Harley Davidson California Dreamin’ Road Trip

Picking up our new Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Day two started off with a quick continental breakfast and an Uber ride over to EagleRider Motorcycles in Hawthorne California. It was here that I would see my brand new Harley Davidson for the first time. My Dad, Troy, and I chose the popular Street Glide and John chose the Electra Glide. The 2017 Harley Davidson have a new for 2017, Milwaukee-Eight 107 cubic inch motor, 111 lbs torque, 45mpg and weigh-in at 830 lbs. Although very similar bikes, visually, the Electra Glide offers trunk space and a fixed fairing. These bikes are beautiful, thanks Ride Free and Harley Davidson! Check them out…

[metaslider id=”197″]

Once we figured out how to navigate the LA traffic, we set our sights on the Hollywood sign. While it was only a short 24 mile trip, it took well over an hour because of traffic. We rode the twists and turns and the up and downs of the Hollywood Hills neighborhood and that was an experience altogether. I’m going to be honest here, I almost laid my bike down at a steep corner at a stop sign. There was a police officer creeping around the corner and I wanted to make sure I came to a full stop because I didn’t want any trouble. Well, a hard lesson learned, it’s very hard to stop a 850lbs bike on a steep uphill and then make a 90 degree turn.

As we seemed to pop out of the Hollywood Hills neighborhood, we could see glimpses of the sign from afar through the houses and trees. Beautiful houses lined the streets and you could tell you were out of the city and this was the place to live if you have deep pockets. Seeing the sign made me feel like I had officially arrived in LA. In the end it was worth fighting traffic because I believe everybody needs to see it at least once, it’s pretty cool and the park we were sitting in was a great change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the LA streets. The sign is iconic and I’ve seen it in so many movies and TV shows, I had to see it in person.

It was afternoon now and temperatures reached close to 110* F and in the LA traffic heading north, we started to become fatigued and exhausted very quickly. Not only did we have about 250 miles more to go today, but we were also out of water already.  We had to stop on the side of the road to catch our breath and make sure our luggage did not come loose on the back of the bikes.

There was a car broken down near us and it was overheating underneath the California sun. A pickup truck pulled up behind them to give them a lift and we felt like we had to ask them for water but felt embarrassed in doing so. Who doesn’t bring water riding through the California hills in late August?It was a very hot and quick stop but we needed to get back on the road for our next stop at the Teller-Morrow Son’s of Anarchy garage. If you are not familiar with the show and are a fan of motorcycles, it’s a must watch drama and action packed TV series on FX. Purchase the whole series HERE.

After the guys in the pickup truck gave us some water and we re-packed our bags, we were ready to hit the road again. The famous Highway 5 was a beautiful ride despite the hot temps. Up and down the hills we rode, finally free of the LA traffic and heading straight north. A quick rain shower brought some relief from the heat and felt really good.

I want to take a second and point out how crucial our Sena bluetooth headsets were on the entirety of this trip. You can find them on Amazon, right HERE. Troy and I each had a headset so we could communicate while riding. The unit sits on the outside of our helmet with a microphone and speakers situated comfortably inside the helmet. When one of us was navigating the other would use the headset to relay the information to the other person. Basically, they were built-in walkie talkies.

As the sun was starting to set on Day two we got closer and closer to our destination of Oakhurst California. We reached town a couple of hours after nightfall and grabbed some ice cream at a local McDonald’s before heading to our hotel and checking in at Yosemite Sierra Inn.


Thursday Aug 31st 2017: Ride towards Yosemite, first stop at Hollywood sign and the Teller-Morrow Garage. Destination – Yosemite Sierra Inn, Oakhurst, CA

Miles Traveled: 285miles/5.5hrs 

Map Route: https://goo.gl/BeFXV2

Trip Total: $775.29

Yosemite National Park Record-Breaking Fires

Waking up at the crack of dawn, opening up the hotel door and looking straight out into the mountains is a thing of beauty. As ash filled the dense air we had our sights set on Yosemite National Park. We quickly grabbed some breakfast from the hotel lobby and packed our bikes to hit the road. But, before we left I was able to get some great photos and drone footage. Check it out in the vlog video at the bottom of this page.

As we left Yosemite Sierra Inn, we headed up the winding roads north of the city. Yosemite National Park was only about 15miles from our hotel and we planned it that way so we could be one of the first to enter. Since we were traveling by motorcycle it was going to cost us $20 per bike to enter. However, about seven miles north of our hotel, the road was shut down because of wildfires in the area. Not the news we wanted to start off our day.

Before heading into our hotel the night before we noticed ask and dust on our bikes in the hotel parking lot. We figured this was from a local campfire or a small fire. Boy, were we wrong! Turns out that this part of the state was having some of the most intense and widespread fires in history. To be honest, we should’ve known better because on our ride up the mountain it was hard to see, breathe and function riding through the mountains, ash and smoke-filled the air. Once we hit the point in the road where police officers and the roadblock were closing the road, we were forced to turn around.

We were greeted by a local and inquired about what was going on and how we could still make a trip to Yosemite. They were very informative and it was nice of them to grab this photo of us (see below). However, we learned that a trip to Yosemite just wasn’t feasible going an alternative route. The alternative route would’ve taken us over two hours and we just wouldn’t have the time to make up that ground. It was some very sad news at the time as this was one of the big highlights of the trip.

As we backed tracked down the mountain a little and through the valley’s the ride was as beautiful as ever. It’s hard to complain that we didn’t get to Yosemite when your’e on vacation and riding a motorcycle through great scenery like in California. As Oakhurst was fading in our rear view, mirror we headed northwest up route 49 to see what we could find. We followed route 49 about an hour to a little town called Mariposa. With only a population of about 2,000 people this small town had a lot of character. The main street was loaded with places to shop, eat, drink and sightsee. It made for a great place to take out the drone and make camera and get some great shots. We spent about 45minutes looking around and seeing what the town had to offer.

At this point we were still full from breakfast so we weren’t quite ready for lunch yet. We threw our leg over our bikes and we hit the road again. We headed west out of Mariposa on Route 104 and then merged onto Route 99. We were miles and miles away from Yosemite but you could still see the burned down fields, houses and businesses long after we left. I had never seen anything like it before. Thousands of acres burnt down to the ground, blackness all around.

After riding for a couple of hours it was time to stop for lunch and see what the next town had in store. The next town, Modesto, was a lot bigger than the last. Population here hovers around 210,000 people. We drove up and down the local city streets for a little bit to find an appealing place to east. We noticed a sports bar and grill on the corner that looked promising so we circled the block a few times looking for parking.

The place was called “The Fox Pub” and it had one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I have ever had. Most importantly though, it had very cold air conditioning! Let’s not forget, the weather has been hovering around 100 degrees for the past three days and with all the motorcycle gear on and the heavy bikes, we were always drenched in sweat. You could probably imagine how good a cold beer tasted. I think what kept us going was the motivation to travel and see as much as we could. I highly recommend these heat out shirts. When they are moist, they have activated technology that helps keep you cool. In this heat, these were paramount.

With our stomachs full and our bodies cool, we rode northwest on 99 with our sights on Oakland. We took 99 north to Route 120, which turned into 5, which turned into 205, which turned into Route 580. Along the way we saw a lot of golden hills and highway ride time, not the most scenic part of our trip. I did enjoy the fields of Windmills and the 80mph average speed that kept us cool.

For most of the trip I had my full face helmet on. EagleRider offered us brain bucket helmets but I kept it on my luggage rack. I wore the full face helmet for a couple of reasons. The helmet kept my face out of the sun, which kept me cooler. It has the bluetooth headset so I could talk to Troy and whisper sweet nothings in his ear. Just kidding, we were mostly cracking jokes, navigating and bitching about how hot outside is was. And lastly, I felt more comfortable and safer with my full face helmet on navigating roads, cities and highways I was unfamiliar with.

By the time we reached Oakland California a couple of hours later we were so exhaust and tired of sitting in traffic. Frustration led us to pull off on a side street in a suburb of Oakland to take a breather. We had no idea where we were and what neighborhood we were in, Oakland can be a bad place to get lost…

We sat on the curb for a few minutes, some of us even laying down on the grass to close our eyes in such a way that we were thankful to have come this far and get here safely. The neighborhood seemed to be safe so we started to plan the rest of our day and night. We needed to find a place to stay for the night and we know we needed to eat as well. The thing about riding on a motorcycle is, you can’t do a quick Google search at a stoplight or while you’re driving. In fact, please never text and drive!

Talks about where to stay and dinner plans became a hard task at the moment. We were out of water and food. Honestly, I think we were starting to become a little delusional at the moment. John became a little rambunctious and out of desperation went up to a house we parked in front of to use the hose. I quickly followed and didn’t think twice about it.

All four of us were now surrounding the faucet like we had never seen or tasted water before.

After a quick French bath under the hose we were approach from across the yard by a neighbor…

The neighbor’s house was owned by a lovely lady named Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn knew the house we were at and offered us some water, ice cubes and to come inside her house for a few minutes. We were blown away by her generous gesture and even hesitated at first. We did not want to be a burden for anybody but I think she could tell that we were exhausted by the looks on our faces and our body language. After what seemed like a gallon of water and a thousand ice cubes later, we started calling around to book a hotel. We found a Fairfield Inn & Suites in San Mateo, California for around $130. SOLD! Fifteen to twenty minutes later we felt refreshed and ready to head back out on our journey.

We headed south from the suburbs of Oakland, past the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and Oracle Arena where the Raiders and Golden State Warriors play. Then, we crossed the famous San Mateo–Hayward Bridge (commonly called the San Mateo Bridge). The bridge connects the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. We had a beautiful view riding over the bridge and it was our first taste of the ocean. We knew we were finally getting closer to the coast.

Once we took an exit right off the bridge, our hotel for the night was just a short few miles. The front desk had freshly squeezed lemon water and we were trying not to look like slobs as Troy and I drank half of the container. We finished checking in and got to our room to throw on our bathing suits to hit the pool. For the first time on our trip, we were truly relaxing poolside while taking in the sunset.

After a relaxing evening down by the pool it was time to find a unique place to eat. There were many chain restaurants surrounding the hotel but I wanted something different, I’m a bit of a foodie. Troy and I searched google maps and we noticed San Jose was not that far away and we thought why not cross off another city on our trip. John and my dad decided to stay back at the hotel and get some extra shut-eye so Troy and I made the 60 mile round trip. Driving at night was a different experience. It’s hard to see and we didn’t know where we were going so we relied heavily on our phones again for GPS. The route was mostly highway but the one way streets in the small city were a little confusing when trying to find parking. We were lucky to grab a spot and found a great Mexican restaurant to eat at called Mezcal.

The food was fresh, hot and very tasty. I loved the atmosphere, decor and the waiting staff. We got a table pretty quickly and decided to go all out and order the fresh-to-made table side guacamole dish. Say that five times fast. Just look at it… mmm tacos


Thursday Aug 31th 2017: Tried to explore Yosemite National Park but wildfires stopped us dead in our tracks. Headed towards Oakland and stopped in Mariposo and Modesto. Arrived in San Mateo. Went to dinner in San Jose.

Miles Traveled276miles/7hrs

Trip Total: $807.79

Map Route: https://goo.gl/maps/D1QTfwj96jR2

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