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22nd July 2015

Monday, July 20th – Wednesday, July 22nd: California‘s Highways and versatile San Francisco

Neskowin – Eureka – San Francisco
 
Hard to believe but I have already reached the fourth State on my way south: California.
 
Most of the time on Highway 101, I drove right through the sensational Redwoods, along the incredibly huge and very old Sequoias' : up to 100m in height, 6m in diameter and some more than 2000 years old. Absolutely breathtaking and I think about what these trees have seen, experienced (cold, heat, storms, stupid tourists) and suffered. To stand at the bottom and look up into the treetop gives you a new understanding for dimensions. How small and fragile are we human beings in comparison!
 
Soon I leave Hwy. 101 and drive down to the famous Hwy. No.1 J
This part, the section along the coast (again quite cool with clouds and mist) as well as the part back to Hwy.101 a bit later (that would be Hwy. 20) is simply the best that you can expect driving a motorcycle : curve by curve with a (for me) perfect speed around 100kmh, almost no traffic – and the few that are on the road take the next turn-out as soon as they realise the motorcycle behind and let you pass. And as always breathtaking scenery: either the coast or the redwoods. Finally I got rid of the nipples on the side of my tyres ;-)
 
As I had planned to drive right through to San Francisco I go back to highway 101, although quite a lot of traffic the nearer the city no problems at all. And all of a sudden, one last curve and I am driving with my Suzy Blue over the Golden Gate Bridge. What a feeling, I am completely overwhelmed – hard to describe but an absolutely great feeling!!
 
I found my hostel quite easily (thanks to the clear structure of the streets). My hostel was really a great spot to stay (formerly a hotel and with all the amenities you just could think of) but I also realised quite soon why it was that pricey: trash and garbage everywhere and many homeless people getting ready to the sleep on the street. I was really happy to be able to park my motorcycle in guarded parking.
 
The next day I visited – together with a young Swiss guy I had met in the bar of the hostel – all the famous "hotspots“ of San Francisco: Fishermen’s Wharf, Pier 39, Hardrock Cafe, Lombard-Street and of course riding the cable cars up and down - always hanging onto the outside. What fun! Unfortunately, the weather is still not good for a nice picture of the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was a great day – and still: I realise that I am definitely not made for the city. I already look forward to the time that I will spend in the National Parks. 

The next day I listen to the Swiss guy's advice and leave the city at sunset. And hey, now I finally get the chance to take some nice pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge – and meet three Swiss Pilots from Switzerland who are on a three day break in San Francisco and had hired Harleys for the trip. What a surprise for them to see a Motorcycle with registration plates from Luzern.