Sunday, November 30, 2008

Epic Ride

Prior to the 5-day Thanksgiving holiday, I channeled a huge amount of positive universal energy into the goal of taking a long solo ride. I figured if the weather held, and the kids were reasonably occupied, I could get a solid 5 hours in and a couple hundred miles. Seven and 1/2 hours and 320 miles later, I rolled back into Buckwheat exhausted but deliriously happy.

Departed Buckwheat Manor at 7am with fog surrounding - I figured like the weekend before that I'd be out of the fog soon enough, but it was still chillin' to the bone. I was wearing Neighbor Scott's Difi riding suit - it's not the Aerostich by any stretch (pun intended), but better armored and comfortable enough. Temp was in the high 40's and my gloves were soaked wet by the time I hit Bear Valley Parkway about 10 mi up Hwy 15. Here's what went down:
  1. Bear Valley Pkwy to Valley Pkwy to Lake Wohlford - the ride around the lake never disappoints; distractingly beautiful and the sweeping 180 degree turn by the Cafe is so sweet
  2. Around the Lake to Rincon, then down S-6 to the 76 heading right to Palomar where I noted about 39 degrees on the on-board computer - yeesh - that's why my fingers were tingling and cramping
  3. Around another lake (this time Henshaw) to Hwy 79 through Warner Springs past the Glider port, right on Hwy 371 up through Anza, where I warmed up with a cup of coffee
  4. I was feeling kinda "froggy" about now, so I decided to head left and cruise by Lake Hemet, Hurkey campground and on to Idyllwild where I picked up some gas. The mountain community was just waking up, it was crisp and there were many good folk walking dogs in the cool air.
  5. I headed back to Hwy 74 - the Pines-to-Palms highway with some of the finest curves in SoCal. Luckily a fair number of slow-goers used the turnouts and a couple of us were able to put up a respectable pace. I did make a brief stop and a nice fellow in a sweet Lotus Elise snapped a photo of me, the Difi and the F800GS.
  6. Once down to Palm Desert, Indio, La Quinta, and the Salton Sea, it was a flat, hot, boring drag of stop lights through strip-mall lined streets. Disgusting really. I found myself wondering how so many lame nail salons and mexican food restaurants could stay in business.
  7. My stomach was growling by now - it was after noon and I'd only begun with a bowl of Raisin Bran (maybe a good testament to RB - I can see it now: "Choice of recreational GS riders everywhere!"). Seeing no viable restaurant in the Salton Sea area (save for mini-markets selling beer to off-roaders), I turned on S-22 heading to Borrego Springs.
  8. Pleasant surprise! I cruised at high speed on a road bisecting a bunch of off-road campgrounds - lots of buggys, quads, cycles and such. Even saw some totally built Jeeps heading into some gnarly ravines on a 4x4 quest of the landscape. Borrego was pleasant, albeit crowded.
  9. I ate at Carmalitas in Borrego - a tasty chimi - and left a message on the home answering machine before jetting up Montezuma Grade at approx. 1:35. WOW. I lucked out and had *nobody* in front of me for about 8-10 miles up what is definitely one of the top 5 twisty roads in SoCal. Really incredible. I hadn't been on the road in probably 10 years, so this was a real treat.
  10. Heading back to town I wanted to be home by 2:30 - didn't think it was possible, but rolled into Buckwheat about 2:40pm (see first paragraph about the exhausted part).
All in all, a fine day! For instructions and a map to "rinse & repeat", see below. Cheers.


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