We love going over the Santa Monica Mountains to PCH (which is at least 20 degrees cooler in the summer than the west San Fernando Valley) - so the only decision is usually which canyon road do we take? Elisa suggested we take Decker Canyon over, also known as Highway 23. She had ridden this road a couple of times before, once recently with a girlfriend (two women riding Harleys through canyons is pretty cool, right?). So at least she was familiar with the road.
Once we got out of tony Westlake Village (while passing through we saw a Ford GT-40, an Audi R8, and a Lamborghini LP-610), we started climbing. After a few miles of negotiating blind hairpin turns, I was glad I didn't eat breakfast this morning. On the way down (which is harder, by the way), I was wishing for something that required less adrenalin - maybe a few rides on Tatsu, the flying roller coaster at Magic Mountain. Or maybe base-jumping off of Half Dome. Notwithstanding my white knuckles (actually I had gloves on, but I'm pretty sure they were), that road is loads of fun.
Finally we hit Pacific Coast Highway and headed west - past some very crowded beaches, lots of cops, and a LifeFlight helicopter taking off (maybe there was a shark attack). And Neptune's Net looked especially crowded as we rode by. Bikes were parked up and down both sides of PCH.
At Las Posas Road, we turned north and rode into Camarillo - past those smelly fields of kale, bell peppers and cilantro. Now that's a really smelly place. I finally got to eat breakfast at a cute restaurant called Eggs N Things. I have to remember to give them a good Yelp review. I love breakfast and this place was amazing (Elisa liked it too, and she's a chef). Service was super fast and the food seemed more like what your mom would cook than what you get at places like IHOP or Denny's. So five stars for Eggs N Things in Camarillo.
Since we were in a "spit in the face of ridiculous canyon roads" mood, I decided to take us back down PCH to Encinal Canyon Road. This would connect with Mulholland Highway and the world famous three-mile stretch of hell on earth known affectionately as "The Snake." The only good thing about The Snake is it's over with pretty quick.
"The Snake" - Mulholland Highway
Encinal Canyon dog legs to the right, which I of course missed - and we found ourselves back on Decker Canyon. But in a couple of miles it merged with Mulholland and we were back on schedule. The Snake seemed fairly tame today after all we'd been through. Your reward for surviving The Snake is a stop at the world famous Rock Store (there's a lot of world famous stuff around here) for a cold beverage. It's always a cool vibe there, maybe because Steve McQueen used to be a regular. Or maybe it's just the biker thing - total strangers don't mind having a conversation with you, as long as they get to talk about their bikes. But bikers are usually nice and there's always that instant bonding feeling you get.
From the Rock Store, we followed Mulholland all the way to Topanga Canyon (the flat part, thank goodness), filled our tanks at the Chevron station, and in five minutes we were home. So an unplanned double-dose of Decker Canyon turned out to be a lot of fun. Definitely an 11 . . . maybe even a 12 . . .
"No biker deserves to be bored . . . "