Rather than eat a third successive meal at a Denny’s Restaurant, we decided to put some miles on early in the day and find a café in Hollister, 70 miles north on Hwy 25.
Hollister is the birthplace of American biking. Marlon Brando’s classic movie, “The Wild One”, depicted a much sensationalised account of a riot that occurred in there during the Gypsy Tours Motorcycle Rally in 1947. “The Boozefighters”, a group of WW2 veterans, who were reported to have started the fighting, were one of the country’s first motorcycle clubs and proud to be labelled the one-percenters, i.e. the one percent of bikers who were bad-ass troublemakers!
As such, one might have expected Hollister to be a Mecca for modern-day motorcyclists, and certainly the place to find biker-friendly bars and diners for a slap-up grease fix on a Sunday morning. But, in reality, Hollister is a rather sleepy town, with an attractive main street. It does, indeed, have a number of appealing cafés and restaurants, and a mural of Marlon Brando
But, on this particular Sunday morning, there wasn’t another bike in sight.
Joanne spotted the Knife & Fork Café as a likely breakfast venue. The bright and sunny ambiance was further enhanced by flowers and a huge, cleverly positioned, mirror in which the whole street was reflected. We installed ourselves at a window table
next to a table of authentic-looking, though slightly elderly, biker types. We got talking.
As they finished their meal, a tall guy with a grey beard stooped low to introduce himself. “Hi, I’m Roger Grimsley. Welcome to our country. I have just paid for your breakfast.” Taken aback, and in our haste to thank him for his generosity, we thought we might have misunderstood as he continued “
eat slow. I’ll be back with T-shirts.”
It turned out that Roger runs the Gypsy Tour Motorcycle Classic event, which took over the town’s 4th of July celebrations, when the local authority refused to continue policing them. Ah
so the notoriety of the town isn’t, perhaps, entirely forgotten. Roger did, indeed, return with T-shirts for all of us. Not just T-shirts either. He brought a huge box containing half a dozen shirts, leather hats, embroidered patches, and pins commemorating the Gypsy Tours’ 50th Anniversary.
So, duly re-fuelled with bacon and eggs, we bade farewell to the café’s owner, Sheila Stevens, and headed north again. Sorry to say, after so pleasant a start, our day went steadily downhill.
Having stopped for gas on the outskirts of San Francisco, I put my right foot in a pothole while trying to change into first gear at a Stop sign. With the all the weight of my luggage, I had no hope of saving the bike and, being close in to the curb, I couldn’t free myself in time. Luckily, my ridiculous-looking motocross boots took most of the weight of the 1200cc bike and, though trapped for a moment or two, suffered no more than a bruised foot. My bike, however, suffered some damage to the braking system and, although I had a regular service booked in Portland, I rode the rest of the way with no servo, using the gears to slow the bike. Coming to a complete halt was like stopping a tanker with bicycle brakes!
On top of this, we had various navigational difficulties getting out of the city, partially caused by a traffic jam on the Golden Gate Bridge (so no photos this time), and partially by human error. Suffice to say, it must have taken over an hour to find our way across the bay and rejoin Hwy 101.
With 220 miles to go to Eureka, we pulled over for an ice cream and a drink. It was already 4pm. The shadows were lengthening and the cold had set in. Impressive though the redwood forests were initially, we were freezing and hungry by the time we got to our motel. All local restaurants within walking distance were closed, so we made do with a takeaway coffee and Domino’s pizza.