Thursday, 25 February 2016

It's all about the people

I was vaguely aware of the smell of burgers as I rode along the coast and out of LA. I took note of the buildings around me and began to count the burger joints as I rode through at a very slow pace, stopping at each busy traffic light every few yards! There was Fat Burger, McDonalds x 4, In and Out and many more. Then of course there was the Mexican fast food joints - Pollo Loco, Taco Loco and so on. Its seems the Mexicans are all Loco in LA! On an empty stomach it was hard not to notice the smells, but I resisted and stopped at a 7/11 for a fruit smoothie instead! Here I stood and drank my beverage whilst watching a homeless guy fight with the shop owner over the bins! Fists were raised and threatened but none were thrown. Meanwhile the distant sound of a Harley remained constant. I will remember LA for the smell of burgers, the sound of Harleys and the wonderful diversity of its people!


From the unusually hot (for that time of year) California, to the snow covered baltic Baltimore, to the even colder (yet very pretty) Chicago and back again - it has certainly been a busy week. There is very little time to sit around on this leg of the journey though - Rhonda and I are ON TOUR!!!!

I was sad to say goodbye to Eric and Michelle in Orange county but it was time to leave LA and begin my journey North. Eric is the founder of XLADV.com and was a great help in setting up a few contacts for me along the way. Michelle (his partner) has to be one of the most selfless people I have ever met! 

The U.S is turning out to be great fun. As the Littlest Hobo song goes..'Every stop I make, I make a new friend'! O.K O.K so some of that cheese has worn off on me already but it's still true! In Simi Valley I stayed with Craig and Therese whilst Rhonda made friends in the garage with their BMW, Norton and XR650. It was a flying visit but the lemon cake was amazing and the company divine. Craig used to race and has a big hand in the Baja 1000 events with many great stories to share. The two of them made me feel very much at home and I was not the first weary traveller they had opened their home to over the years. The next morning, Craig and I rode together to meet up with the Norton club and visited a sickeningly beautiful collection of bikes and cars, before riding the 150 towards Morro Bay. A great ride through beautiful scenery! 

I tested out the Sena for the first time during that ride and we linked our headsets so we could chat as we rode. Not the first time there have been voices in my helmet but they are not usually male! My only regret was losing my balance very slightly on Rhonda and having to use my bad shoulder to take the weight. This resulted in a string of profanities whilst the pain subsided. I had forgotten that Craig was still connected and so his ears must have been ringing with my foul language. Within seconds though I heard the beep of the disconnect whilst he allowed me some time to compose myself! Clearly the Sena was working well.

Morro Bay is home to another interesting character. Drew lives in a modest bungalow in a to-die-for location. He has coffee waiting and shows me around. Amongst his collection of relics, Drew has a photo of himself on set with Paul Newman (signed too) and many old racing pictures from back in the day. The piece de resistance though, was hidden under a tarp in the back yard. Within the hour, we were cruising down the road in a 53 Chevy and heading for the nearest bar to continue our conversation over a beer! 

The next morning we headed North together. Last time I took the Pacific Highway, I was the support
driver for a group of bikers on a coast-to-coast tour with Nick Sanders. This time I was on two wheels and I had my own 'support driver'. Rhonda and the Chevy purred along the empty and sunny road, stopping only for photos and coffee. Highway 1 is famous for being an exhilarating driving experience. Its 123 miles of cliff hugging twisties is a popular road for bikers. My first two times on this road though, were during the summer and I found it was not only bikers who wanted to drive it. Of course it was full of RVs, Sunday drivers and every other type of slow moving vehicle you can imagine. It takes the edge off. However, during the winter months (hardly a British winter!) and on a week day whilst the sun still shines, the other road users have gone! Now you're talking! 


My final stop before heading over to
meet up with Rex and his family in Palo Alto, was in Morgan Hill, the home of Racer Gloves U.S.A Here I said goodbye to my old - and by now ragged - fingerless gloves, and said hello to a new pair of black, all protective leather gloves! Very nice! Thanks Lee for your support. My hands thank you too!

Next stop - The Nimble Collective! 












10 comments:

  1. Hey im matt I found your blog last night whilst reading about touring on a 250l and have read almost all the posts! Im now a big fan. I plan to buy a 2014crf in the comming months.

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    1. Hi Matt. Good to hear and glad you are enjoying the posts. Let me know if you need any advice or info when you get the new bike x

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  2. amazing bikes, stunning restorations

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  3. Hey Steph! Not posted for a while, but followed you all the way. That last pic looks to me like an Ariel Square Four. Had lots of fun on one of those many years ago with my mate Bruce Longman of Norwich who nowadays is a bit of a World expert on them.

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    1. I've just told her that - I'm sure she'll correct it when she wakes up (her Mum!)

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    2. ha ha thanks John. Yes my mum always sends me the corrections! :)

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    3. I did the Pacific Highway back in 1968, all the way from Big Sur(south of Monterey) up to Vancouver Canada. My brother went on to Alaska. Great journey. Good luck.

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  5. Hey Steph! This is Craig Williams. Therese & I really enjoyed your short stay. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip up to Ojai to view the bike/car collections and the back road route to Santa Barbara & beyond. No worries on what was heard in my helmet Hahaha! The things Therese says in her helmet (that I get to hear over the intercom)are things she would NEVER say to your face! Sometimes I wonder who is talking to me, even after 31 years of marriage! We wish you many more miles of safe travels, we will be following!

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    1. Hey Craig. Thanks very much and stay in touch xxx

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