One of these things is not like the others
I consider any ride in which man and machine return in one piece to be a success. By this standard, last Saturday’s ride to the coast and back can be considered a resounding success: eight bikes and ten riders got home safely, and much good food and camaraderie were had. And even though we lost several rider prior to our final destination as they peeled off for shorter routes home, I know they got home OK, because ride leader Mark phoned each of them to make sure. That’s the kind of riding group I like belonging to.
We met in the morning at Mark’s favorite seafood grotto, The Market Broiler at the Ontario Mills Mall, for a group photo before heading west on the 10 freeway towards our next stop, Pono Burger in Santa Monica. As I fired up the starter on my 2007 Honda ST1300,I had only a few seconds to enjoy the kitten-like purr of the 125hp 4-cylinder engine before it was quickly drowned out by the cumulative roar of seven Harley-Davidson touring bikes of various configurations, all with aftermarket pipes, of course.
We hit light traffic all the way to Santa Monica, which was a nice surprise. Once there, we headed for Pono Burger, a gourmet hamburger joint in downtown Santa Monica. Surprise number two- we all found parking on the street next to the restaurant.
Pono Burger is an interesting place They have a nice outdoor patio, where we sat, and a detached, Quonset hut like building, if you want to eat inside. The burgers were of the gourmet variety, although I went with the standard American style. I guess the three at my table, Ron D, Alex R and me, are pretty old-fashioned. We listened to our waitress rattle off a selection of fancy burger with such items as blue cheese crumbles, pineapple, arugula, and garlic alioli, and then told her “Just a cheeseburger, please.” Everything was tasty, if a bit pricey, but that’s par for the course on the west side. Overall a good experience; check them out if you are out that way.
We made our way through Santa Monica then out onto northbound PCH just west of Pacific Palisades. Traffic wasn’t too bad for a Saturday afternoon. We made one pit stop to top off before heading east and up on Latigo Canyon Rd.
Latigo Canyon winds its way up from the coastline at PCH, through some very scenic hills and canyons, past some of the most expensive residential real estate in the country. It is about fifteen miles of hairpin turns, inclines, declines and windy straightaways. In other words, exactly what we were looking for. We couldn’t really go too fast here, as it is tight, and none of us knew the road, and that was probably a good thing.
Latigo Canyon Rd eventually let us out at Kaanan Rd, then onto Mulholland Highway. This is home of “the Snake”, a section of roadway consisting of some 80 turns. I blogged about it before, but to be honest, most of us felt that it wasn’t any more challenging than Latigo Canyon. Mark forewarned everyone that this is where we would be getting our photos taken by Rockstore Photos, and to be ready. I think they got a pretty good shot of me:
By the way, that is the new HJC CL-17 helmet in the Hi-Viz Redline graphic. Review coming soon.
After the Snake, we stopped at the infamous Rockstore for a few minutes of rest before continuing on down the 101 to Glendale Harley-Davidson.
We browsed at GHD, then went to Porto’s Cuban Bakery for some takeout pastries before ending our ride where it started, at the Market Broiler.
I rate this ride as a success, although the traffic on the 101 threatened all of our sanities. I think it’s time for me to step up as ride leader for the next one. It’s a lot of work and some stress putting these things together, and managing a group of riders throughout the day, but Mark did yeoman’s work, and it was much appreciated by all of us.