We spent the night at Motel 6 in Morrow Bay. This gave us some evening time to explore the town. There’s a huge rock just offshore which is supposed to be an old volcano and of course is a big deal to the locals. To me it was just a rock. The waterfront there is beautiful with the exception of several large smoke stacks that somehow never show up in tourist brochures, yet dominate the view.

Next we stopped at Oceano dunes OHV area (Pismo) to take a look and get some info for future dirt rides. Imre’s forks started clanking from lack of oil (leaky seals) and we ended up going back to a shop in SLO to get it fixed properly. This cost us most of the day, so once we were rolling again we pushed hard and arrived in Santa Barbara in foggy, cold darkness. The second of many Motel 6’s was our bed for the night. The road from Santa Maria to SB was very hilly and scenic, but the 2 lane twisties we enjoyed earlier were replaced with 4 lane freeway.

Day 4: We continued South on the coast. Somewhere around Ventura, highways 1 and 101 were the same road, but we knew 1 should split off again. We missed the turn and ended up in Thousand Oaks before realizing the mistake. I was quite annoyed at the time, but a map check turned up a fun canyon road that got us back to the coast. We hit 1 again just West of Malibu. I thought the Malibu area was a bit old and dirty, and did not live up to its reputation. This led us into Santa Monica where we rode a long the coast on the palm tree-lined streets you see on TV and in movies. The weather was still cloudy and cool, but a nice area anyway. The beaches were full of people despite the weather.

Our next stop was the famous Venice beach. Parking was tricky, but a lot easier with MCs than a car. We took a short walk amongst throngs of tourists and small shops. A local informed Imre that our saddlebags were not safe to leave unattended in this neighborhood even for a short time. I took another walk while Imre watched the bikes.


I saw a crazy guy doing a limbo street show. He also pulled a cute bikini girl from the audience and made such a fool of her that she ran away. He was making her wear stupid hats, hold various props, etc.

We left Venice and went South through Redondo Beach and Long Beach. I thought these areas were a bit dirty and gross (what I saw from the coast highway anyhow). Huntington Beach and Newport Beach are opposite – much nicer areas. After a day of heavy traffic, my left hand was hurting from lots of clutch work and my butt was aching worse than ever. It was a big relief to arrive at Imre’s Mom’s place near Irvine. We spent a comfortable night there and got a slow start in the morning.

Day 5: We went North to Riverside where we saw Malcom Smith Racing and Chapparal’s main retail outlet. They were huge, mall-sized motorcycle accessory stores. We didn’t actually bother to go in though; just kept riding. We continued through San Bernardino and into the Mojave desert on 395. What a barren, desolate place that was! Not to mention hot! We actually got lucky because the temp was probably in the 90’s – not bad for August.

My old KZ started getting down on power. Cruising across the desert at 80 mph was a bit much for the old air-cooled motor. An inspection revealed that a previously slow oil leak had gotten much worse that day and the engine was quite low on oil – no wonder it got hot! I felt dumb for not having oil with me (it never went down before!), but Imre solved the problem by riding about 15 miles back to Adelanto to buy oil. While I waited I sat by a small bush which gave a tiny bit of shade and I kept an eye out for snakes or scorpions. I felt like I was in a movie about someone lost in the desert! I did a crude repair job by smearing epoxy on the leak. This slowed it considerably. The added oil and some cool down time brought new life to the KZ.

We continued through the heat to Ridgecrest where we were a little reluctant to stop because there was lots of daylight left. Since we were unsure about finding a hotel farther on we stayed at another Motel 6 for the low price of $42. This was the cheapest hotel night of the trip.

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