?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Dangerous Curves

San Francisco, Day 4: Electra Glide in Burgundy (14/01)

When I asked Kate, by email prior to the trip, where she would go if she had a Harley for the day, she named Half Moon Bay. So I worked out a route along the coast, followed by an inland leg with some twisty bits.

We returned to 8th Street and collected our steed: an Electra Glide in pinstriped burgundy, bristling with chrome and technology. I climbed into the armchair on the back, Howard swung the huge beast out into traffic, and a few minutes later we were flying south down the freeway.

Riding pillion was a very weird experience, less like being on a bike than like being in a car with the windows down. We left the 280 for Highway 1, and suddenly the Pacific was glittering away on the right and we were starring in our very own road movie. Howard played with the cruise control and the radio, while I watched the yellow line down the middle of the road flash past, or gazed out to sea.

Lunch was at San Mateo Airfield: café walls lined with aviation memorabilia, and a friendly server who said "Roger!" when I ordered my corned beef hash with scrambled eggs and "Prepare for takeoff!" when he brought it. He was a mine of information about both the airfield, used for bombers in WW2, and the local area, so when he recommended Pigeon Point Lighthouse as a nice spot we made it the next stop.

This was a good call. The sky was deep, deep blue, and the views were spectacular. We saw none of the advertised whales, but did make out half a dozen harbor seals, lolling about on a rock. (You have to go further south for elephant seals, alas.)

We headed back inland up the 84 towards La Honda, through farming country and at one point presumably past Ken Kesey's residence, although I didn't spot it. The road gets twisty as it runs through the forest around Redwood City. Howard ploughed through the curves, steering the huge bike smoothly and managing not to scrape any low-hanging parts, while I felt slightly carsick.

At the intersection of 84 and 35 is Alice's Restaurant, a biker haunt I was keen to visit for several reasons. We had a drink and got our photo taken by a nice guy on a V-Strom who said he'd been to Europe and his local roads were better, but we didn't linger too long, as it was getting dusky and chilly.

This part of Highway 35 is called 'Skyline Boulevard', so I had high hopes for the views, but the height and girth of the trees prevented any amazing panoramas (we tried stopping at 'Vista Point', where you can just about see a bit of view if you stand on one of the picnic tables). As the road descended to the freeway, though, we were suddenly given a sighting of the lake far below.

Manhandling a Harley in the stop-start San Francisco rush hour was hellish, but this was nothing compared with the gradients, corners and hill starts of the city, all while following the onboard sat-nav. At last we were parked without incident. It had been a fun day, but we decided we maybe didn't want to do a Big American Road Trip after all...at least, not on that bike.

Alice's Restaurant

< Back | Forward >
Tags: ,

Comments

Ha!
Had to be done!
Excellent!
We were born, born to be wild!
Nice bike! We're a Harley family ourselves; mom's got her brother's (I think it's a '52, but don't remember exactly), rebuilt after his fatal accident, another 90's dresser, the trike my grandfather drove until 2011 (he rode nearly until he was hospitalized for heart failure) and the 1967 sidecar unit. They're a good ride. I rode pillion on dad's 80 FLT dresser all the way to York, Maine (900 miles from their house) and lemme tell you, I had no butt. LOL!

There's nothing like a Harley's engine sound - the newer ones are quieter, though.
Yeah, I was surprised by how quiet this one was, though you could still feel it :)

That sounds like a fantastic stable, especially the sidecar outfit.
I'm told you can get anything you want there, excepting Alice. Speaking of which, did you try to claim the place for your own?

-The Gneech
It turns out you can't get a souvenir T-shirt if the gas station next door is closed :(
The roads around Half Moon Bay, the Coastal Highway and Skyline Boulevard are amazingly fun to drive, are they not?! Utlah and I sampled their wares back in '09 when we had a shiny red Corvette (convertible of course!) to go play with on them :D
Oh, lovely!