Remember that scene in “Easy Rider” (1969) when Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda pull up to that funky little dive of a hotel on their choppers.
Hopper yells out, “Hey, got any rooms?” The night manager comes out, takes one look at the two bikes, does a double take of the guys riding them, then without a word goes back inside.
A moment later the Vacancy sign starts flashing NO VACANCY. Hopper delivers an expletive and hand gesture that requires bleeping and blurring on most cable channels before the two wayward heroes split into the night, eventually bedding down in a field.
That was then, this is now. Motorcycles seem to have systematically slipped into acceptability with the public, escaping the automatic suspicion that used to accompany our presence. We finally have respect, no longer arbitrarily conjuring images of hedonism and lawlessness. This comes in handy when we’re out traipsing around the world on two wheels, when night rolls on and we go searching for a place to stay.
On a recent jaunt to the Central Coast to test Honda’s VFR1200F, I discovered the Carmel Country Inn, in Carmel Village, adjacent to Monterey, California.
The quaint Inn is in the heart of Carmel by the Sea, one of my favorite places on Earth, and when I checked in the woman at the desk said they had a lot of motorcycle guests, especially during the Red Bull USGP weekend at Mazda Raceway/Laguna Seca.
She told me she was an enthusiast, owner of a Kawasaki Ninja. She then proudly reported that AMA Superbike rider Ben Bostrom has stayed with them. In my book this officially marks them as motorcycle-friendly.
Carmel Country Inn is within easy walking of the myriad shops and restaurants that dot Carmel Village, and is just a short stroll to Carmel Beach. The pet friendly Inn has just twelve suites and studios, all with fireplaces and down comforters, and is nicely appointed.
They have plenty of safe, secure, on-site parking-a nice re-assurance for motorcyclists – and their location provides easy, scenic access to Laguna Seca, as well as Pebble Beach, downtown Monterey, Big Sur, and Cannery Row.
The Inn provides a substantial breakfast each morning that includes a choice of either ham or spinach quiche. (Yes, real motorcyclists eat quiche).
Carmel Country Inn’s proximity to Mazda Raceway/Laguna Seca (about 10 minutes, pending race traffic), makes it an ideal USGP hotel. The management said that many of the USGP guests come back every year.
As a motorcyclist and journalist, I like to promote people and establishments that welcome us. In this regard, if you’re traveling to Monterey for the USGP (or anytime of year that might find you exploring the area’s various routes: Carmel Valley Road, Highway 1, etc.), you may want to check them out. But contact them early as the Inn fills up quickly during the MotoGP weekend.
Carmel Village, a small city known for its privacy, is famous for not having street numbers. But the Carmel Country Inn is easy to find, located at the corner of Dolores and 3rd. For more info go to carmelcountryinn.com.