When Brady Walker invited Jeff to participate in the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club Rally, of course Jeff said yes. But then there was a matter of space between the SF Bay Area and Venice. No problem – That meant a road trip!
We packed up our trusty 1956 Velocette Venom and 2005 Buell Blast and got on the road. Well, first we had to take care of a little business (like a job interview) so we got a late start, and being on small displacement bikes Interstate 5 was not an option. Our route, both there and back focused mainly on Highway 1.
The first night we camped in Pismo Beach. After that, Highway 1 tootles around many beautiful beaches and wends its way through farmland before descending into Santa Barbara, where the population has overgrown its throughway. Carpinteria is still charming, but soon after that Highway 1 dissolves into surface streets and detours through Oxnard. The coast ride through Malibu was spectacular. Then there is Venice Beach.
On Saturday over 500 bikes joined the ride through Santa Monica and up Pacific Coast Highway to Pepperdine University where an installation of waves of U.S. flags honored 9/11 victims.
It’s wild to ride in such a big group. This group, which was made up mostly of modern bikes, was very well behaved overall. Most of the time we rode in two orderly lines. At some intersections, uniformed riders blocked oncoming traffic.
Then back to the show. Brady and Caroline (and countless others) who didn’t go on the ride, had been busy. Instead of an empty parking lot, there were venders, a dunk tank, a stage with live music, food, beer, and a bike show. There was a raffle bike and some awards that qualified as sculptures.
Thanks to Caroline, Jeff entered his bike in the Best British Category and I rolled mine into the Ugliest. For a long time, my bike had no competition. Eventually a few others demonstrated a sense of humor and added their bikes.
Then it was time to sit back and watch and listen and eat lunch. We were surprised to see the Young family from San Francisco. Pete and Kim were on their way to the 2013 Del Mar Show – a completely different side of motorcycling than the one we were participating in! Pete’s posted some amazing photos of epic bikes on his blog, Occhio Lungo
Jeff won the Best British Award!
Then as if motorcycles weren’t enough, there was the Miss Venice Vintage Pin-Up Contest
Many thanks to Brady and Caroline!!!
Instead of coming straight home, we continued deeper into the LA basin and came out the other side to visit VOCNA stalwarts, Larry Luce, & Mike Jongblood. At Mike’s home we also met up with Mick Felder and Craig Rich. Interestingly we’d heard about the last two while at the Rally – and we heard all good things!
Finally it was time to turn around and head back up the coast. We took our time, camping and eating all the way. Back roads like highway 192 through Santa Barbara were much more enjoyable than the tense high-speed burn alternating with splitting lanes of highway 101. Lake Cachuma was beautiful – and the campground was empty! Cold Spring Tavern was challenging to get to, but the twisty ride in the dark was worth the trip.
Highway 1 up and through Big Sur was sunny and clear and very very windy. It was quite exciting to be going around a corner and feel the wind pick the whole bike up and move you over six feet. Both Jeff and I noticed that any cars that were behind us, fell way back. Our ride must have looked frightening to them too.
The road provided one more major thrill – as we went across the Golden Gate Bridge, we saw the America’s Cup race going on right below us!
Unfortunately, my bike, which had been riding rough, decided to die at Sears Point. I coasted to the intersection of 121 and 37 and found Jeff waiting in the shade. He rode home alone, and drove the truck back to pick me up. A fouled spark plug.
Now that we’ve put a new spark plug in, I guess I have to go for a test ride…