September 22. After spending the afternoon meeting people and exploring San Luis Obispo, it was time to hit the road. My destination was Santa Barbara, for the Endless Summer Scooter Rally. Usually, I fail to have good timing meeting up for local scooter rides or rallies. A couple of days ago, Mike from NOHO Scooters contacted me with the rally dates and it seemed feasible. So, off to my first rally! I’ve been hauling down from Berkeley, making the already planned stops along the way, but trying to reach Santa Barbara by Saturday.
I left San Luis Obispo with only a two hour ride ahead, tops. The ride quickly turned from a perfect Southern California sunny day into a rainy mess. I found myself waiting the storm out at a gas station in Los Alamos, for about an hour. Pushing on, down Highway 101, the road began a steep ascent and offered some tight curves. Traffic was much heavier than anticipated, Audrey was full throttle the whole way to keep up. I finally cruised into Santa Barbara, later than planned, and headed over to the hostel. Two hostel in two days. Hostels are great for numerous reasons. Their rates stay the same, whereas hotels jack em up on the weekend. I also enjoy meeting travelers from around the world and its a nice way to get some company. Often, they are located in the downtown hub too, making it easy to get around. Also bonus for a traveler on a budget is the kitchen access. Last thing: they aren’t usually corporate! Of course, they aren’t always as clean as I would like-but they make up for that in character.
Tried locating some rally people but it seemed they were all at a private party over at the Orange Tree Inn. Since I didn’t know anyone yet, I figured it was better not to bust in on a private party. Instead, I enjoyed a long conversation with D., took a long shower, and hit the squeaky bunk bed.
The morning yielded a perfect riding day. Honestly, my first impression was that the route was pretty short. I thought it through and realized, first, it was round trip, second, there were about 50 riders to coordinate. From the second I pulled in, my hesitation slipped away. Before this ride, I wasn’t involved with the scooter community. I had recently given up 9 years of bicycling to ride scooter. So now I’m getting the chance to experience this tightly knit, although immensely kind community. From the first moment everyone was friendly. I expected the kudos for such a long ride, but really appreciated that people wanted to talk about the Purpose of my trip. I don’t really just want to talk about scooters. I’m on a Peace ride, and that work doesn’t ever stop. That’s the beautiful simiplicity of my trip-my intention is to talk to everyone, everywhere and ask them to give Peace a chance.
After an hour of milling around and meeting people, handing out stickers and taking photos, we saddled up. The smell of two cycle smoke was heavy, and for the first time, enjoyable. The group was split up within a few minutes and regrouped in front of a gas station. That’s when I realized I was “that girl” who had no gas in the tank. Fortunately, other people were gassing. Of course, they don’t have a ton of gear to unpack either-but I clocked record time. We proceeded on to the canyons. Group riding was exhilarating, and I loved all the stares in our direction. It’s gorgeous to see all the different colors and models in formation. Santa Barbara is a beautiful town, I had driven in by night, so it was my first view. The canyon ride was quite curvy and as we climbed up the hills, beautiful views opened up. On one side were valleys and then the ocean stretched out on the other. It was hard to point and shoot, but I did some tricky filming while navigating the scooter down curvy roads. There is actually more filming of the rally than pictures……
Our destination was Cold Springs Tavern, a historical landmark. Very cool that within three days I’ve visited two cool landmarks. ( alice’s restaurant) This place is also a classic bikers destination and the place was packed. 200 years ago it used to be a Well’s Fargo Stage Coach Route-a stop for fresh horses, women, supplies and poker games. There was definitely a Wild Wild West feeling in the canyons-like an ambush could be waiting around any corner. Gravel could also be waiting around any corner, but no one went down, fortunately.
The bikers were very friendly and inquisitive about all the scooterists pulling in. I met a lot of characters, it was a really unique place. It’s amazing how many people have ridden this country by bicycle, motorcycle, or scooter. I had the joy of meeting Bobo Vespa and hanging out with him most of the day. He’s done the Cannonball Run before (with Heather, who I almost met in Portland) and tours the country extensively by scoot. Bobo has a great laugh and attitude, he was also attentive from the start, making sure I was welcomed. Mike and the NOHO crew-his wife Jennifer, Tammy, Andy and Aran also found me early on and kept an eye out for me. I took a lot of pictures of and fully enjoyed the whole experience. I showed up at just the right time, one day was enough since I’m on such a tight schedule now.
I’ve been putting some miles behind me again. I rode over to LA with the NOHO crew after the rally-about 100 mile ride. We had a support truck following us, so I unloaded my gear. It was a rush to take the long ride on a “naked bike.” Mike and Bodo took the lead, on 250cc’s, but I kept up with them really well. Everyone complimented the Buddy’s swiftness for such a low CC. It was probably the first freedom ride I’ve had yet-no heavy gear, no maps and no worrying about traffic since we had 2 support vehicles following us. This route was very scenic too, zooming down canyons with a pretty turquoise lake to the right and puffy clouds in the sky. I’ve been fortunate to see new parts of CA this time out West. Riding into LA was very painless. We dropped the bikes off at the shop and ate some authentic Mexican. I was pretty jazzed from such a great ride- It had been a long, but rowdy day for everyone.
Mike and Jen are hosting me and Bobo at their snazzy bungalow. Bobo and I explored the unique collectibles in every room and talked with Jennifer for hours-both of them keeping the conversation going while I blog(ged). It’s interesting to be around old school scooterists and hear talk about their past rides and characters around the scene. Bobo, too has ridden for a cause, he helped raise money to get service dogs for the blind. He’s heading back to Maryland early Monday morning-I plan on seeing him once I get back to the East Coast-he’s a classy character. My plan is to explore LA, do some riding and sightseeing. Tuesday puts me en route to Joshua Tree.
All and all, an action packed day. I’m gonna grab some zzzz’s
I coined the term “Speak your Peace” today. Speak your Peace is now the official name of the ongoing Peace Project. I want to collect one billion definitions of Peace. Even when my ride stops, the Peace website will stay up. I bought the server for 2 years, but I’ll find away to keep it running!
Please, leave your personal definition of Peace up on the Wall of Beliefs. Speak your Peace!
OH! Now the fifth piece of the Peace sign is complete.The outer circle on the left side is done! Peace is being put on the map!