Home > California Motorcycle Rides

California Motorcycle Rides

Riding the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway in Northern California

State of Jefferson Scenic Byway

If you have traveled Interstate 5 between Oregon and California, you’ve probably seen one end of the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway. Eleven miles south of the Oregon-California border, I-5 drops into a wide valley where the Interstate crosses the Klamath River. As I-5 climbs out of the valley heading south, you can catch glimpses of a twisty two-lane road following ...

Read More »

Unexpected Serenity in Southern California

cover

Is there any scenic countryside left for motorcyclists in the urban sprawl of Southern California? Actually there is, and it’s surprisingly close to the densely populated areas of San Diego County and amazingly diverse in climate, altitude and scenery. Starting off early on a weekday from my house in Escondido, 30 miles north of San Diego, it’s a quick jump onto ...

Read More »

Favorite Ride: Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway

Colorful fall trees displaying their beauty around Twin Lakes.

Most people ride U.S. Route 395 in California just to get from point A to point B, but wandering off the highway reveals numerous, rarely visited geologic and historic sites as well as seldom seen canyons with enjoyable winding roads and striking beauty. This journey seeks all of that in addition to a rare California sight: fall colors. Finding fall ...

Read More »

Chasing Shakespeare: An Elizabethan Tour of the American West

IMG_2130---Oregon

The Plan “…then begins a journey in my head…” (Sonnet 27) Bourbon and conversation, biscuits and gravy, movies and popcorn–some things just seem to go together. Having always enjoyed a good pairing of my favorite things, I conjure up a plan to unite two seemingly disparate personal obsessions into one fine journey. It’ll be a comingling of Shakespeare and motorcycles. ...

Read More »

Twisty Roads and Redwoods in Northern California

Route 36 through the coastal mountains. (Photos by the author)

On a warm summer morning, my wife and I departed on a four-day trip that would take us on some of the finest motorcycle roads in Northern California, most notably State Route 36 with its 140 miles of continuous twists and turns. Riding north from Sonoma County on U.S. Route 101 to its junction with State Route 128, we followed the ...

Read More »

Circling the Sierra: A Three-State Ride Around Snow-Covered Mountains

Circling the Sierra: A Three-State Ride Around Snow-Covered Mountains

Itching for a Northern California adventure, my longtime riding partner, Patrick, and I mull over the possibilities. It’s too early in the season for the Sierra Nevada, which are still covered in serious white stuff. How about skirting serious elevation by heading east into Nevada, then north into Southern Oregon and taking a coastal path home? We leave Los Angeles ...

Read More »

The Salton Sea: The Strange Beauty of the Post-Apocalypse

web-DSCF4155

“Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation.” That was how astronaut Buzz Aldrin described what he saw as he left his famous boot prints on the moon’s surface. I am compelled to repeat those sparse, succinct words as I leave my decidedly un-famous Sidi boot prints on the beach of the Salton Sea. I have always enjoyed exploring places that combine raw, natural ...

Read More »

A Short History of California's Cuesta Pass on U.S. 101

web-IMG_4350

I imagine we all have a lot of favorite roads. One of mine is very short. About three miles long, ascending, or descending, a thousand feet along the west side of Cuesta Canyon, just north of San Luis Obispo, California. It’s dirt, one-lane, built in the 1870s and minimally maintained. The alternative is a six-lane highway, U.S. Route 101, on ...

Read More »

Savoring Summer Along California Route 1

web-lead_DSC_0312

Where exactly do the summers go? As I get older and older the summers seem to get shorter and shorter. When I was a kid summer seemed to last an eternity; from that final school bell of the year until classes resumed in the fall, summer was an endless string of days filled with play, with fun. For motorcyclists, summer ...

Read More »