Join Date: Aug 2019
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Hey everyone, even though this is my first post, it will likely also be my last as I do not actually own an R3.
A bit of a back story: I'm in my mid twenties, have been riding for 5 years and have always wanted to ride the PCH. My brother is moving to the Bay Area from San Diego and I convinced him to get a beginner bike to get around up there. I helped him buy an R3 in San Diego and told him I would ride it up to deliver it to him. The following is a trip report for this adventure.
Planning: First, I figured out the luggage situation. I ended up going for the DrySpec D38 Rigid Drybag. I tied the "noose" straps to the passenger peg arm and then fed another strap under the pillion seat. The thing stayed very secure and held all I needed for (what would have been) some basic camping. More on that later... As far as route goes, I didn't strictly stick to Highway 1 all the way up. I didn't really care about the LA section of the trip, so I just took the 405 to get through fast as possible. From there, I took two major detours. The first was in Malibu and the second was in Los Padres National Forest. I took these detours because on Google Maps, the roads looked fun and twisty. Other than that, I got a tune up at my mechanic, strapped a fork-mounted RAM mount on, and plugged in some bluetooth earbuds. That was pretty much all I needed.
Left work at about 3:00 PM in San Diego and rode to Santa Monica/Westwood to grab a sandwich at Fat Sal's (a personal favorite). I got in at about 6:00 with a heavy amount of lane splitting. The bike had just barely enough range to get me there, but I made it. This was my least favorite leg of the trip.
Leg distance - 125 miles.
After dinner, things started to get fun and the beauty of this little bike started to shine. After about 45 minutes on the 1, I headed up Latigo Canyon Road and into the hills above Malibu. From Latigo, I went Kanan Dume Rd, Mulholland Hwy, Little Sycamore Canyon Rd, and then yerba Buena Road down to Neptune's Net. I have to say, I am really glad I was on sucha . light and nimble bike for this segment. These were some of the windiest roads I have ever ridden, it was pure bliss. I nearly had the road entirely to myself, except for a pair of guys in a BRZ and Mercedes who came around a corner so fast and wide that they almost hit me. Also, Yerba Buena Road was not particularly well maintained; there were a lot of patches, potholes and gravel on the road. I got into a bit of a drift on one corner that was covered in dirt.
Leg distance - 51 miles.
I got to Neptune's Net at 7:45. I really wanted to get something, but it was getting too close to sunset for me and I had to get to Oxnard so I just snapped a pic and headed out. The final leg was pretty mundane with the only highlight being the sun setting over point Mugu.
Leg distance - 18 miles.
Total Distance for the day - 194 miles
After breakfast at the hotel, I got an 8:00 AM start, filled up on gas and headed towards Ojai. Route was 101, 33, Lockwood Valley Road, Cuddy Valley Road, Mil Potrero Hwy/Forest Rte 9N05, Hudson Ranch Road, 166, 101 into San Luis Obispo. This was my favorite part of the trip. Most of the roads on this segment were in pristine condition and the views were incredible. I believe the highest elevation I got up to was around 5,500 ft or so. Terrain was a mixture of forested mountains, Shrubland, grassland, and of course coastal cliffs. Temps got well into the 90s and at times stopping would have been a bad idea since I needed the wind to keep from overheating. The bike temp gauge, however stayed at three bars for the entirety of the trip - impressive! I also saw a group of people with a sign that said "condor viewing." I regret not stopping to ask them what that was about. Would have been cool to see one of those birds. I made a brief stop to fill up on gas in Pine Mountain. The gas here was actually pretty reasonable at $3.60/gal. My tank was at 50% when I filled it, but I wasn't sure when the next gas station would be. I got in to San Luis Obispo at 12:30 for lunch at a place called "Creeky Tiki." Unfortunately I couldn't get any strong drinks because I had more riding to do, but I did enjoy a Mai tai as well as a terrific Hawaiian pulled pork sandwich. Oddly enough, the motorcycle parking meters did not accept cards whereas the car ones did, if anyone was thinking about stopping by. I also met a really nice guy with a wee strom who gave me some recommendations for places to stop up the coast. The people in SLO were very friendly overall.
Leg distance - 221 miles
My intention was to spend the remainder of the day on the PCH and stop in Big Sur for the night. I was planning on climbing cone peak, but was a little unsure on timing since it is a 21 mile round trip. The guy in SLO recommended that I stop at San Simeon pier and that the last place I could fill up was Ragged point. I ended up stopping at both of those places and they both had great views. San Simeon is at sea level with great views in all directions, whereas Ragged Point is on the cliffs. I checked the map and found that there was actually one more gas station further up at Gorda, so I ended up holding out until there to give me the most gas while in Big Sur. It was at that point that I realized it was getting too late to attempt the Cone Peak hike, so I grabbed some beers ($12 for a 6-pack of Coors Light ) and an $8 turkey sandwich with the intent to find a campsite and post up for the night.
leg distance - 68 miles
As it turns out, this was not to be. The campsite I wanted to go to was not actually accessible due to Forest rehabilitation from recent forest fires. And the remaining campsites had no availability. So I had to decide if I wanted to get a hotel somewhere (either in Big Sur itself or up in Monterey) or to just finish the trip out that day. I chose the later. It was 5:00 PM, meaning I had 3 hours until sunset, and I had about 180 miles to go. Seemed doable. It was at this point that the trip was no longer all that enjoyable and I just wanted to go see my brother, so I rode (probably harder than I should have given my level of fatigue) straight to the East Bay from Gorda. I made no pleasure stops, but I did stop once in Gilroy to eat the sandwich, fill up for the final time and drink some water. I realized at that point that I was fairly dehydrated, so I drank as much as I could. From there on out it was basically just high speed freeway riding. The lightness of the bike caused me to get blown around quite a bit, but I never felt that I was out of control. I made it to my destination just before sunset. Woo!
leg distance - 180 miles
Total distance for the day - 470 miles
Total distance - 663 miles
Overall, I was super impressed with the bike. I've never owned a little sportbike like this, but when I started riding in 2014 I spent some time in the seat of my friend's ninja 250. The Yamaha was a much better experience in every way. First off, I was genuinely impressed with the power. I have a Daytona 675 and I'm not saying this is comparable, but I still had a blast on the much smaller R3. Seating position was surprisingly good for touring duty, but I could still get into a bit of a tuck on the twisties. I would get a softer seat if I was doing stuff like this all the time, but it really wasn't THAT bad. The previous owner had put in some hard grips with little rubber studs and I found this to be pretty bad for vibrations; in fact, I still have some numbness in my thumb from this. Another downside is the range. There were enough stations along the route for it to not be a problem, but it was something I was constantly aware of. I also noticed that the bike was getting over 70 mpg at 65 mph, but only 40 mpg at 80 mph. The tires aren't the grippiest, but seemed to be fairly good for touring.
Hydrate every time you stop. Also, stop at least every 90 minutes.
Take it easy on roads with lots of loose gravel and sand.
Don't buy beer/food in Big Sur. Stock up in San Luis Obispo instead
Make sure campsites are available and book in advance.
If I were to do it again, I would take an extra day to do Cone Peak. It looks like a great mountain. That would also allow more time to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the central coast.
I would also go with a friend/group if I were to do it again. One of the driving factors for me finishing the trip early was seeing a bunch of friend groups and families having a good time camping in big sur.
Well, that's about it. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Hopefully at least a couple of you found this mildly interesting and/or informative. I will probably be making some additions to this post as I think of things. I wish I could share pictures, but I'm too much of a newbie to this forum to do so. Oh well. Cheers!