Boaterz N’ Bikerz: Pacific Coast Rush – Riding The Wild, Wild West | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog

Boaterz N’ Bikerz: Pacific Coast Rush – Riding The Wild, Wild West

Published on November 10, 2016 under Born To Ride
Boaterz N’ Bikerz: Pacific Coast Rush – Riding The Wild, Wild West

The 2013 Boaterz and Bikerz of America: HULL OF A TOUR was a nine-day event from Destin, FL to San Diego, CA. In 2015, The Freedom Ride ran nine-days from Sarasota to Washington DC, with stops at five Freedom Boat Clubs, plus visits to Harley-Davidson’s York, PA factory, the Gettysburg Battlefield and Jefferson’s beloved Monticello, wrapping into DC’s famous Rolling Thunder.
This year’s “Pacific Coast Rush” held July 23-30 was a spectacular 1,750-mile wild, wild west adventure, from Seattle to Big Sur, with a loop back to San Francisco.

As is tradition and the unique component to this ride, it mixes the best of motorcycling with special boating events, in keeping with the composition of marine industry folk and their friends.
Pacific Coast Rush brought together 16 bikes and 25 experienced riders from Florida, Ohio, Washington State and California. A dozen machines shipped from four Florida cities a week in advance via 4D’s Trucking private transport, aboard owner Mike Dengel’s trusty 72’ semi.

Riders rendezvoused with Dengel in Seattle a week later to offload bikes. We gathered early Saturday and navigated through interstate traffic to downtown Seattle, arriving at the waterfront enclave of retail sponsor Alexander Marine USA and its global manufacturer and joint event sponsor, Regal Boats. As the dealership had already sold through its Regal cruiser inventory, our riders were treated to a fabulous two-hour brunch cruise aboard a stunning 78’ Ocean Alexander motoryacht.

What an awesome way to get the party started! We toasted the tour, explored the magnificent yacht, mixed and mingled and enjoyed delectable hors d’oeuvres including fresh salmon. We cruised leisurely along Lake Union and Lake Washington with the famous Space Needle and Seattle skyline on the horizon. As our cruise came to its close, we thanked our gracious hosts, then revved it up for our ride to Mount Rainier National Park.

After a brief pit stop In Enumclaw, we began the stellar climb to the Sunrise Visitors Center, the highest drive point in the national park. Unfortunately, our only incident involved a rider breaking down half way up the mountain. Due to the late afternoon hour and lack of emergency towing services in the area, he spent the night at the ranger’s station. Our hero was transport driver Mike Dengel who drove his bike 2.5 hours to pick up a new battery AND then returned with it so our pal could rejoin the tour. What a champ!

The rest of the crew rode an hour and checked in at the rustic Paradise Inn, operated by the National Park Service. Our first group dinner together was fun, but dessert was even better. We licked ice cream cones around a large, blazing fireplace!

Some riders rose early to trek half a mile up the mountain and were treated to a bewitching display of fragrant blooms, with a front-row vista of Mount Rainier in all of her craggy, snow-capped glory!

Our first official stop was the Mount Saint Helens Windy Ridge View Point, a parched, somber and a bleak reminder of nature’s fierce power. We rode as close to the volcano’s caldera as possible and observed the lingering signs of devastation wrought by the original blast in 1980, and a second in 2008.

We maneuvered down the mountain to Cougar for lunch, then cruised into Oregon where we stopped to view the famous Columbia River Gorge. We swung east and passed a series of waterfalls, stopping at Multnomah. Breathtaking!

We overnighted at Hood River and rose early to ride to the famous Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, one of two year round ski resorts in the Northwest. We were surprised to spot skiers on the slopes in July!

The next encounter was one of my favorites. Crater Lake is situated in south central Oregon within the Crater Lake National Park and is the second deepest lake in North America with a 1,949’ water depth. The water color is a shimmering indigo blue with a brilliancy that defies description. We rode much of the 26-mile rim, stopping for a group photo. We then headed to the hip ski town of Bend, OR and lunched at the local brewery en route to our final destination for the night, White City.
Tuesday dawned a brisk 55 degrees as we suited up for our ride to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, the film location for the blockbuster movie, Jurassic Park. En route, we stopped for lunch at the Chart Room waterfront restaurant in Crescent City, CA, where we were greeted by a foggy coastline and a happy cacophony of barking sea lions. Ride captain Jim Krueger then led us through our first spectacular canopy of giant redwoods, which served as a brief teaser for the day ahead!
We rode to Eureka for the night, excited about the special dinner hosted by our event title sponsor, Freedom Boat Club at the popular restaurant, Black Lightning Motorcycle Café. Owners Jeff and Cassandra Hesseltine hosted our private event and couldn’t have been more welcoming! We ordered off an eclectic menu featuring tantalizing soups, fresh salads and pressed panini sandwiches, all bestowed with names of famous motorcycle brands. We filled our bellies as we dined on hand-tooled tables, among a cool array of bikes, gear, merchandise and classic moto movies.

The following morning, we experienced the Avenue of the Giants, an enchanting, 31-mile strip of heavenly grandeur. We slipped onto a secret side road where we parked our rides. The sun peeped through the slumbering forest, monkeys squealed overhead and we breathed it all in, gathering for some fun group shots atop a humungous overturned stump. On our way out, we rode under and through the massive trunk of one of the most photographed redwoods in the world.

To reduce our travel time to Rohnert Park, we opted to take an inland interstate vs. the coastal route. BIG Mistake! We suffered the radical temperature shift from the cool mid 50’s of the morning to a blistering 111 degrees in the afternoon. We resembled a fire-breathing dragon as we hot-tailed it to a rest stop to peel off leather and mesh. At the second stop, we dumped icy-cold gallons of water directly on our heads to cool our core temperatures. The heat was brutal!
The next day brought new challenges and opportunities.
First, we took a thrilling ride through the beach towns of Stinson Beach and Point Reyes, and then wound down to Fort Barry and the Bonita Point Lighthouse, the latter which juts out as the entrance to San Francisco Bay. The road was marked for miles by harrowing hairpin turns and riveting switchbacks. Awesome riding!
We tightened the formation for our group ride over the famous Golden Gate Bridge, which was shrouded in the traditional light layer of fog. The bridge crossing was a breeze … but unfortunately, that euphoria came to a screeching halt at our exit, as we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of major congestion. Due to an accident, we were forced to duck-walk our bikes more than a mile uphill and through a tunnel, an intense and tiring exercise.

As we cleared the accident, though, we cruised like rock stars along the world famous Pacific Coast Highway, reaching Half Moon Bay where we feasted at Café Capistrano, a small and outstanding family-owned Mayan restaurant.

And then, it was on to Monterey and Carmel for the night.

Two of our California rider pals who rode in the first Hull of a Tour had joined us the day before and agreed to lead the pack to Big Sur on Friday. The wildfires had been raging, but the mountain road remained open. We set off for a three-hour ride through the legendary stretch of Big Sur, en route to San Simeon.

The thick, soupy recipe of fog and smoke created difficult navigation, but our hardy group pressed on, stopping midway for warm beverages. There were points along this curvy road where visibility was reduced to one or two taillights. Every so often, the grey clouds would lift their skirts, allowing a quick peek at the dramatic cleavage of mountain and surf.

Skies cleared as we descended into San Simeon where we lunched at the foot of the Hearst Castle while seated in a corral, surrounded by horses and cattle. We then scooted up the mountain for an afternoon tour of the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst’s majestic American palace, rich in its old Hollywood glamour and steeped in stories.

On our return ride, the fog and smoke had dissipated. We found ourselves cushioned between a long trail of fire fighters during their afternoon shift change. Trucks and equipment were stashed all along the mountainside, amid handwritten signs posted by locals thanking these tireless, hard-working crews for their selfless service and sacrifice. We stopped to view the huge elephant seals who gather each year along the shore to give birth, sleep, and molt. These marvelous mammals were literally stacked side to side, sacked out and kicking up sand!

We finally rolled into the picturesque Monterey Marina at sunset, where several of us enjoyed a Japanese tepanyaki-style dinner.

It seems like the months preceding a vacation drag on forever, while the last day of vacation always arrives like an unwelcomed guest. Saturday morning, we headed to the Santa Cruz mountains, riding through fertile farmlands, then up through gentle hills to dappled forests with easy sweeps and turns. A few switchbacks with some wide banks kept the adrenaline flowing.

Around noon, we pulled up to Alice’s Restaurant in Woodbine, where you can, in fact, get most anything you want. A biker’s hangout, hundreds of motorcyclists come every weekend and create a virtual bike show. It’s the happening spot for a great meal, friendly conversations and some exciting riding all along Skyline Drive.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. We hit the interstate, heading to the Perkins Harley dealership near San Francisco Airport where we reluctantly turned over our bikes and keys to Mike Dengel, who loaded ‘em up and moved ‘em out. He would be making a stop in Sturgis with our loyal steeds before returning them to the Sunshine State a few weeks later. We’ve all become fans of Mike and 4D’s Trucking!

The tour’s grand finale was held at San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf where we gathered for a “Sunset Sailabration,” hosted by Freedom Boat Club. Our last ride was aboard a spacious 48’ power catamaran which cruised 1.5 hours around San Francisco Bay, past Alcatraz and beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. We toasted the amazing time we’d spent together … and the fabulous new friendships we’d made.

There’s a lot that could be said about riding with a group of boaters and bikers, but one description says it all … it’s one hull of a tour!

Wanda Kenton Smith is the co-founder and event producer of Hull of a Tour. She is president of Kenton Smith Marketing (, president of Marine Marketers of America and chief marketing officer of Freedom Boat Club. She is also the national marketing columnist for Soundings Trade Only since 1998, and served previously as editor of several consumer boating magazines and trade newspapers.

as seen on the Florida Motorcycle Magazine Issue #150

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