In 2007, I went to the Adobe Institute in San Francisco. It was my first year for the event and as an Adobe Education Leader (AEL). It was overwhelming, fun, educational and I met some of the smartest people I’ve ever known. At that time, it was still limited to just a bit over 100 K-12 teachers globally. I was very privileged and honored to be selected to this group for eleven years in a row. It took weeks to absorb all I had seen, but then I looked around the area.
In 2008, before booking my flight, I looked around the area to see if I could rent a motorcycle and ride the Pacific Coast Highway a little. I found California Motorcycle Adventures (CMA) and met Scott and Ilene for the first time. A mom-and-pop performance garage that rented bikes, too. So, I popped in there and rented my first of many bikes from CMA for one day before my Adobe event. I had hoped to go farther up the coast, but I had enough excitement riding up on the first day. On my return day, I came down US101 and then rode north on the PCH again. I was actually afraid to ride south in the lane next to the edge. I was hooked!
The next year, 2009, I talked a couple AELs into riding with me. This time, we went south. I let Rob talk me into an unplanned stop for 15 minutes that lasted over 90. I had warned him and we ended up doing Big Sur in dense fog after dark. It was an intense ride, to say the least. We split south of there as one went to visit his brother and Rob and I headed east. Later, Rob found a place he showed me the following year. It has since always been referred to as “Rob’s Place.” This was just a 3 day ride on a 2 day rental, but we explored some great areas.
In 2010 I promoted the ride within my Florida riding group. I ended up with several people riding with me this time. We went to Point Arena, cut across Mountain View Road, rode to Sacramento on US 50 to Lake Tahoe. US 50 is fantastic, but the traffic jams took it off my list on that stretch. Coming into Tahoe was spectacular. The next day we went out the south end of Tahoe and connected with CA-89. It was an unexpected surprise as we reached the top only to see snow-capped mountains about 50 miles away with a thunderstorm coming over them. Amazing! We rode down to US395 and at Lee Vining, cut into Yosemite National Park. It is amazing and lead to future visits as well. Before the end of the day, we followed the Merced River to Merced for the night. The next day we went across the mountains and returned the bikes with great photos and great stories. We’re all hooked now.
In 2011 I thought we should try riding south again. This time I had discovered a new road to try: Nacimiento-Ferguson. One friend on the ride has lived in California all his life. He had been riding motorcycle everywhere and did not know about this hidden treasure. OMG! What a ride!!!! We then spent a night in Bakersfield before discovering a great canyon leading to Lake Isabel. We rode through the Sequoia National Forest and more amazing roads. Finishing up back in Merced again, we finished our trip for another year with more photos and more great stories. This year had more video-based projects with Go-Pro becoming popular.
2012 lead us north again, but the first day became an adventure we would repeat as often as we could. Rob had noticed a road on the map he wanted to try; La Honda. He missed the turn, flipped us around and accidentally went onto Old La Honda. What an awesome road. We have planned ride starts specifically to do that road since then. After getting north on the PCH and spending a night, I had better planning experiences for the new riders. Day one was fantastic and every day after that was better. We went to Tahoe again. On one day the had three top-of-the-world experiences with Kingsbury Grade, CA-29 and Yosemite from the east entrance. It was one of the best years of riding.
That’s a lot of riding, but there’s obviously a part two here.