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California - 29th July 2010

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The three-day trip pt2 - near SLO to near Santa Cruz via Hwy 1.

Holly had given us a good lead for where to grab a decent lunch, at a place called Robin's in Cambria, not far up the road. But before we set off onto Hwy 1 we went a few miles through some eucalyptus woods to a very scenic beach. Kristin said she always stops here to pick up 'stones with holes in' - but finding a couple wasn't that quick and easy, perhaps she'd taken most of them on previous outings. Note to self - they are still in my scooter-bag!

We got to Cambria just on 11:00, and walked through the door of the restaurant just as it had been unlocked. A very friendly welcome, and the food was first class, truly excellent, not cheap, but very good value. One I can definitely recommend: Robin's Restaurant

On we go along Hwy 1, and we spot an "Elephant Seal Viewing Point" - so naturally we stopped off to glimpse these huge animals cavorting in the water - lovely.

Having had the obligatory swig of water and a ciggie we headed north again, and the road started to get really interesting. A few miles further on I noticed to my horror that the fuel light had been on for some miles - oops, I'd forgotten to re-fuel in Cambria, now nineteen miles behind us. Never mind, the road was a good one and worth re-riding, plus we'd spy the elephants seals again. So this day's journey got extended by 38 miles... Of course, just after we re-passed the point where I'd noticed the lack of fuel, we passed Ragged Point, with a 'Gas' sign. I spotted no pumps though, and it would have been even more expensive than Cambria (which wasn't cheap in US terms).

Super roads unrolled and swooped around the coast-line. There were some very frustrating drivers who didn't notice a queue of impatient cars behind - but there seemed to be regular road-works along the way, so we'd get to the front of each queue at the lights and then have a clear road ahead. Inevitably we'd catch up with a slow motorhome, but by ignoring the funny yellow stuff in the middle of the road some great fun overtakes were made, mostly on tight left-handers. Getting the timing just right doing one of these is one of the best things about riding. :)

It got pretty cold as well, and we were very glad to get to Carmel, which was dripping money from every pore, chock-full of poseurs. Frankly, a bit of a shit-hole for the occasional visitor - I bet there are good bits, but it seemed a 'chocolate-box' sort of town. Finding an ordinary-joe type of coffee establishment was surprisingly difficult, but we did find one and warmed ourselves with hot drinks.

The next leg up to Gay-Ann's was jammed in places - but I pretended I was in London and got around most of the traffic just fine, keeping a sharp eye out for LEOs as I was doing what was safe at the time, not what the dumb, static, blind and so ignored road-markings tried to insist was acceptable.

At last we arrived in Aptos - that extra 38 miles meant we were more tired than we'd expected, so it was with huge delight and relief that we stopped outside Gay-Ann's house to be greeted by the lovely lady herself who had been busy in her front garden. :D

Did we want to park inside the garage? No, it would be churlish to evict any one of these much loved steeds. :)

A delightful evening followed - including a much needed walk (yes, even I need to stretch legs occasionally!) to the curry-place nearby. A very different menu to a Brit curry-house, and what they labelled as 'spicey' was just - tasty. ;)

Thank-you Gay-Ann for your superb hospitality, your open friendship with a refreshingly honest and direct approach to life - plus you are a rider I can instinctively trust - you rock girl!

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© Jim Crowther and Kristin Gallagher 2010