Reader Ride: San Pedro, California-The Long Way Home

Text: Tom Vaughn • Photography: Tom Vaughn, Tom McGee

San Pedro enjoys a mild year-round Mediterranean climate with cool ocean breezes and usual temps around 72 degrees. In addition to easy access to kayaking, skin diving, mountain biking, hiking, surfing, and sailing, it also happens to be a great place for motorcycling.

I ride my 2003 Triumph Bonneville America 22 miles to work, but sometimes it takes a bit longer to get home. Despite my eagerness to return to my family, an occassional detour along the waterfront seems in order, and I’ve never gotten tired of the scenery.

At the foot of the Vincent Thomas Bridge (one of the larger suspension bridges in California) is the Catalina Cruise Terminal. On a trip to Catalina Island, my family and I have seen dolphins, flying fish, and whales, as well as some beautiful sunsets from the Catalina Channel.

Continuing south on Harbor Boulevard, I pass the Rancho San Pedro Public Housing Development. Tied up by the main channel on the other side of the street is the retired 887-foot battleship USS Iowa.

Next are the LAFD fireboats and the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. Every so often I enjoy browsing through this exhibition and reveling in the ancient glories of my seagoing years with the U.S. Navy.

A little farther down the main channel is the Acapulco Mexican Restaurant. The patio is wonderful for watching the huge container ships, bulk carriers, tankers, luxury cruise liners, and cargo container cranes that dot San Pedro’s eastern horizon while you savor a delicious dinner. Once you’ve seen a bit of the world yourself, it gives you a new appreciation for home.

Across the channel, you can see the Coast Guard station and the Terminal Island Federal Prison, which once housed Charles Manson, Al Capone, Ivan Boesky, G. Gordon Liddy, and Dr. Timothy Leary.

Continuing south on Harbor Boulevard, I pass Utro’s Café, a great old-timey place for a burger and a pint of Anchor Steam or Guinness. The walls are adorned with old photos of athletes and fishermen hard at work. Our once-proud fishing fleet and all of the canneries of Terminal Island are long gone.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the March/April 2014 back issue.