Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Good Friends - A Welcome Benefit of Motorcycling.

Good Friends - A Welcome Benefit of Motorcycling
Story and Photos by Jim Foreman

Judith Regn and Dennis O'Dell
One of the most pleasant surprises that a motorcyclist may expect from their passion is the vast number of amazing friends they gain… and not simply on Facebook.

Interestingly enough, Facebook happened to be the start of a grand friendship that blossomed into camaraderie, mutual interests and even an unbelievable European riding trip.
Several years back Laura Ruddy posted something clever on the BMW MOA (Motorcycle Owners Association) Facebook page.  Through a series of replies, back and forth, a ‘Facebook’ friend request was made and quickly accepted. 

Rather than be content as just Facebook friends, a thought-provoking dialogue ensued and a lasting friendship as formed. 

Laura Ruddy looking back
That friendship with Laura blossomed while she was here, stateside, and matured during a three-week motorcycle trip in Bavaria and the surrounding countries.

The Eurotrip was capped with a four-day run through the Czech Republic that included Dennis O’Dell and Judith Regn.  Dennis and Judith are a delightful married couple that met later in their lives.  Judith is German while Dennis is an American.  Both thrive in Nuremberg.  A unique characteristic is that Judith rides her own motorbike.  Yes, Dennis considers himself one of the most fortunate and grateful men on Earth.

During that incredible adventure which brought us through some amazing back roads and countryside, Dennis expressed that he and Judith were to come to the US to ride for two months, leisurely, across the country.

This revelation prompted the question to see if they were planning to ride much in SoCal.  Judith expressed they plan to ride Route 66.  Universally, Germans specifically and Europeans generally believe Route 66 is a great road that must be included in any trip to the United States.  While there are fun and interesting portions in Arizona and New Mexico, most of Route 66 has been swallowed up by various interstates. 

This was of little concern to Dennis and Judith as they were coming to enjoy the US and share several months of memorable riding. 

Initially, Dennis and Judith’s plans for SoCal were to run from Ventura, CA to Barstow, CA, avoiding the Interstates 101, 10 and 15 as much as possible. 

Upon hearing this, it was immediately suggested that Angeles Crest Highway (CA-2) is a world-renowned mountain pass that will offer an unforgettable riding experience.  Dennis and Judith agreed that it would be nice and that it would also help keep them off of the interstates. 

Several weeks after this enjoyable conversation, Dennis and Judith arrived in San Francisco and purchased two pre-owned Motorbikes to match the ones they rode back home.  Dennis was running a beautiful BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and Judith picked up an identical Street Triple R (with ABS).  The intention is to sell the bikes at the conclusion of their trip.  This way the cost of the bikes would be negligible and quite possibly profitable.  Short of borrowing a friend’s bike, while traveling abroad, this is the best way to ride in a specific country or region for more than two weeks.  If visiting for less than two weeks, it’s probably better to simply rent a motorbike abroad.

Dennis and Judith arrive at the ACH Shell Station
As Dennis and Judith traveled south on Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1), arrangements were made to meet at the Shell Station where the 210 Freeway and Angeles Crest Highway meet.  The Shell Station is a popular meeting point for motorcyclists as one can obviously fuel up and hang out for their friends to arrive.  The station is very grateful to motorcyclists and even puts out chairs for those awaiting their friends.

Just as the tank was topped off on my BMW K 1200 RS, Dennis and Judith both arrived to warm smiles, hugs and handshakes.  A brief description of what to expect was also conveyed to the riding pair. 

Angeles Crest Highway Is made up of mostly medium sweepers.  Some are a little tighter, but there are no 180º switchbacks.  Rock and pinecone debris may be on the road, beyond the tunnels.  Given it was a midweek day, we largely had the whole road to ourselves.  This is both a delight and an impossibility during the weekends.

Starting in the lead, it was easy to notice right away that Dennis was really enjoying this road.  At our first turnout Judith was asked how she liked it.  Her beaming smile was very contagious.  She exclaimed that she loves this road and was really grateful that this was arranged. 

Newcomb's Ranch
Diving left and right into beautifully cambered and surfaced sweepers, we made our way to Newcomb’s Ranch for lunch.  While there, we each enjoyed talking to Bologna HOG members who rented bikes and were coming down Angeles Crest Highway into Los Angeles.

After lunch we hopped back onto the motorbikes and made our way to Wrightwood.  Stopping for a coffee, we met a couple who just pulled in from Crestline.  Given that is was still early in the afternoon and that we’d have plenty of daylight, I suggested to Dennis and Judith that we could cut and run north to Barstow, CA from there or we could continue to Crestline, Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake.  From there we could take a backroad to Barstow and call it a great day. 

Dennis and Judith on Rim of the World Highway
The only concern was Judith.  In Europe, the distances between places is much shorter than what we’re accustomed to, in the western US.  This proposed route would become one of Judith’s longest days in the saddle.  She was very supportive and was ready to tackle some more interesting riding so we continued our trek.  Crossing Interstate 15, the terrain changes. The road now brought more variety to the day’s journey.  Coming the back way through Crestline was very exciting.   Competing a lively run was a crescendo that consisted of meeting up with ‘Rim of the World’ Highway on a transition that seems to float in the sky.  At our next break, Judith was simply giddy. She was smiling and bouncing like a schoolgirl who had just been given her first real kiss.  The joy was palpable and we were all very happy to be enjoying this experience. 

Lake Arrowhead Village
Quick stops at Lake Arrowhead Village for photos and then Big Bear Lake prompted me to ask both Dennis and Judy if they expected today to be like this.  Both exclaimed that this was among their best day ever, riding.  They went on to predict that it was probably going to be the highlight of their trip.
As the sun was beginning its descent into the horizon, we pulled into Barstow, CA.  Originally, the intent was only a day ride for me.  The lateness of the day and the desire for some cold draft beer, by the three of us, was enough for me to get my own room and stay the night.

Upon checking in, another guest here on a construction job offered advice on nearby dining.  A brief walk down the street put us at Los Domingos Restaurant.  Upon being seated, three ice cold Modelo Negros were placed in front of each of us and we began reflecting on the incredible day.

Dennis O’Dell and Judith Regn continue their journey, as of this writing.  Many more destinations have been visited including Grand Canyon National Park and Monument Valley.

Dennis even had to order a couple parts from Irv Seaver BMW to meet him along his journey.

Their friendship along with that of Laura Ruddy and countless more friends is cherished and all because of a motorcycle. 

Dennis has a very clever blog detailing many of his journeys including this one.  Enjoy it here .

When you have an opportunity, invite a friend from out of town to ride with you.  It will be a memorable and welcome experience.
Judith, Dennis, Steffi and Weiland enjoying some beer after a great day riding
Christian, Weiland and Dennis in Germany
Beginning the ride up Angeles Crest Highway
Nearing Barstow as the sun begins to set.

Judith on Route 66 Photo by Dennis O'Dell

Sunset over Monument Valley Photo by Dennis O'Dell

Dennis and Judith at the Route 66 midway point Photo by Dennis O'Dell

Judith at the Hotel el Rancho.  Photo by Dennis O'Dell

 ©2015 Jim Foreman All rights reserved.

Friday, May 22, 2015

10 Tips for Successful and Enjoyable Overnight Motorcycle Travel

Mike Kurthy and Jim Foreman about to embark on a fun trip.
Words and Photos by Jim Foreman (unless otherwise noted)
©2015 Jim Foreman

Spring is in full stride and summer is almost upon us.  Many motorcyclists are now thinking about going out on a trip with their two-wheeled true love.
Having done many multi-day and multi-week travels by motorcycle domestically and throughout North America and Europe, it was time to share some of the valuable insight learned.

Ewan and Charley on the "Long Way 'Round"
1) Don’t start with an epic ‘Round the World’ type of journey.
Start small.  Ideally an overnight 200-400 miles away is perfect.  So much can be learned on a small trip.  Learning the ropes on a few smaller trips should be the springboard to something bigger.  If you’re originating in Los Angeles, opt for an overnight in Palm Springs, San Luis Obispo or even San Diego. 

Just an overnight.
2) Pack Light.
Pay careful mind to this crucial point.  For an overnight, all you need is a toothbrush, deodorant, change of undies, socks, and shirt.  Maybe an energy bar and a bottle of water.  That’s it. 
If you end up needing something, there will surely be markets available and new opportunities to talk to people.  

Consider doing a hotel first unless you’re an experienced and dedicated camper.  If you typically stay at a high-cost, name-brand hotel, try a smaller mom and pop owned hotel.  They’re usually much less expensive, more interesting and can be quite helpful in keeping your bike safe, overnight.  
Camping doesn’t always cost less than hotels.  When you factor the cost of equipment, fees, services like showers and toilets, extra luggage and time, hotels become more and more appealing.  Moreover, camping tends to isolate you from people, places and experiences in the town you’re visiting. 

3) Don’t over plan! 
Muy Importante!  Have a paper map and a general idea of where you want to go.  Avoid making reservations unless the destination has a big event.  Utilize mobile apps like or Hotel Tonight or just pull up to an interesting place and ask if they are willing to offer a special rate.

Any bike can lead to adventure.
4) Don’t try new gear or equipment.
Always do longer trips with riding gear and equipment that is well worn and familiar to you.  Do not use a long trip to test out a new accessory, apparel or another element to your riding.  Test any new gear, apparel or accessory separately and on a day trip.  For example, if trying new gloves or boots, you can bring your old pair in the event they don’t fit quite right or need more time breaking in.  This principle is especially true with electronics.  If you just picked up a new GPS, run it and be familiar with its operation and handling long before you embark on your trek.  Learning new equipment on the fly will only lead to frustration and disappointment.  

Keep in mind that unless you have a custom show-bike, the bike you have and are used to will work out great. 

A chance meeting with the excellent riders of team 'Drink and Ride' led to an amazing ride and lasting friendship.
5) Be Flexible.
Things may not work out as planned.  You may meet or make a new friend who invites you to head a different path.  One may become fatigued and decide to cut short the trip, or the weather may turn unexpectedly bad.  If you remain flexible, this is no big deal.  You can head in a different direction or decide on alternate plans.  Many riders have suffered grave consequences chasing a reservation made at a distant hotel.  Don’t do this! 

Brahms-Brunnen Waterfall
6) Stop at places that look interesting.
A motorcycle trip is your time!  Unless you’re trying to complete the “SaddleSore 1000” to gain membership to the Iron Butt Association, stop and smell the flowers.  If something looks interesting, stop and check it out.  You may discover a beautiful waterfall, historic memorial or some of the best jerky or honey you’ve ever tasted. 
Motorcycling should lead to new friendships and experiences.  Don’t just pass blow past.

Gisela (driving the truck) rode a GSX-R to Mazatlán Bike Week.
7) Talk to people and ask for directions and recommendations.
If lost or trying to find a good place to eat, ask someone at a gas station or the hotel.  Cops and firefighters can be remarkably helpful, too.  Don't be shy about pulling into a fire station and asking they crew for their dining or lodging recommendations.  You'll probably meet a lot of fellow riders who are delighted to share their knowledge.  

Other riders are your best resource for hidden passes, interesting sights and where cops like to hide.  
Lastly, you never know what amazing friendship will be started by simply introducing yourself and saying, "Hello."

Is it a motorbike or jet fighter cockpit?
8) Don’t depend on too much technology. 
Mobile phones, GPS and Satellite trackers are good and important tools to a rider.  Simply, don’t make the trip about them.  I recommend turning off or not depending on a GPS.  One tends to avoid interesting detours because the GPS will try to get them back on track.  It has its uses in a new or big city, but resist as much technology as possible. 
Also, don’t forgo talking to someone for advice or directions by using your phone or GPS.  Ask people.  Let them share their experiences.  There is a wealth of experience and friendship by simply being friendly with someone.  If later on down the road you have a problem, they would be 100 times more likely to stop and offer help.

Jim Foreman with Laura Ruddy as passenger.
9) Invite a friend.
Riding with friends or passengers can be tricky.  Only consider a good-natured riding friend that you already get along well with to share the trip with you.
Please do NOT invite a first-time passenger or potentially distempered partner who often disagrees with your riding habits.  

If you decide to take a passenger, make sure they are a good and complimentary passenger with experience on previous day trips. 
Better yet, invite a riding friend you like and enjoy spending time with to join you.

10) Enjoy yourself!
An overnight trip is about having fun.  Whether you are riding a sports bike, touring bike, adventure bike or a cruiser, it doesn’t matter.  Keep the ride simple and enjoyable.  Do this a couple of times and then build the confidence and experience to go out on longer and more enjoyable journeys.

Of course, one should make sure their bike is in excellent operational condition. Most dealers including Irv Seaver BMW will perform a thorough safety check for a nominal fee.  
There's a lot a enjoyment out there just waiting for you to give it a go.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Special Feature - Riding the BMW R nineT

Story by Jim Foreman
Photos by Jim Foreman and Ricardo Luis Mosso.

BMW R nineT - Purity and Prowess.

Hans Blesse
In mid-2012, I had a quick chat with then BMW Motorrad NA President Hans Blesse.  The opportunity was used to ask him, “Why won’t BMW make a classic styled bike that reflects it’s history of elegant style and simplicity?”  Hans looked right into my eye.  A huge smile formed on his face, and he said, “Just wait.  Something very good is happening!”

The public's first hint of a classic styled model was in early 2013. BMW Motorrad teased a silhouette promising a new model “Bearing the genes from 9 decades.”  Later in 2013, Roland Sands released their promo video of their heavily worked up Concept 90 Café Racer.
Excitement was reaching a fever pitch when the first images of the R nineT were finally released, and dealers got arrival dates.  Pre-orders poured in.  The initial excitement ensured that there would be a waiting list at least one year out.
By late 2014, BMW Motorrad realized the R nineT was a huge hit, and made a significantly higher number to meet the demand.  Dealers were also given their first chance to have a demo unit available for guests to take out and ride.  It’s having that demo R nineT that afforded the chance to see what this bike was all about and if all the hype matched the actual machine. 
Luis Ricardo Mosso with his BMW R nineT
A good friend, Luis Ricardo Mosso, who also owns an R nineT, agreed to join me for a fun and interesting run up one of the famous local mountain highways.  We posed for pictures, setup our GoPro cameras and mounted our steeds.

I’m 6-04 (193cm) with a 34” inseam and 250lbs. Initially, the R nineT was quite comfortable.  The seat was not too hard and not too soft, but just right.  The pegs and handlebars seemed perfectly placed, and mirrors were very functional.  It should be noted that there is no cruise control, riding modes, ASC, heated handgrips, Multi-controller or other factory farkles on the R nineT.  Its seduction is in its pure simplicity. 

Starting the final generation oil-cooled 1200cc boxer-twin engine was a delight to the senses.  The stock Akrapovic exhaust belted a note that resonated deep in my soul.  With a little throttle and a release of the clutch, we were off.  The ABS supported brakes were perfect.  They were not grabby, but confidence inspiring.  In testing an aggressive stop, coming to a red light, the Telelever front suspension was noticeably absent.  The R nineT did dive, but it wasn’t too disruptive and the stop was under control the whole time. Acceleration is smooth across the powerband. It immediately became clear that this bike could and would serve a relatively new rider quite well.  It was smooth and gentle, but ready and willing when one wanted to ‘Mr. Grey’ the bike into action. 

We approached the base of the mountain and the R nineT took on a life of its own.  This was the first chance to start pitching it into corners and transition from a gentle lope to full-on gallop.  The first corners were spent quickly getting the center of gravity, and the tip-in point sorted.  After that, the R nineT was pure heaven.  It seemed perfectly at home in the corners and sweepers.  No matter what was asked of her, she complied and told me she can handle more.  The grin that was forming quickly became a smile, so big, Julia Roberts would have been impressed. 

Corner after corner, sweeper after sweeper, the R nineT kept pace with my desires and often begged to be pushed harder. 
Four hours later, with a nice lunch in between, we pulled back into the dealership.  The bum was feeling fine and could go another four hours, no problem.  The adjustable rear suspension was perfectly suited to my weight.  A rotary knob at the reservoir makes it simple to soften or stiffen the ride based on the rider and their style.  

With both of us still beaming from the experience, Ricardo and I exchanged thoughts, shook hands and planned to meet up again, very soon, for another thrilling ride. 

My impressions of the R nineT is…  It’s a hit!  If you have desired one, do not delay.  There are rumblings that this may be the last year of production.  Values are sure to remain very high and even possibly increase.  The R nineT is a great bike for both men and women.  It’s not too tall from the seat to the ground.   Its nimble weight and narrow seat also make it very comfortable for those with shorter inseams.  While it may not be an ideal starter bike, it is very controllable and confidence inspiring for a newer rider.  If one already owns a 2006-2014 BMW R 1200 R, the R nineT is not different enough to necessarily warrant a trade. The performance and setup of both bikes are quite similar.

The R nineT earns stares at every stop.  No matter where we went, people came up to us and asked about it.  At one point, a family-filled car, driving next to me, was trying to get me to pop a wheelie.  While shaking my head to decline, they all gave me the thumbs up with big smiles.
Hans Blesse’s wink and smile vividly shines in my mind.  He was proved right.

Yes, the R nineT not only lives up to the hype, it exceeds it.  Do come by Irv Seaver BMW and test ride one.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Special Feature - Ultimate 80's Alternative Music Moto Traveling Playlist.

Let Me Take You On A Trip, Around The World And Back.   

World In My Eyes -Depeche Mode

©2014 Words by Jim Foreman

Several weeks ago, a trip to Joshua Tree National Park inspired a straight-through listening of U2's "The Joshua Tree."

Since writing that article, a constant question has been, "What do you listen to while riding?"

My tastes are quite eclectic, but instead of copying and pasting my playlist, it seemed only right to come up with an awesome and unique playlist, instead.

One of the most interesting decades of music is the 80's. Synthpop, punk and new wave ruled the day.

If you're looking for "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf, you won't find it here.

Here are some songs to consider adding to your music playlist.  They all involve traveling, or an interesting destination.

This list is probably missing one of your favorite songs or simply a song or group I can't stand (Road to Nowhere -Talking Heads).  There was also agony trying to get Transmission from Joy Division added.  It just wouldn't work. 

It's true... Some of the songs are cheats having been released in the late 70's (Jammin) or the early 90's.

If this isn't your type of music.  No worries.  Suggest a playlist to be assembled. 

Either way, the goal is to put it out there and have you enjoy it.  If you feel strongly about a song selection or something missed, add it into the comments.  If you wish, a new list with great rock tracks about traveling can be put together.  Perhaps another decade or modern cuts.

All of that sounds fun!  Happy Listening....

These are presented in no particular order.

Never Let Me Down -Depeche Mode

The Passenger -Siouxsie and the Banshees

Destination Unknown -Missing Persons

China -Red Rockers

Where the Streets Have No Name -U2

Behind the Wheel/Route 66 -Depeche Mode

Down Under -Men at Work

Nowhere Girl -B Movie

Roam -B52's

Hot in the City -Billy Idol

Song 2 -Blur

Jammin -Bob Marley and the Wailers

Boy -Book of Love (Girls want to ride too)

There's No Other Way -Blur

Avalon -Roxy Music

Rumble in Brighton -Stray Cats

London Calling -The Clash

I Could Be Happy -Altered Images

Should I Stay or Should I Go? -The Clash

Big in Japan -Alphaville

Life In a Northern Town -Dream Academy

I Fought the Law -The Clash

Fascination Street -The Cure

Stop -Jane's Addiction

60 Miles an Hour -New Order

I Ran -Flock of Seagulls

World In My Eyes -Depeche Mode

Vacation -Go Go's

New Sensation -INXS

Autobahn -Kraftwerk

Overkill -Men at Work

Forever Young -Alphaville

Reap the Wild Wind -Ultravox

Home -Depeche Mode

I Wanted to Tell Her -Ministry

There Is a Light -The Smiths

Round & Round -New Order

Russian Radio -Red Flag

Suddenly, Last Summer -The Motels

Just Another Day -Oingo Boingo

See the Lights -Simple Minds

It's My Life -Talk Talk

West End Girls -Pet Shop Boys

California Sun -Ramones

Heaven -Psychedelic Furs

Life's What You Make It -Talk Talk

Mad World -Tears For Fears

You Make Me Feel So Good -Book of Love

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For -U2

Never Stop -Front 242

Kids in America -Kim Wilde

Anarchy in the UK -Sex Pistols

Walking in L.A. -Missing Persons

Los Angeles -X

In a Big Country -Big Country

If You Leave -OMD

Everyday Is Like Sunday -Morrissey

Thanks to Irv Seaver BMW of Orange County, CA for sponsoring this blog.  When in Orange County, do stop in to say, “HI!” and enjoy one of the best and largest selections of new and pre-owned BMW Motorcycles in the country.  Please mention that you like these stories.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sky Island Scenic Byway - Mt. Lemmon

Sky Island Scenic Byway.

Can one mountain road justify a visit to Tucson, Arizona? Yes, it can!

©2014 Words and Photos by Jim Foreman

Ride Details:
Destination:  Mt. Lemmon, AZ
One-Way Mileage to the top: 36.7 Miles 
Motorcycles Ridden: 1999 BMW K 1200 RS
Best time to go: Fall, Spring
Fun Factor: 10
Passenger Fun Factor: 12 (per Laura Ruddy)
Natural Beauty Factor 1-10: (10 is best) 10
Website of America's Scenic Byways: America's Byways
Song Stuck in Laura Ruddy's head: Shake It Off -Taylor Swift
Song Stuck in Jim Foreman's head: Autobahn -Kraftwerk
Map Link: Google Maps
Laura Ruddy Gearing Up.
A good friend and Facebook moderator for the BMW MOA (Motorcycle Owners of America), Laura Ruddy, informed me that she’d be spending some time in Arizona for a family matter.  Before leaving her amazing husband Sean, and son, Ian in Germany, Laura asked, in particular, if she and I could go riding.  To that, the exclamation was an immediate and resounding “YES!”
Arizona has a remarkable number of excellent riding roads throughout the state.  While there are wide swatches of nothingness, there is plenty of amazing awesomeness, too.  So much so that Butler Motorcycle Maps has two maps for Arizona.  The most popular is the Street map followed by the Backcountry Discovery Routes map. 
Time was limited.  Many roads called out to us including the magnificent “Devil’s Highway” (US 191) traversing the Coronado Trail through the White Mountains.  Sadly, fortune did not favor the journey, but the road up to Mount Lemmon in northern Tucson, AZ was a ‘Go’.
For those who are familiar with Angeles Crest Highway (CA-2), just north of Los Angeles, Mt. Lemmon is quite similar.  Like ACH, Mt. Lemmon earns the prestigous Butler Motorcycle Maps G-1 rating.  The big difference between ACH and Mt. Lemmon is that the road is much shorter on Mt. Lemmon, but the scenery and elevation (>9000 ft) on Mt. Lemmon is far superior.  A great run is often interrupted with a stop to take some truly amazing photos of rock formations, the mountains, and the valley, below.  Yes, on a clear day you CAN see México. 
Riding the amazing high-speed sweepers
More so, Mt. Lemmon features similar epic sweepers as ACH and even some excellent dining at the top.  Like ACH, Mt. Lemmon also features several Ski Resorts.  Yes, if you’re wondering, it does snow, a lot, in southern Arizona.
Bottom line… Is it worth a trip just for that?  Hell YES! 

Getting There:
Our journey began in Mesa, AZ.  Mesa is a suburb of Phoenix and home to ASU.  From Phoenix, there are two primary ways to get to Tucson.  Interstate-10, a 75MPH super-slab is the easy option.  The other is the back roads that meander through Florence, AZ.  We opted for the slab as during winter; the days are short, and time mattered.  It’s a long a monotonous 100 mile run, so it’s best to break it up into two 50 mile segments with a break in-between.  That way your mind and bum can have a change of scenery. 
Ruins of the Hotel Rockland in SASCO, AZ
Along the way, there is an excellent Ghost Town of SASCO, AZ (Southern Arizona Smelting Company).  It’s an easy graded dirt road that most street bikes can easily navigate.  A GS or another dual sport is recommended.  To get there, exit I-10 at Red Rock and make your way to Sasco Road.  Then follow the dirt road for a couple of miles.  You’ll see part of the old town and jail off to the right and further up the giant smelter and associated foundations and structures.  Just past the main site is the old cemetery.
Continuing to Mt. Lemmon, one would exit at Grant Avenue.  Though several streets can take you there, Grant is not only the easiest, but also home to Iron Horse BMW Motorcycles.  Iron Horse is a very good dealer and a great place to stop in and top off your water bottles and use the restroom. Iron Horse BMW also has many last-minute items you may have forgotten or needed replacing.
Continuing east on Grant Avenue, make a left at Tanque Verde.  This intersection is known for the ‘Dinosaur McDonalds.’
Take Tanque Verde east and veer left at the split and continue until you reach Catalina Highway.  It’s a large intersection.  Make a left.  From there, follow it up to the base of Mount Lemmon.

Start of the Sky Island Scenic Byway
Mt. Lemmon:
At the base of Mt. Lemmon, Laura later recounted that she wasn’t terribly impressed.  Yes, it is pretty with all the Saguaro Cactus but she remained decidedly underwhelmed.
We passed by a sign indicating this as the “Sky Island Scenic Byway” and accelerated in earnest. 
Laura’s doubts vanished after the first sweeper.  It was a beautiful right hand 180º peg scraper.  From that point to the top, a smile was ever present on her face.  Mine too, for that matter.  Corner after corner made for an exhilarating run.  The further up the mountain we rode, the more spectacular the scenery and formations.  The Saguaro Cactus gives way to Juniper Pines, while the crisp mountain air recharges the soul.
throughout it's duration, this road simply does not let up.  Well surfaced, nicely cambered, roadway perfection greets the rider, mile after mile.
Laura Ruddy doing a victory dance in the background
At the top, is an alpine village called, curiously enough, Mt. Lemmon.  Upon arrival, Laura jumped off the back of the bike and began cheering and hoppin' around!  At first, I though she had a medical emergency, but it quickly became evident that she was doing a ‘spike-the-ball’ victory dance.  This roadway has that effect on people. 
The Town of Mt. Lemmon offers three dining options.  The first is the Sawmill Run.  It’s the large café on your left, next to the post office.  Just about 250m past the Sawmill Run is the Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin.  They serve great sandwiches, desserts and of course, cookies.  Also, just before entering town there is the Iron Door restaurant at the base of the ski lodge that serves great food.
Lunch for us was at the post-office recommended Cookie Cabin as Sawmill Run was closed for renovation. 
Jim and Doris Mulvaney of Columbus, OH
It was during lunch we met a delightful couple, Jim and Doris Mulvaney of Columbus, OH.  I had expressed that I had been to Columbus and liked the town, very much.  Jim and Doris were traveling and enjoying the beautiful winter warmth of southern Arizona. 
Jim had mentioned how much fun he thought it was to take this road on a motorbike. 
From the top of Mount Lemmon, one may descend the back way, down the mountain, to the town of Oracle, AZ.  The road is a graded dirt fire road.  Yes, you can probably make it on a street bike if it hasn't been raining or snowing recently.  Like SASCO, it's best on a GS or another Dual-Sport.
After Lunch, we got back on the trusty steed and made our way back down the mountain.  This time, we stopped, at several locations, to snap some photos. 

Make sure to thank drivers for pulling over to let you pass.
Riding Advice:
Drivers on Mt. Lemmon are typically quite good about using turnouts to allow others to pass.  If you do pass a slower vehicle, a kind ‘Thank You’ wave goes a long way, as you’ll probably see them at the top or in one of the many vista points.
Weekends do draw a lot of visitors.  The roadway can be quite crowded, especially during the summer, when temperatures are much cooler, at the top. During the weekends, the local Sheriff is usually at the top.  Often he is simply warning motorists to slow down, but occasionally one will earn his need to issue a citation.  During the week, you pretty much have the entire road to yourself.  Mobile coverage is limited so bringing a Delorme InReach, or another satellite communicator is a wise choice.

Final Thoughts:
After a couple of photo stops, we reached the base of the mountain.  I pulled the bike over and looked back at Laura and simply said, “Wanna do that again?”  Her one-word response was cheerfully, “Really?”  I smiled, turned the bike around and opened the throttle.

Special thanks to Irv Seaver BMW of Orange County, CA for sponsoring these amazing rides.  When in Orange County, do stop in to say, “HI!” and enjoy one of the best and largest selections of new and pre-owned BMW Motorcycles in the country.  Please mention that you like these stories.

Laura Ruddy in her trademark Hi-Viz belt

Nice right-hand sweeper

In front of the Cookie Cabin of Mt. Lemmon

Beautiful formations

Two very happy riders

Laura reflecting on the awesome ride

Another motorcyclist enjoying Mt. Lemmon
One of the many scenic vistas