Silhouette, Big Sur, adventure, motorcycle, camping, elephant seals, California, Alaska, 1989 Honda Transalp, Grey Bear Photography

Day 2 & Day 3: Wind & Windy Roads

// Stephanie //


To be lying in a real bed, with a fuzzy blanket scented like grape bubble gum, makes it a little hard to recount the past two days of riding. But I’ll do my best 🙂

We left Montaña De Oro somewhere around 1pm, after satisfactorily repacking both of our bikes. While it’s helpful to pack for a trip in categories, so that you can be sure to remember everything, it’s not very helpful to arrive at a campsite and have all your things organized that way. Now we have to find out what should live where, based in it’s weight and frequency of use.

Convinced that we finally figured it out, we took off. Neither one of us realized how late it was, so we stopped for lunch in Cayucas for a great smoked albacore sandwich, finished with some Brown Butter Cookie Factory favorites-honey cookies.

It was then that we found out it was 5:20pm, and we’d only gone about 20 miles. Oh, musicians… We’re so used to late nights that this was our normal lunchtime-but it was becoming apparent that we’d have to get used to a different schedule on this trip one way or another…

What we weren’t prepared for, were the gale force winds as soon as we left Cambria. Bear had been wanting to film the elephant seals, and we had to park our bikes pointing into the wind because they were threatening to tip over pointed any other direction.

I have deep angst for the wind-I was born on the prairie. It gets under my skin and on my nerves like no other natural phenomenon… So while waiting in the parking lot, I didn’t realize how upset I’d become. It took me a good minute to be able to explain that to Bear, then find my center to start riding, and it just got harder and harder.

One of our favorite pieces of coast was the windiest we’d ever experienced. One minute, the winds would blow freezing gusts across the Pacific on our left, then you’d go around a corner and a blast would drive down a canyon into the bike from the right. There were also times when the wind felt like an angry arm reaching down to pry off my helmet…

Riding fully loaded bikes in winds like this, on the beautiful curves of the Big Sur coastline, was exhausting.

While we were blessed to have the longest sunset ever, riding 30 or so minutes in the hazy dusk, we still weren’t even close to our campsite for the night.

When my brain was feeling defeated from the battle against the wind, and my body was depleted of energy from our lunch now 5 hours earlier, I was spent.

I still laugh a little when I imagine what I must have looked like to the waiter at Fernwood Restaurant when he told me the kitchen was closed… frenetic, shaking, determined, and unrelenting. “Are you serious right now?!”
“The store next door is open though!” He replied, when he realized the state I was in…

Two sandwiches, carrot, hummus, sesame chips and boiled egg later, we were ready to sleep. Fortunately, Fernwood is also home to one of the most beautiful campsites, although expensive. Tonight, for our safety, it was worth it to “splurge”.

Setting up camp in the dark again seemed much easier since we’d repacked our gear. The tent went up quickly, and we fell asleep even quicker.

Our goal was to get an earlier start this morning, so we could begin resetting our clocks and get to our destination while the sun was still up. However, I have always needed more sleep than Bear, and although I woke up early, showered, ate, and ran through our morning interview videos, I had a too-tired meltdown.

Like a child needing a nap, I bawled.

Like a best friend and hero, Bear set up my hammock, put me in it, and tore down camp while I slept.

This is why we are perfect for a trip like this. We kick ass when we need to, and we also get it when we need a break. And when we have to do a little of both-one fills in for the other so that we can heal and keep movin’.

When I woke up, I was ready. Bear was ready. We were ready.

The wind didn’t let up today, but we didn’t either. I pictured myself like a badass dirt bike rider-tucked down, elbows out, heels down, and mean.
I tore into those corners, and stared down those windy roads. And you know what? I felt way more alert and connected to every curve, every movement.

As I told Bear, “Wind has never been a friend to me, always a foe. And when I imagine a Viking, yelling off of his ship into the stormy clouds, I can see the validity in that.”

It’s funny how helpful that realization was… I had so much more fun today! The wind was still gnarly-it didn’t let up until we got to the city. And as I faced one of my biggest fears-riding motorcycle through San Francisco-I did a great job and navigated us to my niece’s house swiftly and safely… and before sunset.

So here we are… The end of Day 3.

Bear is clearing data from the camera cards, charging our technical devices that need charging, and I’m smiling as I recount this story to you…

It feels really good to test yourself. It is scary, demanding of all your attention, and cooperation from all the angels.
And, most of all, it is important to have a travel partner who can call it a day when we’re too tired to go on, or put me in a hammock when I just need a nap. This-this doesn’t feel like testing.

This feels like trusting.


  1. Erik says:

    I remember riding for hours fighting crazy winds, rain and even snow on the way to Las Vegas once.

    Stay safe and have fun. The towns on the bay north of SF are very cool. Stop at some little fishing town and get a seafood lunch from some janky old boat tied up to a crumbling pier. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Stephanie says:

      Erik! I’m eating fresh fish & chips right now 🙂 Today is beautiful and a great day to ride!!

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