Brothers, Motorcycles, and Some of our Fave Day Trips in Cali

I was lucky to have a surprise visit from my brother last month.  He was really just in town last February for Evie’s birthday and I kinda gave him crap for not staying.  He basically came to town only for the party and left soon after, so it was barely enough time to catch up with him at all.

My brother, Josh (whom I call by his middle name, Bernie), is owner of a couple motorcycles back in Illinois and wanted to go ride somewhere new.  He was lucky enough to have a couple days free from work and decided to see if he could arrange that time to ride around California for a bit.  To be honest, I am a little jealous of that carefree life, so I got really excited when he told me his plans.

Whether he wanted me to or not, I totally crashed the beginning of his adventures and followed him down the scenic Highway 1 in my station wagon, toting my very excited 4-year old.  Evie loves her uncle and wanted to follow him around as well.  We showed him some of our favorite spots along the way, and we all enjoyed the coastal views, windy roads, and cliffside edges of the Pacific Coast Highway for a bit.

As not to cramp his experience, we laid off a bit to do our regular activities, as he rode all over the next couple days.  Of course as an older sister, I was checking in with him along the way and throwing him more recommendations, but so glad he got to experience it on his own.  As the weekend was Father’s Day, we had a camping trip planned in the central valleys of California.  After a couple days solo, he rode out to our campsite to see that part of the state and hang for a bit before riding back up to do more in northern Cali.

He ended up riding an impressive amount of miles while out here, and we got back from camping just in time to see him off at the airport.  Evie didn’t want to let him go after spending some quality time with him and I totally understand.  My family has always grown up pretty close, and moving out west was a personal experiment of adaptation to say the least.  Having one-on-one time with family is really my way to feel that connection again.

I’m sure he has some great photos and stories to tell from his adventures, and I can’t wait to hear and see all of them.  One day I hope to ride through different parts of the country, but let’s be honest, motorcycles are really equipped with carseats for a reason.  With or without the bike, I was glad to share in this experience even if only for a bit, and treasure the time spent with family that is always missed.



Instead of shipping his own from Illinois, he rented one from Dubbelju in San Francisco.  It was the first stop to begin his journey.


Inside Dubbelju, as Evie “patiently” awaits.  The staff seems super friendly and seemed like it had options for all riders.


My brother pulling up in the rental at my car to grab his things and set a course.


Evie was already ahead of him, with his hat and gloves on.


He followed me through San Francisco until we got on the more open coastal roads of PCH1.


Highway 1 has all sorts of turnoffs on the roads to really take in how beautiful it is.


Evie and I seriously loved these fields of yellow wild flowers.

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She ended up picking all sorts of flowers and putting them in her pockets as part of “her collection”.


Stopping off in Half Moon Bay, a favorite spot for fall activities (like pumpkin patching) and seafoods.  These two spent some time checking out the waterfront with their matching sunglasses… twinsies!


Catching some big hair mid-run on the beach.


Stopping at one of our favorite spots to eat, Barbara’s Fishtrap, for some of their famous fish and chips with a side of  corn fritters. Yum!


Continuing down to Davenport to Swanton’s Berry Farmstead, one our favorite stops on Hwy 1.


Seriously though, how cute is this place?  Perfect spot for a mid-day snack.  Fresh and organic berries, lemonades, pies, ciders, and more… but also a place where you can support United Farmworkers, farming unions, and fair labor practices.  I am a little embarrassed to admit not knowing the role of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the history of farming unions until moving out to California.  After knowing what others have done, I can’t help but want to support others who continue to support the cause.  To learn a bit more about this, check out this NPR article.


Totally family-friendly with toys and games on large picnic tables, to share time with family and friends over some good food.


Evie had a blast hanging out with her “Tito Boy” out there, the ear smashing is just another sign of her affections.


A photo by Evie. My siblings and I always get commented about how we look like a parent, but I don’t really think any of us look related to each other sometimes.


My little berry.


She really loved the gloves, I think I had a whole photoshoot of her looking like a cartoon character with them.


Back in SF to get some ramen in Japantown.


Another photo by Evie.


Enjoying some catching up over dinner and drinks at Ramen Yamadaya.


Hanging out at the campsite at Santa Margarita Lake for Father’s Day weekend.  It was a crazy weekend to get out on the roads, and I sat through the crazy traffic wishing I could lane-split though it all like my brother was able to do.


Evie trying to get her “Tito Boy” to stay by holding down his leg.


Evie was seriously cramming in some good quality time with my brother.


She didn’t want to let him go.


As the sun started to set, it was time to say our goodbyes as we weren’t sure if we would catch him again before he left.


Waving him off as he rode away.


As we were on a ridge facing the lake, we got to see him ride off for a little before getting back to camping.  It was our first time camping at Santa Margarita Lake, but not the first time in central California.  We have stayed in the neighboring Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, and love finding new adventures out there.  From warmer weather to tasty wineries, it’s a great place for quick weekend vacations.


Big hugs for her “Tito Boy”.


Straight from a couple days camping in the central valley, we got back to the Bay Area with just enough time to see him off at the airport.  So glad to have caught him, even if just for a little bit.

Featured image: Evie in the yellow wildflowers off the Pacific Coast Highway 1.

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