Cyclerides.com Weekly Update
7/13/11
 
Greetings Riders,
 
Welcome to the dog days of Phoenix summer. It is that time of year that the humidity, dust storms and monsoons start to visit us almost every day. This is the type of weather that starts us thinking about other places that we could spend some time to escape the heat. In the newsletter last week I talked about the TV show from 40 years ago called "Then Came Bronson". If you missed it, Click Here. He was a guy that knew how to hit the road on a motorcycle and enjoy the wind. It was one show that I never missed and it was probably instrumental in my love for riding today. I have never forgotten the opening scene as he was riding down the Pacific Coast Highway and over Bixby Bridge.
 
Pacific Coast Highway 1 and Angeles Crest Hwy 2 Ride
 
With that in mind, Mrs. C. and I decided to take a quick trip out to California and ride the Pacific Coast Hwy. to Big Sur over the 4th of July weekend, missing the 118 degree weather in Phoenix and soaking in some 65 degree weather along the coast. After 4 rides across Palm Springs in July over the last few years, I vowed never to do that again after the last one. The last time we did it a couple of years ago it was 119 going through Palm Springs and cooled to 112 as we pulled into Tonopah. There is nothing good about that ride. So this time we decided to get smart and beat the heat by trailering the 325 miles of I-10 each way through the desert. You can usually get to California unscathed by the heat by leaving at 5am, but you still have to get back, usually in the afternoon. That is what hurts.
 
So this time we departed Phoenix at 8am and arrived in Loma Linda at Quaid Harley-Davidson about 1pm where they were happy to allow us to use their very large parking lot to park the truck and trailer. A total of 325 miles. We got the bikes loaded up with our gear, ate lunch and was on the road by 2:30pm. Our entire route was to go to Big Sur on the PCH, turn around and head back down the PCH to Nacimiento Rd. to head inland on some back roads to Paso Robles and back to Loma Linda within our 48 hour time frame. It was a quick trip as we spent only 3 days that included 650 miles driving and 830 miles riding. 10 hours in the truck and 25 hours travel time on the bikes. Yes, we packed a lot of fun in a short period of time.
 
Since the last time we were at Big Bear Lake a couple of years ago, I have had my eye on a road that has been beckoning me to ride it ever since. It is called the Angeles Crest Hwy, California Hwy 2. This road is very famous in California with motorcycle riders, but hardly known here at all. In fact, Angeles Crest Hwy even has its own Facebook Page for riders to share stories and comments on and its own web site. The Eastern terminus of the ACH is about 27 miles North of San Bernardino just off of I-15 and Hwy. 138. The Western terminus is right at I-210 in La Canada. Between those 2 points are some of the finest 66 miles you will ride in Southern California for sure. In fact, Mrs. C. claims this as one of her favorite routes ever. You know it is going to be a good ride when you see a sign like this near the start.
 
The majority of the road passes through the mountainous terrain located north of the Los Angeles basin. Its alignment passes through the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains. Segments of the road reach altitudes above 7,000 feet with a summit of 7,903 feet at the Dawson Saddle, which makes this road one of the highest in Southern California. Since it is a mountain road there are many curves, but not your typical hairpins that you see a lot. These are some nice sweepers around the mountains with rock outcroppings, pine trees, flowers along side the road and very good pavement, that together make for a very enjoyable ride that is not strenuous. About half way through the route Westbound, on a clear day you will see views of downtown Los Angeles in the distance that are spectacular. 
 
Because the route passes through the protected Angeles National Forest, development is very limited. There are not many buildings between La Canada Flintridge and Wrightwood except for campgrounds, visitor centers and a couple of ski resorts. But one structure of interest to you will be Newcomb's Ranch located about 25 miles East of La Canada on Hwy. 2. At 5,340 feet in elevation in the Angeles National Forest this is the only private property along the Angeles Crest Highway and is very popular with motorcyclists. It is called "the informal headquarters for riders" by the Los Angeles Magazine. Motorcyclist and comedian Jay Leno is a frequent visitor to Newcomb's. We stopped there for a late afternoon tea on the patio and enjoyed the cool weather which provided a great break to recount the last awesome 40 miles we had just ridden. Angeles Crest is truly a 5 Spoke ride from me. Another good route and destination to combine with this since it is in the same area would be Big Bear Lake. Click Here for my story and maps of that ride.
 
From La Canada at the West end of the Angeles Crest Hwy. we made our way to Hwy. 101 and followed that to Santa Barbara where we turned inland on Hwy. 154 to spend the night in Solvang, CA. We arrived at 8pm on that Friday night and easily grabbed a motel room for the night. If you have never been to Solvang, it is definitely worth the detour to either spend the night there or just cruise the streets. Solvang is An authentic Danish settlement in Santa Barbara County. In fact, it looks as if it could be the "Danishland" section of Disneyland. It was founded by Danish immigrants in 1911 by Danish educators trying to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest, where the heritage, faces, and customs of the Old World live on. There are a lot of wine tasting, retail shops, inns, motels and restaurants available in Solvang. It is definitely worth the effort to see and spend some time here. Our favorite breakfast stop is the Belgian Cafe at 1671 Copenhagen Drive. Check out this waffle!
 
Saturday morning we were on the road by 8am headed toward the Pacific Coast Hwy. and the crown jewel of our trip. We continued on Hwy. 101 to San Luis Obispo where we picked up Hwy. 1 through Morro Bay up to Cambria, which I call the gateway to the Pacific Coast Hwy. This is a good place to fuel up, or have lunch before heading on your adventure up the coast where facilities of any kind are few and far between. If you are adventurous like we are, I can recommend a really cool side road to take on your way to Cambria. About 15 miles S. of Cambria you can take Old School Rd. to Santa Rosa Creek Rd. that will take you to Cambria. These are very narrow twisty roads through farmland. Santa Rosa Creek is really twisty and follows the creek the whole way. This is a 26 mile detour that is pretty and a lot of fun, but the Santa Rosa side a bit of a rough road. You can always bail out on Green Valley Rd. that will take you back to 1. 
 
Our intent on this trip was just to ride up to Big Sur, then turn around and come back to Nacimiento Rd. and ride inland. From Cambria to Big Sur it is about 70 miles. Pacific Coast Highway is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. The designation means they have features that do not exist elsewhere in the United States and are scenic enough to be tourist destinations unto themselves.
 
There are several viewpoints that you can stop along the way to get excellent views of the ocean and landscape. You can also stop at a sea lion viewing area as well just North of Cambria. Another favorite stop is the Hearst Castle. We had done that on a previous trip. If you have not done it, that would be worthwhile. But for us, this was solely for the purpose of escaping the heat of Phoenix and taking one of the finest routes in the states the way it should be done, on a motorcycle. We headed directly to the Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur that is perched on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the South. I would highly recommend stopping here to see the view and certainly planning your ride to eat there as well. The food is exceptional and the view is one of a kind on the patio. This place is a real treat. With some stops along the way for photo ops, this 70 miles took us about 2.5 hours. You don't want to rush this ride at all.   
 
You might have read where part of the road South of Big Sur collapsed into the ocean and that the road is closed. That is true, but PCH 1 opened again on June 17th, 2011, though there is restricted one lane traffic in that area. You can see the construction here and more photos in the gallery below.

After lunch at Nepenthe we headed back South on the PCH 28 miles to Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to head inland. This is a mountain road, providing the only automobile access within the Big Sur region between Highway 1 and the inland US Highway 101. To say that this road is a little curvy would be like saying water is a little bit wet. The road quickly climbs up and across the Santa Lucia Range in the Central Coast of California to as high as 2700 feet before passing through Fort Hunter Liggett and ending at Mission Road in Jolon. The views of the Pacific Ocean on your way up on a clear day are spectacular. But be advised that this is a fairly rough road that is pretty demanding at times, albeit exciting, for the first 16 miles. Then it levels out and is an excellent ride through the golden rolling hills of California. Once you pass through Fort Hunter you will reach Mission Rd. Turn South on Mission to Hwy. G14 and follow that past Nacimiento Lake to Paso Robles. There is a sign once you get close to Fort Hunter that says local traffic only. There was no one at a guard gate and I have read where there hasn't been for a couple of years. So we were able to ride straight through with no problems.
 
We spent the night at Paso Robles arriving at 8pm to cap a 12 hour, 300 mile riding day full of twists, turns and beautiful scenery. It was a great day. The next day, Sunday, our destination was back to Quaid HD to meet up with our vehicle to make the trek across the hot desert and back home. This was largely a travel day to get back to Quaid, but we ended up finding a couple of surprise roads that were very enjoyable. We left Paso Robles at 9am catching the 101 back down to Santa Maria where we took Hwy. 166 to a surprisingly excellent Forest Road 95, aka, Cerro Noroeste Rd. through Pine Mountain and on to I-5. We stopped for lunch on the patio of the Pine Mtn. Roadhouse in Pine Mountain. Forest 95 is a popular bike road and this is where they stop. Take a look at this interesting sign just outside of Pine Mountain. We then hauled the last 120 miles South on I-5 back to Loma Linda arriving at 4pm capping off another 300 mile, 7 hour riding day. We left there at 5pm and were home by 10pm.
 
As I mentioned above, this is a very quick trip. It was 3 long days that included 650 miles driving and 830 miles riding. 10 hours in the truck and 25 hours travel time on the bikes. It seems like a lot of effort, but it was more than worth it and I would turn around and do the same route all over again. If you really enjoy riding the way that we do, you don't mind taking the effort to make it happen, and at the end of the day, you just feel lucky to have the opportunity to get out and see some beautiful parts of our country while enjoying one of 31 All-American Roads in the Pacific Coast Hwy., not to mention the awesome Angeles Crest Hwy. 2. Another good route and destination to combine with this since it is in the same area would be Big Bear Lake. Click Here for my story and maps of that ride.
 
If you have any questions about the ride, feel free to email me at info@cyclerides.com . Enjoy and let me know if you go.

Click Here for a Map of the entire trip on Google maps. You can zoom in as much as you want to see the roads and terrain.
Click Here for a specific Map of the Angeles Crest Hwy. 2.
 
Click Here for 225 Great Photos of the 3 Days. (For best viewing click "Slideshow" in upper right of photo page for full screen)
 
Useful Links:
Angeles Crest Highway
Pacific Coast Highway 1
Hearst Castle
Nepenthe Restaurant
Big Sur
Nacimiento Road
Attractions along the PCH
 

 
This Week
 
Saturday,  July 16th
Buddy Stubbs Anthem Hogs and Dogs. Ride up to Buddy Stubbs Anthem Harley-Davidson on Saturday, July 16th, for our monthly Hogs & Dogs. Enjoy FREE food and drinks as the Daisy Mountain Fire Department dishes out life saving tips for the summer riding season. Our bikini bike wash is also up and running this month so bring that filthy bike and let Buddyís girls shine it up for you! Stop in and enjoy the action from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. For more information call 623-465-1122. Buddy Stubbs Anthem H-D is located at 41715 N. 41st Dr. in Anthem, AZ.
 
Saturday, July 16th
Chester's Harley-Davidson Party on the Patio. Live Bands every Saturday at the Party on the Patio from 11-2pm. We have a lot going on at Chesterís Harley-Davidson. Click Here to see who is performing each week. This week July 16th, our Party on the Party takes on a magical music tour. Mojo Zoso, a tribute to Led Zeppelin and The Doors will be rocking our patio like no other. 11-2pm all while helping our charity this week Choir Boys Region #6.Free food, music all while helping Choir Boys Region #6. Each Saturday 11-2pm we will show case a great band while helping others. Food, Fun and much more and itís FREE. Chester's Harley-Davidson is located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa, AZ. 480-894-0404.
 
Come to Chesterís Harley-Davidson for your discount tickets to The Diamondbacks. Bike Night at Chase Field is Saturday, Sept. 24th. Your 15.00 gets you on the ride from Chesterís to Chase Field, parking on 3rd Street, Sturgis Style and a biker only reserved section. Letís all support our Diamondbacks as we take on the Giants and show them what a motorcycle, and baseball afternoon is all about. 5.00 from each ticket goes to Charity.
 
 
Next Week
 
Thursday, July 21st
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Woman's Garage Party. Do you know a woman who says, "I would love to ride a motorcycle, but..."? She can learn more about motorcycling at our women-only Garage Party. This is a FREE event that offers fun, beginner information for women with limited or even no background with motorcycles. Join us for one night of fun workshops and festive activities during this event geared toward women who dream of riding, but just aren't sure how to get started on their motorcycle journey. We will have raffle prizes, food and more! You must RSVP for this event. There is limited space, so gather your girlfriends and get signed up today! Event time is 6:00-8:30pm. Arrowhead Harley is located at 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Ctr. Dr. in Peoria, AZ 623-247-5542 to RSVP or email mhains@ridenow.com 
 
July 22-24
Too Broke For Sturgis 2011. Hosted by ABATE of Arizona as our primary fund-raising event. Too Broke, an Old School Biker Party has become "a blast for everyone that has attended. You can rest assured that the money raised goes to a great cause, fighting for your motorcycling freedoms. Everyone who attends is made to feel like family, even first timers. The 2011 event will be an ADULT ONLY party, attendees must be at least 18 years old to enter. Proof of age will be required, with or without an accompanying adult/guardian. You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol on premise. Just like the last seven Too Broke celebrations, we'll be under the stars and beneath the pines in the cool North country of Arizona. What better way to beat the heat of the Valley in July. Too Broke for Sturgis is held at the Mormon Lake Lodge Campground and Arena. The area offers shade, camping with hot showers available, first-class biker entertainment, an assortment of vendors and awesome scenery. The Saturday Poker Run will take you on a tour of that awesome scenery! And don't forget about the Miss Too Broke Contest, Tattoo Contest, Poker Walk, Bike Games, Wet Tee-Shirt Contest. Featuring the Charlie Brechtel Band. Too Broke is just an all-around great biker party. $30 for weekend pass, $20 for Saturday pass. Click Here to sign up and for details.
 
Extras

Mid Week Updates will be made on the Cyclerides.com Facebook. New Easy to remember Facebook address. Go to Cyclerides.com Facebook. Over 3200 FANS! Take a look at all the new photos posted on the wall. If you are not on Facebook, you can still view the page, but you will not be able to post. There will be a link there for you to sign up for Facebook if you are inclined. Click the LIKE button!

Having trouble parallel parking. Maybe take some tips from this guy. Click Here to View.

Have you ever seen a cat play with a dolphin? Me either. Click Here to View.

Video of the Week: This is seriously impressive. Think you know how to ride a motorcycle? Take a look at this guy. Wow! Click Here to View. Click on the Video of the Week graphic on the page.

If you would like to sign up for the Cyclerides.com Weekly Update Click Here.

Until Next Week,
Blessings and Safe Riding To All,
 
Barry Caraway
"The Road Is Yours - Take The Ride"
www.cyclerides.com

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