Sunday, 7 November 2010

Ostriches, Emu’s and a Danish Town in the US

Day 136 saw me riding from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara and for much of this part of the route, Highway 1 is inland from the ocean. This meant the chill from the sea mist was gone for much of the day and indeed, the temperature was unseasonably warm at around 80F for much of the day.

Near the town of Buellton I went to see an Ostrich and Emu farm. These are strange flightless birds but what really surprised me was their strength. For just a dollar, you could feed these birds and I was given a pan of pellets which you are meant to hold out to the birds. WHAM! They hit the pan so hold it is difficult to hold on! They have very powerful necks and the force they are capable of is quite something.

Imagine holding onto a pan with one hand, being careful to watch what these huge birds are doing, while trying to take a photo of them with a heavy-ish full sized digital camera – it isn’t easy! I managed to get a couple of reasonable shots....

Meet my friend Olly the Ostrich....


























This is his closely related cousin, Eric the Emu....




















I have to say, they ain’t the best looking creatures I have ever seen!

In certain parts of California I have passed huge fields growing crops of what I think is lettuce. Long raised beds covered in plastic are created about a foot high and then planted with seedlings.

The full-grown crop looks like this....




















These is the lines and lines of raised beds covered in plastic....




















These lines are just after planting....




















I had heard that the town of Solvang was interesting as much of the architecture is based on what would be found in Denmark. The town of Solvang (which means sunny fields in Danish) was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes wanting to move away from the harsher northern winters in the USA.

A few scenes from Solvang....




































































































But, the main reason I came to Solvang was to go to the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum. The bikes are part of the private collection of Virgil Elings and are mainly centred around racing bikes, but there is a broad range of different types of bike contained in the museum.




















This is a 1954 Norton Manx Shortstroke, which has an interesting history. One of only two of these bikes imported into New Zealand, it was owned and raced by Rod Coleman....




















One of the best bikes ever made, this is a 1932 Brough Superior SS100, so called because even back in 1932, they were capable of 100mph. Lawrence of Arabia was killed riding one of these bikes....




















Can an engine be beautiful? Of course it can!!! Just look at this Yale V-Twin....


























The engine of a 1940 Crocker. I read at the museum that Crocker offered a full refund for any bike that was beaten by a stock Harley or Indian. No refunds were ever given....




















My absolute favourite racing bike of all time, this is a 1952 MV, this being a 350cc. MV went on to win more world championships that any other make. When I was a boy, I used to go to watch bike racing at places like Brands Hatch and Silverstone. Giacomo Agostini was my idol, riding an MV Augusta. For the 5 years of 1968-1972 he won the world championship in both the 350 and 500cc classes....




















A very rare 1950 Vincent TT Grey Flash....






















1948 350cc Douglas Twin....




















What a beautiful bike this 1924 Moto Guzzi C4V is. This is a racing bike with a very unusual single horizontal cylinder. The museum told me is was damaged when shipped from Italy – now restored, but can you imagine the anguish when they un-crated it and found the damaged....




















Finally from the museum, a 1936 BMW R12....




















A visit to the museum is very worthwhile. They are open every weekend, but they open during the week by appointment only.

Highway 154 between Santa Ynez and the outskirts of Santa Barbara is unremarkable. At one point the road crosses Kelly Creek which is no more than a small stream. The creek however runs through a canyon and there is a fantastic bridge which carries the road over the canyon. It is a shame that most people don’t realise what they are driving on. Luckily, I knew it was there and took the long way around to get these pictures....






























































If you like bridges, this is stunning. If your name is Helen, it is just another bridge!

Did a zebra get run over here, or is this road snake hell?....

12 comments:

pcbsemail said...

Hi Gary.. From Tom and Paula, the couple you met in Solvang while you were having coffee.
You have a wonderful blog. I am looking forward to reading about the whole trip. We just got back to our home so I have not had time to view other parts of your trip other than Solvang and the Big Sur coastline. You have done a wonderful job representing our home area of the central coast. I am glad you were able to visit this area, and we got the chance to meet. Enjoy the rest of your time here in the USA.

Willy D said...

I see that you found one of my favorite places. Isn’t it funny how you don’t notice the Harleys in that museum? You should check into the history of the owner and his son. It’s quite interesting.

We call them ‘tar-snakes’. Hit those things on a wet curve, hang on, you’re in for a ride.

B.B. said...

So glad you got to Solvang, I love that place! Great pics as always!

Charlie6 said...

Solvang looks like a really neat town, thanks for the shots of the vintage motorcycles!

My last posting in the Army was at Fort Hunter Liggett, I lived in Paso Robles which is quite close to SLO town or San Luis Obispo. Nice area of the country, if you like farming.

dom

Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Mike said...

Wow, now you're in my old neck-of-the-woods. We use to live in Thousand Oaks about an hour south of Santa Barbara on 101. We loved going to Solvang for the day. I use to do my National Guard two week summer camps at Camp Roberts near Charlie6's Hunter Liggett.

Very nice photos as usual Gary! Really nice ones in the motorcycle museum.

Doug said...

That view of the bridge must have been from Stagecoach Rd., I think. Did you visit the Cold Springs Tavern? Very quaint old stage stop and pretty good food too. And Danish pastries in Solvang...Mmmmmm...Good!

motoroz said...

The museum has some great bikes! I like the pictures of the engines. The town of Solvang looks interesting. You have been over some great bridges. I like the symbolism since you have "bridged" the two countries with your trip and blog. Once again - great photos.

FLHX_Dave said...

Solvang! As close as I'm going to get to my ancestors. I like to ride down there for the hell of it...and just to see that museum you went to. His bikes change year round because he can't fit all of them on the show room floor.

That is the place where I fell in love with the Crocker. The last Crocker that sold went for over $400,000...don't want one that bad. I didn't even think to suggest this place to you...doh! I feel like an idiot. Glad you found it regardless though.

Eve said...

Wow too bad you weren't in England...that road wouldn't have been so bad!!!
Love the birds Gary...great shots...glad they didn't peck the camera...that would have been bad. You must have been in biker heaven there at the museum!

Gary France said...

Tom and Paula- Hi and welcome to my blog. It was a pleasure sitting and chatting with you in Solvang. As you can see, I found the motorcycle museum and enjoyed my time there. Thanks for your kind words about my blog. Happy reading!

Willy – There were Harleys in there? Just kidding, as I did notice them but you are right, they are not the bikes that your eyes go to first. On the few occasions I have been on wet roads, I have looked out for them pesky tar-snakes.

B.B. – I really liked it - Solvang was a lot of fun.

Charlie6 /Dom – I was surprised at the amount of farming here. It goes on for miles!

Mike – As you used to live here, I hope I awakened some good memories. I really like this part of the US and have suggested to Jackie we come back here for a holiday soon, without the bike.

Doug – I just checked on my GPS map software and yes, it was taken from stagecoach road. I didn’t go to the Cold Springs Tavern but I saw it as I rode by. I just looked it up on the web and I wish I had stopped there, as it looks very interesting. I did however have a Danish pastry in Solvang!

Oz – Solvang was very interesting and the bike museum is a real bonus!

Dave – Apparently he gets about one bike for his collection just about every week. Pretty soon he will need to give up on his rotation system and get a bigger place! The Crocker was great and the overall collection was wonderful. A great place to go see.

Eve – Those birds were very strange – not just the way they look, but also how they behave. Very aggressive and I suspect they do a good job of scaring young children!

Ken said...

I just went through Solvang a couple weeks ago. Had no idea there was a motorcycle museum there. Not that I would have been able to stop. I was with a group and we had an agenda we had to stick to.
http://www.examiner.com/motorcycle-in-national/moto-scribes-head-up-the-pacific-coast

Gary France said...

Ken – The museum was a great place to go see, but it is tucked away well, soI am not surprised you didn’t know it was there. I had heard of it beforehand, so I was able to seek it out.