Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The End (well sort of... for MT and JW)

This is quite a depressing post... the end of the trip... well mostly the end. I'm actually in New York City now, but I've left the DR in LA and Malcolm and Joe have gone back home to return to their real lives. I'm going back to LA in a week or so and will get the bike and go for a ride again, but I have a bunch of work I gotta do there and I'm not sure how much time I'll get for another ride. I really wanna get to Utah? But yeah we'll see...

The photos above are of our ride from LA back to Pappy and Harriet's in the desert where we essentially started our trip. We'd had an amazing time there that first night and we were all looking forward to going back to knock this thing on the head. It was a pity Darren wasn't still with us. Compared to our first leaving LA and riding to the high desert we felt like seasoned pros now. Our first ride out of LA was a bit of a disaster. We were all over the place on the interstate, and since we didn't really know where we were going we didn't lane split or anything. This time however we just hooned on through heavy Friday afternoon traffic. It was great. I dug it. That's what motorcycles are for in cities I reckon!

Our spirits were high when we reached Pappy and Harriet's, and we were pleased to set up camp again with old John, the ex-military desert cowboy campground manager, chatting to us. I have a photo of him somewhere I'll put up here soon. He was great. Joe gave him a fern. We set up pretty quick and went to the bar where we proceeded to eat, drink, dance and party to the band of Sarah Petite (from Nashville)...

The band were great and dug the guitarist's (Eric) playing a lot. I did my usual drunken banter with the band afterwards, topped off this time by ranting to Eric's parents about how awesome I thought it was that they'd created such a great guitar player. I got way too drunk (again), managed to lose my way to the campground and lose my glasses. That's a longer story I won't bother going into here except to say I was pretty stoked when Joe found them, undamaged, in the carpark the next day.

We stayed a 2nd night at Pappy and Harriet's, but I was rinsed and Malcolm and I went to bed early. Joe, of course, stayed out late. I slept like a log and didn't even notice other campers come in and set up around us during the night.

Joe and Malcolm managed to sell Malcolm's bike on the last night! Is that luck? In fact we almost had both bikes sold, but the chick who was gonna buy Joe's pulled out last minute. The guy who agreed to buy Malcolm's showed up at 8am with $2k like he said he would though, and then BAM! It really did feel like this thing was coming to an end. The thing to figure out then was how to get all our gear and Malcolm onto two bikes and back to LA?

After quite a bit of fucking about we finally left Pioneer Town with me taking Malcolm pillion and Joe taking all Malcolm's gear. The DR went surprisingly well 2-up, and we made it back to LA and into Claremont in good time. The Tuckers weren't home so we went to the pub and watched a car chase that was literally going on around us on the TV. Then we went to the Tuckers compound and that was kinda that... I feel like I should have some big reflective kinda summary here? Maybe that'l come? Right now I have limited time on the wifi cause I gotta do boring shit like banking, and the chick at the cafe counter here is looking at me like if I'm gonna stick around any longer I better buy some more coffee. I don't want or need more damn coffee, so we'll call it done for now.

Thanks Malcolm, Joe and Darren. And big thanks to James and Colleen Tucker. See ya'll again real soon...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pismo to LA...

We left Pismo heading south vaguely aware that there was supposed to be bad weather coming. We didn't think much of it though and were kinda optimistic until we stopped in a little diner in some small town (Los Alamos? Something like that) for some lunch and almost as soon as we sat down it started raining. I put my wet weather gear on when we left, thinking that if I wore that shit the rain wouldn't happen... as is usually the case. It did however continue to rain and then started getting harder. We pulled over and Joe put his wet weathers on while Malcolm made a rain suit out of a rubbish bag he'd picked up from the diner.

Of course now we were ALL suited up, it stopped raining! We rode into Santa Barbara and took all that shit off. Then we had a look around the downtown area of Santa Barbara when it REALLY started to piss down. It was like tropical torrential rain this time. We sat around for ages and then eventually rode in the rain to a motel Malcolm had found on the innernet. It was amazing how wet we got in only 10 minutes riding.  

Next day we left, having waited out the rain (or so we hoped), riding through the back hills of Santa Barbara. Money! Real beautiful twisty roads, but surrounded by some pretty serious wealth. We eventually headed back down to the coast and headed towards Malibu thinking we'd find beach camping somewhere before Malibu. We ended up at a campground almost IN Malibu, paying $45 + $16 for each bike for a campsite! We were all pretty pissed about that, so we got some cheap booze and went and drank it on the beach... which I'm pretty sure is illegal here??? Was pretty cool though. Hung out on a lifeguard tower watching dolphins, seals, and surfers as the sun went down. The campground sucked. It had been flooded by the previous few days rain, so it was muddy, but worse than that it was packed full of people. We had some weird christian bunch next to us – a bunch of dads and kids, but the kids were being indoctrinated with prayer sessions etc. I think we were all pretty happy to get up and piss off the next day...

We'd hardly started riding it seemed and we hit Santa Monica. We'd definitely left ourselves waaaay too much time to do the Pacific Highway. Anyway we took a look at Santa Monica beach and then went down to Venice beach. Both were bizarre... kinda icky feeling for all sorts of reasons. I did dig watching the skaters at Venice though. They were pretty amazing, especially this dude in the red. I didn't catch any of his top shit on camera unfortunately.

Having spent a bunch of cash to simply park at Venice, we didn't stick around long, and headed into the city a little aiming for the the Hollywood Hills to ride Mulholland Drive.

The plan was to carry on out of LA and head to back to the desert to Pappy and Harriet's for one last hurrah. The trip down the coast hadn't been what I thought it'd be, and we were all nostalgic for the earlier parts of this trip – the deserts and the forests and the empty roads.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Pismo Beach

Didn’t ride very far at all the next day. I can’t remember how long it took but maybe not even an hour from San Luis Obispo to Pismo Beach? At this point we were just making our way  s l o w l y  back to LA. In hindsight we spent too long coming down the coast… in my opinion. Anyway we got to Pismo, checked out the beach where we’d heard you could take bikes and cars or whatever, and then set up at the campground. Malcolm and I went back to go for a hoon on the beach but Joe didn’t because it cost $5 each. Which, yes, is kinda bullshit just to go for a ride on a beach. But we had time to kill and fuck all to do, so a ride on the beach seemed a good idea.

Back at the campsite we drank some beers and went down to the beach for a bit. It was kinda pretty, but there was a cold wind. We got wood for the campfire from a couple that was set up near us. The guy, Deidrich, came over later on, bought some more wood, and had a couple of beers with us. He was a real interesting dude and we enjoyed talking with him about his life and experiences growing up in America. Turns out him and his family – and actually quite a few other people – were living in the campground there. He told us there had been a bunch of white supremacists living on the other side of the campground, and that he kept a loaded gun in his tent.

Pismo was strange. It had a weird vibe about it. I don’t know why? We almost got tattoos in Pismo but we couldn’t agree on anything.

Big Sur to San Luis Obispo (The Madonna Inn)

After a pretty good couple of days looking around Big Sur I got up early to try and get my tent packed and carry all my shit back to my bike without having Malcolm and Joe wait around for me. I hate having people wait for me. It stresses me out.

This next bit of Highway 1, south of Big Sur, does actually get pretty good. There’s still constant traffic, but it’s a nice twisty road and the sun was out again. It was really windy is all, which kinda sucked a bit. We stopped a lot on the way down the coast – to check out the Elephant seals, and also Hearst Castle… although we didn’t end up going up to visit the actual castle because 1. It costs a bit, and 2. We had to wait for over an hour.

We didn’t really know where we were going to stay the night, but I knew we were going to be passing the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. Money was tight for us all at this point though and I knew Malcolm and Joe probably wouldn’t be keen to stay there. I suggested we get lunch there though and at least check out the restaurant. I’d heard about The Madonna Inn from Warren and he’d told me that Lux and Ivy (The Cramps) used to stay there. I’d checked it out online and really dug it’s super kitsch aesthetic.

I think we were all pretty gob-smacked when we parked up and went into the restaurant. The carpets, the lights, the ornate tables… it was all so bizarre. You just don’t see places like this (anymore?). We were all enchanted enough that we checked out room prices and agreed to spend a night in the ‘Imperial Family’ suite. Having had a couple of nights camping we were pretty stoked to be in such a plush room, but shit got really awesome when we went up to the heated outdoor pools! We soaked ourselves for quite a while in these, had beers and didn’t get out until we were looking like wrinkled prunes. Feeling pretty good we headed down to the bar and ballroom where we’d heard there was going to be a live salsa band. There wasn’t. There was a DJ. But there was salsa dancing… which actually we didn’t end up watching (or, thank God, getting involved in!) because we met a dude at the bar and chatted to him and his friends all night long. They were great but I totally forget their names? The girl was a soil scientist and her partner was into music and knew quite a few NZ bands. We talked about the Dead C a bit and I told him I’m mates with Bruce.

For the first night on the whole trip Joe went to bed first!? And I went down to Denny’s for a feed.