Harley Davidson California Dreamin’ Road Trip

The Golden Gate Bridge & Sleeping at a Gas Station

Ah, Day 4, Day 4 was a roller-coaster of emotions. Let’s jump into the good part where we visit one of the highlights of our trip, The Golden Gate Bridge!

We left the Fairfield Inn & Suites early Saturday morning and started heading to San Francisco. The town was amazing and I will be back, you can count on that. The streets are full of bright houses, character, parks and steep-sloped streets. San Francisco covers an area of about 46.89 square miles and has a 2017 census-estimated population of 884,363.

As we took the last turn on Veterans Blvd into the Welcome Center to park our bikes, I was stunned. This wonder of the world was spectacular, I could not believe my eyes. Seeing the bridge in person is a thing of beauty. It really makes you think how smart we are as human beings. It is not known how many workers worked on the bridge but it was engineered by 11 different contractors.

Just like the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge is something you absolutely must experience in person. Pictures and videos do not do it justice. It is HUGE and at over one mile long, it better be a clear day or you can’t see the other side. The morning was beautiful and we could see the bridge stretch across the Pacific to the other side in Marnin County. Check out some of the photos below that I was able to grab.

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We spent a good 45min or so at the bridge but we could’ve stayed a lot longer if we had more time. I wish we would’ve been able to go across the bridge or see it from a different angle but we had to keep moving if we were going to head down the coast today. We left the Golden Gate Bridge and made our way to Pier 47, navigating the hilly streets and trying to take in all the city had to offer.

Next up on our tour was Lombard street. This famous steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns stretches from The Presidio east to The Embarcadero. This one block section lays claim to be “the crookedest street in the world”. It is a major tourist attraction, receiving around two million visitors per year and up to 17,000 per day on busy summer weekend. The street lives up to its name and it was crowded, even in the morning. We stopped to marvel at it from the top and then we walked down to the bottom. But, not before we watched John take his bike down it. What a cool experience for him and I’m glad one of us was able to accomplish this.

People watching here was at its finest, it kept us entertained for a while.

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As mid-morning turned into late morning, we had to head to our next “Tour de’ San Fransisco” location, Pier 47 & Hyde Street Pier. Hyde Street Pier was full of sail boats and ship, most notably the ship C.A. Thayer. C.A. Thayer is a schooner built in 1895 near Eureka, California. The boat is 219′ and is gorgeous. Take a look!

Jefferson St near Hyde Street Pier had a bunch of gift shops and I bought a snapback and a few shot glasses. We took a minute to stroll down the street and then back up to Ghirardelli Square to grab some of their renowned ice cream sundae’s and chocolate. The sundae was expensive but we were on vacation and price didn’t matter. But, if you’re taking a family of five, I would suggest hiding the kids eyes while passing this place, each sundae is between $10-$16 on average but man was it good.

If I knew what was in store for us the rest of the day, I would’ve bought a second ice cream at Ghirardelli’s because the trip took a quick downward turn afterwards. Once we finished eating we started planning our route south down Pacific Coast Highway. We noticed that there were road closures and had to re-route.

Before the trip we knew there was at least one road closure because of a big landslide in May of 2017 near Big Sur. The landslide buried PCH under 40 feet of dirt and rock. So, because of our time constraints and road closures we were forced to miss over 50% of State Route 1. This is where our nightmare first started.

The plan was to ride PCH through Santa Cruz and past Monterey Bay to the Bixby Creek bridge and then backtrack to Highway 101. Since we were now out of San Fran, we thought getting a hotel somewhere down the road later tonight would be no problem, so we didn’t worry about it. On our way down to Santa Cruz there was a very cool high-speed section of Route 17 that zigzags back and forth, great twisties for riding.

However, fighting traffic and heat (temperatures were hovering around 115 degrees) it got so bad that we had to stop and take a break. Our hands and legs were cramping and we were drenched in sweat and tears (just kidding about the tears part but we really wanted to see PCH and the Bixby bridge!). For the first time on our trip we decided to lane split. If you’re not familiar with the term, lane splitting is the process of splitting the lanes in between cars so you can skip out on traffic and head to the front of the line. This is perfectly legal in California but not in many states. It was very scary at first but it helped preserve our energy. Secretively, I would like to admit it was quite fun but nerve wrecking and adrenaline pumping at the same time…

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