The guys from www.motorcyclehouse.com sent me this article to share on my blog. Since I have never had the opportunity to ride through the Carmel Valley, I thought I would share it since it looks like a wonderful ride. You also may want to take a moment and visit their site. I have not yet purchased anything from them, but it is yet another good source for motorcycle products.
A couple of years ago when I was in college I rode from Southern California to visit a friend in San Francisco with a cousin. If any of you have done this ride you know it can be two different rides. If you’ve taken Interstate 5 northbound you’ve come to find out that it is a very boring ride, mainly because there isn’t many turns on your drive up there and there isn’t much to look at either. Your other options would be to take the Pacific Coast Highway 1 or the 101, all the way up, but you’re looking to add at least another hour to your ride in order to trade off the beautiful views and sweeping curves all the way up to San Francisco. Highway 101 is more interesting to drive than Interstate 5 but nothing close to the views you’ll come across on PCH.
On the way up, we say up if you’re from the Los Angeles area, my cousin and I took the fastest route, Interstate 5, because we were only going to be there for 2 days and wanted to maximize our time there on the Friday we were leaving. We left at 4 AM and got there soon after 10AM. The weekend was fun and we took lots of tourist type pictures. It was the first time either of us had visited San Francisco so naturally we went to as many tourist locations we would find, but I digress this article isn’t about San Francisco. This article is about the ride back and our ride through the Carmel Valley Road.
On the way back we figured we could ride down PCH and take in the scenery. Anyone who has ridden on PCH knows that it’s a picturesque road and its views are second to none. Not long after we took this particular ride we realized it was going to take us a lot longer than we would’ve liked to ride all the way down PCH. What normally would take 6 hours on Interstate 5 could easily take 7 on the 101 and even more on PCH depending on the traffic. Right as we hit the Monterrey Peninsula we stopped for a bite to eat at the coastal town of Carmel. Carmel is a beautiful town with beautiful views of the coast, they have many wineries located nearby and have the world famous Pebble Beach golf course just a few miles North West. After eating our wonderful dinner, my cousin and I looked at our GPS and saw that the only road connecting PCH and the 101 was just up ahead. We liked the fact that it drove right up through the hills and that was just what we wanted to ride before we got on highway 101. The road starts through the town, goes past a few wineries and quickly rises above it all and into the hills. The road continues to meander eastbound right along the Carmel River Trees surround you on both sides and suddenly your headlights are the only lights on the road. Our GPS said it was roughly a 35+ mile ride from PCH to the 101 which we figured would take about the same in minutes given a steady speed but boy were we wrong. Maybe 10 minutes after driving up the hills of Carmel we noticed that the houses quickly diminished and the darkness of nightfall completely surrounded us. Our average speed dropped to about 20 miles per hour because the road had a lot of turns. In addition, the road wasn’t paved all the way through and at times we were riding on dirt. Furthermore, at points trees covered both sides and were tall enough that even little moon light came through leaving us only to our headlights. I must admit, I think I had my high beams on all the way through this road. Ultimately it took us about 90 minutes to go through the road and finally reach the 101 on the other end. The total amount of other vehicles we saw during that stretch of road? Two. I cannot stress enough how much fun it was to ride through this road, even if at times I wasn’t sure I what was ahead of the next turn. Over the years I’ve become an ATGATT type of guy and always wear my gear; DOT approved helmet, leather jacket, boots and gloves. The views, from when there was enough sunlight, were stupendous and I’ve been longing to come back for more.
I have not been back to Carmel Valley Road since that night in late early ’04 and I’m sure the road conditions have improved but it certainly was one of those rides that I’ll never forget. I can still remember driving up Carmel Valley Road and seeing the small town and lights get smaller and smaller and I would love to ride back through it again, given this time around I’ll make sure to ride through it earlier in the day so I can see a little better.
About the author:
Lucas Lincoln enjoys reading and writing about sports, speed, fast cars and motorcycles, safety, and music along with many other interesting daily topics. Furthermore Lucas has been riding for over 6 years and currently rides a 2005 Honda 919.