Today was a looooong day. Despite only being 294 miles, it was a lot of riding, on top of a lot of hours awake. But I'm going to bet that if anyone asks me about riding my motorcycle down the west coast, today is the day I think of.
Today I decided that CA-1 has surpassed SD-16A as my favorite motorcycle road of the trip. Black Hills, you're now second place.
The easy reason is just that there's more road to enjoy. It's 210 miles from when California highway 1 leaves 101 until it meets back up just before the Golden Gate bridge, and while not all of it is coastline and curves, quite a bit of it is. South Dakota 16A is only 33 miles from where it splits from 16 until it joins back up. Even though I rode a few hundred miles in the Black Hills, I doubled up on roads and spent quite a few of those miles getting to the good roads. With California-1, it's been all new the whole way.
The view is simply better. The Black Hills are cool, but they're nothing compared to riding next to a gorgeous sunset going down over the ocean, waves crashing against the rocks, or a view of an entire stretch of beach rolling into view as you round a corner on the point of a tall cliff.
Get to ride through clouds
Seriously, it's kind of cool to ride up a hill and into a cloud, even if it does limit the view a little bit.
More small towns
There aren't that many towns in the Black Hills. Custer and Keystone are about it. Coming down highway 1, I've gone through tons of small towns, and it not only gives you an interesting place to stop for lunch and talk to people, but it also breaks up the scenery some and helps keep things fresh.
Just as many curves, more swerves.
This was the big one for me. I really like turns on the motorcycle - that's why the Black Hills and the coastline are my two favorite rides so far. But one of my favorite parts about riding is when you're turning on way, and then you come out of the turn and immediately take the bike over to the other side for a turn in the other direction. That rock from one side to the other is an amazing feeling, and I try to do that as much as I can.
In the Black Hills, there weren't very many of those. Most of the turns were followed by a straight section before the next turn. But on the coast, there's entire stretches of road that are nothing but alternating curves - seemingly in places where it's not even necessary sometimes. You can simply rock back and forth, leaning from one side to the other without hardly going straight at all.
More to come
I'm still not done - there's more of CA-1 to ride. And there's more roads like it once I get over to the other side of the country (not much in between though), so it may get passed by some other road. But right now, it is, without any doubt in my mind, my favorite stretch of road in the entire world to ride my motorcycle on.