Editor’s Letter August 2022 – In The Heat of The Night [LA After Dark]

Editor's Letter August 2022

I have a love/hate relationship with the Southern California summer. Triple digits are the norm, and I don’t like getting up early enough to go dirt bike riding in the desert while the temperature simmers in the mid-80s. The mountains can be hit-or-miss—100 one day and 80 a day later. However, nothing beats a summer street ride after the sun goes down.

Late-night rides in LA have their own vibe—one not replicated when the sun is shining bright. The lights—be they neon or LED—make everything seem alive with possibilities.

Editor's Letter August 2022 - Confederate Wraith

Riding down Hollywood Blvd. from the Hollywood Freeway to the now-famous intersection of Hollywood and Highland is magical. Cars are everywhere, packed like sardines, making lane splitting a challenge on even the most amendable mount.

The ride kicks off with a check of the long lines of music fans getting into the Fonda Theater and stage enthusiasts preparing for a show at the Pantages. The last time I rode by, the crowd for the Fonda was a bit advanced in age, as 1960s soft-rock favorites The Zombies were playing that night. Everyone was gussied up to see Moulin Rouge! at The Pantages. I’ll pass on both, thanks.

There are huge crowds at the old-school famous Hollywood and Vine intersection. A great thing about being on a motorcycle is that you can zip up to the front at the red light and get a front row view of the flotsam and jetsam that is Hollywood—equal parts tourists, nightclubbers, and deranged locals—in the all-directions crosswalk.

Heading east takes you through a still-seedy stretch of road and past underground rock ‘n’ roll haunts from a long-gone era, such as Greg Shaw’s The Cavern Club at Cahuenga Blvd. and Brenden Mullens’ The Masque at Cherokee Ave.

Eventually, the crowds return as you head west, and the glitz of Hollywood goes full throttle at Highland Ave. If you are there on the wrong night, Hollywood Blvd. is closed west of Highland for anything from a movie premiere to the Oscars. It’s as touristy as you get, offering a great view from the seat of a motorcycle—I can’t imagine suffering through the traffic in an automobile.

Editor's Letter August 2022 - Donut King II 2

That’s just a taste of Los Angeles after dark. Every major boulevard is worth traversing, stopping for street food at any one of the thousands of sidewalk vendors you pass—all of them great. Head far enough south, and you can have a sugary baked good under a giant donut at Donut King II at Western and Marine Avenues in Gardena.

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. We were testing a Confederate Wraith when the bike died on the Miracle Mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard a bit after midnight, with the temperature still hovering in the 80s. A call to the Confederate rep was somehow answered, and he came out with a box van to survey the situation.

It turns out the bike was out of gas. We had thought of that, but the area is something of a gas desert late at night, and pushing it a couple of miles wasn’t an appealing option because we didn’t know if that would solve the problem. I told the rep that the low gas light never came on. His response was classic: “Oh, yeah. Sometimes that happens.” Hey, what do you expect for $96k? Otherwise, though, it was a great motorcycle to ride.

As Reg Presley sang in “Summertime” by The Troggs, “Well, it’s oh so good. It’s oh so fine, in the summertime.”

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