Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tap-tapping Away

My lovely daughter Emily was in the Canyon View Elementary School talent show recently, preceded by a "flag ceremony" in which my son Ethan participated along with other Scouts in his Pack.  Sadly...  due to work travel, I was not there to witness either.

Anecdotally, I hear the Scouts did an admirable job and - God willing - will be invited back next year.

More than just storytelling though, herewith find ye evidence that Emily can tap her little fanny off.  And to the Stray Cats to boot!  Take it away, Em...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Epic Commemorative Ride

Legend has it that 31 years ago, an erstwhile BMW rider named John Hermann was thwacked off his cycle by drunken "Injuns" whilst traversing the Barona Indian Reservation on Wildcat Canyon road.

The aforementioned Mr. Hermann, who was later named a "Friend of the Marque" after more than a million miles on BMW motorcycles, recalls said thwacking being accomplished by none other than a good 'ol fashioned 2x4 plank. I suspect an ass-whupping followed, but we'll have to get the rest of the story from John.

A million miles and counting!

Today ensued the Annual Wildcat Canyon Ride in which a great number of riders cruise through the reservation following Hermann's route of yore. I counted about 40-50 riders who left Giovanni's restaurant on Clairemont Mesa, en route to Fat Ivor's rib joint in Valley Center via Palomar Mountain. Loads of Beemers, plus a Norton, some Ducati's and a Cagiva. Yee-haw!!

Cool old "Steib" sidecar on an R90 (at Giovanni's). I later saw the bike at the Hideaway

With a couple of stop lights separating the group, I soon found myself hanging with 3 other riders, all on R1200GS's. They set a sprightly pace on the highway, but once we got to the twisties I hung back to keep an eye on a fella who didn't seem to know the road too well. The wind was blasting out there - gusts of at least 20-30mph kept us on our toes.

After the nice clean curves of Wildcat Canyon, we picked up Old Julian Hwy where I was passed with authority by the Ducati rider and a guy on a K-bike & sidecar (of all things!). Picking up 78 at the end of Old Julian, we flew through my favorite curves to a brief respite at Dudley's bakery. Having an apple turnover there in my Aerostich suit brought back floods of memories riding with Rod Baine & Jon Wright oh so long ago (well... early 90's). I snapped some photos, taking my time to savor the moment, then put a splash of gas in the F800GS before moving out to glorious Mesa Grande.

The gas stop meant everyone in the group was ahead of me - which turned out to be awesome! Mesa Grande was clean and clear. The bike and I were - forgive the trite expression - "one with the road." Leaning, accelerating, darting, up on the pegs over cattle guards, windscreen and face-shield pelted by leetle insects. All senses firing. The smells of the mountain meadows wafted. Slowed for the dirty corner that took out Jon on his VFR, and then into the tree-lined lane down the mountain to the Hideaway. Not a single car in front of me the entire time. OMG.

Me on Palomar Mountain, next to the Post Office

Not seeing anyone from the group yet, I knew they were up at Mother's Kitchen on Palomar, so I kept going... The East Grade up Palomar was superb. Again, a bit windy at the bottom by Lake Henshaw, but clean and clear of traffic. It was a 14-mile, twisty blast to the top with NOBODY in front of me. Incredible luck!

Not just any given Sunday... Mother's Kitchen with a lot of Beemers

The gang was very definitely at the top, kicking tires, drinking some coffee and looking forward to a smooth ride down the very intensely twising South Grade and ribs in Valley Center.

Artsy parking sign at Mother's

Not knowing exactly where the restaurant was, I snapped into a group of 4 riders and motored down via Valley Center road by Harrah's Rincon Casino, then by Bates Nut Farm, and finally to Fat Ivor's where the "King of the Alps" was holding court and signing official-looking certificates. I have another certificate from about a dozen years ago, but this one seemed sweeter.

The pulled pork sandwich sitting nicely in my gut, I finally broke loose of the wonderful food vortex that is Fat Ivor's and scooted for home, still keyed up, and a bit worn out and sore in the shoulders. I'd covered a load of miles, quickly, on a beautiful Spring Sunday in San Diego County. Truly epic ride.