"And if my woody breaks down on me somewhere on the surf route
(Surf City, here we come)
I'll strap my board to my back and hitch a ride in my wetsuit
(Surf City, here we come)
And when I get to Surf City I'll be shootin' the curl
And checkin' out the parties for a surfer girl"
- Jan and Dean
Not sure where to go? Do you want to ride along the coast? Ride through the Redwood trees? Spend some quality time in the twisties? Oh Wait! Only have time for a quick ride? The road is calling.
This is a quick 2 hour ride to the picturesque: Santa Cruz Beach-Boardwalk
At the intersection of Highway 92 and Highway 35 (mile 34) turn south on Highway 35 and introduce your senses to the Santa Cruz mountains along some of the most beautiful roads in the state. You’ll instantly understand why this route is a favorite for all motorists and their vehicles. The entire ridge offers 45 miles of scenery, sweeping turns, decreasing radius curves and historic landmarks that offer a bit of history as well as world class vistas of the bay and the Pacific Ocean.
If you’re hungry, one of the most famous Bay Area eateries, Alice's Restaurant (Mile 42) is ground zero for motorheads and foodies alike.
Their menu is as diverse as the clientele. Try the Steel cut oatmeal for something sensible but if you’re in “vacation”- mode ask for the Harley Burger. Don’t be bashful about asking for a box.
Ramble south on the easy sloping turns under the Redwood canopy along highway 35. If you’re the type to bring a camera but never actually take a photo, expand your horizons and your photo album at these vista points:
Windy Hill (mile 44)
Skyline Blvd Vista Point (mile 48)
At the southeast corner of the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 9 is the most amusing vista (mile 55). There you’ll recognize any sport bike riders who whooshed past you along the way now congregating in various positions of the Grand-pa Amos walk as they have reached their time/tolerance level for body contortion on a motorcycle. I acknowledge our motorcycle fraternity and offer a respectful wave but inside my helmet I take a devilish satisfaction knowing I can continue to ride comfortabley for hours and especially count my blessing when I have my shapely passenger on the back.
Turn right on Highway 9 and the twistiest part of the ride through the small towns of Boulder Creek, Felton and Brookdale where roadside attractions include café’s, breweries, crystal shops and more than a few hydroponic supply shops until you arrive at Santa Cruz Beach-Boardwalk (mile 72).
If you like sun, sand and cotton candy, (not mixed together) you’ll find plenty of each as you stroll the retro promenade that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Santa Cruz Pier.
I prefer something more sedate when I get off the bike so my destination is usually Santa Cruz Harbor via Aldo's Harbor Restaurant (mile 85)
The deck view from Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant is the quintessential California experience. From any deck table you’re likely to see; Sail boats, sea lions, California Otters, Pelicans, gulls and whales. I recommend you arrive before 1:00 pm as the wind starts to pick up later in the day. After a leisurely lunch, you can walk along the beach for the perfect Cali photo op next to the harbor light house. Oh, and don't forget to bring the camera!
If timing is an issue, you can take the fast way home along freeway’s 17 and 101 and you’ll be back in the bay in 90 mins or treat yourself for a ride north on Highway 1 and ride into the sunset or beyond, afterall, isn't that why you rented from Oakland Harley-Davidson in the first place?
"The cities of Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz both claim to be "Surf City", based on their respective surfing culture.
Santa Cruz was the site of first recorded surfing in California, by Hawaiians. It is also home to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, 11 world-class surf breaks such as Steamer Lane which create some of the best surfing waves in the world, and the site of the O'Neill Cold Water Classic and other international surfing contests.
Meanwhile, Huntington Beach is the home of the U.S. Open of Surfing and the International Surfing Museum. In addition, the rock and roll duo Jan and Dean had Huntington Beach, not Santa Cruz, in mind when they recorded their 1960s song "Surf City". Santa Cruz began using the "Surf City" nickname in 1927 after a local newspaper coined the moniker. Huntington Beach officially adopted the "Surf City USA" nickname in 1991.
After Huntington Beach trademarked the "Surf City USA" name, Santa Cruz politicians tried to prevent the trademark from being registered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because of the controversy over the "Surf City" nickname. Nevertheless, a law firm representing Huntington Beach sent cease-and-desist letters to Santa Cruz vendors to stop selling T-shirts emblazoned with "Surf City USA".
In 2009 Steve Marble, of Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" news blog, wrote an article, The real Surf City? It's Santa Cruz.
But Surfer magazine proclaims Santa Cruz to be 'The Real Surf City, USA,' after it considered the surf, food and vibe of the nations' best known surf towns." Steve Marble quotes Surfer: "Huntington Beach may have won the right to the name ‘Surf City, USA’ in the California courts, but any surfer who’s ever paddled out at Steamer Lane knows the judge got it wrong.”
Find out for yourself on any bike from Oakland Harley-Davidson and ride into the sunset. Cowabunga!