Thurs., May 1st: The traffic leading into Los
Angeles and in LA itself was a real shock. Sometimes its as many as 6 lanes across with
everyone traveling, bumper to bumper, at speeds over 75 miles an hour. The pavement also
has continuous vertical seams that curve and cross the lanes, making one feel like you
have to constantly cross them to keep from getting the front tire stuck in a rut. We
eventually got into the HOV lanes, which seemed a little safer, but not much.
Before arriving at our friends Rob and Jackies house in Manhattan Beach, we
stopped at a BMW Dealer in Torrance. We had called them the day before, explained
about our trip and asked if they had the parts we needed (exhaust gasket and rear brake
pads). On the way to LA we also felt my rear sprocket going fast and felt the need to
change my sprockets and chain as soon as possible. I couldnt roll the bike
backward without hearing the click and feeling the rear sprocket catch the chain and tug
on it. After purchasing the items, we asked if it was possible to borrow a tool from them
to remove my front sprocket. On the 97 F650 it cannot be removed without a puller
(tool). However, it wasn't possible for us to get it done there.
We arrived at Rob and Jackie's for a big reunion, after first meeting them one year
earlier in Machu Picchu. That first night Rob, an Xtreme-Sports cameraman, was working a
taped comedy show and invited us to come to see it later that evening. After a huge
Italian dinner with Jackie and some of their friends, we went to see Rob film the Loco
Comedy Jam show, featuring many excellent Latino comedians.
Fri., May 2nd: So much for the Atkins diet
had brunch with huge
pancakes down on the beach and walked along The Strand, dreaming about what it would be
like to live in one of those lovely 2 million dollar cottages. That night had a big BBQ
and met some more of their friends, Joe and Lisa. Joe is also a cameraman, who
specializes in filming extreme skydiving competitions and other air stunts. We all
had a lot to drink and Jackie and I had a jump on the trampoline in the pouring rain.
Luckily we didnt fling ourselves off of it. Chris later said he was concerned
for me because we hadnt yet signed up for health insurance!
The next several days were like going on vacation at Club Med. We ate grand, hung out
with good friends, and played like kids again going to one of the biggest big
rollercoaster amusement parks in the country, Six Flags Magic Mountain. We
got 2-for-1 coupons and went on a Wednesday ---- the park was near empty, and we
got to ride in the front of almost every ride. After 11 adrenaline pumping roller
coasters, we were exhausted ---- a great day, and we certainly got our monies worth!
Suring that week Rob bent over backwards to call around to all of his contacts to see
if he could drum up some help for our bikes. He also ran around with Chris to
mechanics workshops and various auto-parts stores to finally locate a puller tool for the
sprocket from Pep Boys, an automotive service center that loans tools----for free!
While in LA we also visited the factory of Travelcade/Saddlemen, our seat sponsor. Shortly before we
started our journey, they offered to redo our seats with gel pads, heating, and new
covers. Today, after more than 92,000 miles, the seats still look great and function
like the first day we installed them. The partners Tom and John both greeted us warmly at
their offices when we arrived. They wanted to know how the seats had performed and gave us
a tour of their manufacturing facilities. Since Chris had changed bikes in New Zealand,
his bike did not have a Travelcade seat. Tom had sent us a gel pad to install in the
seat, but over time the stock covering cracked and became uncomfortable for Chris.
We were, however, pleased to have Chris seat done and
thrilled to throw away his big, smelly sheepskin he had used since Central America.
We asked them to stitch their logo on both our seats so that we could advertise for
them. John offered to swing by the house to pick up the seats and then delivered the
seats back to us 2 days later. Now thats service! We highly recommend this
product and their great service.
Thurs, May 8th: After being in "party central" with Rob and Jackie
for a week, we had to give them a break so we said goodbye, until next time (-:
Of course, it was impossible to get on the road early, hanging out to enjoy breakfast
and a long chat before we left. So, that night was spent in a decent cheap hotel in the
little dusty town of Blythe, off I-10 on the border of California and Arizona.