After a good night’s rest, woke up to the three alarms on the writswatch. Sort of a built-in snooze as they are set about 5 minutes apart. Obtained a small share of the continental breakfast. Certainly nothing to write home about. Headed back through Decker Canyon from Thousand Oaks to Mailbu. This was a different route than origioinally planned. I had looked at some great riding area on Pashnit.com and was going to take Mullholland in a semi-circle and end up near Malibu. I’m not a real glutton for all the twisties but certainly appreciate some nice sweeps now and then. Thetelevision and film media seems to portray the Malibu area as the best place possible. However, I felt some of it was not as well kept up as I had thought. The ecclectic style of homes were ajoy so see. Even some on the hills above were one of a kind with their unusual shapes and rooflines. Every once in a while I’d get a peek at the beach and hope the fog would clear to let the sun come through. If I had the luxury of spending much more time, there would be better opportunities for photos.
One of my upcoming stops was the pier at Santa Monica. Leaving Highway 1, I was directed toward the large parking area near the north entrance to the pier. I was hoping to be up at the pier level but didn’t pay attention when I was looking at the Google Earth maps. There is always someone, somewhere that wants to take your money. since I was just passing through I asked the gentleman at the paring lot if I could go in for a few minutes to take a few pics. He really didn’t want to do it, but we agreed that if I stayed in sight I had about 30 minutes to do what I wanted to. I thanked him and went to the opposite end near the north entrance. It really wasn’t worth it to pay ten dollars for a few minutes of photography. I looked around briefly and then got into a conversation with a man who parked next to me. He had been into motorcycles and touring with Goldwings also. He also mentioned that this particular weekend was the 100th anniversary of the pier and today there would be a sea of humanity converging upon this site. I can’t recall seeing any signs indicating the celebration. Maybe I was just blind in one eye and couldn’t see out of the other at this moment.
Santa Monica Pier
Beach at Santa Monica Pier
My time was up and decided to be on my way. It’s a short hop to Venice Beach that was next on the list. I rode around all the little side streets and alleys to find a parking spot. About the only place to park resaonably would be blocks away. With the gear I had on the bike, I wasn’t inclined to leave it all on the street. There were private fee parking areas and the the main parking lots along the beach. I had the same conversation with the lady at the pay station. I was told to stay near the bike or it would be considered abandoned or illegally parked and towed away. It was rather early and the vendors were setting up to take in whatever green they could from the visitors today. There were certainly no scantily clad women roller skating yet either. Big bummer. And it was about 10am or so at the time. I guess very few are out early and the cool weather wasn’t going to help either.
Today, I was going to meet some high school classmates for lunch at 1pm. Time flies like crazy and we haven’t been together since graduation forty-three years ago (omg!). There were a few more spots to see along the way such as Manhattan and Redondo Beaches. I consulted the navigation again for the trip to Highland where we were to meet. I add a bit more time to allow for traffic and that fact I had not been in this area for about 20 years or so. Getting down near LAX, I decided it was time to head inland. Boy was in for a treat. I am not afraid of heavy metropolitan traffic, but was amazed at the amount of cars and trucks heading in every direction. You have to keep your eyes open and not depend solely on navigation. the age of the software and road construction, realignments, etc. will get you every time. During this next few minutes, I missed some turns to get on the freeeway. What’s frustrating is wanting to turn around and go back but every light has the “No U-Turn” sign to make you go sightseeing some more. It seems that I was on one freeway and then moving on to another one to get across to the east. The navigation would have one location only to find signs that mentioned another. Needless to say, I did miss a few more turns. No worries, just have to be more observant. Once I got through the maze, I was OK and getting to the destination in Highland.
When I got to Highland, it was a little after noon. I gassed up the Wing and decided to ride around for a bit. I pulled into a Chevy dealer lot and took a look at the new Camaro. I guess it had not been there too long because they are usually gone pretty quick. I don’t need to tell you that a salesman was approaching and foaming at the mouth to sell me a car. He was cool though and still spent some time talking about the Camaro and the Traverse which was more practical for me. The place was near empty on a Saturday and there should have been lots there to scoop up the deals. I did go inside the showroom and take a look at the Corvette. On the sticker was the mileage rating that seemed unbelievable. It was actually rated better than our Pontiac Torrent by two or three highway miles. Gee, should we get the Corvette instead???? (slap) I need to get back to reality. Besides, I’m not really in the mnarket for a sixty thousand dollar Corvette.
At Coco’s finally, I caught up with Joe and Earlene. Two classmates that live about and hour apart from each other. This was the first time I had met up with them since graduation from high school. We had about a three hour lunch that included conversation about everything. Several days earlier, Joe and his wife, Berta had been in an auto accident was was emerging from the injuries of that incident. The last time I emailed Joe, Berta was doing much better after suffering an internal injury that was life threatening. Apparently their airbags had not deployed as designed so I’m sure there’s going to be an extensive investigation by the manufacturer on that one. Before we left, I wanted to take some pictures. Earlene was adamant about not being photographed so she took the photo of Joe and I which appears here and on our alimni site.
Me and Joe
I hope there will be another time where we can sit and talk again and have more time. Sometimes I think I should have allowed another week for this trip. The afternoon was disappearing and we were in need of getting back to other things. I laft Highland and jumped on the freeway to head south towards Camp Pendleton. Traffic was moving along real well and not very crowded. The sun still felt good but was starting to cool down. Up ahead there’s a sign, “Pay Toll Ahead”. It had never occured to me that I would be paying toll on the highway in the area but had no choice now. There were two toll area and paid a total of $4.50 to get from point “A” to point “B”. I wasn’t terribly happy but at least it was reasonable and I did have the cash. So far, I have been using plastic most of the way and using cash only when necessary. I was getting near Highway 1 again so stopped to get my bearings. A quick look at the map and I was good to go. Just a few more turns and I would be at the south entrance to Camp Pendleton. At the moment, it was about 7:30pm and the sun starting the downward spiral. At the gate to Camp Pendelton, showed them my I.D. and off I went into the expanse of the base. Having never been there before, I’m going crazy looking for any sign indicating the doirection of LAke O’Neill. Being the usual male, I didn’t ask for directions at the gate. I knew that I would travel for a lengthy distance, turn west and head toward the lake. Finally finding the sign, I did just that. I still had to take several turns and then follow along the south side of the lake. When I made reservations, I was informed to drive in, set up, and the campground manager would catch up with me later. I thought I was going to have to search for my campsite, but it instead, greeted me with huge numbers and letters on the fire ring. How great is that?
Lake O'Neill campsite, Camp Pendleton
Got the Wing parked and unloaded all the stuff. Before I left, I bought a new tent and set it up in the living room. Remember the directions? Get part “A” and insert into sleeve “B” , etc. I was very minimal with extras, essentially NO extras. I had my tent and sleeping bag in a military duffel bag but no air mattress. I found out that night just how HARD the dirt gets. Just for the curiosity, I got out the laptop to see if I could get someone’s network on base. No signal found, not going to happen. What will I do? The campground manager came by briefly to check on me and look at my I.D. to be sure of who I was. Later, I took a trip to the restroom that was nearby and happened upon the bulletin board for the area. Two flyers were there to warn me about the Pacific Coast and Red Diamond rattlesnakes. Woo hoo! And they put us tent campers right up against the bushes and the lake. I didn’t have in misfortune of meeting a snake face to face, but kept a watchful eye out. It was finally getting dark and not much going on. My lighting consisted of a small flashlight witrh 2 “AA” cells. No good for a whole lot. Early bedtime and try to be as comfortable as possible. Tomorrow should be a great day for some sightseeing in several places. Stay tuned.