It's morning again in Marina. The evening was short and the patience with poor old Rudi this morning has run short. Marina is a small town - not much to see or do and not much in the way of motorcycle repair shops. We will be out of here shortly but Rudi still refuses to fire up. We need to act now. Bump starting everyday is not sustainable and we want to enjoy the ride and the trip without any hiccups from the bikes. Andrew removes the battery from Rudi as this is the obvious culprit in this scenario and we locate a near-ishby Napa Auto Parts store - we bought our chain lube and cleaner from one store in Panguitch so we have a pretty good idea of what they stock, plus they are always recommended to us from fellow biking travellers. The nearest store is in Castroville which is 6.5 miles away from Marina.
Now we are not early birds, we like to take our time in the morning and with the days being long and light, we feel there is absolutely no reason to rush. It's getting close to check out time at the Motel, so I buy us another free hour of time to enable Sir Galahad to take my steed - Marta off to Napa in Castroville to fetch a new battery.
Galahad returns about 40 minutes later with a new battery which he bought actually just down the block, in Marina! Napa Auto Parts in Castroville did not have the required model of battery so on his way back, the knight in not much riding armour passes an Auto Zone store just down the road from the motel, wanders in, shows the battery, does a battery check and miracles do happen, they have the correct battery in stock. Success! With only minutes to go, we bail ourselves and our stuff out of the room, install the fresh battery, push Rudi's button, and with baited breath, boom! he fires up instantly. Nice! It's great, such a small but totally smile and relief making moment. We hastily get packed up and leave Marina via the T-Mobile shop to sort out another pesky task of getting the service back onto my phone. This is also easily rectified albeit by spending a few more dollars and then as we do know the way to San Jose, we decide that's where we'll go.
Now we were going to visit a connection I have in Salinas, but due to my phone being out of service for the past days we have decided to just go straight to San Jose due to connectivity being halted. Just outside the T-Mobile shop, I receive a message from my connection, then a call. She can come over to Marina to visit us which is fine, but then we figure that it's better to go to San Jose via Salinas, that way, my connection doesn't need to move, we'll go to her and see another town and move on from there.
We pass lots of farms and fields on the way to Salinas which is very pretty and industrious in an old-fashioned kind of way. We meet my connection, Gail for lunch, which is an unusual 'treat' for us and she tells us all about her husband Juan who works at the Salinas speedway track and is a total motor-head (petrol-head). Juan is very much involved in the motor sports industry and is busy with the Monterey Car Week events but it would be great if we could meet. We are invited to Gail's lovely home and have the grand tour and we're taken to the garage where Juan's Confederate motorcycle lives. I have never seen such a machine before and it looks like something from a sci-fi movie which is actually what they have been used for in the movie industry. There is also a red electric Curtiss there being safely stored. Amazing machines. Though it doesn't appear that we will get to meet Juan and get a demo. He's too busy with Car week to get away before we roll on.
Then Paul turns up. Paul is the PR man for Curtiss motorcycles and is clearly loving the products, the clients and the merchandise and the life that goes with it. Celebrity clients and Juan alike and the joy he has in delivering these bikes to his clients seeing the happiness they bring into people's lives. Crazy! Paul very kindly donates us a his 'n' hers Curtiss t-shirt each and we all have sunny hugs and back peddle our modest little Enfields off the driveway and head off to San Jose. What a lovely day! Totally unexpected, but aren't these the best ones?
After a few days now on the road and one night stops, we head to sunny San Jose to Andrew's nephew's home. It's time for a little rest now - a welcome couple of nights bedding down with transatlantic family. Home sweet home :-)
Andrew "AJ" Jackson of Eurorider Training and Mell Rose.
AJ's Check List
*Motorcycles x 2
*All weather clothing/boots - windproof, rainproof as well as cool and warm layers.
*Panniers for carrying extra loads.
* Friction straps and bungees - multiple & spares.
* Chain oil and lube
* Acquired jump leads
* Puncture repair - fix a flat in a can
* Lots of monies
* A ball of string
* Rucksack for daytime carrying capacity
* Flexible attitude to life and journey
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