Saturday, March 04, 2006

The PCH - Chapter 3

Friday July 9, 2004 - 12:00 p.m.

The distance from Surprise, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix) to Santa Monica, California is 384 miles (according to the Man). That is six hours and twenty-six minutes of riding time (also according to the Man). We completed this leg of the trip with only two stops - (Blythe, CA and Indio, CA). Neither stop lasted longer than it took to fill up the tank, empty the bladder and consume a bottle of convenience store water. By this point, I can no longer feel my ass. I believe I prefer it this way.

A good friend of mine lives in Santa Monica and works in Century City. The Pink Flamingos have a scheduled lunch appointment with her and another friend of mine, her boss. They both work for a law firm and they want to take the entire motorcycle club out for lunch. Our scheduled time of arrival was supposed to be noon. At noon, we are sitting in traffic somewhere in the greater Los Angelese metropolitan area. It is approximately 85 degrees, we are hungry, tired, sore and barely moving. Even this was bearable until the canary we had brought with us fell off its perch and died due to the excessive levels of carbon monoxide. This brought about yet another good news/bad news situation. The good news was that we were able to dispense with the awkward bird cage we had been packing - the bad news is that we were in imminent danger of death. Yes, this trip was filled with peril.

I love LA.

After running the LA gauntlet, we finally made it to Caroline's office in Centry City, parked FLMNG1 in the dark recesses of the basement of the parking garage and made our way upwards into the highrise office tower...dressed like bikers. It was an interesting and glamorous look for the Los Angelonians to soak in.

After a quick tour of the firm, we headed out to a local restaurant. The Pink Flamingos stuck out like pink flamingos in a restaurant. We were decked in leather clothing and bandanas sitting among the lawyers and LA businessmen.

Ordinarily, this is the enviornment that I live in. I thrive here. I make a living here. But in this costume and to these people, I was a foreign object lodged in their well-dressed throats. People stared - casually, but I could sense their eyes on us. When I would look back at them, their heads and eyes would quickly dart away.

Initially, I felt uncomfortable. I hate to be underdressed. But the realization soon set in that, to these people, I was the character that I appeared to be. To these people, I could be what they saw; I could play this character. At this moment, I felt like a rebel and an outsider; I became a rebel and an outsider. It felt good. It felt strange. It was liberating to be freed from my identity as a father, a lawyer and a responsible member of society. At this moment, I had become a member of a motorcycle club.

The Pink Flamingos settled in and ate lunch in this mid-scale outdoor patio restaurant among the successful businesmen...and then we hit the road.

The plan was to take a picture in front of the Santa Monica pier. Plans don't always work out. I-10 dead-ends right near the pier, but by the time we hit the end of the road, we had our fill of LA traffic. As I took the exit off the end of I-10, I looked over my left shoulder in time to at least catch a glimpse of the famous sign in front of the Santa Monica pier. The I-10 exit then poured us out onto the Pacific Coast Highway and FLMNG1 met the Pacific Ocean for the very first time.

It was only about 3:00 p.m. when we hit the coast and we still wanted to put some distance between us and Phoenix, yet it was too beatuiful not to stop once in a while. The first picture above was from our first stop - somewhere northwest of Malibu, California. The California coast north of Los Angeles is positively breathtaking.

The Pacific Coast Highway is, in my opinion, the last great American highway. Highly touted Route 66 is full of nostalgia, but it has be chopped up into some many pieces it is virtually unnavigable. The PCH remains intact. Our tires are in contact with this most magnificent stretch of road and it is exhilirating. Goosebumps spring forth. For the first time in the ride, but not the last, I find myself saying to myself that this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my entire life.

Santa Barbara is a stop along our route. We spend a little bit of time hugging the ocean and taking a few pictures in a seaside park, but, unfortunately, we can't linger in Santa Barbara for long. We are losing daylight and need to make just a little more distance before we stop. The greater Pismo Beach metropolitan area is our goal and it is still another 90 miles away.

After Santa Barbara, there is a point where you come to a crossroads - you can either go to Lompoc and maintain the tour along Highway 1 or you can take Highway 101 and cut more inland through the Buellton/Solvang region. We opted for the latter based mostly on our desire to reconnect with the Pacific as soon as possible in the Pismo Beach area.

We blew by Buellton and Solvang, stopping only when it was a necessity. Soon we were in Arroyo Grande (just outside of Pismo Beach) and we had stumbled onto an acceptable motel. Dumpy but practical, home for the first night was going to be an Econo Lodge. After quickly detaching and then dumping our bags in the room, we headed out for food. We found a great seafood restaurant in Pismo where we sat by a window and looked out over the darkening ocean while we dined on hot clam chowder, sourdough bread and cold beer.

This is what I came here for. Day one finally ends after traveling over 555 miles and I know this is the beginning of something amazing.

23 Comments:

Blogger Captain Carl provided this enlightening comment...

Arrr....thats more like it Matey.....wind in yer face....perils....and the great brimey sea.....another great post....

12:29 AM, March 05, 2006  
Blogger Eve provided this enlightening comment...

Ahhh, the journey continues!

I drove the Pacific Coast Highway 5 months after getting my driver's license, and almost killed us all ;-).

The view is spectacular!

9:15 AM, March 05, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

Okay, I am going to have to read this after I clean and lay down to think about you.

Now that you have posted Chapter 3, does this mean you get to meet me now - having your cake and eating too??

Hope your weekend was good.

Oscars are on tonight. I'll try and read this before it starts. If not I will read it after.

10:32 AM, March 05, 2006  
Blogger garrett provided this enlightening comment...

You are a rebel with a cause of action.

12:43 PM, March 05, 2006  
Blogger josh williams provided this enlightening comment...

I concur with the captian.

4:12 PM, March 05, 2006  
Anonymous Smitty provided this enlightening comment...

As a co-founding member of the Pink Flamignos and the fat guy in the picutre, I can confirm that the events portayed are factual and were truly amazing. What about breakfast with Francisco? Something for the rest of blogland to look forawrd to...

9:48 PM, March 05, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

Wow! You are truly a powerful man!

That sounds amazing. You have inspired me to pack all of my cd's and my glamorous computer on my back and hitch hike to California. Have always wanted to go. Hopefully I wont be raped and/or murdered.

Once I get settled, I will crack open a beer, lay on a dingy matress and rub one out for you. Then I would have to write about it. Perhaps Dongley could draw up a picture of us in the sleezy motel based on my imagination...

I am looking forward to your next installation.

10:40 PM, March 05, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog provided this enlightening comment...

Now THIS is what I'm talking about!

You all remind me of the Black Widows from "Any Which Way But Loose". I love it.

11:53 AM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 provided this enlightening comment...

NWG - the view is spectacular and it is just as dangerous to look at it while on a motorcycle...that's why we would stop!

PDD - do it. Pack your shit into a dufflebag and hit the highway. You will not regret it.

Garrett, I will take that as a compliment even though I am not certain I understand it.

Josh and Cap'n - thank you both for being so complimentary.

Fog - I love those guys and take that as the highest compliment. I wish I could remember what the head gang member's name was in that movie - I am going to have to look it up. It was "Filbert" or "Phineas" or something like that.

Everyone - please meet Smitty. Smitty is arguably the other member of the Pink Flamingos. Most of the argument has come from him, however, as he has not always relished the mantle of Pink Flamingo MC to the extent that I have. Smitty and I spent ten days on the highway together without even a cross word spoken (as far as I can recall). He was a great riding companion and his tales, as well as mine, will be told here.

I have to say that I am still hesitant in continuing this. As of this moment, I have 7 or 8 comments here. I can tell by my counter that I have had 30-40 visitors. It appears that they come and either don't read or they don't comment. I am trying to keep it in bite-sized pieces, but I just don't know...

12:57 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

You don't want people who have A.D.D. to read your stuff anyway.

Please, continue with the PCH Chronicles, just as you have been doing, even though in practice I don't get to bone you.

1:31 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Kagemusha provided this enlightening comment...

Just to put your visitor counter worries to rest....although I have not commented, I too have kept abreast of the PCH chronicles. Keep up the good work.

1:38 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 provided this enlightening comment...

Kagemusha - I thought you said that my blog was dead to you!

PDD - the ADD can KMA.

1:43 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

PDD wants to LYA.

2:09 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog provided this enlightening comment...

Keep it rollin'! You can't stop now for the love of Pete. It is the classic American tale. Screw popular opinion. Stick it to the man.

2:51 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger crabcake provided this enlightening comment...

"It was liberating to be freed from my identity as a father, a lawyer and a responsible member of society." I can identify with this. For me it's the sports cars but that pales in comparison with what you are doing.

If Bob sees this there will be no living with him. He is itching to get a street bike. We have a friend in his late 70's, a priest who now only does weddings and so on. He has 3 BMW street bikes and goes on cross country rides "still".
This fella is so alive and fun-loving. I admire him for having such a zest for living. Wish more people were like that. Sure would make the world interesting.

2:54 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog provided this enlightening comment...

Flamingo,

The leader of the Black Widows name was 'Cholla' according to Wickipedia. Other members of the gang include: Dallas, Elmo and Moody.

I think the Pink Flamingos will need to be adopting these names for themselves.

What a classic. I'm going to have to go and rent both of these movies now.

3:02 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

Crabcake, is that really a picture of you?? If so, can I honk those??

3:06 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger crabcake provided this enlightening comment...

Psychic, I can send them to you if you want. It's a stupid miracle bra. I got it for Christmas. I asked for a video game. sigh.

5:48 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

So then that is you and your better half?? I don't think a bra can be that miraculous.

Those are sweet melons!

You just want to honk them or bite on them or... or... something...

6:26 PM, March 06, 2006  
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