I live in San Jose. At the end of May, my father is flying out (from Charlotte, North Carolina) for a visit. The two of us intend to take a 3 day, 2-night motorcycle trip. I'll be on my R1200RT, while he'll be on a rental ST1300. We'll start and end our ride at my home in San Jose.
The things I'm trying to include in the trip are:
- Ocean views
- Mountains, or at least "mountainy" areas. My dad is interested in seeing the Sierras, though that's not required.
- Some great views and scenery
- Enjoyable (mostly) non-highway roads, but not too twisty or goaty.
- Demonstration that California is superior to the Carolinas, at least from a motorcycling perspective
I'm guessing we're good for at most 5 hours of saddle time a day. I've only ridden with my father once before, and he's a "cautious" rider, which is to say slow. His personal bike is a Goldwing. He's also not a fan of really twisty roads. For example, he doesn't really like The Dragon over on his side of the US anymore, after trying it once and finding it unpleasant. I'm pretty much the opposite, and like my roads very twisty. So the trick is finding something we both agree is fun.
I spent some time with Google maps, and worked out a very rough possible route, which you can see here: http://g.co/maps/2yy3v
The basic idea is to start by heading to Skyline Blvd and then on to the coast. Then head north through San Francisco, past Point Reyes, and call it a night somewhere along there, maybe near Bodega Bay or Sonoma Coast.
Next day, we head mostly east, taking hwys 116, and 29, passing near the southern tip of Clear Lake, then on to Hwy 20 all the way to the start of the Sierra Nevadas around Grass Valley or Camp Spaulding, or maybe continue south towards Auburn or Placerville (haven't worked out the precise mileage yet). My main goal here was to ride Hwy 20, since I rode it a couple times before (based on a forum recommendation) and enjoyed it a lot. My recollection is that it's more "gentle sweepers" than switchbacks, which seems ideal.
On the last day, we head south along Hwy 49, which is rumored to be spectacular here, then finally turn west on Hwy 4 and take mostly highways the rest of the way to San Jose.
I'd appreciate suggestions, tips, and advice, either for or against specific roads or areas in my plan. For example, I'm worried some of my suggested route may be in the "very twisty" category, such as Hwy 49. And the big eastern stretch on day 2 looks kind of dull based on Google Maps.