I really liked Pismo Beach. It’s a cool little town on the way to LA and we stayed at a fabulous beachfront hotel, waking up to views of the ocean. When we went for breakfast, Phil had his very first motel waffle experience, which surprised me no end as he’s been living here for nearly two years…
Berkley is lovely and my brother in law Phil’s house is really rather splendid. I wish I could have spent more time hanging out in the Bay Area, but I’m on a mission and so it was only a brief overnight stay. We had oatmeal and coffee, packed up our bikes and rolled out, down Phil’s quite monstrously steep driveway.
I woke up in an overpriced Motel just off the 101. Usually, I’m quite happy to forgoe the inclusive toast and cereal breakfast that you get in most motels in order to pay absolute bottom dollar for a room for the night, but at just shy of $100, I felt like the Motel 6 in Fort Bragg owed me breakfast before I left.
I said goodbye to these two amazing people this morning. I met them on the Internet and they didn’t know me from Adam, but they collected me from the airport, put me up for the night and sold me the best damn chopper I could ever want for my road trip. Then they rode with me for almost six hundred miles of the Pacific Coast highway, just because they wanted to see me off on my journey and “it seemed like the right thing to do”. Hope our paths cross again, Mr and Mrs Miyagi.
I can’t deny that the plan for today was bothering me a bit. My itinerary had the mileage down as over 360 miles and after yesterday’s ride, I had realised that getting fifty miles done in an hour was about as much as you can expect on Highway 101, so that equated to at least seven rolling hours. Seven hour on a rigid framed motorcycle. Seven hours on a rigid framed motorcycle with very loud exhausts and an engine that vibrates like a rampant rabbit with fresh lithium batteries. Yeah, I was a bit apprehensive.
As expected, jet lag woke me up at about 2am saying, “it’s morning time, Charlotte – up you get!” Jet lag is not my friend, so I gave her the finger and went back to sleep. At seven, I came downstairs to find Steph and Suzanne already packing their bikes, ready for the off. All we needed to do was to be down at the DMV for 0930 to get my title and plates sorted out and we could be off…
In a couple of days, I will be getting on a a suspiciously cheap (like about £200) Norwegian air flight to Seattle. When I get there, I’m being met at the airport by Steph, the very lovely guy who’s selling me the bike I’m going to ride and he’s driving my an hour north to his place in Anacortes, Washington. Amazingly, not only is he selling me this beautiful bike that he custom built, he’s collecting me from the airport and putting me up for the night before I set off on my ride south. But get this – last week, he offered for him
Earlier on this year, at the motorcycle show in London, I met a hero of mine – the globetrotter, motorcycle adventure guru and all round splendid chap Mr Austin Vince. For anyone not acquainted with his work, Austin’s motorcycle expedition Mondo Enduro was the first recorded crossing of the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia and Siberia making his team the first Europeans to reach Magadan after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He makes Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman look like a pair of Johnny-come-latelies.
Right at the beginning of Easy Rider, as a metaphor for the irrelevance of the straight world’s conception of time to the journey he’s about to undertake, Captain America throws his watch in the dirt. Clearly, if I’m going to do this thing right, I need to do likewise just before I ride out of Ballerat, CA. My ethical dilemma for you this morning: although this is quite obviously littering, it is also a pilgrimage – can I be forgiven? If so, what sort of watch ought I discard? I only have two wristwatches, neither of which I’m willing to leave in the desert.