[I re-formatted this to hopefully get the pictures on the page]
I had such a wild hair last Thursday.
I decided on Thursday morning that I should go work a few hours and then fly to LA to rent a bike, ride some twisties and see my sweet niece.
Thanks to the internet... I did it.
So, back to Thursday morning... my wife and son are walking around coughing like the end of the world, and I'm taking pride in my tough fitness routine thinking it's helping me to ward it off. After I got on the first non-stop to LA, I found about half the people on the plane were coughing... so I just held my breath for 4 hours.
Put my Aerostich and clothes in a big rolling bag I'd have to check, and I put my tablet and helmet in my carry on bag, since I didn't want my Shoei dropped or smashed.
The bike I rented was coming from Bike Share (correction: Rider-Share), which was very smartphone oriented. I could barely figure it out, but I did. I was picking the bike up in Hollywood at 10am, so I had time to have breakfast with my beautiful niece and visit the uber posh salon she works in.
Yeah, me and my ridiculous hair, visiting a salon like this... that was embarassing.
So, I left the rental car and the bike share place, which was just another name for a rental... and picked up the BMW S1000. I forgot to pack my boots, so they rented me a pair for 30 bucks for both days.
The BMW was practically brand new. It had a fender eliminator and the cat removed, but they didn't block the air induction - so every time you'd roll off the throttle it had a rhythmic two loud pops. That became a little annoying. The bike had the BMW quickshifter, which was just like one I had ridden in the past. Impressive that it smoothly cuts throttle and shifts instantly... and that it even blips throttle on downshifts, but I still found it slightly inconsistent feeling... and later in the trip when I got up to the mountains and really push it hard, you never knew what kind of shift you'd get... yep, why I hate those.
So, I know kinda where to go in NorCal on a bike, but this was my first trip on two wheels to SoCal... even though I knew roughly where the good roads were, I was a pretty lost pup the whole time. I had to frequently pull over, pull out my phone and map to where the good roads were. Riding a well-heeled sportbike on Sunset Blvd. from Hollywood to the coast, past Beverly Hills and Bel Air, on Friday morning with very little traffic, in 70-degree weather when it's snowing back home... does NOT suck!
I rode up Topanga Canyon, Mulholland, turned around and played on that corner where guys always go down while mickeymouse films them. (No, I still cant figure out why guys lowside right there... the payment is fine and there's no dip or anything.) Up and around Calabassas, where the terrible helicopter crash was on Sunday morning while I was flying home. Very mountainous area - I would not like to try an emergency landing around there, and I saw the patchy fog that morning.
After a great Friday ride, I decided to try to stay within walking distance of the rental car, so could just park the bike and walk the luggage to the hotel and drink a stack of beers. But coming back from the Malibu canyons, Google Maps was still saying the fastest way back was PCH to Sunset, all the way to Hollywood. On Friday evening. Traffic was moving like 100 year old cement. I became a lane splitting animal. About 300 times I had to stop to get my shoulders between rear view mirrors, but my tight woods enduro training scratched no Bentleys all the way back to Hollywood, though I did have to pull off to rest my left hand from so much clutching.
When I got back to the Hollywood area, I thought my search for reasonable accoms would be impossible, but then I found the Hollywood LaBrea Inn, right at Hollywood and LaBrea... one block from the Chinese theater. It was a cheap flea bag, but I was surprised to find that it was pretty clean, safe, quiet and about 150 a night, so I stayed there. I hit the liquor store for beers, the rental car for my luggage, and the Pizza place next door was tip top. I hadn't eaten, so I ate the pizza like an animal, and then for breakfast the next morning.
Saturday I realized that the plagues from home and airplanes had caught me, so I went over the the CVS on Hollywood Blvd. and bought lots of overpriced cold meds. They really helped.
Then I 'stiched up and used my splitting skills and memory (sure missed my GPS) to navigate to the 101, over to the Glendale freeway, where I saw more homeless encampments than I saw anythere else, and motored up to Angeles Crest Highway. This area was off the charts! Really motorcycle heaven for me. Hardly any cars, and those would get out of the way quickly... and good pavement and incredible views and just curves having babies out of wedlock and more curves... nice and round, but all different... just flippin' heaven. I rode up to 7000 feet until the roads were a mess, and then closed by snow. And then found more roads on my way down. And even when I was up high, it never really got too cold... and then back down to Glendale for gas and a sandwich, and back up for more pavement sex.
Yes, I even saw Boy Scouts playing in the snow. (??)
At 3:30pm, I headed back to Hollywood for my exit protocol, give the bike back and get the rental car back to the Inn. Then I caged down to Inglewood to meet my niece at a mexican-owned, mexican place. I handily outdrank her three beers, (though her 100-pound power-to-weight ratio is slightly lower than mine) and had just a great meal.
Then at 04:30, my alarm told me the party was over, my throat felt like somebody punched it... and I knew it would be a long two flights home, trying not to cough on people. Maybe it was good that my next seat neighbor from Denver to St. Louis had a mask on.