Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Back to CA: Day 2

2.08.2011

Back to CA: Day 2

The day began with a walk to school.


My hockey coach's daughters go to school just down the street from the house so I tagged along with Mom and kids for an early morning stroll. Temps were just hitting 70 degrees by the time we got back. After that and a few e-mails, I was on my loaner motorcycle for the first time on the road testing its capabilities on the Palos Verdes Drive Loop.

So what's the deal with this motorcycle I get to play with in CA? Thanks to Victor, I get to play with his dyno tuned 2009 BMW K1300S motorcycle, equipped with a Givi topcase, a Leo Vince carbon fiber exhaust, and Power Commander. My only instructions for using the bike this week were to "put on the miles" and "don't crash."


I felt pretty confident riding the bike after half an hour of light twisties and switchbacks, and being the native Californian I am, I was lane sharing by the time I landed back in Torrance from the scenic Palos Verdes route. It was a great feeling to use this privilege again. Even after two years away from a state where this practice is encouraged it still felt like I never left.

I then met my aunt up for lunch at The Original Thai BBQ in Carson and caught up on stories and tasty Pad See Eew, BBQ chicken, shrimp fried rice, and a Thai tea. After that, it was a quick trip to my parents' house a couple blocks away to sort through a few things I wanted to take back to Ohio. My stay there was a little bit longer than I expected; sometime during my rummaging I had misplaced the key to the bike's Givi topcase and it took some time to realize that it had fallen in the same bag as the leftovers from the restaurant and was chilling in the refrigerator. Complete brain fart.

I left the house and jumped onto the 110 North freeway toward USC at 4PM, the start of rush hour traffic. Thanks to the carpool lane, I was going no slower than 65MPH and reached Exposition Blvd. in record time. I rolled into campus, had a quick conversation with a USC employee at the information booth about motorcycle instruction classes, parked the bike, and headed to the center of campus to take a few photos and pick up some swag from the bookstore.

Tommy Trojan in front of the Bovard Auditorium, still looking as regal as he always has.
This is the newest statue on campus made in the likeness of Traveler, the horse mascot of the USC. This is one of several gifts from departing USC President Steven Sample.
Here's a side view of Traveler. I had the chance to meet (and pet) one of the real Traveler horses during my senior year at USC.
The new and very revamped student union. This would've been cool when I still went here!
You know you're at USC when...every car in the lot costs at least one year of your salary.
I ended the day with a short ride through Downtown LA to meet an old co-worker from my previous job at a nearby high school and then to Del Amo Fashion Center to visit a few friends that worked at various stores there. The mall was probably one of biggest surprises of the day. The place had changed so much and many of the stores I had remembered were replaced by unknown and smaller establishments. In fact, the Gloria Jeans Coffee shop I had grown up with was gone as of last week, ending a 30-year stay at this mall. It was so strange to see so many closed spaces and relocated stores, a far cry from the mall that I had grown up with and spent almost every Friday night of my childhood in. It is amazing what a poor economy and greedy landlords can do to destroy what was once the largest malls in the United States.

Tomorrow's plan is a quick jaunt with the aunt to Pechanga Casino in Temecula for some good old gambling fun. Hitting a jackpot would be great timing right now.