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Saturday Edition

SEEING RED: Valentine’s Day at Crystal Pier

Fairytale Ending?

Gary Koz Mraz


I have a new girlfriend, I have a new 2016 Victory Cross Country Tour and I have a plan.  I am going to impress new girlfriend with my moto/photo journalist prowess and whisk her away to my secret retreat. First, I suit girlfriend up in fashionable new leathers, jacket, vest and boots, she looks hot.  Secondly, I filled my iPod with her favorite music, endless Adel, Sade and Sarah McLaughlin. My plan was working. 

The crisp ocean air caresses us as we skirt the ocean south from L.A. to Cupids Castel. I know the owner and she saves the hidden back cottage for me on Valentine’s Day.  This Fairytale bed and breakfast was opened in 2000 and the castle is ideal for honeymoons, anniversaries or a  valentines day getaway. It’s secluded in the middle of a lemon orchard and 400 year old oak trees. As we headed east on Hwy 76 into the Palomar mountains the elevation and temperatures rise.  It’s February 14th and normally in the 70s here but by the time we pass the Pala Casino it was 94 degrees, things were heating up. Arriving at this romantic destination, the small road to Cupids Castle weaves through a fairy grotto garden with little pond, chimes, fountains and flowers. We dismount and find it’s closed, the castle is locked and empty and my back cottage is abandoned, that’s not a good sign.
Girlfriend is not impressed; she’s sweating in her fancy new leathers and complains her thighs are burning from sitting legs spread for two hours.   Our fledgling relationship is heating up, she sheds her gear and demands I stow it. I remind her about motorcycle safety but girlfriend will have none of it, nor photos with her helmet hair.  Luckily for me the Lazy H Ranch Resort is only a mile down the road.
We grab a quiet little corner overlooking the pool and girlfriend orders a glass of wine and by the time the waiter comes for our order she’s on glass #2. (Its 12:00 am).   We enjoy the serenity until a boisterous family of 12 takes all the tables next to us…we move. Built in the 1920’s as a working ranch The Lazy H Ranch was converted to a  private membership resort and for a time was one of “the” popular gathering spots for celebrities who flew in on the resort’s landing field.  There’s an Oak tree growing through the bar! A Very retro-ranch-roadside-motel vibe going on here, I suggest that we stay, they do have a room available, she grimaces and orders another glass of wine.
I have a B-plan, I know the owner of the cottages at Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Built in 1927 is the only pier on the West Coast with bungalows right on the pier over the ocean.   He has a room, girlfriend seems mildly sedated, I mean elated.  Still refusing riding gear we hop on the Victory Cross Country Tour and head west. Another two hours later we arrive at the beach. It’s beautiful, the temperature is perfect and girlfriend is seeing red.  She hobbles off the bike in pain with leg cramps and she’s livid.
Settling into our cottage over the Pacific Ocean she relaxes with another glass of wine. We chat and laugh off the day’s disasters…until a fog rolls in and literally blankets the coast in a white out. WTF!, its 3:00 on Friday!  Now it’s freezing cold and we're relegated to hiding inside the tiny one room cottage.
Every local restaurant is booked solid but I have a plan. Kafé Yen Is a hidden local gem serving Asian/Pan American cuisine that’s been a local staple for over a decade.  I know their menu and they will deliver to our cozy cottage. I make the call…no answer; I must have the wrong number, call again, no answer. Heading out to see for myself find they’re closed for business.  I bring back a bottle of wine and pizza… really good wine.
Needless to say things didn’t go well, there’s no way is she spending two hours on the back of that uncomfortable, windy motorcycle wearing a heavy, hot leather jacket. X girlfriend gets picked up the next morning (she kept the boots though) and I ride home solo. The plans of mice and men, I learned some very valuable lessons this Valentine.
1. If you’re planning a special day for her, make sure it’s what she wants to do, not what you want to do.
2. Tell her the plan; some surprises may be unwelcome.
3. Not all love stories have a fairytale ending.
Adel and Sade are not on my iPod and X girlfriend doesn’t call anymore. Cupids Castle is for sale, the owner’s husband passed and it was too much for her to keep up.  Kafe Yen is now called Izakaya, it was closed and sold in a divorce settlement.
Ride Safe


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