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Day 12
June 16th, 2004
Redwood City, California


The Bixby Bridge was calling my name and I was on my way.  I took the 280 down to SR 85 and hooked up with SR 1.
The ride south was uneventful.  Just traffic.  Always traffic in the Bay Area. 

I stopped for a donut in Santa Cruz.  The weather was cloudy but at least it wasn't foggy.  I had timed my departure to give the sun time to burn off the morning fog that is common in this area.  

Carmel is choked down as usual, but I made it through and went to SR 1.  When I cleared the city the sun broke out and the riding was good.
The Pacific Coast Highway is an American treasure, and the 20 or so miles from here down to Big Sur are its best.  As the highway followed the coastline I leaned and carved the unloaded 13 much better.  She felt quick to heel over and a snap to bring up.
I will let the pictures tell the rest of my story.  The day was perfect. Here you go:





























A cool breeze snapped through the trees as I took this picture at the first overlook south of Carmel.  Ocean spray tingled my nose, and the noise of the crashing surf on the rocks below sounded like a Super Bowl crowd.
























 
 
 
 
 
The Bixby Bridge in all its glory, spanning the canyon and cliffs with regal majesty.  It may not be the longest, or the highest, but no bridge has curves guarding each end, causing a Long Ridge to lean the crossing.

After leaning and carving the coastline, and negotiating dangerous hills, the Long Rider is rewarded with with this view.  Here you see the Bixby from the south.  From this vista, Highway 1 descends down to the bridge for almost a mile, hugging the cliffs so tight, you easily scrape pegs all the way.  The challenge and scenery are unequaled.
The jagged, rocky, coast.  The water is pretty to look at, but way too cold to even think about swimming.  I was sitting on a rock when I captured this picture.  I had a good time just thinking about life in general, and how good it can be, and what I ever did to have it so great, I didn't know.
















 
 
 
 
 
A fog bank about to roll in on the Pacific Coast Highway as it rises in elevation just north of Big Sur.
 
 
I arrived in Big Sur and turned around in the Nepenthe parking lot and returned from whence I came.  Riding the PCH highway was once again a trip highlight.  It was great to leave the touring load behind, and take the highway unfettered.  

When I am surrounded by the beauty of Big Sur, I'm always reminded how small I am, and how wonderful life is.  I was on the way home after spending an entire day riding where most will never get the chance.  

On the way home I stopped for a late lunch at a McDonald's in Los Altos.  I only had chicken nuggets, we are cooking out tonight and I didn't want to spoil it.

Back at the Ryan's we gathered for the annual "welcome Guy BBQ."  It was great, and a lot of fun, and yes we were hurt by Dennis' absence.  He was noticeably missed.

In a case of good timing, Norma just received the check from the east coast FriendSTOC rally in West Virginia.  A gathering to honor 2 fallen riders, Dennis, and Garret Rinehart, who was killed when he lost control of his ST on a Illinois freeway.

Norma read the note sent with it by Craig Severson of Ohio.  An active and influential member of the ST and Honda family, and primary organizer of the WVA ride.  The attendees bided on various riding equipment raising almost 1,000 dollars for each family.  Not a dry eye was in the house when she read it choking back tears.  


















 
Norma and Tommy accepting a small token of how much
Dennis Ryan meant to STOC and the Honda family.  The money
will be applied for Tommy's education.

It was good to see many of my old friends again.  All of you know who you are. (Martin, Don and Joyce, R. Follen and Bob to name a few.)  When the BBQ was over it was off to bed.  I had a good day, Big Sur and the cookout.  I was at peace, and accepted the fact my friend Dennis and riding partner was gone, and I could no longer dwell on it.  It was time to think of him fondly and with love and go on. 

I was looking forward to my family's arrival thMartin, Don and Joyce, R. Follen and Bob to name a few.)  When the BBQ was over it was off to bed.  I had a good day, Big Sur and the cookout.  I was at peace, and accepted the fact my friend Dennis and riding partner was gone, and I could no longer dwell on it.  It was time to think of him fondly and with love and go on. 

I was looking forward to my family's arrival the next evening.

Next: homecoming in Calif.



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