Friday, August 3, 2012

Pacific Coast Highway (Big Sur to San Francisco)

“Sort-of-Sabbatical” Day Nine, Monday June 11

After a night’s sleep under the redwoods, I’ve regained the good sense and ability to actually photograph a view or two from the wondrous Pacific Coast Highway that had me so transfixed yesterday.

Good morning!  The gentle cool undergrowth of the redwood forest wakes up my eyes...

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Pfeiffer Falls and Valley View Trails
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

…before I head back into more improbable razzle dazzle.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (1)
Ho hum.  More spectacular blues of every sort.  No photo-shopping necessary.

Pfft.  You know what this place is missing?  A waterfall.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
On the left you can see the 84 foot drop of McWay Falls.  Because a turquoise blue cove simply isn't enough, I guess.

Oh, silly me.  Of course there’s a waterfall.

If you have the foresight (and luck) to reserve one of the two campsites at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park a good year in advance, you can enjoy the first overlook from your tent.  But you don’t have to be at an actual park for this kind of view.  Any old stopping place for hundreds of miles along the Pacific Coast Highway will serve equally well.  It really is absurd.

And so I continue, torn between a wonderfully twisty road and nearly paralyzing scenery, until cold, wind, and hunger get my full attention.  I’m hoping to scout out the Italian restaurant in Half Moon Bay my friends speak highly of, or perhaps the famous Alice's Restaurant in Woodside, but I’m just too cold and hungry to  make the effort. I pull over at the first sign of potential nourishment I see, which happens to be Cameron’s Inn and Pub, complete with British phone booths, Royal Mail post boxes, and red double decker busses.  Despite being a wacky funny place, with endless U.K. knick-knacks up and down every wall, and restroom ceilings lined with game boards, I’m not entirely convinced I’m about to get a world class meal.   But I’m ravenous enough to not care.  I suck down cup after cup of hot coffee in an effort to defrost, and although in a different situation I might not be fully impressed with the chowder, I am grateful for the complimentary bowl, since my meal is inexplicably delayed.  The fish and chips are good, I think, but chewing my food is not really a priority at this particular moment.

I’m feeling better after a bit, and gear up for the final short hop to San Francisco.  I wonder how difficult it will be to find parking, and with greater concern,  I wonder exactly how many times I’ll have to struggle with my too-far-to-comfortably-reach-with-my-little-hands clutch lever while stopped at the top of the city's famous (and dreadful) hills.  It's been several years since I've dropped a bike, but between not really being able to reach my clutch lever properly, and the added weight of my luggage, this seems like a good opportunity to reacquaint myself with the technique of picking up a downed motorcycle.  I take a deep breath and head north.

Motorcycle specific parking abounds. For free, even!  The Ducati makes its home amongst two wheeled neighbors of every sort on (I Am Not Making This Up) Hill Street.  Someone was nice enough to let us two-wheelers have the flat bit.

Motorcycle Parking San Francisco
My host and her dog meet the Ducati.  The dog doesn't seem appropriately impressed.

Turns out it’s just as well I didn’t eat Italian food back in Half Moon Bay.  Because upon arrival in San Francisco, my good friends providing me with a much needed “hospitality stop” greet me with all manner of tasty treats from Lucca. This Italian deli, along with many other fine establishments I’ll sample over the next few days, happens to be dangerously located just around the corner.  I have chosen well!
 Lucca Deli Snacks

Lucca Ravioli


PhilB said...

It really is a spectacular road all the way from SLO north. I've ridden it several times on the bike, and my wife and I honeymooned along it in our (then) Alfa Romeo.

If you ever do it again, I highly recommend the Nepenthe restaurant, about 3 miles south of Big Sur. Fabulous. (Not in any way cheap, mind you, but I generally budget for having a meal there as a treat to myself.)

Paula said...

Nepenthe. Duly noted. My CA "survey" trip results: next time focus on Big Sur, SF area, area south of Tahoe.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Birch says, "I'm cuter than a Ducati!"

Paula said...

For sure. But he's not as fast!