Sierra Nevada Adventures Multi Day Rides

Big Sur and Beyond

BIG SUR & BEYOND ADVENTURE

Big Sur & Beyond Adventure ride explores one of America’s most celebrated landscapes along the beautiful Central Coast of California.

Your adventure begins in Carmel-By-The-Sea and travels south on the world-renowned Pacific Coast Highway (aka “the PCH” or Highway 1) scenic byway to the majestic Redwoods in Big Sur and beyond to Morro Bay, home to the world-famous Morro Rock. It is impossible to mistake Morro Bay for any other California seaside town, due to the massive ancient volcanic plug known as Morro Rock. You will have the opportunity to explore off-road on the scenic Old Coast Road through lush redwood forest to remote ridges overlooking the beautiful Pacific Coast. This off-road route was the only access to Big Sur from the north prior to 1919 due to the rugged coastline was impassable. Once you’ve traveled and explored the Old Coast Road, you’ll know why so many miles of wilderness along this section of the California Coast are so pristine and undeveloped. This rugged coastline was extremely difficult to access prior to the construction of the Pacific Coast Highway and its landmark bridges that span the steep canyon creeks that plunge into the sea. Big Sur & Beyond adventure ride showcases the natural beauty of this rugged coastline known as “the greatest meeting of land and water in the world.”

The name "Big Sur" is derived from the original Spanish-language "el sur grande", which translates as "the big south", or from "el país grande del sur", "the big country of the south" which was impassible to early settlers from the Monterey area. The rugged coastal area to their south was a mysterious land of unexplored wilderness, and its coastline was especially treacherous to ships due its steep rocky cliffs In the history of Big Sur the development of a tan bark industry in the mid-1870’s led to the construction of several landings along the Coast. These landings were used for loading the bark (used in the manufacture of tannic acid), as well as for shipping redwood lumber. Among them was Godfrey Notley’s Landing, near the mouth of the Palo Colorado Canyon, around which a thriving village sprang up. Another landing sprang up at the mouth of the Big Sur River and perhaps the most spectacular was Partington Landing. The Rockland Cement Company chose Limekiln Canyon as its headquarters in the 1880’s in order to exploit a rich deposit of calcareous rock discovered in the vicinity of the canyon. Schooners began to regularly frequent Rockland Landing to load limestone bricks and deliver supplies. With the demise of the liming operation, the days of industrial enterprise along the Big Sur coast came to an abrupt halt. The next boom along this rugged coastline was the discovery of gold near the head of Alder Creek which led to the Big Sur Gold Rush of the 1880’s. The Los Burros Mining District sprang into action with three stamp mills and a boomtown named Manchester mushroomed on Alder Creek. In its heyday, Manchester boasted four stores, a restaurant, five saloons, a dance hall and a hotel. By 1895 the boom had begun to fade, and the timber, gold, tanbark and lime industries had come and gone, with only a few remnants left behind for the curious to wonder at.

Beyond Big Sur you will travel south on an epic ride on one of America’s most scenic byways along precarious cliff sides and tight turns hug the rugged coastline while mile after mile of stunning vistas inspire awe around every corner. The majestic Pacific Coast Highway between Carmel, through Big Sur and beyond to San Simeon is one of the most beautiful paved roads in the US and needs to be on a bucket list for every motorcycle rider who seeks adventure.

On most maps, Big Sur is shown as a small town along Highway 1 close to the Pacific Ocean in the foothills of the rugged Santa Lucia Mountains, though the name Big Sur Coast is more widely applied to a 75 mile section of the central California coast, from Carmel in the north to San Simeon to the south. This section of the Big Sur Coast is a dramatic landscape with steep rugged hillsides that slope down to the ocean forming a seemingly endless line of sheer cliffs, rocky coves, sandy beaches and historic points of interest. A few miles past one of these historic points of interest is the only route across the Santa Lucia Mountains between Camel and San Simeon. You will have the opportunity to ride this route, which was once a dirt trail, used by late 19th century settlers to transport cattle from the coast to the Central Valley. This historic cattle trail was eventually improved into a narrow twisty road back in the 1930’s and is now regarded by the locals as one of the best motorcycle roads in central California due to its twisty curves, precipitous drops and its spectacular ocean views around every corner. Be sure to keep one eye on the road while taking in the scenery to avoid one of these drops that would most likely result in sudden death. If you survive this narrow twisty road, you will be rewarded with the opportunity to explore off-road through remote forest with occasional clearings that provide panoramic views along the beautiful Pacific Coast.          

Beyond the Santa Lucia Mountains your off-road adventure eventually reconnects to the scenic Pacific Coast Highway where you will have the opportunity travel past the world-renowned Hearst Castle, also called La Casa Grande (“The Big House”). In 1865 American gold-mine owner George Hearst purchased some 40,000 acres (16,200 hectares) of land in the area around San Simeon Bay. He continued to acquire property in the vicinity, eventually amassing some 250,000 acres. In 1919 his son, William Randolph, inherited the land, which was then known as Camp Hill and offered little in the way of amenities. That year he commissioned Morgan “to build a little something.” The project evolved into a series of luxurious buildings and gardens on a 127-acre estate that Hearst named La Cuesta Encantada (“The Enchanted Hill”). Working in collaboration with Hearst, Morgan sought to capture the grandeur of European architecture, and many features were inspired by foreign buildings and artworks. Construction continued into the late 1940. The centerpiece of the estate is the main residence, which became known as Hearst Castle. It was designed in the Mediterranean Revival style, and its facade suggests a Spanish cathedral with its bell towers and ornate decorations. The main entrance is flanked by bas-reliefs of knights, and a sculpture of Mary holding the infant Jesus is perched in a niche over the massive door. The splendor of the exterior continues inside the mansion. Covering 68,500 square feet, Hearst Castle contains 115 rooms, including 38 bedrooms, more than 40 bathrooms, a theatre, and a beauty salon. Typifying the mansion’s opulence is the Doge’s Suite, which was inspired by the Doges’ Palace in Venice and was reportedly reserved for Hearst’s most important guests. The sitting room features walls adorned with velvet fabric, and the 18th-century painted ceiling was originally in an Italian palazzo. The suite’s marble balcony includes an elaborate loggia. In addition, Hearst’s extensive collection of antiques and artworks is prominently displayed in the suite as well as throughout the rest of the mansion. Hearst died in 1951, and three years later La Cuesta Encantada became a California state park. In 1958 the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument was established, and that year the estate was opened to public tours. It became one of the state’s more popular attractions, and some one million people visit annually.

Beyond the Hearst Castle your adventure travels south on the Pacific Coast Highway to Morro Bay where you stay the night and enjoy dinner and drinks in one of the local pubs. After your stay at Morro Bay you will have the opportunity travel north along on the world-renowned Pacific Coast Highway back to Monterey. 

RIDE DETAILS: 

Multi-Day Adventure Ride: (20 rider max)

This dual sport adventure ride is perfect for BIG ADVENTURE bikes
Off-road terrain is rated "easy to mild" with some "moderate"
Ride distance 250+ miles round trip (50+ miles dirt roads)
Gas stop (100-mile range required)

MEETING TIME: 8:45am (ride starts at 9:00am)

MEETING LOCATION: Starbucks Carmel, CA

Starbucks 3650 Rio Road, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

Ride returns to Starbucks, Carmel CA (approx. 4pm)

 

HOTEL RECOMMENDATIONS: (hotels Not included)

Riders are responsible to book their Hotel reservations

SATURDAY NIGHT in Morro Bay, CA.

-Sea Air Inn & Suites 845 Morro Ave. Morro Bay CA 93442 (805) 395-8563

-Harbor House Inn 1095 Main St. Morro Bay 93442 (805) 772-2711

-Best Western San Marcos Inn 250 Pacific St. Morro Bay (805) 772-2248

Note: additional hotels available in Morro Bay CA

 

OPTIONAL: Friday Night Hotel in Carmel-By-The-Sea: (hotels Not included)
-The Inn at Monerey 1252 Munras Ave. Monterey CA. 93940 (831) 372-2909

-Days Inn by Wyndham Moterey-Fisherman's Warf 1288 Munras Ave. Monterey CA. 93940

Note: additional hotels available in Carmel-By-The-Sea and Monterey area. 

If you plan on trailering your bike, please make accommodations with your Hotel

 

MEALS: (meals Not included)

Breakfast lunch and dinner at restaurants 

Bring water and snacks

More details listed under "Book this Ride"

Questions email: mark@SierraNevadaAdventures.com

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