Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead

The World Is So Beautiful.  This Is Why I Do It... To Share The World's Beauty With Everyone.  This Is WHY I Ride For Peace.
-Jeffrey Polnaja (Ride For Peace)

Words and Photos by Jim Foreman
Ride Details

Destinations: Big Bear Lake, Rim of the World Highway, Lake Arrowhead, Crestline.
Total Miles: 242
Best time to go: Weekdays, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Temperature: It's much cooler up here.
Highest Elevation: 8800 feet (2680Km)
Participants: Jeffrey Polnaja and Jim Foreman 

Bikes: Jeffrey's 2004 R 1150 GSA "Silver Line" and 2013  R 1200 GS "Irv Seaver Demo"
Fun Factor: Great Times!
Passenger Fun Factor: Same as Above
Lunch Enjoyed at: Woody's Boathouse Restaurant
Number of Cops Seen All Day: A Lot - Even on a weekday.
Map of the Route: GoogleMaps

In 2006, Jeffrey Polnaja embarked on his journey to embrace, promote and educate everyone he comes in contact with about the beauty of the world and the need for world peace.  World Peace is a huge topic.  'World Peace' is often used as a cliché for every beauty pageant contestant and 70's pacifist 'hippie', but what is it?  
Perhaps it's best to start at the beginning.  Along with the rest of the world, Jeffrey and his family sat glued to the television as the twin towers were struck on September 11th, 2001.  As the horror of watching the second plane hit the tower was realized, Jeffrey's ten year old son began to ask his father some life changing questions.  "Dad, we're taught to love each other, why are these people killing each other?"  Next came the profound moment in Jeffrey's life.  His son turned to him and in all seriousness said, "Dad, you have to do something about this!"  Jeffrey thought to himself, "What can I do?" "I'm just a businessman in Indonesia."  His son then pointed out that he's also a rider, to which Jeffrey nodded and agreed.  Jeffrey's son reiterated, "You're a good rider, Dad...  You need to Ride For Peace!"  Thinking his son's comments were that of a simple 10 year old, Jeffrey quickly got back into his routine, but about 6 months later, his son came to him and told him, sternly, "Well Dad, are you going to do it?  Are you going to Ride for Peace?"
Jeffrey knew that his life had changed and put forward actions that would enable him to begin his 'Ride For Peace'.

Leaving from Indonesia in 2006, Jeffrey traveled up through Asia, Africa and Europe. Returning to Indonesia in 2009 Jeffrey began work on his book, "Wind Rider".  It's not available on Amazon or your local bookseller as it's written in Jeffrey's native language.  Plans are in place to have it translated.  
Upon the publication of his book, Jeffrey took up the second leg of his journey.  Riding across Siberia, through Japan, and South Korea, the bike was shipped to Vancouver, and his North American journey began.  
Jeffrey traveled through Canada, Alaska and 38 states when our paths crossed at Irv Seaver BMW in Orange, CA.  I had known about Jeffrey and 'Ride For Peace' from the many friends who had met him throughout his journey.  
Thus began a solid friendship that transcends motorcycling.  

On to the ride....
Meeting Jeffrey at the Coffee Bean at Wilshire and Mariposa.
Jeffrey is staying with good friends in 'Koreatown' in Los Angeles.  Rather than have him meet at the dealership, it was decided to meet on Wilshire, just one block away from the former Ambassador Hotel where RFK was shot.  I pointed this out to Jeffrey at the start of our ride.  He had no idea.  He told me he would visit the site the following day.  
We talked about the route and then mounted up our respective bikes. 
We headed a couple block east on Wilshire, South on Vermont and then East on Interstate 10.  We left after 9am which meant the majority of rush-hour traffic was behind us.   As is becoming custom, we elected to get the bulk of the freeway travel out of the way first.
As we traversed I-10 it became evident that Jeffrey's riding style and mine were quite compatible.  He'd recognize my head turns and my intentions to change lanes.  He'd "run cover" for me and I'd run cover for him making the trip quick and safe.
We exited the 10 in Redlands at University Street.  If you're hungry or need some coffee, there are many good choices if you exit on Orange St, just prior to University St.  We were doing good, so we made a Left at University Street and followed it up to a right on E Lugonia Ave (Hwy 38).  This is a good time to gas up as options are fewer and more expensive on the mountain.  Hwy 38 becomes Metone Blvd and then Mill Creek Road before finally settling in as just Hwy 38 going up the mountain.
It became quickly evident that we both loved some good corners.  Highway 38 provided some stellar examples.  
Highway 38 twists and turns its way for many miles of scenic beauty, campgrounds and small villages.  Of note, it's in one of these small villages that Ex-LAPD Cop Christopher Dorner holed up in a cabin and was ultimately killed.  At this point, Highway 38 is also called Greenspot Blvd.   We arrived at Big Bear Lake.  We made a Left at E Big Bear Lake Blvd (Highway 18), but not before temporarily losing Jeffrey.  I turned back to find him.  He had been photographing a street sign at "Malabar Way."  Malabar is a town on the Indonesian island of Java.  It's nestled at the base of Mount Malabar, a volcano that makes up the center of the island.  Jeffrey told me some of it's history as a tea growing region and noted that Malabar was even spelled the same way.
Now with Jeffrey and I together again we made our way west toward the lake.  The road "Ys" off at Division Road allowing you to run the northern shore of the lake or stay on the southern and more developed part.  We opted for the southern and more developed part.  It doesn't matter which you choose as both roads meet up again at the dam.
At the far west shore of the lake, near the dam, we pulled over and took some pictures of Big Bear Lake.  Looking away from the dam, the lake is pristine with lush forest capped by deep blue skies.  While taking these pictures, we both reflected on the fact that this beauty was only just over an hour away from all of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.  If one is looking for a weekend escape without wasting the weekend getting there, then it would be wise to strongly consider Big Bear Lake.
It was during this time of photography and reflection that my imagination was directed upward.  At the top of the granite outcropping stood a shell of an abandoned structure.  I've always been a sucker for such ruins.  The pathway up to it was easily found, so I suggested to Jeffrey that we go check it out.  That's the best part of this trip.  We weren't in any rush.  We stopped when something looked interesting and didn't really bother with the time.
We made the short ride up the unlabeled road to discover a multi-room structure in grave disrepair.  Initial research could not tell me what or whom this belonged to, but some things were evident.  It had been in use up until the 80's or 90's as the frame that supported the roof was not terribly weathered.  There didn't appear to be any electrical circuits in the walls, and the windows were barred up.  There was old tile in an area that would probably make the kitchen but no drains or locations of sewer or septic lines.  The structure did have a fireplace and seemed well built.  I'd love to learn more about this structure's history.  Across the roadway was the weather sensing equipment for Big Bear Lake.
We continued on along the 'Rim of the World Highway' headed toward Lake Arrowhead.  This is one of the most beautiful roadways in SoCal.  It would be a shame not to take advantage of some of the turnouts to take pictures and reflect on life. 
This stretch is a motorcyclists paradise.  Especially on the weekdays where traffic is light.  A rider must remain vigilant for road debris.  On a previous trip, several medium sized boulders dislodged from the cliff side above and landed on the roadway.  Being on a motorbike made navigating these obstacles a cinch.  On this trip, an old dry tree gave way and fell onto the roadway.  A maintenance worker was cutting it up for removal and trying to direct traffic so please keep your eyes up and aware.
Jeffrey getting some great lean angles on the Rim of the World
We ultimately made it up to Lake Arrowhead and the turnoff to Lake Arrowhead Village.  By this time, we were rather hungry.  Unfortunately, I lost Jeffrey a second time, so I back tracked and found him waiting for me.  He noticed my rear-facing GoPRO camera fell off my bike, so he went to retrieve it.  Once the GoPro was retrieved, Jeffrey didn't know which way I turned.  I was very grateful for the recovery and was reminded how great it is to ride with good friends.  
We parked our bikes and tried to figure out what to eat.  Given that it was a weekday, and after 2pm in the afternoon, our choices were limited.  We never considered Mc Donald's or Subway, but looked toward village favorites Papgayos and Woody's.  Jeffrey was about to spend a year in Mexico, Central and South America, so we opted to skip Papagayos (Mexican) and go with Woody's Boathouse.  Woody's was a typical tourist restaurant.  The food was decent but nothing noteworthy.  The meal served it's purpose and allowed Jeffrey and me some time to talk about our different upbringings and travels.
Jeffrey snapping an iconic 'Money' shot.
After finishing lunch, we went for a coffee.  I went next door to buy a long-sleeve undershirt as I was a wee bit underdressed.  
We mounted our bikes and continued on Highway 18 headed west.
It should be noted that Hwy 330 and Hwy 18 to and from the valley floor also offer some high speed sweepers that can be a thrill for motorcyclists.  In some parts of both routes though, the road is heavily patched.  When warm these patches become rather soupy and slippery.
We elected to head north onto highway 138 through Crestline.  The intention was to take the 138 to Interstate 15.  Then we would ride Angeles Crest Highway back into town.  Despite our intention, the day was fast approaching dusk and running a mountain road at night is unwise.  Jeffrey and I decided it would be best to head home and run Highway 2 on a separate day. 
On the ride back, I often reflected how fortunate I was to have friends such as Jeffrey and how much at peace I felt upon reaching my place again.

Please 'Like' Irv Seaver BMW on Facebook.
Caught by the GoPRO

Riding Shadow on Highway 138

From the doorway of the ruin.

SoCal is rich with these roads.

Highway 330 is a fun run too!

Friends riding together.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

SoCal Triple Play - Idyllwild, Borrego Springs, Palomar Mountain

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:"
Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing,
oh! Every little thing gonna be all right.

-Bob Marley

Words and Pictures by Jim Foreman

Ride Details

Destinations: Idyllwild via CA 243, Borrego Springs and Palomar Mountain.
Total Miles: 353
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: Gastrognome
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 Triple Play 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.

Pan was riding his 2013 Honda Goldwing, Hanson was riding Pan's 2013 CVO Street Glide and Jim was riding his 2002 BMW K 1200 RS.  Amongst the Goldwing and the StreetGlide, the full-size BMW K 1200 RS seemed tiny, like a Ninja 300. 
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 (Palms to Pines Scenic Byway).  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.

Heading up CA 243 Palms to Pines Scenic Byway
Riding into Idyllwild
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.  

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 one of 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 2000' 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 headed to Aguanga.  CA 371 dead-ends into Hwy 79, so a left turn was made 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 quick left turn was made on San Felipe Road (S2).  A Couple miles later, there's a 'Y' in the road.  San Felipe continues on the right,  but you will want to veer left onto Montezuma Valley Road (S22).  This is what leads into Borrego Springs. 

Montezuma Valley Road (S22) is the second part of the three road triple play that made up this journey.  

This road is a must for all serious motorcyclists.  The well cambered roadway matches perfectly with the speed and degree of the corner to bring about excitement and joy!  

That's a great sign!
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 backtracked to the 79 and made a left.  A short way down the road is CA 76.  Turn 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 the 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 supersport riders readying for another run.  It's incredible going both 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 quite 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 and we had an hour of daylight left and a rather long way to go.  A right at the base of Palomar Mountain road brought us back onto Hwy 76.  This stretch is quite fun.   Expect to ride a fair 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.

Now 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 not even realize that there is anyone else even on the road.  An even worse situation was encountered on this road.  The offending driver had a full-size late 90's 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's not too much to ask to drive the speed limit, not 10 MPH under.  We were clearly seen in his side and rear-view mirrors, yet turnout after turnout was passed without the slightest courtesy to pull-over.  We wound up aggressively passing the driver and while doing so I looked at him shaking my head. 
All three of us later commented on what a jerk this guy was. 

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, approaching dusk, for 30 or so miles 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 and 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.

Please 'Like' Irv Seaver BMW on Facebook.
Jim on East Grade Road

One of the lookouts from Palomar Mountain

Pan was killing it on the big behemoth

Hanson and I stopping for a moment.

The BMW K 1200 RS looks tiny at the Lake Henshaw Lookout

Pan may not speak a lot of English, but it was evident all day how much he enjoyed riding today.

Getting ready to head out from Idyllwild

Getting ready to tackle CA 243
And...  Cut!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Secret About Ojai!

Two Friends, Two Bikes, Too Much Fun!

©2013 Words and Pictures by Jim Foreman


Date of Ride: 26th Sept 2013
Destination: Ojai, CA via Frazier Park, 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: Google Maps

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

Mike has been a friend since working together in 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.

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.

2004 BMW R 1150 RT-P (Retired CHP)
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. 

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.

Irv Seaver BMW's Service Manager Jeff Ross
In all the commotion, a BMW R 1200 RT pulled up with a 'IrvSeaverBMW.com' sticker.  Further inspection revealed Irv Seaver BMW's Service Manager Jeff Ross.  Jeff was on his way to Mazda Raceway-Laguna Seca for the SBK Race that Sunday.  Jeff too, expressed his lack of feeling of his nether-region from the unexpected cold.

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 riders we saw at the gas station along with some adventure riders and Jeff Ross passed us by.  Without fail, all the riders were grinning a "post-climax smile" as we exchanged waves.

Left onto CA-166
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.

It was interesting to ride alongside a dry river as the colors around were quite vivid and dynamic.
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 rags.  (Rider, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, etc.)
A new 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 1000-ABS

They were on their way north to Monterey, CA and the Mazda Raceway-Laguna Seca, too.  Again, for the aforementioned 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 and 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.

Switching up the bikes for fun.
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 under my control.  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!
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.  Tour bus after tour bus 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 or 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.

Please 'Like' Irv Seaver BMW on Facebook.
Leaving Frazier Park

What could be better?  Two friends out on a ride?
Rear facing GoPRO
CA Condor Refuge on Hudson Ranch Road
Amazing run into Ojai, CA
Mike Riding the CHP Cruiser

Even the straights were enjoyable!
The tour busses kept rolling in.  A lot of very cool people come up here.
Hollywood Bowl in the foreground with Hollywood and Downtown LA in the distance.