RIDING SOUTH

ROUTES & LOOPS

Riding South
RIDING TO THE SOUTH IS ALWAYS A GOOD CHOICE
Great roads, well known destinations and it just gets better and better.
Your destinations include:
Santa Cruz
via Hwy 84, Alices restaurant, Hwy 35 and Hwy 9 - One Day out and back
Big Sur
via Santa Cruz and Monterey - At least two days - consider staying in Monterey or Carmel
Morro Bay
via Santa Cruz and Big Sur - Best done with three days or more
All three of the above destinations provide great riding, magnificent scenery and the perfect sample of the Pacific Coast.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is less than 80 miles from South San Francisco but there are numerous roads that are considered a must, you will need about three hours to get there. If you are doing an out and back, you can return via Hwy 1 - a section of the road best traveled toward the north for the best view of the coastal scenery.
  • Leave Eaglerider on I-280 North to Hwy 1 South. This leg is so you can see one of the few sections of Hwy 1 with cliffs overlooking beaches which you can see from the roadway.
  • Hwy 1 South through Pacifica, Rockaway Beach, Montera and Half Moon Bay all good stopping places. Sam's Chowder House near Half Moon Bay is worth the stop if you have time.
  • East on Hwy 84 - this leg takes you to Alice's Restaurant via one of the most unique and fun motorcycle roads in the area. Fine for all bikes, large and small. Challenging but not difficult, fun but not slow.  
  • Alices's Restaurant - famous gathering spot for motorcycles, sports cars and enthusiasts. Surrounded by curvy roads, it is the perfect destination for tourists and locals riding or driving a sporting vehicle.
  • Hwy 35 South to Four Corners and a right turn onto Hwy 9 South. Hwy 35 is a fairly fast paced road with nice sweepers and views overlooking the valleys. Hwy 9 is where it gets interesting. Constantly turning, with a little of everything but no difficult surprises. Just follow the signs to Santa Cruz. and stay alert 
Plan on about three - four hours to do this one way including your stops. I recommend getting gas at Alices just to keep the stress down. In general, there are very few services along California's curvy roads.

Once in Santa Cruz, plan on taking a stroll down the boardwalk before heading back on Hwy 1 North. There are shear cliffs several stories high that you can see for a few miles out as you approach. These views are legendary.

Monterey and Big Sur

The next logical stop and often on visitor's short list is Monterey which is large enough to include Carmel and Big Sur. Please note - 17 Mile Drive has been closed to motorcyclists for a few years so you will not be able to make that loop.

If you want to relax, shop, enjoy a nice and classy beach town, Carmel is the place for you. If you are more interested in riding and seeing the sights, I recommend going about 20 miles south of Big Sur. That will be far enough to see some of the best views along that section of Hwy 1 before it turns inland.

 The Monterey destination is more known for its sightseeing and things to do rather than the twisties It is also a major decision point because the next leg is a good three hours and practically demands an overnight in Cambria or Morro Bay rather than trying to do it is an out and back. The roads are too much fun, there is too much to see and there are no real options for bailing out so anything you do is an out and back unless you go to Cambria where you can cut across to Hwy 101 on a fun road I might add.

Morro Bay

If you have the time, Morro Bay is the choice. With this destination, you get a great ocean side town with all the shops and restaurants. Morro Bay has been established a long time so there is plenty to do and see. Along the way you have choice tourist spots like the Hearst Castle the Elephant Seals and a few quality restaurants. Plan on stopping for gas in Gorda - seemingly the only station between Big Sur and Cambria and the price - which can be double - reflects that. Not worth the stress to pass up getting at least a gallon - more if you like spirited riding Just south of Gorda is the best curvy section of Hwy 1. Most of Hwy 1, features curves that simply follow the coast line - hairpins, straights and a hodgepodge of increasing and decreasing radius turns with no real rhythm. South of Gorda is a different story. There you will find some of the best twisties bits you have ever ridden all while showing views of the pacific ocean and it magnificent cliffs. Worth the trip. - make that -adventure.
Here is a video that highlights the route to the south
Created by a customer - Tom Randles from Nashville TN who is also a TV Personality and a musician.
The video nails what awaits you.
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