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MotoGP of USA 2005, Laguna Secca
The return of MotoGP to the States, getting there and the experience!

I used to go to all the club races and GP races I could when I lived in England. Mallory Park, Thruxton, Brands Hatch............seeing the characters that raced years ago, like Phil Read and Bill Ivy, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and many others including the trans Anglo races with America using Triumph and BSA triples. Dave Aldana and Gary Nixon, now HE was someone to see in those early days of competition, occasionally putting his foot down on the tarmac to go round a corner!  I digress.

I went to Laguna Seca back in 88 it was, when it returned the first time. click "How it used to be"   

(It looks quite different now.)

 

Top: Eddie Lawson, Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Gardner and...........anyone?.........Mike Baldwin. All at Turn 4 and just after. Below them is taken at turn 3. No barriers back then, just chain link fence 20 ft. from the track. (Sorry for the quality of pictures.)

I had been talking with Dave (Who has the Detail and Design in Scale "DADS" website) about arranging a trip to one of the MotoGP's soon, when the following week it was announced that MotoGP was returning to the USA. Which made the choice of which race to go to quite easy.

So we started to make plans, and make it an "adventure" not just to go to the race. And WHAT an ADVENTURE it turned out to be as you will see as you join us on this little trip.

Dave purchased the tickets and sorted out the Camping space, I arranged the camping.....tent you say?!? NO WAY! Camping to me is a cheap Motel at minimum, so in my wisdom I rent an RV in Ontario, CA. It LOOKED good in the pictures! And it would have all the comforts of home and be roomy; it was supposed to have room for at least 6 people and there were only the two of us.

We decided it would be good to get to Laguna Seca on the first day they would allow entrance as the camp site was not an allocated one, but we also wanted to stop at the Motorcycle Museum in Solvang, on the way. Dave made all the arrangements for us to visit. It is a private museum and you have to arrange times with them to be able to get in.

Dave has to fly in from Kansas, so to get the best deals he flew into LAX, but would have to wait for me, because I would fly into Ontario to get the RV, but I would not be able to pick it up until after 12 noon, and Dave's flight landed in LAX about 9 am.

The Trip Begins! (Day One)

I fly into Ontario and get a cab to the RV company. When I arrive, the RV I have reserved had not been returned and the people were still about 1 hour away. The Company apologizes and offer me another Newer, but smaller RV as an alternative. After looking at it and finding out actually how long it would be for the one I reserved to be ready; I decide I would wait..................meanwhile, back at LAX.......... Dave had made his way to a shopping mall a few miles from LAX and was beginning to get to know everyone that worked there, because he was there so long.

About 2 hours later I was told the RV was ready for me and I needed to go around with one of the Reps to inspect and learn everything there was to know about it. It looked pretty clean all except for the BEACH at the steps (Sand just kept coming out from under the carpet onto the steps.). It was an older model 1994, I think, but still...........it has a radio and a TV, cooker, Microwave, AC and heat! and plenty of room. What more could one want?

After the quick once over, I'm given the keys and told that if the Gas gauge gets below 1/4 of a tank the Generator will stop running, then allowed to go on my way. Ah! Not just yet! I need to adjust the mirrors first..............um! can't find the switch for that. And I can't reach the mirror from inside to manually adjust them.

I get out and call for help, which I get fairly quickly and everything seems OK, so off I finally go.

I know roughly where I'm going, but I forgot my Rand McNally map book! If I have the Map I never need to look at it, when I don't have it, I always want to look in it. It's like giving up smoking...........if you don't have any cigarettes the craving is REALLY bad, but if you have some, it's easy to say no. Anyway, I miss the first turn I needed to get up to I10! (see what I mean) That should have been an omen. :)

I went down the road a little further and did a Left, Left, Left and Right around a block. Get to the left turn and discover that the left Blinker is not working NOW........5 minutes after leaving the rental yard..GREAT! Oh Well! Just keep going.

I figure I'm going to go across I10 and go south on the 605 to the 105, that will take me straight to LAX and the 405? or is it I5? well one of them.

Everything is going fine, just a few noises I'm having trouble getting used to especially this "Squeaking Wood" noise. I have no idea where its coming from.

I seem to have been driving for a long time and must be near LAX (Dave was at a shopping mall just off the 405 North of LAX) I see a sign telling me the 405 is 3 miles ahead. Great after about 7 miles I decide I went over it a few miles back so turn off the 105. And the "Squeaking Wood" noise has gone as well. I discover that the reason that noise stopped is because one of the overhead cupboard doors had fallen apart and off! I stopped and pulled it completely off and put it inside the cupboard.

I head back the way I had come from only to find it was the 110 I had gone over, so cannot figure what sign I had seen. (I was only 1 mile from the 405 when I turned around) I decided I better take the 110 North as Dave, was beginning to be watched by the Police at this stage. He had been there the best part of the day. I go all the way up to I10 again and take it West knowing it will get me to the 405, but now I'm not sure if I should go South or North on the 405. I go South. And so does the overhead cabinet door above my head, so I stop before it falls on me and tie it up with a bit of seat belt that is not attached to anything!

I finally get to the Mall and find Dave. When I pulled up he said, "I knew you were getting an RV but I didn't think it was this big!" He gets in with his bag and we take off. It's "Rush Hour" now so it's going to take forever to get up to Solvang for our appointment at the museum in the morning. (That was good planning) :)

We get out of LA and are heading up the 101 towards Buellton and Solvang and another door panel falls off in pieces! The top of the cooker bounces off and makes all kinds of noise.

I have printed off some photographs on my computer that I had taken (Some at the top of the page) when I was at Laguna Seca in 88 and planned on having them autographed, one was a beauty of Eddie on the Yamaha, see! So Dave is getting them out of my back pack to have a look at them.............WELLL they obviously were not dry enough when I put them away and were all stuck together! :(

We settle down after all the disappointments and are driving through Santa Barbara, and I'm thinking we are getting close to a 1/4 tank of gas we had better get some now as there's not much between Santa Barbara and Solvang.

Wouldn't you know it! Because there are not many signs on the freeway for gas we go past the last one. We turn around and go back and put $10.00 worth in. Should be plenty especially as the gauge went up to 1/2 a tank.

We pull into Buellton and buy some supplies, food etc. But we decide we are not cooking tonight and have dinner at the Bakers Square. The RV is across the road, just a couple of steps away. So in the morning we decide to have breakfast there as well.

 

Day 2 continues......