Goldwing Tour: Big Sur, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley

Goldwing Tour: Big Sur, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley

My wife Patti and I had visited San Francisco area in the early 1980’s. She loved it and wanted to go back. After 30 years of motorcycling, we also wanted to do the Big Sur US-1 ride we had heard so much about. We have just completed this INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. We flew from Charlotte, NC to San Francisco on Saturday, June 7, and did the downtown area on Saturday night and Sunday. The harbor cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz was fun. San Francisco is a wonderful place to sightsee and meet people from world over.

On Monday morn, after a thirty minute ride south via CALTRAIN, we were picked up at the train station by Scott Mindich, owner of California Motorcycle Adventures in Mountain View, CA. where we picked up the Y2006 Honda Gold Wing GL1800 rental motorcycle. We then turned southward through the Big Sur/US-1 area including countless breathtaking vistas, Monterrey, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Nepenthe (restaurant & inn, see www.nepenthebigsur.com), San Simeon and the elephant seals, and the Hearst Castle. The vistas in the Big Sur area were truly incredible.

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California Coastline

From Cambria, CA we turned east via Rt. 46 & 41 over the mountains and through the desert (40 mph crosswind was challenging!), through Fresno to Yosemite National Park, South gate with an overnight at the Narrow Gauge Inn in Fish Camp, CA. The next day Yosemite NP provided incredible vistas of giant redwoods, El Capitan, Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite Village and capped off with a truly magnificent goldwing motorcycle ride over the Tioga Pass (Rt. 120) at 9945 ft elevation as we exited Yosemite via the east gate. Then north at Mono Lake on US-395, more fabulous vistas with an overnight in Bridgeport, CA, and on into South Lake Tahoe via US-50.

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Rental Honda Goldwind at CA Coast

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We did the Lake Tahoe boat tour at Zephyr Cove, ate and gambled at Harrah’s Casino, and toured the west lakeside area via Rt. 89. We visited the Donner Party museum in Truckee, CA then headed westward via I-80 down, down, down into the valley and through the Sacramento area. The last day Sunday was spent touring the Napa Valley, its many vineyards, lunch in downtown Calistoga, CA and saw the local Old Faithful geyser before exiting west via Powder Creek Rd to US-101 south and the return to San Francisco. The southward ride over the Golden Gate Bridge was awesome, breathtaking and chilly.

The total ride was 7 days, 1150 miles with not one single problem on the entire trip, all was perfect! We met tourists from Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, Canada and USA. The highest gas price was in Yosemite NP at $4.99 and lowest in Nevada on US-395 at $4.15. California Motorcycle Adventures owners Scott & Ilene Mindich were extremely helpful and friendly folks. Scott had the Honda Gold Wing rental motorcycle in excellent condition and Ilene did a fabulous job helping Patti with itinerary planning.

We recommend this INCREDIBLE JOURNEY and California Motorcycle Adventures for anyone thinking of their own California adventure!

Jim and Patti Snyder – Charlotte, NC – June 2008