California is truly a mecca for motorcyclists. Lane-splitting legality aside, we on the West Coast are able to ride all year long with only a few rainy days and temperatures rarely dropping below rideable levels. This means that while most of the US gets packed in the van to head to grandma's house, my little gang got loaded up on a Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited for Thanksgiving—pup and all. We headed 400 miles north from Orange County to Salinas in central California with the dog in the middle to see some family for the holidays, and it was one of our best road trips yet.

I have been traveling with my dog on the bike since I adopted him as a pupper, so he has gotten real good at locking it down and not moving once he is in the jacket. He’ll wiggle from time to time if he needs to take a bathroom break, but he does it rarely enough for me to know it means something when he does. With the distance between the seats on the Ultra Limited, there was plenty of room for him to stay in between my girlfriend and I without putting added pressure on either of us.

Morgan's girlfriend Bianca with Rollie the moto mutt.Morgan Gales

We took US Highway 101 north through California for most of the journey, dipping west at Santa Barbara to cruise along Pacific Coast Highway for a bit as well. The ride took us about eight hours with a few stops for gas and scenic vistas along the way. An unlined leather jacket was all the insulation I needed for the whole journey—man, I love this state.

The view of Morro Rock from Pacific Coast Highway on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Ultra LimitedMorgan Gales

We could have stayed locally, but the opportunity to get out and see some of this beautiful country while having some amazing time together out on the road was too good to pass up. Who knows, if it’s this nice in California every Thanksgiving, this might just become a tradition.