16 Apr 2013
This past weekend Drew surprised me with a trip motorcycling along the PCH! To tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous at first; I had never ridden on a motorcycle for longer than a quick spin around the block. But with the cool, fresh air blowing all around us, and the bright California sun lighting up the entire coast, I was quick to forget any worries I had… about anything actually!
We started our trip in Long Beach on Friday at 2pm. Drew had purchased a Groupon for a 24-hour BMW Motorcycle Rental from MotoQuest. They were great to work with and provided us with helmets and side saddles for all our gear, huge plus. Once we signed all our waivers, we were headed West for the coast! I held on tight as Drew made his way up and down the numerous breathtaking views and beaches.
By 6:30 we had made it to Carslbad, just in time to meet one of our CouchSurfing hosts, Gayla. Gayla and her friend Gina, who owns the house, have been friends for over 30 years and now share the large home to keep each other company, along with Aussie, the happiest dog we have ever met. Gayla and Aussie gave us a tour of their beautiful home, built in the early 1900’s, and also supplied us with fresh sheets, towels, pillows and showed us how to turn the wood burning fire place on and off. Drew and I had never CouchSurfed before, but we could tell that this was definitely place where we could feel safe and comfortable.
After getting to swap stories, Gayla gave us tips on where to go for dinner. So, we hopped back on our bike and ended up at Norte, a delicious Mexican Restaurant with outdoor fireplaces and spot-on crab burritos (and everything) for under $10. That night we slept so comfortably with our full bellies, fluffy L-shaped couch and the warm, glowing fire beside us.
That next morning we awoke, bright and early, to share a fresh cup-o-joe with Miss Gayla and Gina. It was so nice getting to hear about Gayla’s experience in the Peace Corps and Gina’s journey of victory over Cancer. It felt like we had made a little home away from home in Carlsbad and Drew and I were both so glad we took the plunge and gave CouchSurfing a shot.
After saying our goodbye’s, we continued South to La Jolla and, as recommended by Gayla and Gina, stopped at Swami’s in Encinitas (map) to grab some of the best breakfast in town. After another hour or so of riding, we made it to the beautiful crystal clear waters of the La Jolla Cove, where we got to watch the seals and well, smell some gnarly smells. From there, we hiked on over to Sunny Jim’s Cave where, for $4 a person, you can walk down 145 steps into a 100 year old cave that sits under and old home turned museum, pretty cool spot if you ask me. Tons of people kayak into the cave as well, so if you have the time, and the kayak, go for it!
Our last stop of the day, before having to make our way back to Long Beach in time to return our rental, was the Carlsbad Ranch FlowerFields.It was a steep $11 entry fee, but by the looks of it people did not think twice about it. The nearly fifty acres of giant Ranunculus flowers are in full bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May.
This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, is also one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world.
I had been wanting to come here for quite a while and was glad to share it with Drew, though I had imagined that we would be wearing more Flower Field appropriate clothing… instead we opted for leather jackets and studded boots, but hey, who ever said the Fonz didn’t like flowers
Overall it was an incredible trip with awesome new experiences and people. And guys, if you’re looking for a way to feel closer to your gals, there’s nothing like putting her on the back of a motorcycle with nothing but you to hold onto lol.
Check out this list of the beaches, awesome coastal towns and their unique traits that we passed on our 2 day trip from North to South:
Seal Beach- Awesome spot where locals come to kite surf, so it’s windy! They even have a special kite washing station.
Bolsa Chica- Luxuriously wide lanes for biking, we biked all the way from Long Beach to Huntington and back one day. This beach also has fire pits so you can cook out with the whole family!
Huntington Beach- One of our favorite beaches in CA. With the happening HB Dog Park, the Pier and the strip, there is always tons to see and do. Wahoo’s Tacos is the spot if you find yourself hankering for something here. HB is also home to the US Open of Surfing every August.
Laguna Beach- Beautiful and artsy little town. The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is right on the PCH, along with a number of shops and eateries. It’s definitely worth a stop if you have yet to put your toes in the Laguna sand, and if you can, catch the sunset here, you won’t regret it.
Dana Point- Another great Marina and home to the fabulous Ritz Carlton.
San Onofre- We have camped at the San Onofre Bluffs Campground before and it’s truly a unique spot. Drive up camping with camp fires and alcohol allowed, AND it’s a great place to wake up and catch some fresh surf in the morning.
Camp Pendelton- US Military Base. While this is not a beach, it is definitely a site to see. The PCH turns into HighWay 5 here, so if you are on a scooter, they will allow you to ride on base, if not well hold on to your helmets and get ready for some speed!
OceanSide- Sweet little beach town with a ton of surfers!
Carlsbad- A quiet town with a homey feel and a cute strip of shops and restaurants along Grand Ave. Hit up Swami’s for THE BEST breakfast or lunch in town, no joke. The Carlsbad Campground, located on the beachside of the PCH (map), has now been added on our list of places to camp. Oh! and be sure to check out the FlowerFields, it is absolutely stunning.
La Jolla- One of the most impressive beach towns I have yet to stumble upon. With a beautiful hike along Torrey Pines Sate Beach, a nude beach (see below – yes he has a top hat and cane) and paragliding at Black’s Beach and beautiful La Jolla Cove, where you can even hike down into Sunny Jim’s Cave.