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Friday, April 25

Our tour began with a leisurely 2-day drive up the California coast, from San Pedro to the tour start in Novato, north of San Francisco. First--but only after delaying as long as possible-- I knuckled to the pressure and bought a new rear tire for the CBR600F. I kept imagining Frank wagging his finger and telling me "I warned you to start the tour with fresh tires". I was lucky, the shop had a tire that fit in stock and was nice enough to get right on it when I rode the bike in at 9AM on the day of departure.

We finally hit the road about 11AM. Up the 110, past Santa Monica, till we finally hit the 101. Once we were off the interestates, it was a pleasant ride despite intermittent traffic congestion and delays. Took that up to San Luis Obispo and found the tourist information office in the center of town, intending to book a hotel a few hours' drive up the coast.

Got a list of motels in a 100 mile radius from the tourist center. The price guide was very rough and also inaccurate. Eventually booked at a Best Western in San Luis Obispo, when we found out that any room up along the coast was going to be nearly $200 for the three of us. The local Best Western was $50 cheaper. Nice place, though the lobby was temporarily set up in a part of the IHOP next door while the Best Western's lobby was being renovated. On the way, we stopped in at the Madonna Inn, a landmark. You can take a virtual tour of their "109 unique rooms" by visiting their website.

Dinner across the street in "Tahoe Joe's" restaurant in the mall across the street. 30 minute wait to sit down, so we sat at the bar and ordered appetizers. When we finally got a table, we weren't hungry anymore. I just had a bowl of soup, John a large salad, Kate a small salad. John left his glasses behind when we left, as we found out the next day.