Long way home

Daylight to spare, after-work diversion along the coast
Published August 13, 2009

Commuting to and fro the office during the week usually keeps my hunger for moto under control. But sometimes the fifteen minute jaunts aren’t enough to get me to the weekend. The 1,000 mile marathon last week proved a bit of an indulgent binge that left me with aching withdrawals. So I took the long way home.

I raced against two rivals. Breathing down my neck was a fuel gauge inching closer and closer to empty. The more distant threat was the sun, also plunging down at a rate I’d have to outpace. Equipped with a tinted visor, I couldn’t get caught in the dark. Still, I aimed for the town of Half Moon Bay, which lies just outside the great riding roads but is far enough to administer a getaway fix.

I tell myself I want to move into practically every distant town I visit on the bike, and Half Moon Bay is probably the most realistic of those ephemeral daydreams. So my miniature escape was also a bit of a commute test run, an inquisitive look-see to learn what traffic into Half Moon Bay might be like on a typical evening commute. Should I ever move there. Blasted down 101 to 380 and then onto 280 S. The Junipero Serra freeway was as clear and upbeat as ever, dawdling cages keeping right to let the hurried souls charge unimpeded at over 80 mph. Took the exit for 92 W and it has to be the best off-ramp ever, a mile-long stretch of scenic bends overlooking the Crystal Spring Reservoir far, far below.

Orange washed the sky, a lone cloud formation painted in purple and red ink blots pointing to the sinking sun

Traffic into Half Moon was peaceful. I passed by the top of 35, closed my eyes and imagined veering left toward Alice’s. But must get fuel. Rolled into a gas station and pumped in a healthy supply, suggesting I was about as low as I’ve been in a while.

Highway 1 was beautiful. And as I rolled back into San Francisco, the sky opened and displayed the most stunning sunset I’ve seen in years. Orange washed the sky, ocean and hillsides surrounding the Pacific, with a lone, massive cloud formation in the form of a Rorschach betta fish painted in purple and red ink blots pointing to the sinking sun. I was reminded that where I already live is pretty special.