Saturday, July 20, 2013

Solvang California - The Clam Run

We settled for breakfast at the bakery again. Perhaps settled isn't the right word because one of these pastries can keep me going until noon. Wes helped Ed adjust the air in his Voyager shocks with his new hand pump. The plan today was to ride to Pismo Beach for clam chowder. There was a reservation for 4:00 PM so  Jim planned to leave about 1:00.

Sherm wanted to check out the Point San Luis Lighthouse near Avila Beach where he served in the early days of his Coast Guard career, so some of us left around 10:00 with plans to meet the rest later. Good thing Ray thought to get the name of the place, because I forgot. As we rode over, others wore layered clothes because of the bite of the marine layer. I found it quite refreshing in a tee shirt. Highway 101 along here has signs and old lamp posts commemorating the historic El Camino Real, which followed this very same route.

Wes and Ray help Ed adjust air in the Voyager shocks

Our group on Highway 101

California architecture


First stop was Avila Beach. On the first run around the block by the beach, I saw some "Motorcycle Only" parking spaces. Unfortunately, there was only room for four bikes while we had five plus the trike. Cranky and Ray found other spots and then we checked out the beach and pier. Sherm says it was nothing like this when he lived here.

Avila Beach

Rules, rules......

But they like motorcycles

The beach isn't crowded

Can't figure out where this came from


Even the sidewalks are pretty

Too bad we had just eaten

The first pier

Sandy's butt shot

Surfing practice

This wasn't exactly Sherm's lighthouse

Sherm bravely holding a tree up

We left Avila Beach and continued on to the third pier where Sherm rode out to the end. After wondering why, we followed. The rest chose to wait for us in the parking lot. Sandy and I turned around at the end and came back to dry land. Some time later, Sherm rejoined us, although Sandy speculated for a while that he had ridden off the end.

Why are we going out here??

OK, we weren't staying long anyway

Rod rentals on the pier

But the main reason for the visit was the lighthouse. Sherm had heard there was a road out there, although they had to walk in his day. Uphill. Both ways. There was no sign of the purported road but we did see a place advertising lighthouse tours and stopped there. The tours, which go Wednesday and Saturday, were booked solid except for two seats on the next tour trolley. Sherm opted not to leave us but the gatekeeper was very interested in putting him in contact with the curator, since they had very little information about the older days. It looks like our guy will be back.

This was what we were looking for

Since the lighthouse was out for now, Sherm led us to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. This was an amazing place. Each room has a theme, which can be seen by running the cursor over the name here. They also have a spa which looked quite inviting. Maybe some day we'll check in here for a night.

Pricey but nicey

Sherm is telling us we can go inside

Fountain in the lobby

Lots of decorations

Where do we go next?

It was only 12:30 but we decided to go to Pismo Beach and hang out waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive. As I said before, it was lucky that Ray got the name of Mongo's Saloon. Unfortunately, it wasn't in Pismo Beach, it was next door in Grover Beach. Some went in to eat early while Sherm, Ray, Sandy and I walked to the beach. This beach is a state recreation facility that welcomes horses, ATV's and 4x4's.


Ray had an idea how to kill a couple of hours

Nice train station

This isn't Pismo Beach? Must have made a wrong turn at Albuquerque

too long on Nutri-System

Surveying Grover Beach

Some kind of family gathering with buffet

Oh, there's Pismo Beach

Sand flower

They finally decided it was a '60

Back at Mongo's, Penmaker, Wes and Cranky had eaten and decided to go back to Solvang. It wasn't quite 3:00 PM but we decided we should eat too. Penmmaker had said the clam chowder was seasoned with Jalapeno peppers. We didn't find it spicy. It was a New England chowder with more clams than I have ever seen in one bowl before. Sandy passed on the chowdah and split a clubhouse sandwich with me. It was also huge and we ended up taking a quarter of it home.

Seated at Mongo's Saloon

Half the club sandwich

I liked the licence plate

Just as we were finishing, Jim, Cat, Ed, Petar and Zaki showed up. Ray decided to wait and see if Sue arrived so it was just Sherm and us for the ride back to Solvang. I had a nasty bout of vertigo while leading, exacerbated near the end by strong winds from the coast, but I kept the pace down and made it OK. I suspect imperfections with my sunglass clip may be the main cause.

The third Mongo shift arrives

Back at the Inn, we loaded the bikes and packed most of the gear. Then we sat around visiting for the last evening of what has been a great little rally. Met some new folks, too. Wes, Ed, Petar. Thanks to Jim and Cat for having us and putting this all together. I expect when the call goes out for another Aebleskiver Rally, we will be there with bells on.

Loaded in Solvang

Today's Route (139 motorcycle miles):

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