Another great day, another great ride, and awesome food…wow, did we have a good time today!
No, the Oinkster is not a new motorcycle from, well, you know. Read on, and I’ll get to these porcine delights in a bit…
I gotta tell ya I was itching to get on the road again. This was the first ride of any length for me since the Baja trip, and it felt great to be back on my Scooter…the excuse this time (not that anyone needs an excuse to go for a motorcycle ride) was the open house at NoHo Scooters in North Hollywood. They’re one of our dealers, and Mike Frankovich invited us to his place. As an added treat, a few of LA’s gourmet food trucks were there, and that made the event even more appealing! TK, Steve, and yours truly hopped on our California Scooters and pointed them west…
Like I said, it sure felt great to get back on my Scooter. I’ve read that guys who travel great distances on motorcycles feel kind of lost when the trip ends, and after my ride in Mexico last month, that’s exactly what I’ve been feeling. Don’t get me wrong…it was great to be home again, but not being on my motorcycle felt strange. I felt like something was missing. Getting my knees in the breeze was what I needed. It felt great.
As an added treat for me, the boys in the shop changed my oil after the Baja run, and I made a discovery. We use a good motorcycle oil (Drag Specialties 10-40W) in our California Scooters. You should, too. It’s a good oil, and it’s specially made for motorcycles. You never want to use a motor oil intended for cars, as automotive motor oils contain friction inhibitors that cause problems in motorcycle engines. The most common problem is clutch slippage, because the friction inhibitors prevent a wet clutch (which is what we have in the California Scooter) from working properly.
Another bit of advice…it’s generally not a good idea to use a synthetic oil in a new motorcycle, because the added lubricity of a synthetic oil can prevent the engine from breaking in properly. Once the engine is broken in, though, a good synthetic motorcycle oil is a good idea.
Well, I am coming up on 3000 miles on my California Scooter, and it’s broken in (especially after that 2000-mile putt through Baja). The best motorcycle oil I’ve ever used is Mobil One 4T racing oil, and I had the guys put that in my bike. Wow, what a difference! The bike feels better throughout the rev range, and the improvement in shifting is unbelievable.
If you want to go this way, just make sure you get the Mobil One that’s intended for motorcycles (not Mobil One for cars). Mobil’s 4T oil is usually available at Triumph dealers, and in my neighborhood, the local AutoZone carries it, too. The bad news is this stuff is over $12 a quart; the good news is you only need one quart (that’s the California Scooter’s oil capacity). What you want is Mobil One, the 4T type, in 10-40W.
Okay, enough about oil…let me get back to the main story about our ride to NoHo Scooters today. We took surface streets all the way from La Verne to North Hollywood, and the riding conditions were perfect – overcast skies, temperatures in the low 60s, and no rain. We rolled along and experienced the usual rockstar treatment…folks rolling down their car windows and taking pictures of us with their cell phones, talking to us at the stop lights…if you ride a California Scooter, you know the drill.
Rolling along on surface streets is cool…you get to see a lot of things you don’t notice when you are in a car, and you see things you wouldn’t find at all if you were on the freeway.
For a good part of our ride today we were on the original Route 66. In Glendale, we rode right by the building that housed the original Mustang motorcycle factory (if there are ghosts in there, you can bet they took notice when we went by). And the aromas…ah, they’re incredible…chargrilled hamburgers, grilled onions, french fries, salsa, pickles, pastrami…it’s all part of the motorcycling experience, and we hadn’t even arrived at NoHo Scooters yet. These are the fragrances you pick up on any motorcycle ride along Colorado Boulevard!
When we arrived at Mike’s NoHo dealership, he gave us a warm welcome. The place was packed, and the bulk of the scooteristas hadn’t even arrived yet (they were still on the road).
Mike is a pretty cool guy. He’s been into scooters forever, and he’s probably forgotten more than I’ll ever know about them. The exterior walls of his operation are decorated with graffiti artwork (hey, it’s California), and the place is colorful. So are the people who hang out there.
In addition to the normal crowd of riders (if normal is a word that can ever be applied to us), there were some very unusual vehicles, too. Check out the Bajaj taxi below (it’s pronounced buh-jhajh).
I talked to another Mike (the guy in the Bajaj) and he told me his is a 2004 model. Some dude brought a bunch of them to San Francisco thinking they would catch on as taxis. Well, they didn’t, and when he liquidated his inventory, guys like Mike bought them. If you want something no one else is going to have (at least this side of Mumbai), a 2004 Bajaj three-wheeler might be the way to go…
The lines for the food truck were insane. People were waiting over an hour to get a grilled cheese sandwich. I don’t know about you, but to me a grilled cheese sandwich is something you make when there’s no other food in the house. Or so I thought…
This guy’s grilled cheese sandwiches are apparently really something special. He has a massive following on Twitter, and when he tweets where he’s going to be, an army of Angelenos descend on him. Hey, like I said, we live in California.
When I saw the sandwiches, I was intrigued. Take a look at Mike Frankovich’s lunch…
Steve, TK, and I talked things over. We live in California, but we were hungry, and tweet or no tweet, there’s no way we were going to stand in line for an hour to get a grilled cheese sandwich. The boys let me take photos for a bit, but they had a plan. Steve had seen another place on TV famous for its sandwiches, and we’d be passing right by it on the way home…but I am getting ahead of myself again. First, our photos…
Sylvain, our land speed record bike pilot, hooked up with us at Mike’s and he rode with us when we left. Sylvain is a cool young guy. You mark my words…this young fellow will soon be holding the 150cc scooter land speed record!
As we rolled through Burbank, Sylvain spotted a car that you would only see in LA….does this DeLorean look at all familiar to you?
So, back to the present and our lunch for today…
Steve had heard of this place called Oinkster’s, and he wanted to try it.
No kidding. Oinkster’s.
Ah, California. It turns out that Oinkster’s was recently on television (the food channel, I guess). The place is a gourmet pastrami joint…they actually make their own pastrami right on the premises. And their signature sandwich is…you guessed it…the Oinkster.
The Oinkster is not your everyday pastrami sandwich. It’s dipped, it has caramelized onions, red cabbage, and mustard, and like I said, they make their own pastrami. The Oinksters were awesome. And, the folks at Oinkster’s took a shine to us (especially Melissa, the young lady in the photo above). Melissa wanted to know all about our California Scooters. She’s a rider, and she was intrigued by our bikes.
After Oinksters, we had a spirited ride home, and my luck held…it started to rain just as I pulled into my driveway. It was a super Saturday…a great ride, great company, great motorcycles, and great food. We did about 100 miles, and all I can think about is getting on the road again.