Dave’s American diary – Carmel to Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

Yesterday, I made the drive from Carmel to Pismo Beach, one of the West Coast’s most famous areas.

Like the journey to Carmel from San Francisco, the route was straightforward with only around three hours to ride so I decided to make a couple of stops.

I hoped to make the trip via a 17-mile stretch of road between Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove.

Unfortunately, when I hit the iconic stretch of road, two security guards stopped me in my tracks.

Apparently that stretch of road, one of the ones you’d really love to ride as you’re flanked by the Pacific on one side and mountains on the other, was not open to motorbike riders.

So I spun my Harley round and headed down the less scenic path towards Pismo, riding past Laguna Seca and with my first McDonalds en route.

The main aim for this part of my trip was to stop off at some towns and cities that don’t jump out at you on a map.

To my mind, these were the places where I’d see real America as opposed to the commercialised places like Vegas, San Fran and even Yosemite, where lots of it’s geared up to tourists.

After studying my route I decided to stop off at Gonzales, San Miguel and Santa Margarita, names that don’t have the same pull as the likes of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.

Two Harleys parked up in Gonzales

Gonzales is called the Wine Capital of Monterey and there I met another biker who was on a 1999 Harley Sportster.

He was intrigued by my GoPros and satnav all over my bike and asked what all the gadgets were, he didn’t even own a mobile phone so the concept of mini HD cameras was lost on him.

From there I set off to San Miguel, mainly for the church in the town which would make for some brilliant photographs.

When I turned up I managed to wade in on a Quinceañera ceremony – a Latin American ceremony that marks a girl’s coming of age when they reach 15.

San Miguel church in California

So there were hundreds of people in their Sunday finest, and me in my leather jacket, jeans and with a long lens.

After taking some photos for the proud family I jumped back on my Harley and took off for Santa Margarita, in the hope of seeing the Santa Margarita lake but after an eight mile ride and a $10 entrance fee, I gave up, I’d be on the ocean front soon enough!

When I arrived in Pismo it was as I’d hoped, a real beachfront town with lots going on and a relaxed atmosphere.

There were plenty of sights to see and photos to snap, so I wandered around the town for most of the day, rounding it off with a sunset photoshoot on the beach.

Today, I’m heading to Los Angeles on the final leg of my whirlwind trip across the West Coast.

Sunset at Pismo beach

You can see a full album of images from Dave’s trip to Pismo and the beachfront via the link.

Next page: Dave's American diary - Pismo to Los Angeles