October in southern California gives us some of the best riding weather of the year. North of Santa Barbara, the region holds treasure. In the valleys, grapevines and kale, lettuce, Brussel sprouts and cabbage flourish in the warm, sunny fields.
The surrounding mountains hold another type of treasure; their valleys and ridges are embraced by myriad convoluted roads that take you from chilly pools of night air not yet warmed by the sun, then you round a corner into brilliant sunlight and warmth.
Even the fall air is a treat; as the day heats up, tones of buckwheat and dried yarrow add a sweet tinge to the organic edge of rich compost and manure, with a subtle note of the faint, delicious perfume of the numerous live oaks studding the golden hills, the grass cover dried to the golden fawn of a lion's pelt.
The days are getting shorter. When the sun goes down, the crisp bite of fall is readily and deeply felt by those outdoors, and pumpkin patches remind you that Christmas decorations will be going up soon.
But for now, mild days and the twisties call. You get good use out of your bottom three gears, I like rolling it around a hairpin turn in second, then yanking it out into the next one. And you know what? Cars pull over to let groups of motorcyclists pass! What kind of magic place is this?
When the ride is over, there's wine tasting. We took a cab, because wine tasting and motorcycles don't mix. The cab went over another tasty route with lots of scenery and tight turns. We'll save that one for next time.
“We” were the Riderz Law team. Bloggers, employees and the founder of Riderz Law met up in the middle of California to accommodate Norcal and Socal. A nice little riding party spent the weekend enjoying central California's delicious bounty of roads, scenery and camaraderie. Scenery so beautiful it breaks your heart. Roads so tasty you could eat them with a spoon. Other motorcyclists got a later start than us. (We did not get an early start, but they were later than us.) Clear roads with nearly no traffic on a Saturday at 10:00 am.
All good things must end, alas. Too soon, the Socal contingent was back on the road heading south. There was one more delight the region had to show us. As we rounded the bend headed into Santa Barbara, the ocean came into sight, calm, placid and glittering; just throwing off her fluffy coverlet of fog to display the splendor of her silver and blue water. As the sun rose and the haze burned off, hints of purple and green appear, adding to the glorious beauty of the Pacific Ocean.
We were back in the stink and concrete of Los Angeles, then transitioned over to I-5 and home.
One by one the coastal towns are behind us until we're close to home.
Once you're off the bike, it's like you have to get your land legs. You might feel a little phantom vibration for a while, even when your Barca-Lounger's vibrator is set to 'off.' The final push is unpacking and putting everything away. You really don't want to do that after a 5 hour and change ride, but unless you've got a helper monkey, ain't nobody going to do it for you.
I highly recommend exploring the Santa Barbara region. I'm sure you'll find some sweet roads, good wine, and more fun than a ton on a bun. What kind of a magic place is this?
I could tell you where we went, but then I'd have to kill you.