After a long walk on the beach and some good bird spotting at the pier I am peacefully sitting on a curb enjoing my white tea and typing away. It has been more than a week since my last admission. It seems I ran into a case of writers block. Oh, excuse me, riders block.
I have this new contraption on my bike that makes for a handy going to town outfit. I have removed the back seat from my bike and put a pelican case in it’s stead.
Pelican, I saw one of those.
The pelican box is a bit different. It is a sturdy watertight box that works to hold my panniers a little higher up than they were, and it makes my pack sit so much better. Besides that it gives me an efficient storage space especially in the event that I’m going to town for a short ride and a long walk. Now I have a convenient place to store my small crocheted bag and my tennis shoes. When I get to the destination I take out the shoes and necessary bagged items and toss my boots into the case. That is about all it will fit, but it allows me the opportunity to explore/hang out/dance without the hot feet or painful blisters that my boots are more than happy to provide. I really like my boots. We are a nice fit, but honestly, they have their problems, and sometimes we don’t get along. I have found that ditching them with the bike is a great idea. After locking up the boots I then strap and lock my helmet and coat to Little Wing, and I’m on my merry way. Cooler, with a lighter load, and able to pass as a regular tourist rather than an overheated wanderer on a motorcycle. It is genius. I should have done it earlier.
Most motorcyclists get locking saddlebags and cases for this very reason. Little Wing is a bit small for such novelties, and I’m a bit broke, but the pelican case was given to me by a very kind friend. It was mounted on the bike by another friend (both smart engineers so the work is impeccable), the result is an inexpensive alternative for small bikes and bikers. Priceless.
I walked down by the ocean. Dipped my toesies and watched the surfers. I want to do that, surf. Unfortunately I cannot swim. This is something of a problem apparently, or so my host has informed me… as has everyone of the Californians I have told. So apparently I need to learn to swim before I learn to surf. Who would have guessed? Ah, well, whatever, if I have to. Swimming might be a more valuable skill in real life than surfing anyway. It might.
If I wasn’t wearing my motorcycle pants I would have attempted to be more of a beach bum, but the idea of getting sand in amongst the fibers of my kevlar enforced jeans sounded rather unpleasant, so instead I just walked and watched the surfers. There was some palpable longing there. Though the water was cold, so surfing might not have been much fun anyway. All the surfers washing ashore were smiling, but smiles are easily faked. I was probably better off just walking.
I walked out on the pier. There were many funny sea birds, it was neat.
There was also a small food stand, but it didn’t seem to have anything very promising. I was considering some fun seafood, which I still might go do. My friend in Portland treated me to first raw oysters. She rides motorcycle and discussed how full of protein and energy they were. The second time was when I met the motorcycle riders in Point Reyes, CA. One of the guys, Don, asked if I liked oysters. I responded that I was new to them, but yeah. We walked around a bit, I had forgot he’d even asked. The girls and I (the wife and girlfriend of the two men) seperated from the guys and went to check out a yarn shop. When we met back up with the guys, right near where all the bikes were parked — two BMW’s, an Italian beauty, and Little Wing– in front of a darling cafe, Don came out with two oysters on a plate and made the same observation that my Portland friend had made, “they are full of energy.” Full of energy is perfect for a biker. I acccepted the oysters graciously — I mean, I didn’t want to offend Don, really — and enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed the first oysters I had tried. Actually, I enjoyed them more. They were fresh as could be and I could taste it. I was hoping for that flavor today near the ocean.
I have also found that kalamari and I get along well, as well as scallops. Most seafood I try while here by the actual sea, is quite enjoyable. I thought I would like it but I didn’t realize how much. It is sort of like the first pomegranate that I picked fresh off a pomegranate tree. And then there was the second, third, fourth, and fifth; amazingly, they all taste pretty damn good. Just like the fresh avocados my host got from her neighbors tree, or the pomelos and tangerines. The fresh cut roses and Californian lettuce, it is like I died and went to So Cal, except I’m still alive, which is even better.
It is about 70° here and I’m Christmas decorating for my host. I don’t really celebrate the holidays, in fact I really dislike them (just to support this full disclosure thing I’ll admit I’m like the Grinch or Scrooge, but without the final rehabilitation), but she does, and I like decorating so I’m doing it anyway. It is a funny thing to have no snow on the ground while cutting out paper snowflakes. I’m wrapping wreaths outside while wearing sunscreen lotion and a tee shirt. I’m picking succulents from the outdoor garden and watching humming birds .. now I’m just bragging. All I’m saying is it sure is hard to get a Christmas movie look while decorating with this bright sun and green grass, but my ‘Christmas spirit’ is easier to maintain. Truly, I’m not complaining.
The other thing is that California is pretty darn secular. There is a large majority of the population that isn’t Christian which is not something one can say about the Midwest. It is a fun change and also means there isn’t an over abundance of holiday music, which is something I’m cherishing. All my life I’ve needed a break from that stuff and it took until I was twenty-one to find it. Life’s struggles.
I see people posting pictures of home, Minnesota, with all its trees. The leafless branches covered in white powder, and the roads cutting a swath through the snow piles — small as they might be this year. I miss it the tiniest bit. Home isn’t like this pardise I’m in, it is home. Then I remember that I get to ride Little Wing in December while sweating, and the missing is diminshed. Missing isn’t the mission anyway. Also, I’m sure next year will be full of flying snowflakes and icky carols, so California is doing me just swell.
Yesterday I had the joy of joining a group of older women in their neighborhood Christmas party. I was told by my host that it was a cultural experience I wouldn’t want to miss, she was right. It was held at the house off a 76 year old. An adobe house with tall ceilings and logs sticking out of the sides where the second story started. It was just like an adobe from the old Westerns except bigger. It was gorgeous. I determined it was my dream house, only bigger. I will make mine much smaller. I don’t really need an adobe mansion. There were about forty of us women there, and the age range was about 40 to 93, I believe. Except for me.. and maybe two women who were probably in their thirties. There was a gift exchange and a lot of chatting. I’m staying with a woman who has an organic farm and a B&B in the hills of Oceanside. The majority of her neighbors are on the wealthy side because of some success or the other. This means that the conversations are very interesting. I had a blast chatting and observing the loveliness of age. The gift exchange was also quite pleasing because I ended up eith a bottle of Chardonay from the local winery. I dislike gift exchanges as a rule, but there is an exception to EVERY rule, especially if it involves wine. My host was gifted a gorgeous orchid, and I got the pleasure of toting it back to her place as she taxied it and I in the truck.
I am finding that the world is exotic and luxurious when one isn’t shoveling snow. A motorcycle trip across country makes for a lot of interesting new things, though I’m not sure that’s surprising. I think it’s what I expected, but I’m certainly not dissapointed that my findings are meeting and exceeding said expectations. Little Wing and I are having a ball.. we must be butter because we are on a roll.
We are just surfing the wave.
Even if just figuratively.