Friday, 6 September 2013

224 Solvang

Monday  2nd Sep 2013  Happy Labor Day America. (notice the spelling)  

Miles Today 121  Total  19,661

We arose early and packed Wallace up as most of us had places to go.
The HOTEL CALIFORNIA. We checked out but could not leave.

After some sad goodbyes we all went our separate ways and we drove straight onto the Pacific Coast Highway. The PCH is a famous road that runs up the Californian coast and is very picturesque.

The PCH. Spooky in the morning sea mist.
The drive to Bear and Stephanies place was about 120 miles and we just went for it to get to the pre-arranged RV for 1pm. We made it. It was great to see him again. He is one of the worlds beautiful people and is a serious musician. We followed Bear the 2 miles through winding back roads to their house.
The entrance to the estate that Bear and Steph live on.

It was a quaint little place and very run down but it suited them perfectly and they loved it. There was no TV and the place was bathed in complete silence. Once there we me Steph again. She is also one of the worlds beautiful people having previously been a semi professional snowboarder and now being a graphic designer and singer.
Once we had settled in we all jumped in Bears Land Cruiser and set off for Solvang, a Danish village where Bear was bought up, he is of Scandinavian (Swedish) descent. We started off by visiting one of their friends, Art, who emigrated from Istanbul and set up his own winery and wine tasting shop. We liked the wine tasting a lot !
Then it was across the road to a bar where we sampled (honest) 8 of their own brewed beers. We were then introduced to a guy, Dana Brown, who was a film producer. Dana’s Father produced one of the most iconic biker documentaries called “On any Sunday”, a film about bike racing in the Californian desert, the non acting star of which was none other than Steve McQueen, who competed regularly without the knowledge of his film companies boss. Dana followed in his fathers footsteps and went on to produce “Dust to Glory”, another documentary film about the “Baja 1000”, a 1000 mile desert race in Baja, Mexico. It is smaller version of our Dakar Rally only without stops. The stars (not actors) include Mario Andretti and Robbie Gordon (a Dakar competitor). Dana is currently producing a modern day sequel to his father’s film.
Dana Brown, bikers film producer.
We then drove back towards Bears place and stopped short at a beautiful mountaintop villa where we had been invited to a BBQ. 

We met loads of these harmless creatures on the way to the BBQ
The BBQ venue on the hilltop.

The sunset was pretty awesome.

Amongst others at the BBQ was a woman called Carlene Carter. She hails from a famous line of musicians, her mother was June Carter, who was married to late great Johnny Cash. After a lovely BBQ meal and a few games of Batchie Ball (like the French Boules but played with big stone balls) we retired to the beautiful villa whereupon the guys and Carlene hit the guitars whilst Steph made sweet music on the piano and provided a seriously good vocal accompaniment.
Steph on a Yamaha piano
Once home we went to bed. Actually, they gave us their bed and they slept out on the wooden decking under the stars wearing sleeping bags that were more like very thick overalls. They are seriously odd people and that is their charm.

Tuesday 3rd Sep 2013  

Miles Today 0  Total   19,661
The latest addition to the Erickson family, Leonard.
Bear had to go out this morning to deliver a woodworking router to Los Angeles so Steph took us out to breakfast at Mother Hubbards cafe in Solvang and then to the local bike shop for some oil. Once back, I set about giving Wallace some TLC and changed the oil. I tried to change the plugs too but sadly did not have the correct tools. Whilst checking the wheel bearings for play I noticed that one side was completely knackered and worse was to come. The rear wheel rim was cracked in 5 places around the spoke holes. Damn !   The wheel was not safe to use and could potentially collapse if we drove over a big bump. We made enquiries about getting it welded but was told it was not safe to do so.

I knew I would have to send to Japan for a new one but managed to locate one from a parts dealer. I then remembered that Rick, who we stayed with in Salt Lake City had a spare that he had replaced with a different type. He told me this after I bought the last one. I rang him up and asked how much he wanted for it. “Nothing” was the reply......  OK, how much would it cost to post it to Los Angeles. “Nothing “ again was the reply. Rick was content to get one up on me on the bikers blog and the abuse (banter) that I would receive was payment enough for him. He is nuts and I love him. Thanks Rick, I owe you – again.
I managed to get the bearings out with inadequate tools after a lot of swearing and sweating.

The wheel problem was a big pain for us. We were due to go to Las Vegas in 2 days time to see the already re-scheduled Donny Osmond show. We would now have to hire a car, drive to Vegas for 2 days and then drive back to Solvang. Oh well ! Into every life a little rain must fall.

Bear came back late and we all retired to bed shortly after. This time it was our turn to sleep on the deck, but being British, we used the tent !

Wednesday 4th Sept 2013

Miles Today  0  Total  19,661

Steph stayed home and did some design work in her computer whilst Bear took us out to visit his studio. On the way there we popped into a Belgian Cafe for breakfast.
The studio was incredible. We met Bears father, Greg, in his adjacent workshop. He makes electric guitars (as you do). His workshop was small but incredible. To see all the raw materials and cutting machines along with all the various stages of making a quality musical instrument was jaw dropping.
The embryos of music

Bear then took us next door to his studio. The whole place was an experience we will not forget. After showing us the recording studio and control room he treated us to some music that he was working on in a proper acoustic setting. He even turned all the lights off to save the distractions. Even with my dodgy ears it was incredible.

Bear's passion for his work is blatant. He wrote the theme music for the current 'Knight Rider' TV series.
The music included a duet with a Vietnam Veteran named Bruce Smith and Steph. It was brilliant. Bear is producing Bruce’s album which should be ready by October. We are looking forward to our copy. After showing us short renditions of music using his vast array of museum piece guitars, Bear then took us upstairs to his practice studio where he picked up a baritone guitar made by his dad and he completely blew us away with what could be done on it. Here is a sample...

Bear playing on an original 1926 Steinway piano

We then drove to a local beach via a car spares shop for a spark plug spanner for poor Wallace.
The beach was windy and the water cold (according to Karen !) but the view was fabulous.

The locals on the beach

Karen paddling in the Pcific

The wind blowing the sand across the beach
The church in Danish Solvang

On our return, we met Steph at a local Pizza parlour. Steph was with some more friends, Holly and Terry,  who were just about to visit Alaska. Holly was one of the most lively people I have ever seen. She was seriously wired into the mains and by stark contrast Terry was horizontal chilled out. Again, lovely people. We demolished a large pizza and a beer each before returning home and watching ‘Dust to Glory’ on the computer.

Thursday 5th Sept 2013

Miles Today 375 Total  20,036

I got up early and was quickly followed by Karen. I set to work on Wallace. I changed the plugs over and then reset the bearings in the rear wheel (I carried spares from the UK). Karen meantime fired up the washing machine and at around 10:30 Bear had cooked us a hearty breakfast.

Bear then took us to Solvang where we hired a small car and set off for Las Vegas – again !
Once again, the desert was beautiful

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love you two! Thank you so much for gracing our home and deck with your presence -- the kitties miss you, Leonard especially :) Continue to travel safely!