Omne Trium Perfectum -Latin Phrase
(Everything That Comes In Threes Is Perfect.)
Words and Photos by Jim Foreman
Destinations: Idyllwild via CA 243, Borrego Springs and Palomar Mountain.
Total Miles: 363
Best time to go: Year Round (Except for Snow or Ice)
Difference in Temperatures: 40ºF (92º in Beaumont 62º at Palomar Mountain)
Participants: Pan Huang, Hanson Xie and Jim Foreman
Fun Factor: Off The Hook!
Passenger Fun Factor: Same as Above
Lunch Enjoyed at: Gatrognome
Miles Visable from the Top of Palomar Mountain: 75+
Number of Cops Seen All Day: 2
Map of the Route: GoogleMaps
Every day one hears 'Epic' this and 'Epic' that and each time it's heard it becomes evident that it's not 'Epic' at all. At best when the word 'Epic' is used it really means, mildly interesting.
That was not the case for the SoCal Trifecta that even included a bonus run.
Last week, a message was received from Hanson suggesting He, Pan and I go out for a ride over the weekend. Last time around we went all the way through Angeles Crest Highway and had a great time.
It was agreed to all meet at Pan's home in Tustin near the old Marine Corps Air Station. We donned our gear, mounted up and headed out for a day of fun. As is often the case, the weather in SoCal was spectacular. Truly, one couldn't wish for better weather. Clear, sunny, not too hot, just perfect weather.
|Jim in Hanson's helmet mounted GoPRO.|
Upon reaching the CA 243 exit off of I-10, we rolled up to the base of the mountain. This is the point we mounted the GoPRO Cameras and really started our journey.
If one has traveled CA-243, then the next few sentences will be old news. If you haven't had a chance to make the run to Idyllwild, why the heck not? This road must have been designed by motorcyclists. It's really that amazing! The corners will cause your cheeks to hurt from smiling in your helmet too much. The scenery and sights will be a visual feast for your eyes. Going up the first part, it's impossible not to notice and smell the remnants of the recent fire. After the first summit, all the fire damage is in the past. What's left is mile after mile of shady, cool, pine-scented roadway that simply beckons you to open the throttle just a little bit more.
|Pulling into Idyllwild|
|The Three Amigos in front of Gastrognome Restaurant.|
A brief fill up at the gas stations, and we were off. We continued south on Hwy 243. It's a nice wind-down as the amazing twisties, elevation changes and scenery continue. Upon reaching the 3000' level, a choice to continue on 243 south or head south/west on Hwy 74 is presented. We continued south on the 243.
At Kenworthy Bautista Road (CA 371), we made a right and made our way to Aguanga. The 371 dead-ends into Hwy 79. After a left turn onto Hwy 79 and the journey continued.
|Coming down CA 243 south of Idyllwild|
Montezuma Valley Road (S22) is the second part of the three road trifecta that made up this journey.
This road is a must for all serious motorcyclists. The well cambered roadway matched perfectly with the speed and sharpness of the corner to bring about maximum excitement and joy!
|Pan is killing it on Montezuma Valley Road|
At the bottom of the hill, Borrego Springs was a virtual ghost town. Two thirds of the businesses were closed or vacant. We couldn't even find a coffee shop to rest for a quick break. A small market remained open. We settled on some bottled Mocha Frappucinos for the three of us. Given all the fun we've had, so far, one might think we were ready to call it a day. No Way! Pan and Hanson were ready for more! I was too! Off we went to ride Montezuma Valley Road, AGAIN! It was even better going back since the recent run of the corners going down were still fresh in our memory.
|Hanson (L) and Pan (R) overlooking Lake Henshaw.|
East Grade Road and Palomar Mountain Road are a motorcyclists paradise. Sadly most riders will follow their darned GPS Master and just roll along Hwy 76 without even a clue to the amazingness that they are missing just a few miles away. If you don't have one already, get a Butler Motorcycle Map and study it. Also turn off the GPS once in a while. Remember, you ride to get away from being told what to do.
A short way up East Grade Road, there is an overlook with an impressive view of Henshaw Lake. This is a great spot to get some 'Glamor' shots of your bike.
|Hanson chasing Jim up East Grade Road|
Continuing on along East Grade Road will bring cooler temperatures again and certainly challenge the lean angles of your bike. The visuals are amazing and perfect for GoPRO footage. As we reached the end of East Grade Road, several vistas became evident and should be stopped at for more glamor shots with you and your bike.
At the intersection of East Grade Road, Palomar Mountain Road and State Park Road is Mother's Kitchen. Mother's Kitchen is very motorcycle friendly. It's also a great place to eat.
|Jim and Hanson playing around.|
From there we completed the pièce de résistance. Palomar Mountain Road is well known amongst serious sport riders. Often you'll see them gathered at the base or the top of the hill making their runs. Even at the late hour, there were still supersports readying for another run. It's incredible both going uphill and downhill. Conveniently, there is a fire station at the top of the run for the inevitable novice who tries to outride him or herself. On weekends, it's common to hear sirens responding to incidents. Please ride within your limits.
Any one of these roads is a great destination in itself. All of us were fine doing a good distance and we really wanted to do a lot of riding. While these roads are relatively close to each other there is no reason to rush it. Especially with a passenger, it would be worthwhile to spend half a day in Idyllwild or explore Borrego Springs. Palomar Mountain has a lot of side roads and a world-class observatory.
It was now 5:30pm with about an hour of daylight left and a rather long way to go still. We rode west (Make a right from Palomar Mountain Road) on Hwy 76 a distance until the road split near the Pala Casino. We stayed right onto Pala Mission Road. A subsequent right onto Pala-Temecula Road came shortly.
It's not uncommon for some drivers, typically in hybrid powered cars, to go slow and not use the proper turnouts to let others pass. These self-entitled, self-righteous, narcissistic drivers may simply not even realize that there is anyone else even on the road. An even worse situation was encountered on this road. The offending driver was in a full-size Ford F-150 with a H-D Sticker, a License plate frame that says, "I'd rather be riding my Harley-Davidson" and a H-D logo trailer hitch cover. One would think they might have a sense of others on the road. Perhaps it wouldn't be too much to go, at least, the speed limit, not 10 MPH under. We were clearly seen in his side and rear-view mirrors,as eye contact was made. Still, turnout after turnout was passed without the slightest courtesy to pull-over. All three of us commented on what a jerk this guy was. We wound up aggressively passing the driver on a clear straightaway and while doing so I looked at the driver shaking my head.
Pala-Temecula Road drops us off at CA 79. There is a gas station there as well as an In-N-Out Burger and Starbucks along with other places to eat. Once refreshed, we headed west on 79 and immediately jumped on Interstate 15 going north. This was a bit frustrating as traffic was backing up and splitting lanes for 20 or so miles after such an incredible day was not appealing. A proverbial lightbulb flashed bright in my head. We exited a few miles later at Clinton Keith Road and made a Left.
We continued west on Clinton Keith Road until we hit Grand Avenue. At Grand, we made a right. A few miles up was...... Wait for it...... Wait for it.....
Yes! The Mighty Ortega Highway (CA 74).
We weren't planning on hitting Ortega, but the traffic on the 15 and likely traffic on the 91 made this choice very appealing. We made the left onto Ortega and never looked back.
As we reached the lookout, the opening salvos of dusk were fast approaching. Fortunately, traffic was quite light. We were able to keep a hastened pace.
Only a short 15 minutes of night riding was required up Interstate 5 to Tustin, to return to Pan's residence.
From there we all thanked each other, talked about how much we loved today's ride and when we would plan another one.
A sudden rush of gratitude was upon me as I realized how many good friends I have to share these motorcycle adventures.
|Hanson and Pan at the Lake Henshaw Vista|
|Pan, Jim and Hanson at Idyllwild|
|Another GoPRO Setup shot|
|Pan tore up the roads all day long!|
|Hanson and Jim taking off.|