A Life in 66.6 Mile Increments Part 3 – Here There be Turkeys

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A Life in 66.6 Mile Increments Part 3L.A. … The 1098S slices northwards on the 405 out of Irvine between columns of traffic trudging forwards like workers in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.  Even with the Ventura luggage, I’m the widest thing on the bike – my shoulders inches from SUV mirrors as we split lanes.

The 1098S is due in Portland 3-days from now and I need to make time, but a glutton for technical roads how can I refuse the Malibu Canyon feast laid out before me?

L.A. … The 1098S slices northwards on the 405 out of Irvine between columns of traffic trudging forwards like workers in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.  Even with the Ventura luggage, I’m the widest thing on the bike – my shoulders inches from SUV mirrors as we split lanes.

The 1098S is due in Portland 3-days from now and I need to make time, but a glutton for technical roads how can I refuse the Malibu Canyon feast laid out before me?

Up Topenga Canyon, down the single lane of Tuna Canyon Road, along the 1, up Latigo Canyon Rd, back down Kanan Dune Rd.  By Zuma beach I’m ready for coffee a stale Starbuck’s sandwich followed by the relative calm of the PCH… Well, maybe just one more bike of joy; a quick up and down of Decker Canyon Rd. before I ride on.

Just south of San Louis Obispo, weary of the highway I take a side road on a whim, discovering Avila Beach.  With the sun arcing low in the sky, passels of sailboats moored and families with playing on sand the bay is postcard picturesque, and I wonder how many times I’ve missed this.

While I frame the bike for shot, a 30-something breaks off from his family as they walk back to the car.

“They’ve done so much right with it, it’s so 916.  Do you want a picture with it?”

How can I refuse? As he snaps the general bike enthusiast banter ensues.  He’d given up the CBR900RR for his family, misses riding, and told how this ride came about can only respond with, “Oh man, you’re living a dream.”

Watching the man’s wife herd him along to the station wagon, I can’t disagree.

It’s a moment that drives home, what sort of job this is.  These instances sustain me in darker moments as bills pile up, I fret over advertising revenue models or wonder why calls aren’t returned.  Writing’s joy is that it stockpiles these experiences, in the winter you wind back re-read, relive, and feel revived.

The triple-A is two doors down from my glamorous San Lois Obispo Motel-6, issuing detailed Californian maps that should make by-guess-and-by-golly navigation a thing of a past.  Over coffee I pour over intricate black lines of back roads trace a seismically crumpled topography and bode poorly reaching San Francisco by tonight, but my excuse is the rear tire is wearing thin and if I keep on the center I may not make it home.  The highways must be kept to a minimum.

Off Santa Rosa Road arcing towards Cambria I stop to photograph hills baked gold in the Californian sun accented with dark green pockets trees against a flawless blue sky gradated from cyan to a misty white horizon.

A well-worn burgundy Camry pulls up, woman, in her late 50s, rolls down and offers to take my picture with the 1098S.  Thoughts of camera theft are wash away with a “just good folks” vibe as “Bunny” introduces herself and her passenger, an older Latino man in a worn t-shirt and jeans straight from the garden, “Gerardo”.  The strange thing about southern California is the more out of the way the location, the more embracing people become.

Bunny’s, who’s driven this road for years, offers motherly advice, “After the hill with the U the road dropped away in the last quake.  They haven’t properly repaired it. It still catches me off guard every now and then.”  Gerardo nods silently.

Bunny starts to pull away.  “And down by the creek watch out for the…”

Ear plugs in, helmet on, over the Camry’s engine and the crunch of gravel under its tires I think she says “turkeys”.

The decent into the U matches Laguna’s Corkscrew, but by the time I make it to the drop I’m crawling though the hairpin.  With proper surfacing the road would be a heroic challenge, right now it’s simply a pock-marked and patched scenic byway.

I pass Bunny’s car parked by the creek; the disturbing image of she and Gerardo frolicking in the waters fleets though my mind and discourages stopping.  The road surface improves as does the ace, then rounding a turn I get to sample the stopping power of the Brembo monoblock brakes.  There’s a flock of Turkey’s on the road, staring at me blankly.

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