Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mother Grundy Calls

To properly celebrate the New Year, my buddy Mark and I headed Southward to take in the delicious scenery and delightful roads around Otay Lake near the Mexican border. I had enjoyed the highways and byways around Otay Lake in years past on my venerable '87 K75S, so I knew it was a ride worth taking. Besides, I was anxious to see the airstrip at the end of the lake where Gary Poppitz and I took sky-diving lessons so many years ago.

Mark rolled up to Buckwheat Manor around 8am, and the air was crisp as we examined some of the cool modifications he's made, as described in a new DR650 website he's started. As we departed, I marveled at the fact that it's the first day of a new year and while most of the country is either iced, snowed, or rained on, we're blessed with near 70 degrees... Of course, my thermometer was only registering 44.1 as we hit Highway 15, but it would warm up. ;-)

We sped down the 805 and took Telegraph Canyon road East to the Lake. I wanted to stop and stretch from the ride on the super-slab, so we detoured on a lake frontage road that took us past the Olympic Training Center down there, dubbed "ARCO." Very picturesque and quiet at that time of the morning.

Mark took off in the lead as we continued on the windy road East, past a very nice Thousand Trails RV park I might need to check out with the RV soon, onward to Highway 94. I had read good things about a road called "Honey Springs" and noted on Google Maps there were some interesting dirt side roads vectoring off Honey Springs.

We took a left at 94 and an immediate right on to a honey of a road. I took lead and we hightailed it down a very nice 2-lane road with some amazing (and expensive-looking) ranch houses on our left and right. I was looking for the turn-off to a dirt road that had caught my eye when researching the ride: Mother Grundy Truck Trail. That one had our names all over it.

Image credit: Jack Brandais, Union Tribune

It had twice rained pretty hard in the last couple of weeks, so I wasn't sure what the local conditions would bring. Other than a few ruts, the road was pretty hard-packed; wet on the edges, but no mud to speak of. The trickiest part for me on the heavier F800GS was negotiating some fresh-graded dirt past a working Bobcat dozer. Both legs were down as "outriggers" but the bike totally handled it easily. Throttle control and a straight line, baby!

So, where did the name Mother Grundy come from? Well, according to a story by Jack Brandais in the Union Tribune from 2006 in which he credited Leland Fetzer and his "San Diego County Place Names A-To-Z", there wasn't actually a Mother Grundy! However, there is a peak nearby called "Madre Grande", named by early settlers because there are rocks that look like a woman's face. Apparently, 40+ years ago a local resident name Claire Hagenbuck said the "Madre Grande looks more like Mother Grundy to me" and the name stuck.

F800GS meet Rusty Tractor

Regardless, there were soaring vistas to the South and West greeting us as we clamored up the mountains - Mexico calling... As we neared the end of the trail, houses became more prevalent and we even saw a little ranch corral with 3 llamas playing. Really nice, very rural scenery throughout.

Heading home via the awesome sweeping twisties of Honey Springs road, then Highway 94 on to Highways 125 & 52, I couldn't help but be thankful for another great New Year's Day ride, just like the old days on the K-bike.


Jack Brandais said...

Hey, Kevin. Glad you had a fun time on Mother Grundy! But I have to credit Leland Fetzer and his "San Diego County Place Names A-To-Z" for the Ma Grundy story. For more great drives around San Diego County, check out my book and website at See you on the road!

Kevin said...

Hi Jack - thanks for the clarification re: Leland Fetzer. There really is beautiful country around those parts. I will definitely check out the book; I suspect many of the choice drives would be good for motorcycles as well.