As in so many other years, I left Denver for a couple of months to work in San Diego for The Old Globe Theatre. Well known for sending productions on to Broadway such as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and, more recently, A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder, they are also known for their summer Shakespeare festival. I travel to California and work on this festival, giving me a chance to see friends, visit with all of my family in California, and stay employed.
This year, for the first time, I actually rode my motorcycle from Denver to San Diego, deciding there was no reason to bring along a car. Why spend the money and go through the headache of trucking my bike out? (And obviously, I wasn't going to be parted from my bike for two months. Duh.) It's summertime, and I'm going to California. The Globe always gives me an apartment with a garage so my baby will be protected, the weather will be beautiful, and I'll ride to and from work everyday in the California sunshine.
**in my mind, my morning commute looks like this...
though let's be honest, it really looks like this...
Getting started on that trip was an experience that had me full of apprehension until I put my kickstand up. Last year when I left for California, it was my first multi-day solo motorcycle trip. I was nervous about how the riding would be, who I would find along the way, and how well I would deal with any mechanical problem I might encounter. The prospect of this trip worried me for the morning hour between the time I awoke and the time I pulled out onto the street, and that was it. It has now become old hat.
I got to San Diego, battling non-stop, bike-toppling winds, a bike that wouldn't start the second day, and stop-and-go traffic which eventually just stopped due to a horrific wreck 4 miles further down the 100 degree two-lane highway in California (thank god for lane-splitting capabilities in California. My bike and I may both have died from heat exhaustion on that highway, though lane splitting always terrifies me a little when my bike is loaded with luggage and feels five feet wide). I stayed the night--after getting around that wreck by hooking up with a nice man from Irvine who had a working GPS and a huge, brand new Harley I was certain he was going to drop any minute--at an inexpensive hotel in Barstow. As I packed up the bike the next morning, a man who used to ride came over to me and the bike to tell me how cool he thought my bike was, and how surprised he and his wife were that it was a woman riding it. They had been certain all night it belonged to a man, or maybe a couple. All I could think was what a complete pig my bike would feel like loaded down with all that luggage AND two riders. I thinks it's fair to say that after our conversation that morning, he will no longer assume a bike belongs to a dude. Changing peoples' perceptions, one individual at a time!
I got into San Diego the next day, thinking about all the roads I would get out and ride in the coming weeks and all the food I'd eat along the way. Then it started raining. All the San Diegans I worked with danced around with joy, loving it. California, as you may have heard... (yeah, maybe)... is in a serious drought. I showed up to work, waddling through the parking lot, Alcazar Garden, and the Globe's plaza in full protective rain gear while they celebrated the 1.3" of rain they got over night. That's right, it didn't rain a little. It rained so much, my phone made that screamy sound to alert me to flash flood warnings.
I looked at my friends and said, "You're welcome, San Diego." Most of them had the decency to look sheepish over the fact they had no rain all spring and it didn't start until I arrived with nothing more than a motorcycle. But only for a moment, and then they continued celebrating. I couldn't blame them.
But it rained on and off the first three weeks I was here. Not enough, after that one night, to make much of a difference, just enough to get my motorcycle, and therefor my butt, wet every morning since this was the first year the apartment I was given had off street parking, but not covered... My life, people.
|Since I wasn't doing much riding, I caught up with my favorite San Diego beers and all the good Mexican food I could handle.|
Not long after I got to San Diego, I had a headlight problem. I quickly determined it was not simply a problem with the lamp itself--though after fucking with everything enough, I also broke that. There was a wiring problem. I didn't feel like I had the appropriate tools, nor the electrical know-how to deal with fixing it myself, though I realized I could buy and replace the part easily enough. Ha ha ha, Louise--you have discovered the one, ONE, part you can't just order from BMW! After a week and a half of trying to get my bike into BMW service--sorry, were way behind and can't get you in for at least a week-and-a-half--or any other shop in town--"BMW electrical problem? OH GOD NO. WE CAN'T DO BMW ELECTRICAL!"--I put on my big-girl panties and fixed the stupid thing myself. It took me about two hours. It would have taken anyone who knew anything about electrical about half an hour, and that includes taking all the plastics off and replacing them.
|A wire going to the multi-pin plug had broken clean through. I could have easily re-wired a new one, but couldn't get one. So I set about splicing in a new piece of wire. It functions, but it won't be winning any prizes for beauty or efficiency.|
So here I am, several weeks into my stay in San Diego and no motorbike ride. Memorial Day weekend I rode up to my brother's house in Brea and guess what? I got rained on. Contrary to what I assume is popular belief, I don't melt, but I don't really enjoy riding in the rain, either.
Finally, the following weekend, I hopped on the bike and headed east to Julian, and then further, which according to iMaps would find me riding some fun mountain twisties and through a couple of what promised to be lush, beautiful wilderness areas. As I pulled out of the gas station in Ramona and headed towards Julian, I fell into the last position of what was some sort of group out for a Sunday ride. There were eight Harleys and one sport touring looking thing which I can only assume was a Buell Ulysses--I don't think they would have allowed any other kind...--and wended my way up the Moutain road with what I assumed were like-minded people. There were two female riders on their own bikes, and I made three! They pulled off at a gas station about thirty miles later, and I continued on to Julian, where I got something to eat and was nearly run over by a giant dually from Alaska attempting to parallel park in the tiny mountain town. He eventually gave up and (this is where you think I'm going to say he drove away...) and parked on the sidewalk. Seriously, people. My life. I was so astounded, while running back and forth on the sidewalk trying to avoid being smooshed, that I didn't even get a picture of the finished product. Fail.
|In the tiny mountain town of Julian. I really like this area!|
|I rode north out of Julian a few miles to check out the landscape and came upon this street sign. I apologized for my BMWness and took a pic.|
I've stopped in Julian numerous times, both in the MINI and on the bike. I always enjoy it and this time was no exception. As I got ready to leave, I was gearing up as two women rode by--one on the BMW F800R and one on an Aprilia. Woohoo! More girls on bikes! Then suddenly, something hit me and fell to the ground. I looked down and saw it was a beetle, about an inch long, and he was crawling towards my motorcycle boot. I shifted myself so I was behind him, and the little turd turned around and headed for me. We played this game while I finished putting gear on, and I jumped on my bike and took off. I may not wear pink gear, but when it comes to bugs I am as girlie as they come.
I took off out east on huge twisty two-lane highway which wound down out of Julian in a direction I had never been. The road was amazing! It was pretty clear that groups of friends on bikes would ride to or meet in Julian, then ride out and back on that road just for fun. Many of them were sport bike riders, two of whom I pulled over for and let pass so they could have all the fun they wanted.
I couldn't wait to get to the end of that road, turn south on the next, and head through the next wilderness section. But it would not be that easy...