Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The SoCal Trifecta. Three Friends, Three Amazing runs, Three Times the Fun!!

Omne Trium Perfectum -Latin Phrase

(Everything That Comes In Threes Is Perfect.)


Words and Photos by Jim Foreman 

Ride Details

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.
When the destinations tend to lead far away from home, getting the Interstate travel out of the way early on has proved an efficient strategy.  Just like with Ojai, we decided to burn the interstate to CA 243 (Scenic Palms to Pines Highway).  That way, we would be heading, gradually, back toward home, on a day trip.  This course also allows us to warm up our bikes and ourselves before hitting the awesomeness.
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
Along the glorious 24 miles between the base of the mountain and Idyllwild, there is just one area where the speed limit drops.  It's only a brief slowdown and then normal speed to Idyllwild.  Idyllwild is a great stopping point.  This rustic village is known for being exceptionally motorcycle friendly.  There are three gas stations in town.  None of them are exorbitantly priced.  

The Three Amigos in front of Gastrognome Restaurant.
Dining options are aplenty in Idyllwild.  Many riders simply pull into Jo'anns Restaurant and Bar.  The unfortunate live rendition of Ella Fitzgerald's 'At Last' coming from their performance stage would upset even the most robust appetites.  I recommend trying a new place each time.  There are many European ex-pats living in the area.  Many offer some terrific culinary options.  We decided to enjoy 'Gastrognome Restaurant'.  After a delicious meal and attentive service, Hanson and Pan took a stroll around part of the town.  It was my job to setup the cameras again for the next leg of our journey.

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
Up until this point the option of going to Borrego Springs was uncertain.  Given the relative early time in the afternoon, the decision was made to go for it.  A left turn was made on San Felipe Road (S2).  A couple miles beyond,  a 'Y' in the road branches off to Montezuma Valley Road (S22) on the left.  This is what leads into Borrego Springs. 

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
 This time of year is butterfly season and the roadway was covered, in places, with butterflies.  As we would ride through, the road would seem to disintegrate and rise above the expected surface.  Think of a cool slo-mo scene in the Matrix to get the idea.  Though our bikes got a little peppered with butterfly guts it was surprisingly minimal give the tens of thousands we actually rode through.  

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.
We returned to Hwy 79 and turned a left.  A short way down the road we reached CA 76.  The three of us turned right toward Lake Henshaw and made another quick right onto East Grade Road.  Be careful.  East Grade Road comes fast.  Look to the right because it's easy to miss.  After making the right, head up the hill toward Palomar Mountain and part three of the SoCal Trifecta.

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.
We stopped at a vista point overlooking San Diego County and Catalina Island in the distance.  

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.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Oh... Hi, Ojai.

What's better than jumping on your bike and heading out for a great ride?  Having a good friend hop on his bike and join you for that great ride!

Words and Pictures: Jim Foreman


Date of Ride: 26th Sept 2013
Destination: Ojai, CA via Frazier Park Mountain, CA.
Total Miles: 333
Best Time to Go: Spring, Summer, Fall.
Winter too, if bundled up and not snowing.
Fun Factor: 10
Police Seen: 2 (One on opposite side of I-5 Fwy, the other going the opposite way before Ojai.)
Max Speed Obtained: This wasn't a speed run.
Lunch Enjoyed At: The Deer Lodge-Ojai, CA.
Number of Counties Entered: 6 (Orange, LA, Kern, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbera and Ventura)
Number of Press Bikes Passed on Ride: 12
Number of Times We Thought About Work: 0

Map of the Trip: http://goo.gl/maps/EH4LN

A couple of months ago, my friend, Mike Kurthy sent me a video of his recent ride to Jackson, Wyoming.

Mike and I have known each other since 2005.  Mike is a movie trailer editor.  What's a trailer editor, you ask?   Movie Trailers are those coming attractions one sees before the movie is actually played.  Mike was recently interviewed about his job, here.  Having sat for a month or two, I finally watched Mike's movie of his riding exploits.  A day later, a message was sent suggesting we go for a ride.

Since both of us have flexible work schedules, we decided on a weekday run.   We met up at his Miracle Mile home and proceeded to do ride all day, never thinking about work.

The initial goal was to get boring and tedious parts out of the way, first.  The decision was made to head up Interstate 5 to Frazier Park Mountain Road and 'backroad' it from there.  We both realized that it's always a good idea to carry something warm, along with thicker gloves, just in case it gets cold.  When we left, it was a nice 75º in Hollywood.  Pulling into Frazier Park revealed a chilly 50º with gusty winds.  We decided to fuel up and get some coffee to warm ourselves. 
Mike at left with the group of riders chattering about the cold.

We weren't the only ones to feel this way as a group of fellow riders and their passengers could be heard uttering colorful epithets regarding the temperature change as they dismounted.

Figuring the temperature would get warmer, we proceeded westbound on Frazier Mountain Park Road.  One is instantly surrounded by pine trees and scattered cabins that make up Frazier Park.  We approached a 'Y' in the road.  Either choice presents interest.  To the left was Lockwood Valley Road which meets CA 33 some 20 miles north of Ojai.  Our choice was Cuddy Valley Road to the Right.  This leads to CA-166 and was a pleasant surprise.

Cuddy Valley Road continues on as Mil Potrero Road.  Another name change to Hudson Ranch Road and finally Cerro Noroeste Road as it ends at CA-166.
Heading Northwest on Hudson Ranch Road.

Mike's 2006 H-D Deluxe took to this road.  We maintained a nice lope as we encountered one perfect, positive camber sweeper after another.  The grin on my face could not be altered during the course of riding this road.  It was a pleasant surprise!  A map makes it appear mildly interesting.  A map, however, does not reveal the many elevation changes nor the majestic views and scenery.

We were not alone in this assessment.  We stopped to take a quick break on the side of the road, the group of H-D we saw at the service station along with some adventure riders and touring riders passed us by.  Without fail, all the riders were grinning a post-climax smile as we exchanged waves.

At the end of this glorious road, we made a left onto CA-166 for a short way and then another left onto CA-33 to Ojai.  CA-33 is also called Maricopa Hwy.  It runs alongside a mostly dry river.  Again, on a map it looks uninteresting, but actually traveling the road is entirely something different.  More elevation changes and brilliant scenery kept us both from being bored.

While traveling south, we witnessed a gaggle of green Kawasaki Ninja 1000's headed in the opposite direction.  It turned out to be a press launch of the new 2014 Ninja 1000-ABS with the touring luggage.  There were three groups of four made up of editors from your favorite motorcycle mags.  (Rider, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, etc.)

They were on their way north to Monterey, CA and the Mazda Raceway-Laguna Seca for the SBK race this weekend.

Rear-facing GoPRO shot of a tunnel
As we continued south on Maricopa Hwy (CA-33).  After the tunnels, the road changed and became a motorcyclists dream.  Spectacular scenery, beautiful twisties end elevation changes made up this sought after stretch of asphalt.

It would not be unreasonable to grab lunch in Ojai and immediately return to this stretch of highway for dessert.  It's that satisfying!

Speaking of lunch, it was approaching 2:15pm and we were both getting quite famished.  We decided on The Deer Lodge for lunch.  The Deer Lodge is a motorcycle friendly destination that is quite lively on weekends.  They happen to offer excellent food too!  The venison burger with sweet potato fries was my culinary delight.  Mike had the 1/2 pound burger with cheese.  We both remarked how much we've enjoyed the run so far and to plot the remainder of our trip.  There are lots of options that came up such as heading down CA-150 to Santa Paula and then hopping on Westlake Blvd to PCH.  Another option was to continue on CA-126 out of Santa Paula toward Castaic and hit Lake Hughes Rd, San Francisquito Canyon Rd and Bouquet Canyon Rd.  The frigid weather canceled out this run.  Mike told me that he does not do well with night riding.  Given the time in the afternoon, we decided to leisurely make our way to the 101 Freeway and head back to Hollywood.

After finishing lunch and settling the bill, we decided to switch bikes.  Mike jumped on my retired California Highway Patrol cruiser while the Deluxe was mine for a while.  The bikes are as different as night and day.  Not better or worse, just different.

With full bellies, we headed left on CA-150 from the end of the Maricopa Hwy (CA-33).  Santa Paula was our next stop.  The 150 has an exciting stretch of road several miles out of Ojai.  Lot's of motorcycle perfect corners and elevation changes make this a lot of fun.  Mike noticed his floorboard scrapping on several of the corners.  Whoops!
Paying respects at the St. Francis Disaster Memorial
We made our way to the St. Francis Disaster Memorial.  Many people ride by and simply wave to the statues on their motorbikes seemingly waving to other riders. 

From the plaque at the base of the memorial, "Among the many heroes of the flood that evening were two motorcycle officers who rode through the night to warn the sleeping citizens in the low lying areas of Santa Paula that a torrent of water was about to inundate their homes. Their heroic efforts saved countless lives.  Their wild ride that night was stopped at 3:05 a.m. when the wall of water swept through Santa Paula on its way to the ocean."

More information and a fascinating account of the disaster can be read here.

We concluded that our decision to head back to the Miracle Mile area off Wilshire Blvd was a wise one, given the approaching sunset.  We continued south on CA-150 to CA-126 (E Telegraph Road) toward Fillmore.  Once in Fillmore, we proceeded to CA-23 South.  This was another treat as the stretch known as Grimes Canyon Road was upon us.  More smile generating fun was enjoyed on our way to Moorpark.  In Moorpark, we made a left at E Los Angeles Ave (118) and gassed up our bikes.  Continuing east, we again joined the 23 Freeway, this time, south toward Thousand Oaks.

We followed the 101 Freeway all the way into Hollywood.  We mostly kept to 35-45 MPH.  That was OK given the traffic.  As traffic was becoming more congested heading into Downtown LA, we elected to exit at Barham Blvd.  At the light at the off-ramp, I told Mike I have a treat. 
We rode up the eastern end of Mulholland Drive to a charming viewpoint overlooking Downtown, Hollywood and most of the city.  The viewpoint is perched above the famous Hollywood Bowl.  Tourbus after tourbus brought visitors to this famous location.  Our bikes were a hit!  Many of the cuter visitors were offered an opportunity to sit on the bike and snap a photo with the city in the background.

It dawned on me that if one is single and has a nice bike and a good attitude, it wouldn't take more than an hour or two to secure friendships and companionship from among the many guests.

We wrapped up with Mike pulling into his home as dusk settled.  We chatted for a while and then I returned to Orange County to call it a night.

It's always cool when one can add another riding friend to the mix.  Today was no exception.
Bike's eye view of some of the asphalt awesomeness encountered.

Couldn't have been a better day for riding.

Stretch of highway from Mike's helmet mounted GoPRO.

Mike having his "CHiP's" moment riding the retired CHP Cruiser.

Making sure he's ready for his adoring fans.

One of the many tour buses bringing visitors.

Hollywood Bowl in the foreground with Hollywood and Downtown LA in the distance.

Monday, September 9, 2013

CA HWY 2 With a Twist... A Whole Lot of Them!

Live to ride...  Ride to live...  Just ride... 

-Harley-Davidson of Westminster Tag Line.

Words and Pictures by Jim Foreman

Destination: Angeles Crest Highway CA 2 (and surrounding area)
Round Trip Mileage: 242
Best time to go: Spring, Summer, Fall
Fun Factor: 10+
Passenger Fun Factor: 10+ (Estimated)
Cops seen: 2
Road Surface: Good to Excellent
Highest Speed Attained: Ummm...  No Comment.
Map of Route: http://goo.gl/maps/4spiJ

Craig Franz
Jim Foreman
Alan Laurance
Hanson Xie
Pan Huang
Ping Qian
Zhi Kang Jin

One of the things Harley-Davidson of Westminster prides itself on is being a rider's dealership.  Just as the tagline ends, 'Just Ride', we believe it matters more that you ride, not necessarily what you choose to ride.  On Sunday, Sept 8, 2013 a group of riders from the Shanghai H.O.G. brought their 'Eagle Rider' rental bikes to H-D Westminster in anticipation of running Angeles Crest Highway.  Originally, I was thinking about Palomar Mountain and Julian, CA.  Maybe a run to Anzo-Borrego.  It was suggested to me by Alan that the guys really want to do Highway 2.  So, Highway 2 it is.  Upon reflection, this makes perfect sense.  CA HWY 2 is known throughout the world by motorcyclists. It's frequently rated among the top 10 motorcycle roads, in the world, by numerous publications.

One alteration to the typical route had to be made.  A good friend (Walt Shonauer) enlightened me about picking up Highway 2 the back way, via Big Tujunga Canyon Road.   This puts us past all the slow pace cars, going up the hill, and the aggressive cops looking for someone to cite.  Also, it's not really used that much.  We had the whole road, largely, to ourselves.  Big Tujunga Canyon Road has lots of fast sweepers, beautiful scenery, and even a nice bridge.  Later, we all agreed it was worth the couple extra miles.

We made our way from the dealership to the 22 and then the 605 North.  From there, we took I-5 North to the Glendale Freeway.  It's also called CA Hwy 2 and actually becomes Angeles Crest Highway.  Going north on the Glendale Freeway we merged left onto the 210 Freeway West and exited at Sunland.

Starting up the GoPRO
From the Sunland Exit, make a right.  There is a Unocal 76 Gas Station on the right.  It's just a couple blocks before you make a left at Oro Vista.  Oro Vista is a light with a left turn lane.  There's a 7-Eleven on the left corner.  This is where you should pull-over and start your GoPRO, Coutour or other bike mounted cameras.

After a mile of Oro Vista, the road veers to the right and you're on Big Tujunga Canyon Road.  I really like this road.  BTCR (Big Tujunga Canyon Road) gently brings you and your bike up to speed by offering a nice loping pace at the beginning and then opening itself up to 55MPH (Posted) and all the corners and lean angles you and your bike can handle.
The CVO ElectraGlide Loved Big Tujunga Canyon Road

While scraping pegs and floorboards on BTCR, two groups emerged.  Those who preferred upping the pace a little bit and those who didn't mind running a bit slower.  Being a small group, this worked out quite well.  We'd run until we came to a turnout or intersection and wait for the group to gather.  The riders from Shanghai were very good!  One can understand being a little more cautious on a road one is unfamiliar with.  Craig Franz is an excellent rider and one who knows how to make his big bike dance.  Even he took it easy on this unfamiliar road.  It's always a joy riding with him!
Fortunately there was ZERO ego over the riding pace.  No one commented at all.  We all seemed to find our niche and made it work.   Alan, Hanson and I were running a bit hot.  Craig and the rest of the Shanghai team were taking a more relaxed pace.  Everyone was totally cool!

Making the left on to Angeles Crest Highway-CA 2

We caught up to each other at BTCR and Angeles Forest Highway.  We made a right and continued riding the glorious sweepers to Angeles Crest Highway.  At Angeles Crest Highway (ACH), we made a left.  By this time, around 12:30pm, we were starting to get hungry.  Now those familiar with ACH already know where this is going.  For those who aren't...  Newcomb's Ranch is perfectly situated to be right there when you're feeling hungry on ACH.  Newcomb's is a bike friendly cafe.  SBK or MotoGP racing will usually be on the TVs while sport riders, touring riders, cafe racers, cops, firefighters and of course, the mighty H-D riders all get along, talk bikes, meet and make friends.
(L-R) Craig, Hanson, Alan, Jim, Ping, Zhi and Huang.
Today was no exception as I ran into a good friend, Jim Bullen, at Newcomb's Ranch.

It's custom in China to order the 'Specialty of the House' when visiting a new or different  province.  Here at Newcomb's Ranch, The specialty of the house is the Pulled Pork Sliders or one of the specialty Burgers. 
The Shanghai HOG members also have another custom.  Whoever wins all the money at poker the night before pays for lunch the next day.  This time, the honor went to Huang.
Sadly, Craig dropped his phone somewhere earlier and with the help of the 'Find iPhone' App, he was able to locate it and try to arrange for it's return.
Unfortunately, it meant that Craig would, once again, have to bug out early and take care of this.  With certainty, Craig and I will be back for a full run of this spectacular road in the near future.

With lunch settled we hopped back on our bikes and headed back up ACH to Wrightwood.  The stretch of ACH Between Newcomb's Ranch and Wrightwood is awesome....  Unless you happen to get stuck behind a slow silver RAV-4 that can't figure out to use the turnouts and let others pass.  Alone or with just one other rider, I'd just pass safely in a straightaway but with a group of riders it's not very prudent.  We simply got to the turnout before the tunnels and stopped to take pictures.

After all the photos and visiting, we mounted our iron and made our way.  This time, without any annoying 15MPH below the speed limit drivers.  Everyone seemed to love the fast sweepers and broad vistas as we made our way east.  Occasionally, we'd have to slow down for some debris from the mountainside on the roadway.  Over all, the new surface is nicely broken in and the grip on our tires was extremely good.

Pulling into Wrightwood, one notices that this is where Snow Summit and the Navitat ZipLine Canopy Adventures are located.  Wrightwood is really the only place to fuel up if your destination is anything other than Interstate 15.  By this time, our bikes had traveled 120+ miles and were really thirsty.  Unfortunately two riders didn't heed my advice to fuel up and caused a wee bit of disappointment later on.  Even if it says you have half-a-tank.  Fill it up here!  Please!

Some of the riders were feeling the effects of jet lag and needed a break so we stopped a couple businesses down the street at Grizzly Cafe.  We sat outside and promptly ordered coffee.  William, our server, soon discovered that it's hard to be humorous with people who have no idea what you are saying.
Zhi and Ping promptly took naps once the family with the crying baby left.  Just 20 minutes of decent shuteye made a world of difference.  It was 4:00 and we needed to decide weather to do the desert run toward Palmdale and pick up ACH again or just turn around and head back down ACH to the base. 
The group decided on doing the desert run.  We had enough time to do it and get back before dark. 
We mounted up and pointed our bikes west and back out of Wrightwood.  At the 'Y' in the road at Big Pines Road, we took a right and had a blissful time running through the back way, down the mountain. 
This is a little used road that leads to Valermo.  The switchbacks are tight but the road has got positive camber so lean it on in and open the throttle.  In Valermo, there will be another 'T' intersection in the road.  Here, you have to make a left at Fort Tejon Rd and then an immediate right.  If not, one will need to make a left up ahead and catch Fort Tejon Rd, again.  My excellent leadership caused us to choose the latter option.  We U-turned and caught up with Fort Tejon Rd and used this opportunity to see how fast the bikes may possibly go.  Now, we're not admitting anything.   We only went the posted speed limit.  (Ok, try to stop laughing...)  A Riverside Sheriff's Deputy passed us on by in our one of two police sightings.  I could see the brakes coming on the deputy's vehicle several times in my mirrors.  It seems he had better things to do than worry about us.   Good thing I slowed it down a few seconds earlier.

We followed Fort Tejon road to Mt Emma Road and took a left.  This will lead you back to Angeles Forest Road and that will lead to ACH.  Remember the two riders that said they had a half-tank.  Well at Mt Emma Rd and Angeles Forest Road, I was informed that those two riders are almost out of fuel.  We were 10 miles outside of Palmdale, so we headed out that way and jumped on the 14 heading south toward Los Angeles.  A couple exits later we gassed up the two bikes.

It was too late to back track and continue our run and still make it home with daylight.  We headed home.  We were intending to run ACH all the way down to the 210 and back to H-D Westminster.  It would have been awesome as the road would have been clear, the cops would've gone home and we could've made a lot of heavenly noise coming down the mountain.

We slabbed it home instead.  It turned out for the best.  It was here we saw our second and only other cop.  We met at the dealership and then back to the hotel the riders were staying at.

I received a late update from Craig that he did retrieve his 2 month old iPhone, minus the SIM card.  Some people are just plain weird.

This run is a great run for those with skills beyond a beginner level.  There aren't a whole lot of technical turns, just a series of great sweepers.  Still the scenery and speed may prove to be enough of a distraction to beginners. 
Another look at the ElectraGlide CVO.

Repositioning the bikes for a photo.

Doing this all day is not a bad way to spend the day.

Love tunnel shots with the GoPRO

Jim Foreman at one of the break points.

One of the smart riders who gassed up in Wrightwood.

This is the Schuberth J-1.  It's not available in the US but we're hopeful Schuberth will release the J-series helmet soon.

Hanson and Alan

Another glorious sweeper