A movie of our First Ural Adventure

If you’ve got a little time to spare, this is a 20 minute “movie” I made from all the photos and videos that we shot during our 7 day vacation/trip/adventure this past June.  We started in Harbor City (near Los Angeles California) and documented our ride as we rode our new Ural motorcycle/sidecar thru Oxnard, Lompoc, Cambria, Big Sur, Monterey, and Turlock on our way bringing our new rig home to Folsom.

Turn up the volume and grab some popcorn…..

The “movie”  is a 7 day summary of the ride in 20 minutes. For more details about each day of our ride along the coast, check out our notes below in the various posts about each day.

Thanks for taking the time to check out our site – hope you enjoyed it.

Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Have fun and ride safe!

Day 6 – Riding thru Big Sur

Day 6 – Riding thru Big Sur to Monterey

Today we left Cambria and headed north towards Big Sur and Monterey.

After having breakfast at the hotel, we checked out, loaded up our gear on the Ural and hit Highway 1 for what was to be the most scenic part of our trip.

First we stopped and got gas in Cambria. While filling up the tank, a guy came by to talk about the Ural.  Turned out he had driven down from Monterey to pickup avocados from a local farm there in Cambria (that’s a long way to go just to pickup avocados for a restaurant).  He told us all about how some of the best avocados are grown in this area and how they do really well and have a better taste because of the coastal valley temps and fog. I told him how I love avocados and how my mom has an avocado tree and I ate them a lot while growing up. He said hold on a minute, went to his van and brought us four avocados that he gave to us – that was really cool and I thanked him. We enjoyed some of those avocados slivered up on crackers at a picnic lunch we had later in the day.

Checking out the views

Checking out the views

From Cambria we rode highway 1 up the coast with lots of spectacular ocean views.  We stopped off several times to check out beaches and scenery and took lots of pictures. One fun place we checked out was the Elephant Seal Sanctuary where we saw lots of elephant seals lazing on the beach with some fighting with each other playfully. They sure do make odd guttural like noises, it’s really weird to hear.

Elephant Seal Sanctuary

Elephant Seal Sanctuary

We also stopped at a favorite spot of ours on the coast – the tiny roadside gas stop/store/bar/hotel/town called Lucia.  Just prior to Lucia we had stopped and checked out our #1 favorite campsite in the world – Kirk Creek campgrounds, which are situated on the cliffs overlooking the rugged yet beautiful oceans with big waves breaking below.  For lunch later we stopped at Pfeiffer State Beach and had a nice picnic under the trees.

Lucia

Lucia

Big Sur

Big Sur

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Later as we rode north and got near Carmel, we pulled over and went on a hike that we found near our parking spot – it turned out we stumbled on some really spectacular scenery and coastal views that were incredible at this location. We looked around and hiked along the cliffs on a nice little trail overlooking the beach below. As could be expected we took a lot of photos and videos of the beautiful scenery that was all around us. This was a very special place, it was hard to leave it but we had a few more miles to go before our stop for the night.

Roadside tree and our Ural

Roadside tree and our Ural

After our hike we rode up thru Carmel and onto the 101 and into Monterey where we stopped for the night at a Best Western hotel.  We got unpacked, settled and showered then headed out on the town. The two of us walked down to Old Fisherman’s Warf to check out the shops and scenery.  After stepping into a few shops to admire the touristy knick knacks, we wandered around more and checked out a few restaurants and finally decided on one where we enjoyed dinner of seafood paella that we shared between us (at the Old Fisherman’s Grotto restaurant). I also had one of the best bloody Mary’s I’ve ever had that came with very tasty large fresh shrimp, it was so good I had to have two.

Monterey Boats

Monterey Boats

We finished dinner and walked around the pier and boat dock and listened to some local street musicians play for a while, then headed back to the hotel for the evening.  It was a nice way to wrap up a great day of riding on the California coast.

Today’s travels:

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Day 5 – Hanging out in Cambria

Day 5 ~ Hanging out in Cambria

The prior evening we decided to stay in Cambria a little longer and so we added another night to our hotel stay and slept in.  We got up late, had breakfast at the hotel and then made our plans for the day.

Sebastian's Store, San Simeon

Sebastian’s Store, San Simeon

We decided to ride back up the coast to Sebastian’s Store, which is a deli, store and winery.  It’s also one of the oldest stores on the central coast, originally built in 1852. Here we would buy some lunch, then go somewhere to have a picnic.

Deli Menu

Deli Menu

We checked out the store (which had some nice interesting items) and we tried and purchased a few of the Hearst wines. They actually had some really good wines, which we found we enjoyed a lot.  For lunch we decided on getting the deli’s Hearst local ranch beef sandwiches that were out of this world delicious and huge! After standing in a fairly long line to place our order, we later received our sandwiches, then packed up our food and rode out on the Ural to check out a few parks and vistas along the oceanfront.  We ended up stopping at a place where we had our picnic lunch at a table on the bluffs over-looking the beach.

San Simeon Pier

San Simeon Pier

At this park we met a guy named Dan, who was a retired psychiatrist from Manhattan NYC who had recently moved here to Cambria.  He was out walking his dog which was a cool little pooch that looked like a mini Doberman but it was something different – forgot the breed name but he said they were rare and he told us all about the breed and how he got it after a long wait.  He told us that this dog was his service dog as he was a Vietnam Vet with PTSD. Really cool guy, talked with him for a while, funny thing was he looked a lot like Tommy Chong.

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While we were eating our lunch we noticed several people walk up to the Ural and take photos of it.  One guy even took close up pictures of it with several different lenses for a while.  It was cool to see people interested in the bike, more UDF.

From here we headed back to the hotel to unload the bike and check out some GoPro videos we had just filmed.  It is our first attempts at making videos on this bike so we don’t know if we’re doing it right yet, but we are learning a lot. There will be some video clips posted soon.

We decided to head into downtown Cambria to walk around and check out the place.  As I was getting on my bike to leave the hotel, a guy ran over from across the street on the boardwalk by the beach to ask me about the Ural – turns out he is the national president of the antique motorcycle club. We talked for a while about the Ural and he told me about his club and the vintage bikes he owns and he gave me his card.  That was an interesting individual. He literally saw the Ural and ran out his way to see it and talk about it. I really enjoy meeting people like this at random; the bike seems to be a magnet for all kinds of different and interesting folk.

Black Hand Winery

After riding into Cambria we parked the bike then strolled up and down the block to see what there was to see.   We stepped into a winery called Black Hand Wines and sampled several of their wines. Ronda and I had a good time with the gal who was pouring the tastings. She was hilarious.  We bought a couple of bottles and continued walking down the street checking out the town.

Cambria Brewery

Cambria Brewery

Down the road we turned and walked off the main street and went to Cambria Brewery to try out their beers. Ronda and I shared the beer sampler and after a while two guys walked in – both short, both with very long hair – they looked a lot like Jay and Silent Bob. We hung out for a while and they told us all about their road trip from San Francisco heading towards LA and all the places they went and the people they met.  During their travels they met some interesting people too and had some pretty good stories. We hoisted a few beers together and had a good time; we had become a part of each other’s road trip, got to luv the fun that can be found by wandering around and meeting people.

People we met at the brewery

People we met at Cambria Brewery

We left the guys at the brewery and went back to main street to a few shops where we bought a few things. We then got the Ural, packed up our purchases and rode up to Nitwit Ridge to check out the bizarre house up there that was built by hand with scrap materials over many years.

Nitwit Ridge House

Nitwit Ridge House

After leaving downtown Cambria we rode back out to Moonstone Drive and headed to the hotel.  Later we went back to the Moonstone Grill for dinner then returned to the hotel for some vino while watching a beautiful sunset.

Sunset in Cambria

Sunset in Cambria

Life is good.

 

Day 4 – The Coast and The Castle

Day 4 – The coast and the castle

California Coast

California Coast

We had a nice restful night in our ocean front hotel room in Cambria and awoke early and refreshed.  After grabbing a quick breakfast at the hotel, we got our gear ready to head out to explore the local area.

Today we rode up the coast a few miles thru San Simeon to the world famous Hearst’s Castle.  We’ve been here a few times before but this time we went on a different tour (they have several to choose from).

Hearst’s Castle

Although we’ve both been here several times before, we never grow tired of visiting this spectacular historical estate built by Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate.

Outdoor Pool (drained due to drought)

Outdoor Pool (drained due to drought)

The estate offers multiple tours of the castle and grounds and this is the first time we went on the Cottages, Kitchen and Wine Cellar tour which took us down to the wine cellar, to the outer buildings (where Hearst and his family lived during the construction of the castle) and to the massive kitchen that was used to serve the family and guests for many extravagant soiree’s over the years.

Spectacular View

Spectacular View

After the tour we walked around the grounds to admire and photograph a lot of historical architecture, statues and views that can be seen all over.

One of many statues at the estate

One of many statues at the estate

For today’s lunch we rode down the street to Sebastian’s Store which also includes Hearst’s Wine tasting room where we tried out several of the local wines and purchased a couple of bottles. Sebastian’s is a historical monument; it’s one of the oldest stores still in existence in California.  Unfortunately Sebastian’s (the sandwich shop part) was closed today so we just enjoyed the wines for now J.

Cambria View

Cambria View

We headed back to Cambria after a few more ocean side stops to check out the great views.  After we got back, we unloaded the bike and relaxed at the hotel for a while. Later we went on a long walk along the boardwalk and then had another nice dinner at Moonstone Grill again.  We ended the evening with a good glass of wine some star watching and enjoyed listening to the waves as we sat out on our patio.

Today’s travels:

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Day 3 – Northbound on PCH

Day 3 – Continuing our ride Northbound on Pacific Coast Highway

Ural Delay Factor ~ UDF

Woke up this morning to the sound of people outside our room where the Ural was parked. I peaked outside the window and there were a few people surrounding my Ural with one taking photos of it.  This is getting strange, but I’m not complaining, this bike is definitely unique and I’d be wondering what the heck it was too.

As I started loading up the bike with our gear, a few more people came by and wanted to know all about what kind of bike it was. Some thought it was a restored vintage bike; others wanted to know where it came from. This is what I learned is called “UDF” – Ural Delay Factor.  It’s when people come up to the Ural and want to talk about it and learn about it and sometimes take pictures. It’s all good, but I’m still learning more about it myself.

This Travel Lodge hotel in Lompoc was a fun stay. We met a whole cast of all kinds of characters, real people, our kind of people. This is what traveling on the road is all about, meeting different people and sharing a moment in time while we’re all traveling to our own destinations.

Budget Cafe for Breakfast

We left Lompoc around 9am and had breakfast at a local restaurant called Budget Café. It was pretty decent food for cheap prices, thus the name.  We like to go to mom and pop run restaurants instead of chains. Checking out new places on the road is what we live for.  You know the saying, “ride to eat, eat to ride” (heh).

Breakfast Stop

Today we decided to lighten the luggage load a little bit and make some space in the trunk of the sidecar by shipping some gear back home that we felt we could live without.  As you can guess, we kind of over packed a little bit.  So we looked up a nearby UPS store and headed over there to box up some stuff to ship back home.

Highway 1

After taking care of shipping the box of stuff back home, we took Pacific Coast Highway 1 north thru farm country via Guadalupe and enjoyed the open road with very little traffic and nothing but farms as far as the eye could see. I really like riding thru this area and seeing it every time (there’s also a super great Mexican restaurant in town in a really old building on main street).  Guadalupe is an older farming community and to me it really represents a big part of California, which is well known for the agriculture industry here.

Roadside Stop

We cruised north on Highway 1 until we got to Pismo Beach where we continued on an arterial road version of Hwy 101 that ran parallel to the main highway. I soon found a side street with a sign that said coastal access and turned there and headed to the water to take a break and check out the ocean views.

Pismo Beach View

We found some nice parking along a cliffside city park above the beach and enjoyed some beautiful coastal views from here as we took a brief photo op break.

Pismo Beach Stop

We soon got back on highway 1 and headed to Morro Bay, where for the very first time ever I decided to pull off the road and check out the big rock – Morro Rock.

I went down one of the exits and found my way to the bay right across from the Rock and happened to really luck out and get the very last space in a tiny parking lot next to a small pier between buildings where we were able to check out the bayside scenery.

UDF happened again,  a couple of women came over and talked to Ronda about the bike for about 15 minutes.  While they were talking I went and got a couple of quick  photos from the dock of Morro Rock and the nearby fishing boats.  This is our kind of vacation; we’re loving every minute of it.

Photo stop at Morro Rock

 

Click on the photo below(2x) to see it in expanded high resolution panoramic mode

 

Morro Bay and Rock

The Rock

Back on Highway 1/101, we rode up to San Louis Obispo and cruised around old down town and passed by the alley with the wall of gum.

Wall of Gum

We stopped for lunch at a nice tacqueria off of the main street, found nearby parking and enjoyed some really good tacos outdoors while overlooking a small river and checking out the local scene.

After finishing our lunch we got back on the road and drove for a while until we stopped at a town that we’ve driven by dozens of times but have also never stopped to see before  – Harmony California, Population 18.

Harmony, California

This is the smallest town in California (as far as I know).  There are just a couple of houses, a pottery shop, a glass shop and a winery and that’s it. But hey, what more does one need (when there is a winery in town…).

Harmony Post Office

 

Pottery Studio

After visiting a few shops and buying some pottery for Ronda, we cruised on to Cambria to a favorite hotel of ours that we’ve been to several times before and really enjoyed.  It’s The Fireside Inn on Moonstone Drive, our ocean front room looks right out at the water, this is nice, this is what we enjoy, this makes us happy campers.

Parked at Hotel

Cambria BeachLater after checking in and getting settled, we took a walk down the wooden boardwalk that hugs the cliffs over the shores and walked down to a restaurant a couple blocks away called Moonstone Bar and Grill where we enjoyed some really great meals over the next few days.

Seafood Cioppino

 

Cambria

The rest of the evening was spent on our hotel room patio looking out at the ocean enjoying some good vino, reminiscing over the day and enjoying the spectacular sunset.

Sunset in Cambria

We like the Ural more and more as we get more experience with it and it’s been a lot of fun.  Tomorrow we are riding up to see the “castle”.

Today’s travels:

Lompoc to Cambria

Day 2 – Riding up the Coast

Day 2 – Riding up the Coast

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Highway 1 Scenic Drive

Morning came early on day two and we were excited to continue our motorcycle sidecar journey up the coast. We re-packed our gear, jumped on the Ural and hit the road.

This was the first day we were to going to ride on the super slab for a while via Highway 101 heading north. This funky Russian bike did its best to build up speed and keep up with the traffic, but at best it hummed along at 55-60 mph (remember, its fully loaded with us and our gear) and so we stayed in the slow lane. The Ural was definitely not built for speed.  This fact was no surprise to me; I knew what I was getting into with this bike.  It’s all about the journey right? What better way to enjoy it then by cruising at a slower pace…. that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! (Heh).

Getting out of Oxnard and riding thru Ventura was a sort of battle; the highway was backed up with cars going very slowly in each lane.  Turned out they were all getting off at the Ventura fairgrounds exit for the Vans Warped Tour.  I can appreciate that.

It was at times like this when traffic was moving slowly that I missed being able to split lanes like I can on my Harley. But it was ok; this is part of being on this different kind of bike.

After some miles I saw a sign that said Hwy 1 exit and we jumped off the 101 and cruised down a road that hugged the beach on the left and Highway 101 on the right, I did not know this road was here nor that it ran along the 101 for so far, this was nice.  At one section, there were dozens and dozens of RV’s camped along the road facing the beach, what a nice place to hang out!!

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This small beach side road went for quite a few miles and was a nice stretch of road but eventually we were soon back on 101 heading north bound along with all the weekend traffic. Cruising in the slow lane was not so bad; it just took a while to get used to it.

As we approached Carpentaria I got off at the 150 Rincon Road exit and headed left down a dead end road to our favorite “rest stop” that is a great place to take a break.

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Stop at Rincon Beach Overlook

This area overlooks Rincon beach and has some great panoramic views of the ocean coastline.  If you’re lucky you might even see the Amtrak train go by. I often stopped by here on my way home when I worked in Santa Barbara while driving my Jeep Wrangler and always had a ton of fun 4x4ing up and down the hills here.

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When we arrived at Rincon overlook as I call it, a big guy came walking immediately over to, as he put it – “gush” over the bike… I guess he liked it.  He took a lot of pictures of it.  He said he had always wanted to get a Ural.

He was on a pretty cool bike too; he was riding a nice red Italian Vespa Scooter.

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We talked for a while about the bikes and I found that he was a local so I asked him about some back roads thru Santa Barbara that I had remembered riding around way back when I had worked in the area for Transoft and Hewlett Packard.

The guy on the Vespa (forgot his name) offered to lead us thru some back roads on our way north and so we ventured off following him on his Vespa and his son on a Ninja – this was the strangest riding combo I’ve ever seen but they seemed to be having a lot of fun showing us some fun roads.

As we got to the outskirts of town we said our goodbyes and split off from them and got back on the 101.After a couple of “photo op” stops along the way we finally arrived in Lompoc at the Travel Lodge hotel and then we went to lunch down the street at a restaurant called Jalama Beach Cafe.

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The restaurant is owned by the same folks who created and run the famous Jalama Beach Grill, which we have been going to for a couple of decades. They are world famous for their Jalama Burger. Being a semi serious burger connoisseur who’s even done a few burger tasting contests/evaluations I can confidently tell you that the Jalama Burger is truly one of the best burgers on the entire planet. We had a blast hanging out with the waitress and talking about this and that and everything else – she really made the experience that much better – it’s one of the things I really like while doing road trips – meeting all kinds of people.

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Back at the hotel we found people were standing around my bike and taking photos.  We hung outside for a few hours and had a good time hanging out with them and talking to several fellow riders about their bikes and mine.  Turned out one guy was there for three months and he lived nearby us in NorCal at Forrest Hill/Auburn.  It’s amazing to be far from home but meeting people who live somewhat near us.  It sure is a small world!

The more I ride this bike, the easier it gets. We had a good time riding to Lompoc.

Today’s travels:

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Day 1 – Taming the Beast

Day 1 – Taming the Beast

Day one is now in the books, we are the proud owners of a 2014 Ural Gear Up 2WD Red October Custom Motorcycle/Sidecar.

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Our New Ural Motorcycle Sidecar

Our morning started at 3:30am, getting up and getting ready to head out to acquire our new bike.  We got a ride from our daughter to the Sacramento airport at 4am (bless her heart), caught our Southwest flight to Los Angeles and even arrived 30 minutes early – wait? What? Arriving earlier then scheduled almost never happens… this was a good start to our trip!

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Landing in Los Angeles

After we arrived at LAX, we picked up our bags and then tried something new (for us).  We ordered an Uber cab/car ride and were pleasantly surprised how very well that ride worked out, and best of all it was ½ the price of a regular cab ride.  I’d recommend using Uber based on this great first experience alone and plan to use them again in the future.

We were dropped off at California Boss Hoss and Ural motorcycle dealership in Harbor City where we met up with Don.

Don took care of our Ural from the day it was delivered from Ural of New England via truck until the day we picked it up.  He did a great job, we were very happy with how everything worked out.  The guys and gals at Ural of New England and Boss Hoss are top notch.

If you are ever in or near Harbor City, check them out, they have some really cool collector bikes (not for sale) on display on the showroom floor.  From 1920’s vintage Harley’s, to vintage Indian’s, Enfield’s, Cushman carts, Big Dog customs and much more.  This shop is worth visiting. Their Boss Hoss monster motorcycles have full size V8 Motors in them! Biggest motor of any bike I’ve ever seen – really cool stuff!

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Boss Hoss Motorcycle

After being shown the basics of the Ural controls by Don, we loaded up all our gear onto the sidecar rack and tied everything down.  We were off!  Boy howdy….. This was like no other ride I’ve ever experienced before.

If you’re curious about how to ride a Ural, here’s the detailed book online -> Click HERE

The first thing I noticed (everyone had been warning me about this for weeks) was to watch out for the right turns, they are indeed a doozy as you first get used to them on a Ural.

It is like wrestling a bear getting used to the way the rig rides when giving it gas – it pulls very hard to the right. I thought holy hanna what have I gotten into – but after riding it for a few hours it became like second nature and I didn’t even notice the effect anymore after becoming used to it.  I had tamed the beast!

The bike looks beautiful and runs great. After several hours of riding it a little over a hundred miles I related it to a combination of riding a dirt bike, with the “smoothness” of a rigid Harley and steering control like a tractor in heavy dirt.

I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy at first but after a while learning how it rides and figuring out how to control the beast, it became one helluva really fun ride!

For this first day out on the bike we headed north on PCH and stopped for lunch at a restaurant I had read about in Redondo Beach called Rock and Brews, which is owned, by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS.

Rock and Brews Restaurant Redondo Beach

Rock and Brews Restaurant Redondo Beach

The place was nice, the service great.  The beers were tasty but honestly the food was just ok. But it went well with beer and that’s what really counts right?  The best part of stopping by Rock and Brews was meeting up with and visiting with our old friend Rob who we hadn’t seen for over 20 years. We all had a great time catching up and talking about bikes and rides and more. Good times for sure!

After the lunch stop we hit the road again and rode thru some really heavy traffic in the south bay going thru Santa Monica (not a very fun way to learn to ride this kind of rig but you do what you gotta do). When we finally got onto PCH the traffic was even more horrendous but we pushed on and made it thru the fray and got to Malibu where we took a break at the famous motorcycle hangout – Neptune’s Net.

As expected on a sunny Saturday afternoon, there were tons of bikers there and the place was packed.  Somehow I scored a spot right up front.  It was really cool how a lot of people stopped and turned when we rode up. This bike is definitely an attention getter and we had fun telling folks about the bike and our journey.  The most interesting part was when we left we had to ride thru a tight squeeze of bikes owned by a local 1%er MC club with the guys all hanging out around them. They looked at us on our ride and they all parted the way and took photos as we rode by and they were all giving the thumbs up – that was pretty darn cool!

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Neptune’s Net

From Malibu heading north, the road was wide open and I got to really wind up the Ural to a whopping 55-65 miles an hour which went well. The bike ran smooth and accelerated decent enough to keep up with traffic…. in the slow lane.

I still have a lot to learn about this bike.  Getting it into neutral is a challenge but I will master that by tomorrow I hope.  I need to read all the documents on the bike and really get into it to learn about it as much as possible.  This is a simple but very rugged bike and I think with proper care and feeding, it’s going to have a very long and adventurous life.

After an hour or so we finally landed in Oxnard for our first night.  Got a nice room at the Residence Inn and had dinner at the Yard House a few miles away.  After this long first day, we were wiped out and ready for a good rest because tomorrow it’s going to get even better as we travel farther and head north to Jalama Beach and Lompoc.

I’d have to say that Day 1 was a rousing success and I look forward to tomorrow’s continued adventures.

Some quick notes: The company, Ural Motorcycles IMZ really rocks! With the bike I received a fully equiped tool kit with work gloves, an extensive owners manual with service info in great details with photos, an air pump, a set of touch up paints and I also purchased a digital copy of the full service/repair manual along with twenty two videos on each service procedures – that’s gonna come in handy!

So far we really like our new Ural!

Todays Travels:

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Day 1 Route