After checking out of our motel, in what turned out to be the gay and lesbian area of San Francisco (which explains some of the things we saw on the streets!), we headed south along the Pacific Highway. I was somewhat confused as it was really cold – I had to put my linings back in my bike gear for the first time in ages! So there we were on the coast of California in August and wishing we had warmer clothing – not quite what we had in mind.
On top of the colder weather, we also had our second puncture – this time on the freeway! Luckily we were near an off ramp so after unsuccessfully trying to pump the tyre up we pushed the bike down the ramp away from the traffic. A couple of patches on the tube and a pulled muscle in the shoulder for Dan later, and he had fixed the puncture 🙂
We persevered with the cold coastal road for another day, which included a stop off to see elephant seals on the beach before heading back inland. We’ve become acclimatized to 100 degree plus weather and wanted to get back to the heat.
After heading towards Bakersfield through some sweeping golden hills, vineyards and oil fields we got the map out to try and decide ‘what next’.
California was proving to be tough on the budget and we needed to kill some time before hitting LA. There was only one thing for it…….back to Vegas! For the same price as a nasty motel in California, we could stay in a nice hotel in Vegas…..and after joking about it for a couple of hours, we booked up and headed off.
So Vegas is addictive…..or maybe we have a gambling problem 🙂
As punishment for the decision to go back to Vegas, I did nearly pass out because of the heat in the Mojave desert on the way…..but rather that than the cold coastal weather.
As a bonus after Vegas, when we’re were heading towards Los Angeles we got to ride some more of route 66 and see some more of the quirky things that have popped up along the old ‘mother road’.
We passed what is known as ‘Bottle Tree Ranch’. Created by a guy called Elmer in 2000. After his dad died he was left with a collection of colourful glass bottles so started creating scrap metal glass bottle trees….there are now over 200 of them.
On the way to LA we stopped off to meet a couple of fellow adventure riders, Bill and David, who we met through Horizons Unlimited. Bill is very kindly letting us store our bike in his garage for a few weeks whilst we head back to the UK and letting us carry out some much needed maintenance there when we get back.
As per normal, our quest to find cheap accommodation led to us staying in another ‘dodgy’ part of town…..we were staying in Inglewood, I read someone online refer to it as ‘Gangland’! A visit to the local Taco Bell seemed to prove that this place was not the best as there was an inch thick screen to protect the staff and they passed the food to you via a secure box which you couldn’t open until they released the door – more security than I’ve seen in a bank!. We decided that walking around after dark here was probably not a good idea!
With some free time on our hands, we headed out to visit Venice Beach. It’s a pretty interesting place to go and people watch……especially if you like watching crazy weird people! Also it seemed to be the place to go and get yourself a prescription for medical marijuana- just about every other shop along the beach front was advertising this. Apparently if you suffer from anything from a headache to almost death, marijuana is the answer!!! I’m guessing this service might explain some of the crazy people around 🙂
We had a quick stop off to check out the skateboarders and of course muscle beach……these guys working out must all be pretty vain and on steroids I think!
Also, Dan spotted Danny Trejo who has been in a few films. I didn’t really know who he was, he kind of looked like a local scary gangster cycling by!
The next day was spent doing tours around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. When I make my millions, I think I might buy a place around here……..along with my apartment by Central Park in NYC! If only…………… 🙂
The shops along Rodeo Drive are all very expensive – there is one shop you have to make an appointment to go inside and they run a credit check on you to make sure you a rich enough to shop there! Not much chance of them letting us in then! The owner parks his Bugatti Veyron right outside the shop. It’s like another world to live around here…….
We saw a few of the stars houses, including a new house being built for Leonardo DiCaprio – the artist impression looks like it’s going to be pretty impressive!
After spending a few hours wishing I was a millionaire we met up with two other couples from the UK who have been touring Canada and the US on their BMW bikes. We’ve been to a lot of the same places and following each others blogs, so it was great to finally meet up. Unfortunately LA was the end of the road for their trip, but after speaking to them it’s clear that they had an amazing time too. They were much better at updating their blog than us…..we’ll miss reading what they are up to. For anyone who likes to read other peoples adventure blogs, here’s a link to their site http://fliptopheads.blogspot.com
After a few days relaxing in gangland, we finally dropped the bike off at Bill’s. Thanks to David for dropping us back 🙂
We’re now heading back home to the UK for a couple of weeks to catch up with family and friends, meet my new niece and go to my brothers wedding before heading back to start part two……..beginning the trip south and entering into Mexico (after fixing up some of the issues on the bike which have developed after 12,000 miles).
Canada and the US have been great, we’ve seen loads of amazing things and we’re really looking forward carrying on the trip to see what Mexico, Central and South America have in store for us 🙂
It’s crazy hot here. Too hot. It was 105 degrees at 5pm tonight. Camping is out – aircon motels are in!
We are dealing with the heat quite well considering all the gear we have to wear……except if we hit traffic or stay still for longer than a minute! (Think the temp gauge has gone crazy)
When we arrived in Texas, we hit some storms on the way to Austin. It was strange going from blue sky to riding through a storm and back into sunshine again. The full size of the storm could be seen in the distance as we headed towards it and we rode through 3 of them in one day, the bike hammered by strong side winds and heavy rain – but finished the day with some sunshine 🙂
We checked out a couple of the sights in Austin, including the Capital Building (it had air-con)
Headed north from Austin towards Fort Worth and stopped the night in Arlington – home to the Texas Rangers.
After checking into a motel, we heard that the Rangers were playing a game against Colorado Rockies that night so took the free shuttle bus to Arlington Stadium hoping we could get tickets at the gate.
They only had VIP tickets left which were a few hundred bucks each so thought our luck was out until we spoke to a guy who was hanging around outside the gates and had 2 spare tickets. He offered them for less than face value which would normally set alarm bells ringing but as he was part of a church group it seemed fine. We paid what it cost him.
Didn’t really understand the rules – I think baseball is a bit like rounders but with cheerleaders. The game lasted 3 hours so it’s pretty slow but when you have the warm sun on your face and a cold beer in your hand – who cares!
Texas Rangers played a good game and beat the visitors easily. They finished with fireworks and timed Country Western music. Terrific evening and baseball game ticked off the to-do list!
Only rode about 20 miles to Fort Worth the next day but we really started to feel the heat. It’s never a good thing when you check into a motel and hand back a soggy piece of signed paper to the receptionist after sweating all over it.
Stockyards in Fort Worth is the old part of town which still has the old western buildings.
You could walk out of a shop looking every bit a cowboy (or cowgirl) for a few hundred bucks. They have every accessory including custom leather boots, spurs and belt buckles.
I don’t think I have the right look…
To go with the outfit….
We bought tickets to the rodeo later that evening so that we could see some real cowboys in action.
It’s a proper competition that locals take part in (I’m not sure if they do it for the money, glory or girls) but you would need to be a little bit crazy to get on one of those bulls. They started the night with a cowgirl riding round the arena with a huge US flag in hand followed by a prayer to God and then the national anthem.
God Bless America!
Time to hit the road again and the temperatures seem too be getting higher. The faster you ride, the hotter the air hitting your face is – you can’t win!
Arrived in Amarillo so that we could join historic Route 66. Most of the original road has been replaced with Interstates but there is still some of the original road left along with some quirky sights.
Some guy has sunk 10 Cadillacs in the ground just outside of Amarillo and its tradition to leave your mark with spray paint on the cars. Looks pretty cool!
Further along the highway, another guy copied the first guy and did the same with VW Beetles. Probably the best place for them!
We heard about a “World Famous” steak house that offers a free 72oz steak for anyone willing to take up the challenge of finishing it along with a baked potato, salad, prawn cocktail and bread roll within 1 hour!
Three big Americans took the challenge while we were there and had to sit under the spotlight while being timed. All failed….
The score board had only one recent winner who is a Brit – God Save the Queen!
If you ever come to Amarillo – this place is a must. Hands down it is the best steak I have ever eaten! (sorry old favorite steakhouse in Witney)
Where next? Heading towards Colorado Springs and Yellowstone. Already 9000kms on the clock and will need to get the bike serviced and some new tyres as they are looking pretty square after miles of straight roads. Bring on the mountains 🙂