Monday, 15 November 2010

Motorcycle Philosophy and the Ortega Highway

Day 144 saw me riding from San Diego to Long Beach in California. This was my last full day of riding and I wanted to make the most of it.

I started early as I had a lot to see and my first stop was Balboa Park and the Museum of Man. I was too early to go into the museum as it was not yet open when I was there, so i took a couple of pictures with my point and shoot camera. I believe the tower is called the California Tower....



















































I tried to go see the Cabrillo National Monument – a lighthouse – as I had been told the views from the point upon which it sits are fantastic. It wasn’t to be though as the US Navy don’t open the road until 10am each day. I am not sure why and the guard didn’t know either, but I just accepted it and turned around, carrying on my journey north.

My next stop was at La Jolla and I looked at the seals before getting a coffee and some breakfast. I chatted to a guy called Joel who had become a motorcyclist a few years later than most of us and he told me how much he was enjoying what had now become a new passion for him. Nice one!

The previous evening, I had changed the ISO setting on my camera to a very high setting for some night photos. Today was an absolute disaster as I forgot to change to back to a slower speed / higher quality so when I looked at my pictures from my last full riding day, they were, well, rubbish!

I have junked most of them and have included just a few here. This is La Jolla and because of my lack of a brain on this day, it doesn’t look at its best....




















I went to see the San Diego California Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, near to La Jolla. It is a stunning church with high reaching spires and its white finish to the building makes it seem like the church is glowing...


























At Cardiff, I stopped to look at what seemed like a very peculiar statue. It seemed to be a young boy surfing while wearing an army uniform. I got chatting to a local couple who told me the story of the statue. Meant to be honouring the many surfers along this part of the coast, the statue shows somebody learning to surf, but the local surfers complained the figure was in the wrong pose and limp-wristed. Now knicknamed the Cardiff Kook, people have jokingly added items to the statue and this seems to have become a local prank that people enjoy.

The statue is sometimes dressed in clothes, wears a hat, or one elaborate prank saw a huge shark being added about to eat the poor newbe-surfer. Thankfully, nobody has vandalised the sculpture and I like the fact that the protest continues in a light-hearted way. When I was there, the statue looked like this....


























I wanted to get some last pictures of the California coast. The ISO problem made them almost un-usable....






















The highlight of my day was meeting Steve Johnson and his friend Jack. Many of you will have read Steve’s blog, called Motorcycle Philosophy, and especially read of his recent ride to Alaska and back. We had arranged to meet at Oceanside and we first rode to San Clemente for lunch. We of course talked about bikes, including riding in this part of California, which has the almost unique blend of being able to ride by the ocean and in a very short amount of time, you could be riding in the mountains just inland.

After lunch we set off with Steve on his Honda ST1300 and Jack on his Suzuki V-Strom DL650. I had read about a great riding road called the Ortega Highway, which has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous roads in the US. I thinks that reputation is diminishing now for as Steve explained, a lot more car traffic now uses the road and that has slowed down the sports bike riders. With Steve in the lead I could quickly tell he could handle his Honda very well and he soon disappeared into the distance. I tried to keep up, but I didn’t want to become a part of the roads reputation!

We reached the top of the ride at a place with a terrific view of Lake Elsinore. Here are Steve (on the right) and Jack....





















The view of the lake....




















All too soon, I needed to head off back down the Ortega Highway and bid farewell to Steve and Jack. It was good to meet Steve after reading his blog. The name of his blog, Motorcycle Philosophy reflects the fact that Steve likes to read and write about the feelings of riding motorbikes. It is the ride itself that he likes towrite about. His blog is great reading!

On the way back down, I stopped very briefly at the Hells Kitchen, a favourite watering hole for local bikers....




















I was late to meet another biker who had responded to my blog by writing some comments and we had exchanged a few e-mails. Having agreed to meet at Mothers Bar just outside Long Beach, I had to crank the bike up a bit to get there in time and I skipped a few places I had wanted to see on the way. I arrived at about the right time, but the guy I was to meet didn’t show up....


























On my last full day of riding, I did 203 miles.

I have just a few posts left to write about the tour and on Saturday, I am going to be making an announcement....

18 comments:

George F said...

Gary, you said you flying to NY tomorrow and departing to the UK on Wednesday. If you are available for a few minutes or longer, a drink maybe, lots of pubs in NY ;-) shoot me an e-mail, I will gladly go to NY to meet you and have a drink with you. send e-mail to georgeDOTferreiraATgmailDOTcom

Beck said...

Glad you enjoyed your last full day of riding, but it makes us sad to know that, even though you have a full more posts, your trip across our great country is ending. Instead of flying back to New York, how about you riding back through the states you missed? Hey, you can't blame us for trying to get you to continue. We know you need to get back to Jackie and your family. I am sure they miss you very much. We will miss you too! Announcement? What can that be? I guess one will have to wait until Saturday to find out. Looking forward to it. Thanks for all the wonderful memories that you have shared throughout your trip. Hope your trip home is safe! Thanks very much. We will be checking out your posts once you return home. Good luck to you and may God Bless!

Eve said...

Oh I hate it when I forget to check my ISO!!! It happens to the best of us Gary.
I bet 74 was quite a ride! Well, it's too bad about this missed meeting.
Well now...an announcement!!!!!!!!!! Well, I hope my guess is a accurate as my guessing you were heading to see Jay's garage!! Only time will tell! I know we sure will be missing you here in the States when you have gone home!

bobskoot said...

Gary: I'm glad you managed to meet Steve. I do follow his adventures but only lurk. I am sure there must be an explanation for that person to not show up, I would have relished the idea to meet you on the road but your tour went too far south. As for your high ISO, somehow I had this forshadowing from your prev post. Not so say I don't make mistakes BUT I am usually in aperature priority mode and I would have noticed the high shutter speed.
I did make a big mistake on my Newfoundland trip and more or less, lost all my photos. I'll have to go back to reshoot them

We are on the edge of our chair waiting for your announcement . . .

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

biker baby said...

I'm sorry to hear about your pix mishap, Your pix are great. I thought it was just me that did that. I lost most of my pix from Arches Park and the wedding dances. I have to make a mental note to change tha camera back to auto every time I am finished. At least that way if I don't have time to put the settings where I want them or just forget, it won't be a total lose.

mq01 said...

ahhhh, what an excellent trip it has been! im sorry that we didnt have an opportunity to meet up or ride, but i am thrilled that you have had such a fantastic journey and that you allowed us to share it with you. you had fantastic timing to be in the bay area (at least with the series win and great weather), and it seems that everywhere you went across the USA was full of great times!

announcement?! good news i hope. im anxious to hear... travel safe gary.

motoroz said...

All good thing must come to an end or at least that is what I have heard. You and the Leading Ladies sure have a lot of great memories and you shared so much with us. Glad your last day was full of sunshine. As many photos you have taken it is amazing you have had only one day where things got messed up.

I hope your announcement is about your next trip back over to see the souther states!

Looking forward to the other posts and announcement.

Tim France said...

Wow, I feel very conscious of your trip coming to an end. I know its not quite your last day, but close. Many thanks indeed for taking us all along with you, it/s been really great. And enjoy the trip, and arrival home.

BeemerGirl said...

Applause!! You have done a great job bringing us along on your most excellent adventure. Thank You! I, too, am sorry to learn of you ISO issue.

Like Motoroz, hoping you are changing your plans and coming back through the southern states...but I know that ain't happening. :)

Relax and soak up the remaining sites.

cpa3485 said...

I, for one, sort of hate to see this end, but I bet you might need a break. You do sound almost a little sad about it ending. Bet your wife would rather see you around a bit more though.
Can't say how much I have enjoyed all the reading and the pictures.
(Waiting breathlessly for the announcement)

Jimbo

SonjaM said...

Bummer with the ISO. Could have easily happened to me, too. But the few that you posted worked out pretty well, especially the white church. Curious about the announcement... new travel plans? Maybe next time with the missus?

chessie said...

Gary. Your posts have been a staple. Best thing about them? They are good enough to support going back and reading again. Reason I would do that? It's like a good movie, there is always something more...as good reading should...have fractured splinters of interest all layered... thanks for the reading...I'm not done by a long shot. Looking forward to your next "announcement".

Jackie, the Wife xx said...

Welcome home Darling..!!..!!..

I am sitting here with excited anticipation:

After many months of touring the USA, documenting his travels through word and hundreds of pictures - my Husband, Gary is returning home in just two days…!!!....

I cannot wait to see his smiling face, as he makes his way through arrivals at Heathrow Airport early Thursday morning.

I am so happy to see that his long awaited journey of his lifetime was so successful and fulfilling for him. Of anyone that I have ever known, he certainly deserved to experience his dream. He is one terrific man…!!!...

The support, comments and caring that his readers have shown him throughout his travels, have proved to be such an endearing bonus for him. One that was unexpected, but certainly appreciated.

All of you have helped to make his journey just that much more special and I know he will remember you for the rest of his days.

Thank you for being there…

See you Thursday, Hubby…... :-)
Kz, J xoxo

Eve said...

Jackie, Well we have to thank you too!! Thanks for being SO supportive in this dream of your "terrific" hubby! I'm sure he probably couldn't have done it without such support. I may never be able to take that trip that he did but it sure felt like I did! That was such a special treat for all Americans to enjoy! I'm sure there will be many people that will enjoy it for years to come! THANKS TO YOU BOTH!!!
Fly safe Gary, we'll be happy to hear you've made it home safe and sound.

Harley Traveler said...

Sounds like a great adventure Gary,thanx for blogging it, I really enjoy reading it

Gary France said...

George – It was very good to meet you in NYC. I am now back in the UK trying to get used to the time difference!

Beck – I would have liked to have visited all 50 states and indeed one of the hard things to do when planning the tour was to decided not where to go, but where to leave out! I am going to try to post something every now and again, but you will have to forgive me if it isn’t every day....

Eve – I was pretty cross with myself for not checking it. I enjoyed riding Highway 74, but I was struggling to keep up with Steve! I wonder if you guessed correctly this time!

Bob – It was silly of me not to check it, but these things happen. I was careful to back up my pictures every couple of days onto an external hard drive. Losing your pictures of Newfoundland must have hurt.

Biker Baby – Oh dear. Losing your wedding dances pictures is not good. The silly thing was about the ISO setting was that when I moved the pictures from my camera to my laptop the previous evening, I thought about changing the setting back to normal, but then forgot....

Gary France said...

mq01 - Thank you for your kind words. I was so lucky in so many ways with the tour. Somehow the timing, the weather, the fantastic sights and just about everything else was nearly perfect. My announcement has been made now....

Oz – Great memories indeed. In the overall scheme of things, one days messed up photos is just a minor problem! No, the announcement is not about my next trip, but I am thinking about that....

Tim – The end of the tour seemed to arrived very quickly. The journey back included a night in NYC and I am now settling back into being back home.

Beemer Girl / Lori – I am glad that so many people could come along for the ride with me! One day I will do the southern states, but not just yet.

Jim – You are right about needing a break. Writing the blog almost every day was hard work, but never a chore as I knew so many people were reading it.

Gary France said...

Sonja – Those pictures looked ok on the blog, but will probably not be good enough for (I can say it now) the book.

Chessie – Now that I have announced I will be writing a book about the tour, going back and reading it again will be easy for anybody when the book is released! I should be able to add more to the book that I didn’t have time to include in the blog each day. At least, that is the plan.

Jackie – Thank you for your lovely words! It was fantastic coming home and seeing you again. Without your support the tour would not have been possible, so thank you for letting me achieve my dream!

Eve – Yep, I made it home safe and sound! Thank you for saying what you did to Jackie, for it is much appreciated.

Harley Traveler – I am glad that you enjoyed reading about my adventure!