Those not from L.A. stayed at the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia. The Aztec is located on the historic Route 66 - what a starting point for a trip like this! Here we assembled for the "pre-start" before moving on to Mark's place:
At Mark's house, we met with the other riders:
And off we went to LAX, where Fabrizio had spotted a place close to both the airport and the beach. We figured that would be the official start of the trip. We have been looking for a place close to LAX (remember the scene at the beginning of the movie where Billy and Wyatt meet their connection at LAX) which also has the Pacific ocean as a background. Thanks to Fabrizio we found this spot:
See the movie Andy shot here.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please start your engines! I am sure most of us were humming "Born to be wild" when we were riding the first miles on the Easy Rider Trip. We had planned to visit the places the two heroes in the movie had been at, and do the things they did (well, we skipped some of them deliberately - we had settled for a different way of financing, and we had other plans on how to end the trip...)
But it wouldn't take too long before we re-enacted another scene from the movie (the one where Wyatt gets a flat tire). It was just a few miles after we started, when Stevie's bike decides to do the same. Fortunately, we were still in L.A. and a motorcycle shop was not far away in Playa Del Rey.
One thing leads to another, and when the rear wheel was out, it turned out Stevie's bike also needed new brake shoes and rear wheel bearings. Apparently, they had assigned their slowest mechanic to the job. In the meantime, we were waiting outside:
Tim was using the break to see why his bike didn't charge correctly:
Mark called our roadside repairs "Ghetto Garage" - a name that stuck till the end of the trip. Whenever we had to fix something on the road, it was "just another episode of Ghetto Garage"
Three hours and $180 later, we were back on the road. We headed out of L.A. towards 101 East, when Jason noticed Mark's cafe Sportster was leaking oil. Mark quickly diagnosed an o-ring failure on his aftermarket oil cooler, and sent the rest of the crowd their way up to the mountains, saying he would get it fixed and meet us for dinner at Newcombs Ranch on Angel's crest highway.
We had a great scenic ride there, and, shortly after we arrived, Mark also showed up as promised.
Stuffed with burgers and fries, we hit Rte. 2 again. A 15 miles later, when we were still in the mountains stopping for a overview, we noticed a hiss coming from Fabrizio's rear wheel.
Dammit, we had that scene already! Nonetheless, Fabrizio got on his bike and headed for the next village as long as there was still some air left. It was a twisty drive down the mountain and he did well to get to the bottom with no more drama! He made it to Wrightwood in the middle of the mountains, a small tourist village. Here we were, with a flat rear wheel, a new inner tube but no tire irons. Mark used his charm to lend us three tire irons from the only Harley shop around (which didn't even have a workshop).
By the time we were finished, it was late in the afternoon. Initially, we had planned to make it to Kingman, AZ on the first day, but that plan was dropped already after the first break in Playa Del Rey. Instead, we luckily made it to Barstow, a small town in the Mojave desert. We took rooms in the first Motel we found. A few hit the pool before it got dark, and Mark was entertaining us with stories how boring Barstow was when he had to stay there for work several weeks earlier in the year.
We finished the day off with some Mexican food and a lot of beers to go with it.