Forty feet away from Walker’s at the end of the street is Sunken City. In the late ’20s a large part of the city started slipping into the ocean. Huge blocks of concrete slabs, sidewalks and streets are still there. Just another block away is the massive and intricately decorated Korean Friendship Bell Pavilion. It was donated by the Republic of Korea in 1976 to honor veterans of that war. It boasts a spectacular 360-degree view of the ocean, Catalina Island, and the San Gabriel mountains from the pavilion.
If burgers and fries aren’t your cup of tea and you are feeling adventurous, you’ll pass the Babouch Moroccan restaurant (babouchrestaurant.com) on Gaffey Street during your visit. Open for more than 30 years, it’s the real deal and has belly dancing on the weekends. The food is out of this world, at least out of this country, and truly a unique experience.
San Pedro is easily accessed; just take the Harbor Freeway (I-110) south until it ends and turns into Gaffey Street and follow that until it ends at the Point Fermin Lighthouse, Walker’s, and the Korean Bell. To get to the pier, take Shepard Street till it ends, turn left and then right on Stephen White Drive to the entrance to the Cabrillo Park and Pier.
Riding the Rocket III Touring, several truths become self-evident. The first is its astounding power. Reaching freeway speeds from on-ramps is a rush. Glancing at the oncoming traffic, a window of opportunity appears, grabbing full throttle you become ballistic and within seconds own the fast lane. And, there’s still head-snapping acceleration left! Traversing mountains? No grade is steep enough to allow gravity to tug at this big triple. Secondly, is engine braking, the thunderous compression allows the Rocket III to literally growl down mountain descents without touching the brakes. Finally, the engine’s low center of gravity makes this 869-pound bike surprisingly manageable, flipping through the twisties with relative ease. With an impressive lean angle before pavement finds the floorboards, a massive 150/80R16 front tire gnaws at the curves. The Rocket III Touring actually has a smaller rear tire (180/70R16) than the standard Rocket III (240/50R16) creating a noticeably nimbler motorcycle. The seats are luxurious as is the cushy suspension. A quick-release windscreen and passenger backrest instantly transforms this muscular master of the highway into a muscular master of the street. Triumph released an even more powerful Rocket called the Rocket III Roadster, with torque upped 15 percent to 163 lb-ft and 146 hp! And to help haul down the Rocket, for the first time, ABS brakes come standard. Aesthetically, the Rocket III is impeccably British, commanding respect without demanding it. B
Cabrillo Beach Pier
Where: 3730 Stephen White Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731
Hours of operation: 12 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free.
Parking: Cabrillo Park parking is free on weekdays. Motorcycles are $5.50, cars $7 on weekends, and $9 for boat trailers and buses. A parking lot at the foot of Cabrillo Pier is available with all-day parking for $2 and after 5 p.m. only $1. Parking at Walker’s, Point Fermin, and the Korean Friendship Bell is free.
Restaurants of interest: Walker’s Café, Babouch Moroccan
Facilities: The pier has limited facilities with a few benches and fish-cleaning sinks but no lights. There are portable restrooms found near the front of the pier.
What to Do: Windsurfing, volleyball courts, picnic area, pier, barbeque grills, swimming, surfing, tide pools, restrooms, showers, bait-and-tackle shop, and fish-cleaning stations.
Lodging: For a night you won’t soon forget, stay aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach (queenmary.com) and be sure to take the haunted tour. The QM is just a short and spectacular ride over the port from San Pedro.