Going Coastal

Day 14: Wednesday 17th July 2013

Despite having a leisurely start to the day in order to avoid the worse of the traffic, I was glad I hadn’t partied any harder in LA. I think the early starts and extreme heat of the last few days had taken their toll.

The cool breeze coming from the coast was a welcome change. My leather jacket had come on as soon as I approached LA and I felt better for having it, especially with yesterday’s filtering.

I took Santa Monica Boulevard back down to the coast and started up the Pacific Coast Highway, a road which hugs the coast all the way up into Northern California. It had been one of the best rides of my last trip and I was looking forward to repeating it in the opposite direction, south to north, this time.

The ride up from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara is an easy, pleasant ride. The road is wide and there are no twisties yet, but I still enjoyed it – especially with that cool sea breeze.

The road takes you past the Getty Villa and then on through Malibu. The beaches look good and life seemed the same.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

When I got into Santa Barbara, I rode down to the harbour and was tempted to stay the night, but after checking out the price of the hotels near harbour I decided to pass on it. But I guess the thought of stopping for the night must have fixed in my mind. My original plan had been to ride through to Pismo Beach, but on reaching Lompoc and seeing a few motels, I decided that was enough for the day and checked in at the $50 Lompoc Motel – a good place, clean and great value.

On riding into town, I’d noticed an Irish bar called The Wicked Shamrock, so that was my after-dinner destination.

From California, July 2013

I sat at the bar and heard tales of tattoos and great white sharks in the channel islands. There was a couple to my left who seemed to be having a great time. I overheard what they were ordering – Jameson and pickle juice – and I couldn’t stop myself querying it. I’d heard right, it was indeed the juice from a jar of pickled cucumbers or gherkins, served on the side. You take a shot of the whiskey, and then a shot of the pickle juice. They assured me it was better than it sounded. I had to try one. And to my surprise, it is better than it sounds. It somehow works. The weak vinegary pickle juice offsets the harshness of the whiskey in the same way that sucking a slice of lime helps a tequila. Better than it sounds is one thing, but I didn’t have a second.

 

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