and two "Claim Jumper" brand frozen meals. I love Meatloaf and Salisbury steak frozen dinners, yum, yum, yum. I watch some TV, call the spousal unit and head off to bed. I know it's early, 7:30pm, but I'm still on east coast time.

End of day one.

Day two starts early, 5:00am; still on east coast time...
I make some coffee, shower, start packing my stuff in the hard bags. What's on the agenda for today? I'm pretty excited, I have no real agenda, plenty of time to ride today. I have all day to explore and make my way to my second nights stop a couple hours away in Livermore CA.

I'm looking at the local news and the weather man says the marine layer is non existent today. Awesome, no coastal fog, today’s plan, head over to the coast, up the coastal highway, maybe lunch and some sights in San Francisco and then blast over the bay bridge through Oakland and beyond, east towards Livermore.

It's still way too early but I'm up, packed and eager to go. Hmmmm, leave at rush hour? Yeah, it’s about 8am, let's do it. I take the back roads to I-280 and head in a generally eastern direction. Traffic’s at a crawl. I make my way over to the less congested HOV lane and traffic opens up a bit. Once I get out of the San Jose area I make good time. 

I take highway 92 west and over the coastal range to Half Moon Bay on the coast. Between Half Moon Bay and Interstate 280, Route 92 winds through the Coast Range as a narrow, mainly undivided two and three lane highway with plenty of curves. Highway 92 is nice and smooth and curvy, It’s my first chance to get acquainted with the bimmer’s handling. For such a large and heavy bike it seems to handle very well; it’s my insecurity that keeps things well within limits, both mine and the speed limit. The morning is cool, crisp and the wind feels good blowing over the bimmer’s windshield in the low position; I open my helmet visor some to catch some breeze. 

It's still early; about 9:30 I stop at Micky D's for a snack and study my maps. I decide to head up the PCH, hwy 1 to San Francisco. Not too far up the highway from Half Moon Bay, the traffic has come to a halt for a big Caltran project. Seems time after time,  the road at the "devil's slide" keeps falling away into the ocean. There is a huge tunnel project going on that will bypass the slide area by diverting the road inland and through a big tunnel. Today the road is a gravely mess and only one skinny lane. Following a Caltran pace car, I tip toe the big bimmer through the construction and carefully along the gravel road. This is going to a be a real humdinger of a road/tunnel project! I make my way past the construction and onwards to San Francisco. I get off on highway 35, Skyline blvd, north of Pacifica and take the "great highway" along the Pacific Ocean beach to the west side of San Francisco. I love taking the more scenic back roads; hey I've got all day to explore. I feel the freedom of my two wheel iron horse, life is good. I’ve got quite an adventure ahead of me, I just know it.

As I reach Golden Gate Park, I continue north a bit along the beach.  I travel up to the Cliff House, park and stretch my legs a bit. After a few minutes breathing the fresh ocean air, I get back on the bike and head over Point Lobos blvd turn left on Lincoln Blvd and make my way north towards the Golden Gate bridge. I stop, take the turn off and park with a great view of the bridge. After a few photos, I then head south on hwy 1 through Golden Gate park and turn left on Lincoln way to Kezar dr.  I decide to check out the Haight-Ashbury district; always an interesting neighborhood. 

I cruise up and down and around a couple of blocks hunting a parking spot. It's a warm sunny day here, there’s some street activity but I suppose it’s still too early for most folks. I decide to stop and check it out. I find a cycle parking spot on the corner of Haight and Shrader St. While I'm throwing in a few coins to feed the meter, I throw a few to the street kid with orange and green hair on the corner playing some sort of odd stringed instrument. He gives me the nod, it's all cool, indeed, all is right with the world. Plus I figure green hair will keep an eye on my bike too.

As I'm making sure my bike won't tip over (never could get the bike up on the center stand) a really cool Ducati Monster 600 backs into the space next to the bimmer. It's a nice bike, custom carbon fiber bits here and there, fire engine red trellis frame, racing exhaust beating out that twin cylinder desmodromic thump that is SO Ducati, neat. The rider is dressed in all black leather, a real knee dragging boy racer type.  The rider pulls off his helmet and it's a woman! She smiles and says “Hi,” a 30 something Asian woman with short black hair. She asks me about my bimmer, I tell her it's a rental. I ask her about her bike, she says it's brand new. I tell her it's cool, she smiles. She asks where I'm from, I tell her Georgia and she says she's never met anyone from Georgia and that she thought we were all rednecks, etc. I was kinda hurt, she said she was sorry and laughed. She said she was headed to the end of the block to Amoeba Music; did I want to come along? Sure I said, she said her name was “Aneeta with two e's.” "Hi Aneeta with two e's, my name is Scott with two t's." As we walked to Amoeba, she said she had the day off and was just "kicking around." I told her I was on vacation, told her about the "pashnit" tour and just checking out the Haight Street scene and going to get lunch. She'd heard about the "pashnit" tours and knew all about the web site, At Amoeba, Aneeta “with two e’s” said goodbye and we went our separate ways. I made my way on down the street to the corner. 

When I arrived at the corner, I crossed Stanyon st. and crossed over into Golden Gate Park. This is a huge park, with a zoo, gardens, hippies, homeless people, families picnicking,  people trying to sell you things...well let's just say there's plenty of activity going on! I strolled around the park some went over to "hippie hill" and watched some hippies smoke some pot and throw the frisbie. I started to get a little hungry and decided to go find some lunch.

When I got to the corner of Haight and Stanyon there was a group of three teenage skate boarders smoking a joint and watching each other attempt freestyle tricks. I thought to myself “I’m not in Georgia anymore!” Across the street next to the McDonalds there was some sort of big commotion going on involving the police. I walked over to the opposite side of the street and crossed to avoid the po po. As I walked up the street I noticed the commotion was due to someone’s vehicle about to be towed away for a loading zone parking violation. The vehicle’s owner was not happy about the situation and was letting the cops have it verbally. Odd, kids smoking pot directly across the street from the police and the police hassling some guy for illegal parking. Only in San Francisco I suppose! It's OK to smoke pot in public but you had better not be illegally parked!!

It was getting on towards lunch time and thought I’d get a bite to eat before I headed towards Livermore. I walked back up Haight st. to Taqueria El Balazo and ordered a California Salad burrito, with sprouts, guac, cucs, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, lettuce, green sauce, on a whole wheat flour shell. It reminded me of one of my favorites from the “Mean Bean” in my home town Athens GA, the Sugar Magnolia burrito. Pretty tasty even though my mouth was still a complete mess from my recent surgery. I had to eat very, very carefully. 


 With a full tummy I strolled back to the bimmer. I fired her up and carefully made my way through the lunch time traffic to the east on Haight Street. to 101/80. It was time to put on the serious game face and hit the highway. I was very careful on the road crossing the bay bridge, it was noisy, windy, and traffic was moving at a good clip. My route was I-80 to Oakland and I-880 east which would take me towards Livermore. The ride took about an hour or so. I had been studying my maps for days; even so I was careful to not get lost. I had to cut over to I-580 via I-238, it was pretty easy.

As I rolled into Livermore on I-580, I missed my exit for my hotel. I got off at the next exit. That turned out to be OK because it was that road, S. Vasco rd. where in the morning we were to all meet up at 7:30am at Starbucks for the tour. I needed to find it anyway so it all worked out. I cruised back to the interstate and down one exit to my hotel for 6/7 and 6/11, the Doubletree. Again I was there to check in a little early, my room was ready, I got my hot cookie and went to my room. I called my wife Janice told her I was where I was supposed to be, that I was having a blast and missed her.

My room was nice, on the top floor with a small balcony and a sliding door.
I went to get some ice and chilled my remaining 4 brews from the night before in the bathroom sink. I unpacked my BMW hard bags, relaxed and watched TV for awhile.  I was still pretty full from my lunch burrito and my mouth was starting to hurt so no dinner tonight, had two beers and even though it was only 8pm went to bed. Again, very nice 300 count sheets and five, feather pillows on the king bed, sweet dreams, y’all.

End of vacation day two.

link to day one of the Pashnit tour below....

Day one of the Pashnit tour

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