Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Day 4: Cruising Through Orange County

2.11.2011

Day 4: Cruising Through Orange County

For day 4 of this California trip, I spent the day in Orange County, having lunch in Huntington Beach with my old friends from the Women On Wheels® Orange County Spirit Riders chapter. To get to the meeting spot, I took the scenic route, avoiding the freeways and riding across the Vincent Thomas Bridge through Downtown Long Beach and southbound on Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) until I reached Laguna Beach. In that span, I passed through Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach to name a few of the more well-known areas. It was great to see this familiar scenic road, a stretch of the coastline that I often rode to pass the time, see the ocean, and calm the senses.

Finbar's Italian Kitchen in Seal Beach (LA/OC County Line). This is where Matt and I met for the first time. We left from this place for a ride through the Palos Verdes Loop. The rest is history.
From this vantage point in Huntington Beach, you can make out Catalina Island in the distance. It's about 26 miles off the coast and is a popular weekend getaway.
I spent half an hour in Laguna Beach to pick up a few souvenirs and continued on CA-133 into Irvine, running up the 405 North freeway back to Huntington Beach for lunch at Daphne's Greek Cafe at the Bella Terra Center.

This sign couldn't summarize it any better.
Here's one of the original signs that welcomed visitors to Laguna Beach. There are quite a few more people here now.
Daphne's is a West Coast Greek food chain and is still one of my all-time favorite places to eat. I was happy to see my friends again while indulging on a plate of gyros there for the first time in two years.

My favorite plate at Daphne's - gyros with a double side of rice. Nom nom nom!
Pesto on hummus? That's a new addition within the last two years. I'll try that mixture at home.
My WOW OC Spirit Riders friends! Left to Right: Terry, Syl, Jill (fmr. Chapter Director), Nancy, and Debbie (fmr. Chapter Director)
We stuck around for almost an hour and a half talking about our riding adventures and fun times before parting ways again. I ended up getting into a near two-hour conversation with Jill about some of our crazy motorcycle trips. Somewhere in there we even had a chat with a curious passer-by who was interested in her BMW G650GS. (We always love to be positive ambassadors for motorcycling!)

After Jill left for the evening, I headed down the 405 South, connecting to CA-55 North (and quite bit of traffic congestion), back onto the 5 South freeway, and exiting Jamboree Road. Continuing east on Jamboree, I began what had been known for Matt and me as the "long way home." This route starts from the Southern California AAA branch in Tustin and ends back in La Habra. We often used this route for a more scenic (and stress-free) alternative to the freeways, and the view of Yorba Linda and Placentia from the highest part of Anaheim Hills is a quite a beautiful one on a clear night.


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The ride ended in Brea where I met back up with Victor and took a short drive to Fry's Electronics in Tustin. Fry's is the largest electronic store in CA and is notorious for having damn near everything that beeps or has buttons. We enjoyed an hour of being complete geeks and catching up. The closest store of this type in Columbus is a place called Micro Center (and it's nowhere close to the magnitude of this store). Getting to the closest Fry's Electronics in the Midwest would require a two-day car trip to Downers Grove, IL.

Yeah, this place is huge.
That's not even a third of the store!

The ride back to Rolling Hills was a little nippy to CA standards, about 58 degrees at 10PM. I'm really appreciating the heated grips on this bike! Next stops for Thursday are my last employer, the Los Angeles School of Global Studies, to see the last bunch of students who still know who I am, and East LA/South Pasadena to see an old co-worker and, if possible, an old classmate and teammate from USC.