The rain finally stopped in Corona and it was time to get packing and head west, back to the ocean, this time to Santa Monica to meet some fellow travelers and friends. Before I get on with that craziness, I have to describe the long way round, detour, that I took to get back to the beach. I could have hopped right on 91 west and jetted perfectly west all the way to the ocean, but I just had to make a pit stop in San Bernandino again to visit the Glen Helen raceway. Glen Helen raceway is home to one of the twelve stops on the AMA outdoor national motocross tour and the second national track that I’ve visited on this trip. The first one was Freestone MX in Texas. Being Wednesday, I didn’t expect much action to be happening at the track and I was right as far as the motocross track was concerned. Just up the hill from the mx track, to my surprise, is the Pro-Circuit Kawasaki supercross test track and luckily for me a few of our nations top pro’s were up there pounding out the laps. Broc Tickle, Darynn Durham, and Tyler Bowers were just killing the practice session. “Oh man!” I thought, here was my chance to see what life is like for the lucky guys who live my dream life. I cranked up the Goose and rode to the gate of the test track. Not wanting to be to pushy or invasive, I sat there at the opened gate for a bit before creeping my way inside on foot toward one of the rider’s mechanics. I politely asked if it was ok to watch the guys ride and snap a few pics. He didn’t mind at all, but told me that the pics can only be used for personal use and can’t wind up on the internet. To be respectful, I am not going to post any pics of the riders, but I’ll put up one or two of the track. A few minutes after being in the gate, next to the track, the rider’s pulled off. The mechanic took track maintenance duties on the skid steer and the riders took a breather. I took off for the Glen Helen mx track for some pics and a track walk while they rested. Twenty minutes later they fired the bikes up again and I went back to the test track to watch them ride and daydream about how fantastic their lives must be. I sat there until the guys took their next break before taking off for good. I left Glen Helen with a void of curiosity filled. For years I’ve wondered just how steep the huge hills around Glen Helen were and what the pro’s did mid-week, between races. Finally I got to see it for myself. Maybe in my next life that dream will be fulfilled.
Next I was off to the Pacific again, this time to meet Igor, Caleb, Hilton, Kevin, Amelia, and Rose. Igor and Caleb are already friends of mine and the other folks were Igor’s and Caleb’s friends. Any friends of theirs is a friend of mine. These guys have been traveling the western United States for a couple of weeks now in a Ford Flex. The are quite the mixed bunch of travelers with many many miles around this planet under their belts. All of us come from wildly different backgrounds but, share an equal, intense, desire to travel. Igor is Ukrainian, Caleb and Kevin are from North Carolina, Hilton is South African, Amelia is English, Rose is Norwegian, and I’m a hillbilly. Put us all together and you get a thick traveler stew. Caleb, Hilton, and Amelia just completed a 7 1/2 month tour of Europe, Asia, and Australia. Caleb went on to complete a full circumnavigation of the globe by leaving Australia and taking buses through South America and eventually arriving back home in North Carolina. Hilton has bungee jumped a few of the worlds highest locations and is a, traveling, been there done that, machine. I see no sign of him slowing down anytime soon. Since this was Hilton’s and Amelia’s first time in the states, after we all met up in Santa Monica, we took a glitzy tour through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and up to the Griffith Observatory, where you can see all of the lights of Los Angeles. We did the typical oohing and aahhing on the walk of fame, took pics of the Hollywood sign, and generally goofed around. When it was time to grab some grub, our clan (nicknamed the Walker family) hit up Johnny Rockets diner. I think all of our energy and excitement caught the waiters off guard. It was all in good fun though. A bit of filming was going on at the Chinese Theatre for the movie Rock of Ages while we were there. It was wild to see a movie set in action and will be interesting to see how the movie turns out. All of the actors and extras were decked out in perfect 1980’s attire. Either side of the street was lined with vehicles from the eighties to give the movie the correct feel. It was like being in a time warp. They really go the extra mile in Hollywood. Unfortunately our little tour of Tinseltown ended and we scooted back to the apartment in Santa Monica. The night ended with a few cocktails, some wholesome camaraderie, a fireman’s hat, and enough laughing to give you a side cramp.