Thanks for resurrecting the topic and for the responses. After I made the original post, someone told me the problem with going on the freeway was that it had anoying ribs every so many feet, producing a "babump...babump...babump..." that kind of drives you crazy after awhile. He thought the tailwind would probably be better closer to the coast too. Can you comment on those.
When we drove Harris Grade Rd., I seem to remember it being a two- or three-mile climb of maybe 6%, not too bad, and no traffic. I've ridden over Drum Canyon on the canyon going the oposite direction on the tandem with one son when he was still kind of a child; and coming down the north side, I remember my hands getting very tired of holding the brake levers. After that, we got a drum brake on the tandem which is much safer to use as a drag brake, and installed a bar-end shifter to control it, which you can set and not have to keep holding it. As we were climbing the south side, through part of it, we kept hearing something rustling in the foliage 50 or 100 feet away, and later heard there are mountain lions in the area, and they like to watch for when the child gets separated from the parent. Of course the dumb cat doesn't know that won't happen on a tandem.
It was interesting on Foxen Canyon Rd. smashing a dragon fly on a fork blade on a downhill and having the wings act like a card in the spokes. <laugh> On some of those roads, you feel like you're the only person left in the whole world.
Various things kept me from being able to do the ride from Salinas to L.A. last summer. I was finally ready to do it in October, and the weather forecast was excellent for the ten days leading up to my scheduled departure on the train to start the ride, but then the night before, the forecast changed to a significant chance of rain every day for the next several. With the days quickly becoming colder and shorter, and as rain was becoming more and more likely at any given time for the rest of the year, I figured my chance was gone. I'll try again this year.