So here we go again. After 8 years, I am about to experience my favourite way of flying kites, riding a Harley and stopping down the coast, at flight spots, that catch my eye.
To be honest, before I go on a trip, I am always very nervous, if I will be able to find the right story and if I can shoot good pictures, but then, the story creates itself, in a very wonderful way.
The start is always Los Angeles, where I pick up my sponsored bike, at the Harley Davidson Fleet Center and then turn on K-Earth 101 on the stereo, listening to songs by, e.g. Earth Wind and Fire…. and cruise down to Marina Del Rey .
I am Califronia-nized within moments, because I love the L.A. Beaches so much and throughout the past, it has become a ritual, to ride down Santa Monica and Venice, feel the groove of the Harley vibration and hang loose at Venice Beach.
The first three days are packed, with meeting friends around L.A. and to fly kites in Marina del Rey/ Venice Beach.
I am having such a ball, trying the Rush 2.5 foilkite from Invento, being dragged across the beach at 6 Bft. and next day flying the new Wega from Spacekites, performing axles and lazy susans under the Venice Beach palm Trees.
For dinner I always eat out at the local mexican restaurants, looking at the sunset across the Pacific.
Yes, I am back, where I belong, riding Harley in L.A., flying my kites in the California sun.
After three days of leisure adjustment, it is time to hit the road and off I am, towards Santa Barbara.
I have done the Highway 1 many times, but the smile in my face gets bigger and bigger, as I am passing Malibu Beach, Ventura and all these great places on the coast.
For somebody, who has not driven a Harley on PCH, it is probably hard to imagine, but it generates so much happiness inside of me, that I do not want to stop.
Smelling the ocean, seeing the pelicans fly bye, greeting other bikers on the way, is pure enjoyment.
In Santa Barbara, I am staying at Hotel Santa Barbara, in the center of town, where all the fun is happening, just across from the coolest Mexican Restaurant and not far away from the beach, where I fly the 12ft. Harley Checker Delta, with a breathtaking view towards the coastal parts of the city.
Some guy, who claims to be a former CNN reporter, who has been kidnapped by the CIA for voting against the Bush administration and is now living as a homeless person, helps me, to shoot some pictures. What a great guy, but a bit crazy, I would say.
The next part of the trip towards Big Sur, is the most beautiful ride, along the curvy roads on the Pacific Ocean. I am so fired up, that I forget to get gas and almost end up on the roadside, but the little town of Buellton saves me, with a gas station.
Arriving in Big Sur, marks the highlight of the trip so far, because I am staying at the Post Ranch Inn, a sponsored stay in a mansion, overlooking the Pacific, laying in a hot tub on my balcony, flying kites, high on the Big Sur coastline.
They say, you have to see this place, before you die and I know, why!!
In the evening the Chef Craig invites me for a special dinner, because he found out, that I won the Iron cook TV show for amateur cooks in Germany. What a treat.
But it gets better. My next destination is San Francisco.
If I could, I would put the great weather, the ocean breeze and the vibration of the Harley in this article, but it is impossible.
The ride to San Francisco is so awesome, because it serves you with so much beauty of nature and such splendid riding.
Fellow hawk riders are greeting and the route takes me into San Francisco and across the Golden Gate to Sausalito, where I stay at the Cavallo Point Inn, with a direct look at the bridge from my balcony.
The wind blows strong from the ocean and I have this typical outlook at the fog covered Golden Gate. Wow, what a view.
I take the bike up Alexander Ave. and McCullogh Road, to Battery Spencer and here I stand right above the Golden Gate, unpacking the Harley Kite and flying it for hours.
At this point, I have to tell you, that taking the pictures, if you are by yourself, is not easy.
Once in a while, especially, flying the stunt kites, while you are holding the camera, in one hand, while you are flying the kites, is hard.
But the Harley Delta I just place on a ground stake and then I running around for hours, shooting picture.
In the evening, Chef Josef invites me through the back door of his kitchen and I have a ball, talking to all the cooks, of a Michelin star restaurant, trying out this and that.
It is so great to meet people as a journalist and to get insight views to things, you would normally not see.
The next day I am spending at the Hotel Union Square, while the 40th anniversary of Gay Pride is taking place. I tell you, I have experienced a lot, during my world travels, but these people turn the city upside down. Party time everywhere.
You can probably imagine, that I am already overwhelmed with happiness, but my next stop, Half Moon Bay offers the perfect kite flying spots and fantastic accommodation at the beach House and Landissores, overlooking the ocean again.
Here I am able to fly the Delta with the rotating Harley snake. I love this picture.
Kelly Chamberlin from Chamberlin PR, who has organized most of the trip, comes down from S.F. and we take a spin on highway 92 to 35 and further on to the 84, a road, up in the coastal mountains, with breathtaking views to the coastline……and great curves.
As a perfect finish of the day, Kelly invites me to the Pasta Moon Restaurant, where the General Manager serves us the best courses of the house.
I am in paradise and cannot stop to mmmmh and aaaaah, during the 10 course dinner.
To cover the leisure aspects of the tour, I am riding to Paso Robles next, where the Paso Robles Travel Alliance has organized a tour through the wine country.
After all the coastal rides and kite flying, I enjoy the backlands . The Paso Robles wine country offers great roads and some people, who really know, how to host travelers to the highest degrees. I met the gang of four vines, where we listen to Van Halen and Led Zeppelin, while we are in the taste rooms, the very impressive Denner vineyards, where I find a man, whose aim is, to make great wines, as his chase after the rainbow and Thacher Winery, where I was welcomed in a great atmosphere of family life.
The wines were great, but the people who make them, have left a very deep impression on me.
The end of the tour marks my stay in Cambria, where I stay with an old friends family, being able to fly the 12ft. Willie with the Harley cap, where I watch Sea Lions on the beach and Sea otters, cracking crabs on their tummy.
Again, I would like to say, this trip has been the trip of a lifetime. The accommodation was great, the food was more then delicious and meeting all these fine people across California, was the icing on the cake.
The trip, back to L.A. went bye, within no time and when I had to drop the bike at the fleet center, it broke my heart, as it always does, but……………..I will be back.
P.S. My favorite breakfast places were Dodie’s in San Francisco, Farmstand 46 and Panolivo in Paso Robles.
P.P.S. The only stunt kite flyer, that I met only the entire tour, was Charly, flying his Tramontana at Pepperdine University in Malibu.
Again, I would like to thank all the sponsors, for making this trip a milestone in my world travels, especially Bea Wolfe and Emily Allen from Graham and Associates, S.F. and Kelly
Chamberlin from Chamberlin PR,S.F., who sincerely believed in my vision of a Kite and Bike Dreamtour and Debi Black from Bartels Harley, Marina del Rey, who made me look like a real Harley Man, outfitwise.
http://www.hamptoninn.com (Paso Robles)
And as I said in my last article, the financial benefits of this tour are being donated to the climate research program www.aldebaran.org