The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from Southern California to Northern California is one of the most scenic stretches in the US. When taking it on a proper rig like a ’10 Victory Cross Roads, it’s substantially better than driving in a stuffy car.
I was assigned to cover a very cool antique bike show put on by the Fort Sutter Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) in Dixon, California, about 20 miles southwest of Sacramento. The AMCA is comprised of a group of dedicated antique motorcycle enthusiasts that spans the US and beyond with more than 11,000 members through its 54 affiliated chapters. The club focuses on the preservation, restoration, and operation of old-time motorcycles at least 35 years old. To join you don’t even need to own an antique bike, but simply have an interest for old iron.
The goal: hit the Fort Sutter meet, but take a leisurely pace getting there and take in as many sights possible along the way. Since the wife had never been on a bike for more than four hours, I decided to bring her with me. Sounded good to me.
Day One: Riverside to Cambria
Loaded up the Cross Roads’ luggage rack with a T-Bags Dakota bag with enough gear for both of us for five days. The camera gear and Harley rain suits, along with some other necessities, went into the Cross Roads’ lockable, large21 gallons to be exactsaddlebags. Hooked up the Airhawk Seat Pads to the rider and passenger seats for a little extra cushion and departed Riverside to Santa Barbara via the 60 West, 101 North.
The Cross Roads performed extremely well with the added weight, and because of the torquey 106ci Freedom V-twin the bike accelerated with ease. Traversed through traffic for a few hours, stopped for gas in Calabasas, stretched the legs and ailing back, had a smoke, sipped a soda, back on the bike, off we went.
Next leg from Calabasas to the Ventura coast via the 101 (where the 101 and 1 meet) the vacation mindset took hold. It’s freeing. Arrived in Santa Barbara famished. Refueling the bike and our bellies was top priority. Found a great lunch spot, ordered two monstrous burgers, ate, had a smoke, walked State Street for a bit, gassed the bike, off we went. California’s Central Coast is peaceful, calming. Solvang is a great spot to have a snack or pull off for gas. Its Danish feel with windmill-adorned lodges and Ebelskivers bakeries (small Danish pancake filled with either chocolate, jam, or cheese) are worth a walkabout. Stopped there for a bit then ventured on to Cambria.
Cambria is majestically scenic, eerily quiet, but very peaceful. Checked into the Burton Inn located on Burton Drive, Cambria’s main drag, and took a quick snooze in the suite. The Burton Inn is quiet, cozy, and pleasant; really gives you the chance to relax. Woke up from the snooze, got dressed, hit the streets and ended up at the Sow’s Ear for dinner. Had a wonderful feast of local fare, hit a local pub for a pint after dinner, then back to the Burton Inn for a nightcap. Day one complete.
Day Two: Cambria to Sausalito
Woke up for breakfast, included with our stay at the Burton Inn, had an interestingly weird chat with the Inn’s owner about conspiracy theories, the cosmos, and meditation for almost two hours. Loaded up the bike and hit the road toward Sausalito via Hwy 1, my favorite trek in all of California. Cambria to Monterey is incredibly picturesque.
Not far from Cambria is San Simeon, which features Hearst Castle, previous home to publishing magnate and inspiration for Orson Wells’ Citizen Kane, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst’s multi-million-dollar estate was transformed into a California State Park providing multiple tours each day of the palace grounds, its rare antiquities, extravagant architecture, and lush gardens. It’s definitely worth a look.