LA Day Two. I’m up early, too early to pick up the motorbike yet, so I take a walk down to Venice Beach. It’s raining lightly, but it’s warm enough and hey, I’m from London; if rain stopped me doing things, I’d never go anywhere.

The rain sets in heavily and I decide to check out the canals. Rialto bridge it isn’t, but quite quaint. I’m hungry and seriously wet now so I head to the beach front in search of a cafe. But there is nothing. Just lots of private houses. Mostly quite nice, very brutalist, but very residential. The beach is empty bar a few lonely joggers.

Calamari and coffee for breakfast and I’m off to meet my trusty steed whom I will ride through the desert to victory and glory! Or to Las Vegas at least.

Blacker than the chambers of a dead priest’s heart, this gorgeous mare reminds me distinctly of Black Beauty, my ol’ 1999 Yamaha Dragstar. I know people will go apoplectic with rage to think I’m comparing a 2014 Heritage Softail with a 1999 Dragstar, but the size, weight, riding position and style are so similar. The Harley is a larger bike with more power and it is definitely the better bike, but there’s not a whole lot in it. I genuinely don’t think it’s £15,000 better than the ol’ Dragstar. Maybe £5000 better. So that HD badge has added a lot to the price tag. Anyway, I realise that talking about motorbikes is like talking about I.T. It appeals to a small subset of people, but alienates most. But hey, this is a road trip story.

So my first few moments with my new filly are awkward, much like any first date, I’m getting to know her, and she’s new and different. I’m used to Poison Ivy, my 2010 Triumph Bonneville and the one who currently holds my heart. So I kind of feel guilty, and uncomfortable with this new situation. I’m slow and gentle, but I’m slightly intimidated. This new bike responds in ways that Ivy does not, and vice versa. And to those readers who think this has got weirdly sexual, I don’t think you fully appreciate the love of motorcycling.

And LA traffic is busy but slow. I was often on the motorway with a speed limit of 55mph and I’m stuck at 5. This was my theme song.

So next stop was which I learnt about from this article on Messy Nessy Chic (

Great shop with a mix of weird and wonderful vintage and their own distinctive repro retro designs. But some of it was seriously eye-wateringly expensive.

I bought a couple of items in the more modest price range and popped over the road to Milk for a legendary ice cream sandwich of Luigia’s recommendation. So good!

I ended up in the very touristy Hollywood Boulevarde. Got a photo with the sign in the background and walked past Grauman’s Chinese Theatre ( I almost bought as wet weather poncho, but it had a warning label warning that it was carcinogenic and causes birth defects, so I avoided that. Surprised me that it was even for sale.

Tried to catch up with Lenka, but she was going to be working all evening. She recommended an area for me to eat, and as I drove through this side of Venice, I finally found a cool neighbourhood. Cafes and cute shops, it has quite a bohemian, although posh atmosphere. And then I found the main promenade of Venice Beach. A few restaurants, lots of awful pizza takeaways and loads of cheap t-shirt shops, there was a laid back, hippy vibe to the place. One t-shirt slogan captured the spirit perfectly “Look like Barbie, smoke like Marley”.

I went to a little bar and had fish tacos for dinner, which isn’t a euphemism. Then home to pack and prepare for the start of the road trip tomorrow.


5 thoughts on “Kickstart my heart

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