Landing in So-Cal

August 24, 2010

Southern California.

Today was another magical day. Here I am standing here, grinning from ear to ear.

I found my way on the #2 up the Angeles mountains. The real deal in terms of motorcycle road. Mountain side twisties, up and down, cliffs, impregnable views for miles. I was glad to leave the 15 the heat and the harried motorists.

It is at the end of one of those twists that I was surprised with a parking lot full of sport bikes, a stage, a restaurant… I slowed down and asked a man and a woman standing there : “what is going on here?” It was the Cafe Desmo Ride the Crest 2010 event where they raised money for tree planting on the mountains devastated by forest fires. The two people were Sonny and Steve they invited me to join them, meet their friends, they moved their bikes to make room for mine and made me feel totally welcome.

Sunny and her Interceptor


Steve and his Buell

This was the beginning of a fantastic day in the sun. I got to meet a number of Steve and Sunny’s friends, whose names I can’t all remember. I watched the band and the inventor of Buell’s motorcycle play the guitar and sing his songs.

miles of bikes

There were all these motorcycle policemen around and out of the blue, I am not sure why, I asked one of them if I could take a picture with him. The iconic CHP motorcycle cop. I started to talk to the man, and he was asking me about my trip,, and when I mentioned Sturgis he said : “well I was envious but now I am jealous!” We chatted for a while longer and then he said “ before you leave come and see me” “OK” I said.

the unique feature on CHP Gonzales’ motorbike

I also met Melanie who did take a trip similar to mine this summer around the US. Pretty cool.

There were all these amazing bikes there. It was really cool to see this different type of riders. The Harley guys call themselves bikers, the sport bike guys call themselves motorcyclists. Interesting. Always this need to separate, categorize. But I have to say, these machines really induced serious drooling. They are beautiful, sexy and as a plus there was actual women riders, not just passengers, and they looked strong beautiful and capable. Yeah.

I was about to leave, had my helmet on when I saw the policeman ride into the parking lot from the road. I remembered he had asked me to come and see him so I did.

I approached and said : you wanted to see me before I left…
He then presented me with this badge… He said this badge is only given to motorcycle cops. It is a badge of challenge. He said to me : “ your story touched me. I wanted to give you this” He hands me the badge. It is beautiful. Gold, and blue. I felt a well of emotion rising. He hands me the thing. It’ is heavy and it shines really well made and it says Ethics, Integrity, Pride, Professionalism, Honor.

What an amazing gift. I feels like a talisman. I put it in my breast pocket. Close to my heart. Another beautiful gesture I cannot explain but that moves me to no end.

I finally left the event, rode down the rest of the mountain and “arrived” in Altadena. I went directly to the Coffee Gallery. The sun is high, the vibe is so Californian. It feels good. I feel good.

The night went on with music, laughs and good times. And open stage started around 8 PM I played one song which was well received. I will be playing a show on Saturday night the 28th of August.

It’s all good. I couch surfed for that night. Let see what the week brings. I have to get my bike looked at serviced, brakes repaired and tires changed for more miles to come.

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5 Responses to “Landing in So-Cal”

  1. Alan Says:

    What a cool gesture from Mr. Highway Patrol guy !!

    And yes, a talisman it must be, then. I know this for a certainty, having just watched Alice in Wonderland.


    • Hey Allan!

      you gotta show my that bar, remember the place you said was a parallel universe… I got some “bike business to tend to tomorrow and thursday… but lets make sure we connect!

      take care

      d

  2. Sally Says:

    Danielle ~

    I know Officer Gonzales pretty well. You touched him deeply with the story of your life and he has done nothing but talk about you since he’s met you. Your life, your story, and your pictures mesmerize him. To get a Challenge coin from him is a big deal, he doesn’t hand them out to just anyone. Hold on to it tightly.

    Continue to ride safe & keep the rubber side down.

    Sally Gonzales

  3. Jim Armstrong Says:

    Danielle,

    I’m glad you got to meet Steve Slaughter and Sunny. They are great people. I see them every year at Laguna Seca for the MotoGP races.

    I love reading your stuff. At first I was going to suggest to you to read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and the more I read, the more I thought, wait a dang minute, this is better Zen and the Art. This is today. You are doing it today!

    Thanks for the stories.

    Jim Armstrong

  4. steveslaughter Says:

    Serendipity. I rarely get to use that word in context but a chance meeting at a roadside? Not chance.

    Sunny and I look forward to a final meeting and to hear you on Saturday and if it makes sense, we will look forward to saying our final good-byes KNOWING that you will be again on the road where you need to be.

    Kerouac was distant, vague, disconnected. You have shown yourself to be real – and after you are gone we will still KNOW you – (not HAVE KNOWN you)

    Serendipity; there are NO accidents.


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