Pacific Coast Highway recce tour: Part two.
The Pacific Coast Highway motorcycle tour is a once in a lifetime trip along the West Coast of the United States. Forget Route 66, this is riding in the States at its best. Starting in Portland Oregon you’ll ride the famed Pacific Coast Highway all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Explore the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the famed Avenue of the Giants featuring old-growth redwoods. South of San Francisco, go inland and tour through world famous Yosemite National Park and Sequioa National Park then across to Las Vegas for a trip out to the Grand Canyon. On your way back to Long Beach California cruise through Joshua Tree National Park and soak up the atmosphere of the South West in all its glory.
We have hand-selected gorgeous mountain, desert and coastal roads all the way from Portland, Oregon to Long Beach, California for you to ride on your choice of top specced rented motorcycles. Each night you stay in style in great hotels and local lodges and you are looked after the whole way by a Magellan guide as well as a support vehicle and driver.
The price you see is the price you pay. Unlike many other tour companies there are no additional costs for bike choice or levels of insurance, we include top tier CDW insurance to limit any liability to $1000, SLI third party cover of $1,000,000 and enrol all riders in a Global Rescue cover policy for the duration of the tour as part of the trip cost.
The second part of our Pacific Coast Highway recce tour kicked off with an amazing visit to San Fransisco where we indulged in some breath taking sightseeing. Our first stop was the incredible Haight-Ashbury, which is often considered to be the birthplace of hippie counter-culture. The beautiful pastel coloured houses and amazing shop facades are reminiscent of a sort of giant Camden market- and its certainly a place to cross off your bucket list. One of our Magellan team, Naomi, really got into the spirit of the place with both a piercing and a tattoo… but don’t worry, thats not mandatory!
We ended our San Fransisco adventure with the golden gate whale watching tour and saw the famous bridge from the water while on the lookout for some whales. We really felt like we were able to take in all the sights and sounds of San Fransisco, and you will too with a day off to explore, visit Alcatraz or just relax in the sun!
We joined the National Park Service Rangers & Docents for thematic guided walking tour around less-traveled areas of Alcatraz Island. Guided tours were offered throughout the day which generally start either at the dock or the lighthouse and involved walking moderate distances (a great opportunity to stretch your legs after a few days on the bikes!) . Topics included Famous Inmates, Escapes, Hollywood’s Rock, the Victorian Gardens, 200 Years of Alcatraz History, or Fortress Alcatraz, to name a few.
Next we rode down highway 1 to the redwood national park which has some of the oldest trees in the USA, they’re so incredibly tall and wide its almost unfathomable. We had to take a few touristy shots of Felix with his arms outstretched attempting to demonstrate just how wide the trees are, but anyone who has met him knows he is of rather small stature, so possibly not the best person to demonstrate!
After an amazing day riding the tree line roads from Stinson Beach to Miranda we stayed in a log cabin in the national park, which felt very ‘little house on the prairie’. To be able to sleep in the national park itself was a really magical experience, and something that will appeal to riders and pillions alike, so we’re really happy that this is something we’re able to offer on this Pacific Coast Highway Tour.
One of the highlights of this amazing ride was the Chandelier Tree in Leggett, California. This redwood tree is 276ft tall and 16ft wide, and has a 6ft x 6.9ft hole cut into it to allow it to be driven through- which is an amazingly surreal experience. This hole in the tree is believed to have been carved in the 1930s by Charlie Underwood. This ride is mandatory as an amazing photo opportunity- we can almost guarantee its going to be your Facebook profile photo when you get home! Who can say they have ridden THROUGH one of the tallest and widest trees in the USA?
We then rode along the avenue of the giants, which is a scenic highway in the North of California. We had plenty of opportunity to cruise and take in the sights of the forest. This highway is lined with trees that are almost a thousand years old, having survived floods, logging attempts and lightning strikes and still stand majestically, casting a cool shade over the road which is really welcome in the Californian heat. As we approached Weott we took a break to have a leisurely 1/2 mile self guided walk, as directed by a booklet we had picked up earlier. This walk gave us a great look at some of the oldest (and biggest) trees in the forest, including the founders tree and the 370ft tall Dyerville tree with fell down in 1991.
The next stop on our tour was Eureka, which is the biggest city between San Fransisco and Portland, and from there we took highway one up to Oregon. Highway one hugs the coast, through Santa Barbara’s wine country and past so many beautiful beaches. The road itself is 750 miles of astounding scenery and beautiful, if a little ‘knuckle whitening’ curves. Coos bay in Oregon was one of our stopping points along this highway, and its a city full of culture. From the museum to the boardwalk its the perfect stopping point for a rest and a wander, and some amazing food. We indulged in some amazing coastal food and a walk in the dunes before setting off again! Whilst driving along the coast we saw some beautiful lighthouses, although the rain meant we didn’t get any photos. Some of these included Pigeon Point, Hi Point Montara and Point Pinos, all of which provided some of the most spectacular views across the ocean and peaceful stopping places.
We rode on through Oregon along the coast, to the famous sea lion caves- *some* of us at Magellan have been frantically watching the webcams for weeks to work out the best time to see the most sea lions, which payed off perfectly. The caves are just north of Florence (no not that one-ha!) on highway 101. The ride along route 101 was extraordinary, again closely hugging the coast. When we visited we decided to pay the fourteen dollars to take the lift down 200ft to the lichen covered caves, and its so amazing to see the giant sea lions (and their pups) in their natural environment. We saw roughly 250 sea lions all piled on top of each other like puppies, and it was breath taking.
We passed the Tillamook cheese factory. My only advice would go to go hungry if you pop in! We gorged ourselves on cheese samples and free ice-cream (the marionberry was the best in my humble opinion), and had some of the most incredible burgers I have ever eaten. We also got to watch the cheese being made, and watch the assembly line, which was really interesting. They’re currently remodelling but by our September tour their brand new visitor’s centre will be open- which i’m really excited to see.
Fort Clatsop in Astoria was our next stop, to see the winter encampment of Lewis and Clark. They were the first settlers to explore the Western part of the United States in 1803. This expedition was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson to establish an American presence before British or European settlers began to explore the new territories acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. The Fort was such an amazing taste of American history, the staff were knowledgable and friendly and it was an amazing learning experience. After this we rode into the city of Astoria and stayed in an amazing hotel right on the bay. We saw the Astoria-Megler bridge which is close to five miles long and spans the distance between Oregon and Washington. The next morning we visited the goonies house, and the famous cape disappointment just over the river.
The final stop on our tour was Portland, which was somewhere I was incredibly excited for having binge-watched all eight seasons of Portlandia! We indulged in some amazing craft beer and hipster food and most of all a decent rest after such an incredible recce tour.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the second half of this recce tour, feel free to head to the blog and check out part one, and if you fancy joining us in September there are still a few spots up for grabs :0)