Ca la la fornia!

Just after Yuma, the hot desert turns into California. I had to put on the mask and head directly toward the afternoon sun. After a long ride on a flat baked highway I could see mountains ahead. As I got closer I noticed the mountains were strangely textured. They were covered with these giant ochre boulders.

The temperature dropped quickly as I rose in elevation. Over my shoulder I noticed this stone tower. I exited to investigate.

It cost $3.75 to climb the tower. Even for free I had little interest. It was the surrounding area that I found fascinating.

As I rolled upward toward the tower I noticed this entourage to the side of the road. There were two guys sitting on a trailer platform waving as I rode by. Behind them was a camper and a couple flying saucers.

On my way back I stopped and had a chat with these sky gazers. On the platform with them were two telescopes. They were out there waiting for the sun to set. That’s when things apparently get interesting. One of the guys told me he had seen UFO’s of all shapes and sizes out there. He has seen rectangles, triangles and most recently boomerang shaped celestial objects. If I didn’t have people waiting for me in San Diego I think I would have stayed. These guys were out there, but I liked them.

San Diego

So my dad contacted some friends of his who offered me lodging during my stay in San Diego. His friend George was supposed to be out of town, so his friend Susan said I could stay at her place. And what a nice place it was. Bonnie dug her new surrounding for sure!

Susan has this great little bungalow apartment behind her house. So I had my own space. It was really nice, as was Susan.

And this is Marty. He lives here too.

It turned out that my dad friend George did return home. He gave me a tour of the city which helped me get my learn my way around. We stopped and had a brew at Hotel del Coronado. It is a grand old place and you may recognize it from the movie, Some Like it Hot.

The next day I rode around the city. I passed the naval yards.

That is the aircraft carrier Midway in the background. Before it is a giant sculpture modeled ofter the iconic image of the couple kissing in Times Square the day Japan surrendered during World War II.

Of course I needed a closer look. Those are some gams!

As much as I admired this fella’s 57 Bel Air, I was also digging Bonnie’s reflection in that cool blue paint job.

I returned to Point Loma. George had taken me up there the day before, but it was cloudy and I didn’t check out the old lighthouse. So this time I did!

Seeing the cemetery up here on the cliffs overlooking the ocean is strikingly similar that of the American Cemetery in Normandy, France where US soldiers from the D-Day campaign are buried.

I was hungry so I headed toward Ocean Beach for some grub.

At this gas station I asked a guy where I could get a good fish taco. He told me the best place was at the end of Newport Street.

He said the only problem with this place is finding parking. He said on a Saturday like today, “Good luck!” As soon as I arrived, I stopped and looked around. A big dude walked up to me and said, “Hey, you want to park your bike?” He was parked directly across the street and I gave me this spot I could see from the bar.

Also at the bar, sitting next me was Julie. She was great company as I had my delicious fish tacos and a few brews.

I had evening plans and now I was running late. That night we headed out to George’s grand daughters home to meet some of his family.

The next day I rolled north toward Los Angeles. I stopped for lunch along the way and oiled my chain. It was rattling away letting me know it was overdue. When I stopped I saw this cool crossing sign.

I also stopped by the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia. It was founded in 1798 and the church was build in 1811.

Queen Mary

During my LA stay I shacked up in the Queen Mary. I had never been on a ship like this before. I’d like to take a cruise some day, but that’s not a ride I want to take solo. She’s a great old vessel. The Queen Mary’s maiden voyage was in 1936.

During WWII they painted her grey and used her to transport the military. During that time she was called the Grey Ghost.

As I was packing to leave, a bird flew through my porthole. That really freaked me out. Also a little freaky is how thin the walls are on the ship. The folks next door had a bit of a romping in the wee hours and it was if they were doing it in my cabin. I had to put on some ear plugs and watch a movie. I was watching The Wanderers. I know I laughed out loud a few times. I hope they heard that as if was in their room!

Venice Beach

What can I say! I love Venice Beach.

Above is the Freak Show where the turtle below can be found. That’s not mirrors folks!

This guy makes homeless look good!

I saw this wacky tree on the way back to the bike. I parked kind of far away.

I stopped by to se my friend Marc. Those machines we are standing with are used to test and strengthen one’s balance. So if you are out of wack Marc can straighten you out! I took the test…perfect! Straight 9’s across the board. Doc says that’s good!

Then I went to meet my friend Diana for dinner. I love motorcycle only parking!

We went to this place the Saddle Ranch on Sunset Blvd. They kept giving us these huge containers of cotton candy. It’s fun to play with. They also give everybody free shooters throughout the night. Whooopeee!

There is a mean bull ride too. The guy on the controls is much nicer the girls. I went flying pretty quick. In the back of the bar was this cool boxing thing. Or punching bag, that would measure how hard you could punch. That was fun too. Diana’s got some shots of that. Gotta get ’em.

And there was karaoke! Being LA they had some good karaoke. Lots of want to be stars! We did not do any singing but had a great time. Then it was goodbye to the city of angels!

Salvation Mountain

I had planned to go to Salvation Mountain on the way to San Diego, but I was running late. It would have bugged the hell out of me if I didn’t check it out on the way back. It was no easy ride. Heat and wind and lots of both is what you get riding past Palm Springs and then down beside the Salton Sea. As I blazed along I had my doubts whether I had done the right thing.

The place was totally cool. The man who built it used to live there year round. Now that he has gotten older he goes elsewhere during these scorching months of summer.

So I thought Salvation Mountain would be it before I crossed back into Arizona. But California was not done with surprises yet. I crossed another desert with sand dunes. It was getting hotter as I moved along. The winds were whipping sand across my face. I get so thankful when the next truck that passes is aerodynamic.  Because when they are not, the slap of hot air hits with a most uncomfortable impact.

The temperature was rising. I have posted my dash again. This time do not look at the odometer. Nor the speedometer. No, draw you attention to the watch. The top number is the thermometer. Note that every time I have passed a thermometer in a town, my watch thermometer has read about 5 degrees less. Mine reads 119.4 so……damn it was hot!

Vidal

And then a little ghost town. This is Vidal. It is an old town along the railroad tracks.

From Vidal I took a right turn, crossed the Colorado and bid farewell to California.

2 Responses to “Ca la la fornia!”

  1. Awesome, looks like a GREAT TIME !
    Thanks for bringing back childhood memories of the Queen Mary !

  2. This was great to see on a chilly, rainy summer day in New York.

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