The Hallmark Card company, your local jewelry store and an over priced restaurant all have great ideas…spend a ton of money and she will love you forever. However, I have a much better idea.
Valentine’s Day here in Southern California was absolutely perfect, clear blue skies, 75 degrees, you couldn’t possibly ask for a better day to go motorcycle riding. So, instead of breakfast in bed, I dressed up my wife in her finest motorcycle riding apparel, fired up the old BMW and away we went. Luckily for me I have a wife who loves motorcycle rides. If you, on the other hand, aren’t quite so lucky remember this…”I’m a trained professional, don’t try this at home”.
We had made plans to meet some friends at the ‘Rock Store’, a famous, or infamous, motorcycle gathering point in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Rock Store is an every Sunday motorcycle show; Vintage bikes, dual sport bikes, classic cafe racers, modern sport bikes and cruisers. From Harley’s to Ducati’s, classic BSA’s to KTM Adventure’s, Vespa Scooter’s to Gold Wings…wherever your taste in motorcycling takes you, you’ll find something in common with someone at the ‘Rock Store’.
The ride from our home to the Rock Store to meet our friends was wonderful, the hillsides through the canyons were a beautiful green (that’s what eight inches of rain in the past month will get you), the roads are in great shape and not too much traffic…what more could you ask for? Oh, and did I say it was 75 degrees and perfect?
Once we arrived at the meeting place, we realized everybody was thinking just like us…what a perfect day for a ride. Apparently other riders have wives that would rather ride than have breakfast in bed. Now, before any of the fairer sex get offended, there were plenty of women on their own bikes that opted not to give their loved one breakfast in bed. Good for them.
Finding a place to park your bike on a Sunday at the Rock Store can be a bit tricky or sometimes you just luck out and get an easy in/easy out spot, we on the other hand, parked across the street up the road a ways, oh well. The parking lot, and the street, were full of great bikes from a Honda NR750 (rare beyond belief) to a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (built in India). We saw classic BMW’s, BSA’s, Triumphs, Harley’s and Ducati’s. There were more Harley’s with more chrome than every ’59 Cadillac Eldorado ever made, Japanese sportbikes with every go fast part available in every catalog and dirt bikes with no dirt on them (?) it’s a great bike show free to the public every Sunday. And one more thing you see along Mulholland Highway on a Sunday morning, our friends, the California Highway Patrol, yeah we riders do tend to ignore speed limit’s once in a while.
While wandering through all the bikes or maybe eating breakfast you get to watch the other show. The riders themselves. Owners of unique bikes proudly stand by their motorcycle and talk to anyone who is interested, friends that only see each other once in a while on a ride, guys that walk through the all the bikes critiquing every bike there (“yeah, I had one of those, it wasn’t all that great”)…or,the guy that rode in on a barely rideable bike drooling over all the really cool bikes saying to his buddy (“I wish I had one of these…hey, the guy left the key in it, think he’d mind if I took it for a ride?”). Occasionally a celebrity biker (Jay Leno) shows up and draws a crowd, sometimes for his bike but more often to get your picture taken with him, or her. And of course there are those that think doing a wheelie or a burnout while leaving the parking lot is cool…that is until the CHP officer sitting just right up the road around the bend informs you with a ticket that it’s not cool. All in all, an occasional trip to the Rock Store is well worth it.
We had spent enough time looking at bikes and listening to stories, it was now time for lunch. Back on the road we go. Mulholland Highway is always fun but a quick turn onto Stunt Road is even more fun. Riding along the ridge of the Santa Monica’s there are times that if you look one way you see the ocean, turn your head and there is the San Fernando Valley. It’s a fantastic vista…for the passenger..I still have to pay attention to the road. Down a couple more canyons to Pacific Coast Highway and…perfect weather Sunday afternoon traffic, great. We knew it was going to be like this so no getting upset, just a little lane splitting and lunch is soon on the table.
If you find yourself riding along PCH on any day and it’s lunch time, you will find no better seafood than ‘The Reel Inn’ at the corner of Topanga Canyon Blvd and PCH. I have said many times before, I am a member of the ‘Ride to Eat, Eat to Ride Society’ and The Reel Inn is definetly a great destination. Check them out on the web at www.reelinnmalibu.com
From lunch, the trip home was fast and fun. Up over Topanga Canyon back to Mulholland Hwy to Cornell Corners, a quick freeway jaunt, Grimes Canyon and home.
Off with the motorcycle gear, into shorts and a t-shirt (again my apologies to those of you that are snowbound), pour a nice refreshing beverage and look back on a perfect Valentine’s Day.
To see more pictures from our Valentines Day ride go the Photo Gallery page on the website www.themotoworld.com