I ditched my delivered paper version of Cycle World around the time I stopped seeing Peter Egan on the editorial team at Cycle World. He's really the only reason I continued to subscribe through all of the changes that went on there.
I love reading his work, and this month, Cycle World has the perfect Egan article to read. The magazine has him going to the Quail motorcycle gathering in Carmel Valley. As part of the deal, he rides a new BMW R1250 RT up the coast from L.A. to Carmel Valley, as well as a side bar stint up to the Bay Area.
The article is a hoot to read, specially if you're a fan of Egan's writing. I won't post the entire article for everyone to not get their version of Cycle World. I continue with a digital subscription so I can at least enjoy an occasional article from the man.
Anyway, I chose a few snippets of the article to tease it. Here's the first:
And at our gas station, the RT revealed that it can be a bit of an unwieldly lump at waddling speeds. While maneuvering around gas pumps or crawling up to a stop sign in traffic, it sometimes feels like a wheelbarrow full of bricks, especially if you have a passenger and luggage and have just filled the generous 6.6-gallon fuel tank.
Now, I thought I’d been on every back road in California about six times, thanks to many years of magazine photo shoots, but I’d entirely missed Nacimiento Road, whose miles of tight turns, sheer drop-offs and steep coastal vistas have to be seen to be believed. Mark and Jeff were amazed I’d never been there, while Barb was amazed I didn’t kill us by plunging off a cliff.
After the workout of Nacimiento, the sweeping curves of Coast Highway through Big Sur seemed almost effortless and gave us a chance to soak in the beauty of this world-famous stretch of road, which in the misty afternoon light looked like a mystical landscape painting from either the Ming Dynasty or our favorite Chinese restaurant.
Visitors to California who expect balmy spring and summer weather along the Pacific are often disappointed, because the climate near the ocean probably has more in common with coastal Scotland than with the sunny surf movies of the imagination. You’ll never see “Gidget Wears Fleece”—because it was suppressed by the California Tourist Bureau.
Those are some of my favorites from this article. Egan can sure paint a vision in words like few others. My favorite though is this sequence:
Perhaps the best part of the ride home was the Coast Highway, back down through Big Sur again, past Nepenthe, a famous restaurant built upon the remains of a small cabin that was once a romantic weekend retreat for Orson Welles and his wife Rita Hayworth. “Nepenthe,” incidentally, is an ancient Greek word for a fictional potion that banishes worry and sorrow from the mind.
And I was reminded—for the first time since our laid-back Harley trip—why this has always been a favorite landscape of Beat and Zen poets, and other searchers with a meditative bent. To include motorcyclists.
When you take the time to look out at its mists, rocky crags and crashing surf, the effect is so absorbing that there’s not much time for the mind to wander off course and think about anything except where you are at the exact moment. Combined with the flow of motorcycle motion along the mountainside curves, there’s almost no chance you’ll wonder if you left the coffee pot plugged in or paid the Visa bill. Nepenthe, indeed.
That is a big reason I continue to live in California. I can have that experience on any day I chose. The beauty of the coast road never ceases to please. Regardless of which end of the state you start from......sean