The photo in the header is intended to be reminiscent of the photo C.K. took when he reached the California coast and then carefully hand-colored it. I used
C.K.’s photo on the cover of my book, Across America by Motor-Cycle – Fully Annotated Centennial Edition (available online and by order at book stores).
On Sunday, we departed Barstow. After a few gently-placed suggestions from
Willie that I not attempt to ride the Red One into the Los Angeles basin using part of the Rim of the World Highway (he was concerned about the Henderson brakes holding up during the descent as well as the twisties being too much for this novice rider), I relented and planned a ride out the National Old Trails Road (old US 66) down through Victorville and Hesperia. After that, I figured we could haul it into Downtown Los Angeles for a stop at the location of the Henderson Agency in 1919 and then
a visit to the nearby Hotel Clark (still standing, but abandoned) a few miles away.
The left turn out of the hotel in Barstow was a... challenge. So I erred the side of caution and trailered it about ¼ mile up the road where we could unload and get me on the road without major hazards like crossing three lanes on a curve. I rode the Red One out of town on the National Old Trails Road (old US 66) on the north side of Barstow and was just getting into open country when the previous bush fix on my seat tang
I pulled over and we got out the JB Weld and glued it back together, but I knew I was done riding for
at least five hours to let it set properly.
So we hauled it down to 907 South Main Street in Los Angeles and put it out on display at the location
of the Henderson Agency in 1919. This address is now the home of a yoga studio, but I believe this is the original building that housed Henderson Motorcycle Sales Co. in 1919. If it hadn’t been Sunday, I would have gone in and asked if they ever found any strange motorcycle stuff in the closets or walls, but it was closed up. The location is such that the address provided a nice street-facing storefront to line bikes up on the street, but it also an alley next to it that was probably used to get
bikes into the garage in back.
From there, we turned the corner twice and drove up South Hill Street to number 426 which is the
location of the Hotel Clark where C.K. stayed while waiting for his thirdengine overhaul to be completed. By the way, I had been down there about 10 years ago on a location scout trip and I have to say that the area is much improved with businesses and active pedestrian traffic (betraying the fact Google seems to
identify the area as “Skid Row”). Unfortunately, the Hotel Clark has still not re-opened after multiple changes in ownership including, I believe, a corporation owned by China.
Counting our blessings for the generally light Sunday traffic, we reloaded the Red One into the trailer and headed for
Ventura. On the way there, we stopped at the In-And-Out Burger in Oxnard. Here is a selfie of me and Glen so my daughter can be jealous.
After that, we went up the 101 a few more miles to exit east of Ventura to unload the Red One. I rode right through Ventura on Main street, probably on most of the same streets as C.K. rode back
in 1919. One thing that made my trip a little more challenging was the fact the city has turned most of central Main Street into a pedestrian mall, but the signage on the detour does not tell you when it is possible to resume riding west on Main Street. As a result, we went up one road that had an extremely steep hill at the end and no access to Main Street. Willie dropped his truck into four wheel drive and climbed to the summit with the trailer! I, however, turned around and doubled back. From
there, we were finally able to get back on Main Street a few blocks west where we rejoined Willie who was waiting for us in a shopping center parking lot. We continued west. After a bit of discussion of the pros and cons, I decided to brave a short merge onto the 101 northbound to the first exit. It was only ½ mile from onramp to offramp, but these drivers out here in California... well... let’s just say it would not take much. But I cranked it up to 55mph on the way up the ramp and ran
the remaining ¼ mile flat out with Glen directing traffic away from me in front and Willie running interference behind me. We coasted down the offramp onto the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), California Route 1, at Emma Wood State Beach. Those of you who have seen the cover of my 2019 book, Across America by Motor-Cycle – Fully Annotated Centennial Edition, (the cover of which shows C.K.’s bike on the beach in California) might understand my dream of finding that exact spot. I wasn’t able to
find the exact spot, but we quickly decided on one of many available to be take what I felt was almost a magical photo shown at the beginning of this newsletter.
continued to where Route 1 joined the 101 and trailered the bike, hauling it to just north of Santa Barbara (Goleta) for the night. Glen wanted fish for dinner, so we went out and had a great meal at Nikka Fish Market and Grill about three miles away.
Tomorrow is our last full day. We’ll end up in Gilroy which is south of San Jose.