By Marissa Baecker
Since the idea was first tossed around, I have been running about like Martin Short portraying Ed Grimley, “I’m so excited!”
What am I talking about? An invitation extended to me by Ducati North America to ride the California Coast from Los Angeles to the MotoGP at the Laguna Seca raceway in Monterey, California.
This was more adventure packed into one weekend than I could possibly have imagined and a most excellent adventure it would be! Upon arrival in LA, I was provided a 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada and a personal GPS, affectionately known to those close to him, as ‘Haas’, who was riding a 2013 Ducati Multistrada, and would take us out of LA traffic and onto the Pacific Coast Highway where we would begin an epic 330 mile trip along the coastline of California including an overnighter in Morro Bay.
The weather can be deceiving in that neck of the woods. Leaving LA it was hot and sunny but by the first vista look out, an evening wind was pulling a few knots from the West and we were experiencing significant drift on the bikes. The sun began setting closer to Morro Bay as an eerie coastal mist literally began rolling across the ocean inland bringing with it a to-the-bone chill that outlined our leathers with dew.
The Estero Inn in Morro Bay is as quaint and romantic as the town itself and offers some of the softest beds I have ever sunken by tired riding body into. The rooms are spacious, the bathtubs are big (not that I sat in a hot bath with a pizza after checking in), and Rick, the hotel manager, makes that extra effort and attention to detail that really makes a difference.
He was reading a book called ‘Toilet Paper Origami’ at the front desk and I kind of chuckled under my breathe because I expected the usual paper fan on my TP but what I got was a towel swan on my bed, clam shell tissues and an entire marina of the toilet paper rolls. I ran to Hass’ room where he was mid debate about what to do with the towel elephant at the foot of his bed because it was freaking him out.
There is nothing like waking up to sound of an active marina unless you haven’t had much sleep because the resident sea lions quarreled through the night. I woke to the squawk of sea gulls, and opened the blinds to a marina full of sail and tug boats nestled in a bay wrapped by beautiful sandy beach, marked with a gigantic rock waiting to be discovered when the tide allowed and that eerie mist hanging overhead.
This sleepy seaside hollow goes to bed early – around 10 p.m. – everything shuts down. It is equally surprising that strolling the street 8 a.m. did not result in ample choice of breakfast nooks as the seaside marina dwellers are not early risers.
Riding up the hill and out of Morro Bay, the mist had not yet rolled back out to the ocean and that damp chill was lingering. Friday – the beginning of the weekend race experience and a highway littered with every type of motorcycle imaginable so much so that vehicles were out-numbered at the gas pumps by bikes in several locations.
One of my favourite things about being on the road is looking at the all the oddities each town brings. Approaching Cambria for example, stands a sign that says Nit Wit Ridge – a place I have mentally noted needs to be explored.
At each pit stop, Haas had calls to return, emails to answer etc. so I was left to my own devices and I did what I apparently do best – talked – to anyone and everyone who was willing or made eye contact. This skill comes in handy for many reasons but the main one Haas pointed out was that I was easy to find as he simply had to look for a crowd of people. All types of bikes, people from all over the globe and we all shared one common goal – EPIC RACE WEEKEND! I even ran into someone from my hometown at a rest stop in Big Sur where I attempted to auction off access to the ladies room from the men’s room line-up to the highest bidder.
I must say that the drivers in California are fabulous. They are aware of motorcycles on the road; they check for bikes and with the lane splitting laws, they actually move over to allow the bikes to ride up the middle – a perk we utilized when traffic outside of Monterey became gridlock as everyone descended for the weekend of speed, sprockets and style.
Stay tuned for Part II of WWW – MotoGP