THE PLAN was to ride to San Diego via Julian (where the best apple pies in USA are made) with two riding buddies, Tiler and Turbine.
Between Baker and Barstow, California, there is a recreated western town, gun fights and all, run by a historical society. A real ghost town created when the tin prices dropped. So we diverted and did the tourist thing, walked around like Clint Eastwood, ate at the café, did the mine tour. Not a bad little town really.
From here we headed down Route 95 where there was major, and I do mean major, traffic congestion due to road works. With the four of us trying to keep together in this sort of traffic it was chaos. I had the GPS and where possible I lead, splitting lanes and trying to make kms. Splitting lanes is frowned upon in California and motorists just doesn’t give a shit about bikes, so every time you did it you were taking your life into your hands. In California bikes are like bugs on your bumper—if you hit and kill a few who will know, right?
We were motoring at about 80 mph when a patrol car raced up my bum! Fortunately, he was probably chasing some smack-head, killer or crazy was on the loose, and he overtook me like I was standing still.
At our fuel stop we rested to regain our nerves. The problem with the traffic was that we were now well and truly behind time and I never like to arrive anywhere in the dark. I briefed the team, said, “Apple Pies here we come,” and headed back onto the open road.
The ride to Julian was fantastic except for the big fires which were still blazing and the sky was dotted with water bombers and helicopters right where we were heading! We passed a number of fire trucks but the roads were open and we could see the sky and smoke in the distance but we were okay.
Trouble was we arrived at Julian as the shops shut. I wasn’t being robbed of my apple pie so I grabbed a chair, ordered a coffee and apple pie and relaxed.
When we left Julian it was dusk and we still had quite a bit of riding across the mountains to go. Turbine had a Road Glide which has an unusually positioned screen—it actually cuts right across his line of vision. Add to this that he is almost blind, it’s getting dark, he is tired… well enough said.
Big Ballz and I powered on, the sweepers were great, sparking boards, laying the bikes over, but we had to stop for Tiler and Turbine to catch up. We could tell they were coming, not from the magnificent tone of the Harley engine, but the noise of him whining about what a shit ride it was and that he couldn’t see.
We fuelled up back on the interstate and the plan was to head straight to our hotels. Before I left Australia, I had booked a room at the Sand Diego Holiday Inn, but when Big Ballz decided to come, I booked another hotel for us at Ocean Beach 15 minutes away and let Tiler and Turbine have the original room.
It was now dark and picking tailights at night when people can’t ride in a pack is difficult especially when you are tired. Everyone knows the Sand Diego Holiday Inn; how hard could it be. At the big green signs which says, San Diego Turn Right, I stopped. Big Ballz arrived a couple of minutes later. Where are Tiler and Turbine? No idea, said Big Ballz, so we waited for 15 minutes. Well they know where we are going, let’s get to the hotel and ring them.
We checked into the Ocean Beach Hotel and I called. Turbine answered all in a huff. He didn’t know where to go so they took the first exit and stopped at the first hotel. I explained where they were, where we were, and where the hotel I had paid for and booked for them was.
“We’re not riding anymore!”
“Well get a cab,” I said. “It’s a great place here—fun biker bar, great place to wind down.”
“Nah, we’re not coming. Might see you tomorrow…”
And that, my fiends, is the last communication we have had!
Oh well, Big Ballz and I proceeded to run rampage in Ocean Beach which is a party town and we had a blast. Caught up with some Highway 81 guys and partied until we were sick.
Next morning, as promised, “Big Ballz, we’re off to Mexico!”
Let me say I do not work for the Mexican Tourism Authority; I want that made quite apparent and upfront. Tijuana is a shit hole! One of the grotiest, sleazy places I have ever been to, and remember I was in the services in the Asia region so I have seen sleazy!
Lying, dirty, grotty, beans smelling Mexicans accost you at every opportunity to buy anything from fake Harley shirts to their sisters. Every bastard is related to each other, so in every shop, it’s ‘Oh, have you been to my uncle’s shop?”
Big Ballz and I decided to grab a feed, a few beers, and do some quick shopping where Big Ballz had his first encounter in bartering. He decided he wanted some gold jewellery and we both wanted cowboy boots (I have no idea why, they didn’t even go with my Viking helmet I bought in Key West). After about 40 minutes of bartering we own two pairs of alligator skin cowboy boots, a Harley bracelet, Harley ring, gold jewellery, all provided with free beers while we shopped.
Funny thing is now we’re home, all the gold has come off Big Ballz bracelets! The boots are cool and Roo’s solid silver Harley bracelet is fine… ah kids, will they ever learn.
Make sure you check out Roo’s Mis-Adventure Part 8.