James Dean, Steve McQueen, Jay Leno…Vinnie?


What could I possibly have in common with those names in the title? I guess you could make the argument that just like James Dean and Steve McQueen, I am a lover of motorcycles. The only connection I would possibly have with Jay Leno is we both have Italian ancestry. But the four of us have one other thing in common: We all know a woman named Vern.

I know what you’re thinking. The name Vern is just not popping out at me. Well, Vern along with her husband, Ed, own a very popular and internationally known roadhouse tucked high in the Santa Monica Mountains, just east of Malibu, known as the Rock Store. It’s been a favorite of locals and celebrities alike for close to 50 years. But it serves a greater purpose to me than a place to buy a beer. On my long weekend climbs through the mountains, where I can be on the bike from anywhere to 10 to 15 hours, the Rock Store has been my savior on more than several occasions.

I told you that to tell you this, there is a second angel in those mountains. Paul Herold has a business called RockStorePhotos.com. He sits on the same steep climb of Mulholland Highway about two miles from the Rock Store and takes pictures of motorcyclists, fancy cars and bicyclists. You should check out his pictures at RockStorePhotos.com. You never know who you might spot. I want to thank Paul for last Saturday. It was 109 degrees as I climbed up from the Rock Store to the top of the section known as the Snake. I was having a rough ride and pushing hard by the time I reached Paul. He had no problem refilling my water bottles, giving me extra water to pour on myself to cool. He even shared his snacks with me, which consisted of blueberries and ice-cold mango already sliced. It was just what I needed as a pick me up to complete the last 75 miles of my ride.

If you ever find yourself on Mulholland on the weekend, stop by and say hi to Paul. You never know what can come of it. If nothing else, his girlfriend Shera Richter, also a great photographer in her own right, is easy on the eyes. Once again, check out his site: RockStorePhotos.com.