OK, let's back up a little.
Time for an introduction. This is me, Andy:
(at Morro Bay, more on this later)
I've lived in California since 2005 after moving from the United Kingdom. I absolutely love this state and am constantly amazed by the scale and diversity of environments, and people, here. This was my first road trip along the coast by bike. I'd done a little in 2003 by car but was hungry to see all I could on the way.
This trip sort of came about at Altitude Sickness
last year. One of the guys was talking about riding down through Central America and I had expressed a similar desire to travel in Chile and Argentina. We discussed a couple of practice rides to Mexico to get a feel for traveling down south. We started planning this trip with four or five people. We had a gang of six at one point then, as these things often do, ended up with the hardcore lunatics who weren't paying attention to Anderson Cooper telling everybody how dangerous it was in Mexico. It's hard to get two weeks off from work for most people. I'm essentially a free-lancer plus I entertain the troops with my photos when I get back so I had a pass.
Back to the trip. Where was I? I dropped in by the Honda dealer in Santa Barbara to ask about my oil burning. I spoke to Jack, the mechanic there and he didn't think it was anything unusual. Said he'd seen lots of XR600's with seized pistons from running out of oil on highway riding and just advised me to change the oil every 1000 miles or so and switch to synthetic. They had a very cool, old-school shop down there. Full of photos or trail riding and racing. I wish I had a shop like that nearer to me. It was from a different, less commercial age.
I had breakfast with patobravo, said my goodbyes then went to check the oil. It was very low again and I used the last of the quart I bought in Seaside!
So I decided to head back to the Honda shop and see if they could fit me in for an oil change. They looked busy but Jack said to give him an hour and he'd have it ready for me
I drank coffee and people watched. ultimately deciding I'm not good looking enough to live in Santa Barbara.
Jack was just finishing up pouring fresh oil into my XR when I arrived. New filter, new synthetic oil and a spare quart of HP4! Time to hit the road. Thanks again Jack.
The weather in Santa Barbara was overcast with thick marine-layer murk. I hadn't expected this... doesn't the sun always shine in SoCal?
After the freeway burn yesterday I wanted some twisties so I pointed the bike in the direction of Ojai. It was a nice ride but there really wasn't anything to the town to speak of so followed the road back down to Santa Paula. This place had a Main Street out of 50's America and seemed to be quite lively. It had a railroad station which made it a big deal back in the day. There was also a cool memorial to a couple of motorcycle cops who, in 1928, rode down to warn the town of that the St Francis damn had broken and helped save lives before the flood waters hit. Apparently more than 450 people died that night.
Back on the road again. 101 to 1... down to Redondo Beach. My Google Maps route was insane and must have cost me an hour going through Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach before finally dumping me in Redondo. I grew up in a seaside town in Britain and it there was a familiar vibe to the area.
I pulled into the Marina and spotted my partner in crimes-future, Aaron, AKA xymtoic, AKA Crashymotic
, AKA Crashy, working on last minute Dakar farkling.
Crashy lives on a boat. I think this is very cool. It's like this, just smaller:
However, I worry that he may have fallen in with a bad crowd.
Oh yeah, this is Crashy:
Kinda looks a bit like Lex Luthor right?
We drank beer, ate pizza, and talked ourselves into believing we were awesome enough to confront Baja with nothing but motorcycles, bravado and determination.
Apparently I have led a sheltered (or at least non-nautical life) because I had never slept on a boat before.
I didn't get seasick... berthed at the Marina.
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