PHOTOS | KEL McINTOSH
The First Day.
About this time last year, the idea was floated that a bunch of us go to the States and ride to Sturgis, SD. Initially, all involved were headily enthusiastic, but as the date drew closer, excuses started cropping up. Real gems such as: “its probably a bit far”, “totally want to but I’m povo at the moment”, and that old chestnut “husband will not be impressed” (you know who you are and I still love you despite your adventure cock-blocking life responsibilities). Next thing I knew, I was the last person standing. At this point, I would normally say “fuck it - try again next year” but for some reason, I didn’t. For some reason, instead, I thought “fuck it - why not now?”.
I proceeded to irresponsibly book a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, and but two weeks later found myself standing on the verandah of the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard at 10am one late July morning, looking at the very seat where Lemmy Kilmister used to sit and play his favourite game machine (Rest in Peace 49% motherfucker, 51% son of a bitch \m/ ). My mobile phone provider-who-shouldn’t-be-named-for-legal-reasons had failed to set up my international roaming (c’mon guys, you had one job!) and the Airbnb app on my phone kept crashing, thereby making it impossible to locate the address of my stay, let alone contact the owner of my accommodation to gain access. So I did what I normally do in these situations. I dropped my bags by the bar and ordered a beer.
Now I usually try to be a very organised person. But there is something about being in foreign countries that makes me want to wave my metaphorical dick in the wind. One beer leads into another and the next thing I know I'm a bit drunk. So I get chatty with a couple blokes who had driven into town from somewhere east I had never heard of. Bloke #1 (I have no recollection of names, but if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!!) kindly offers to let me use his mobile as a hotspot so I can at least look up my Airbnb online. Bingo. We have address and contact number. Next: need functional phone. Absolutely no one in the bar has a fucking clue about pre-paid mobile services, let alone where a phone shop is, until the bar lady chimes in saying there is a T-Mobile down by LACMA. “Perfect, I’m staying near there”. I buy everyone a round and order an Uber.
I was suddenly feeling hopeful and a little excited. Maybe this wasn’t the stupidest thing I had ever done. As soon as I stepped on the sidewalk, I lost connectivity with Bloke #1’s phone and as a result became invisible to my Uber driver, and for some bloody reason there wasn’t a goddamn taxi on the whole damn Sunset Strip. So armed only with my Google Maps screenshots of West Hollywood, in 33 celsius (91 fahrenheit) heat of LA summer, lugging my duffle bag, backpack and helmet, while wearing an Akubra hat, leather jacket, kevlar jeans, and motorcycle boots, I start walking. Needless to say, I was hot as balls.
Just past the Beverly Centre I saw a cab. It shimmered like an oasis. I hopped in, told him the address and (probably) offered him way too much for the fare. Minutes later we pulled up in front of my Airbnb, where I was reluctant to remove myself from air conditioned comfort but keen to get a wriggle on. There was no sign of a phone booth so I walked over to the Cocina next door to ask if I could use the phone. At this point I’d like to make my apologies to the Green Park in Darlinghurst but I believe this place, El Coyote, immediately became my new spiritual home. They welcomed me, let me use the phone, popped me at the bar and got me quite loaded on cervezas, the best margaritas in Los Angeles (the LA Times even said so), carne, huevos, pintos, queso, arroz y ay ay ay. ¡Mi cuerpo sigue siendo grande! Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, and Wojciech Frykowski ate their last meal at the El Coyote on the night they were murdered by the Manson Family. There is some dark information for your next wild trivia night out.
I made friends with the barman, the hostess, el camarero, some bloke called Bo from New York who works in theatre and was hilarious (if you’re reading this, hi Bo!!). This goes on for a good five or so hours at least. I am rather full, drunk, and happy when I am told by the hostess that there is a call for me. It's the Airbnb owner's assistant who apologises profusely for not calling sooner and gives me instructions on how to access my room (yep, of course the key was under the bloody mat. FFS). I make a ridiculous scene of farewelling my new friends and wander out into the now cool evening air toward my accommodation. I lug my lid and bags up the stairs and into the room, strip off, have a shower and pretty much face-plant the bed as I crash out for the night. I need my rest. I have a big day tomorrow.
I have to find a motorcycle.
...to be continued here
Kel has the face of a siren and the mouth of a drunken sailor. She enjoys dancing up a storm to Slayer and 1930s jazz, whispering sweet nothings to her CM250 ‘Bronson’ and delicately adjusting her carburettors, but can also tell you the genus of Magnoliophyta. Kel is our Associate Editor and Project Manager, and has the organisational prowess of a circus ringmaster, using it to crack the IVV team into shape with colour coded calendars and to-do lists.