Weekly Update

Greetings Riders,
After going back and forth on this idea for about a year, it has finally happened. is now on Facebook! I have always liked the idea of being able to update you in between newsletters without sending out 8000 more emails just to tell you of an item or two. But now, Facebook seems to be the social networking of choice and is the most widely used, so as of today I have set up my page and will be working to update it over the next few days. Rest assured, I am not going to be telling you what I am having for breakfast, but if there is something that I think you would be interested in, I will add it as a comment to the page. So if you are on Facebook now, I am inviting you to "Become A Fan" on the Facebook page. Go to to add your name and bookmark this page. If you are not on Facebook, you can still go to the page, but you will not be able to communicate. There will be a link there for you to sign up for Facebook if you are inclined.

The Ride To Big Bear Lake, CA

My 53rd birthday was about 3 weeks ago over 4th of July weekend and Mrs. C. told me we could do anything I wanted for my birthday. After a couple of other thoughts, I immediately said ROAD TRIP! Since riding through Big Bear Lake last year I had been wanting to go back to spend a couple of days and do some riding around there. At 6750 feet in elevation, it is certainly a good place to do some riding at this time of the year. Ahhh, but here is the rub. It is great riding once you GET there, but how do you get there without being exposed to extreme heat and succumbing to the elements going across the desert and through Palm Springs? Which is maybe one of the hottest places you can go. Good question.

If you want to go bad enough, anything is possible, even could be considered a challenge. I had the open door to pick my spot and Big Bear Lake was my choice. Now I just had to figure out how to survive the trip. Getting there is pretty easy. It is only about 310 miles from Phoenix to the turnoff of I-10 to Big Bear, and then another 30 miles to the top. So to get to the turnoff it is an easy 5 hour ride, and then another hour to get up the hill. So if you leave Phoenix at 5am, you will easily be past all of the major heat by 10am. Not a big deal. We didn't exactly adhere to my recommended schedule leaving at 7am, but it was still more than fine getting there. Coming home, that is a much different story that will be told later.
As I mentioned before, it was 4th of July weekend and Big Bear has one of the top 10 fireworks shows in the State of California, so I kind of had to get creative to find a place to stay. I stumbled across a place called Castle Wood Cottages, located just 2 blocks from the Village area that provided cabins that were all decorated in themes such as Gone With the Wind, Captain's Quarters, Enchanted Forest, Anthony and Cleopatra, etc. They have 10 cabins tucked back in the trees in all different themes that are equipped with all of the amenities including sink, microwave, fridge and Jacuzzi tubs. Since we were already in the themed lodging mindset after a night at the Shady Dell Vintage Trailer Park a couple of months ago, we thought it would be a cool idea to give it a try. 
The interesting thing about Castle Wood Cottages is that they market themselves as a couples only romantic getaway, no kids or pets. To get a real flavor for the place, the first night was spent in the 2 story "Gone With the Wind cabin". And yes, it was decorated just like the 1930's including a nice big picture of Scarlett O'Hara over the fireplace. A very cozy and comfortable place to spend the night. After doing some brief sightseeing around the area, we arrived on Friday afternoon at around 2pm. Got settled in, cleaned up and decided to relax with a cold beverage on the front porch of the cabin. After riding through 100 plus degrees, that 78 degrees with a slight breeze was feeling darn good. We headed to the downtown shopping district to take a look around and settled on Paoli's for dinner that night.
The next morning we arose from our bed in the loft of the Gone With the Wind cabin to beautiful blue skies and 64 degrees. Now that is the recipe for great day ride weather. By the time we ate breakfast and was on our way it was a perfect 74 degrees. We decided to take the clock wise route around the lake to keep the water on our right side and then connected with Hwy. 38. This exciting and gorgeous road takes you South of Big Bear winding your way up the mountain to over 8400 feet in elevation before descending through the pines and rock outcroppings back down to 1300 feet near I-10. Due to some time constraints from spending too much time around the lake and the temperature reaching the 90's, we turned around at the Oak Restaurant and Country Store at 5300 feet in elevation. We had gone 30 miles in one direction and were happy to turn around and do it all over again.
Hwy. 38 is an absolutely beautiful ride and a great surprise to us. It would almost be worth it to go over there just to do what I call the Big Bear Loop. It is approximately 100 miles and takes you around the lake, South on Hwy. 38, back to hwy 330 which winds you back to Big Bear. It would be well worth the trip to spend a day doing this ride and hanging out at Big Bear. But wait, there's more! If you have an extra day to stay, take the loop around Lake Arrowhead to the West of Big Bear. This is also a very pretty ride that will give you a panoramic view of the San Bernardino Valley and a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean 50 miles away. This is another 100 mile loop that will keep you rubber necking the entire way trying to take in all the views.
If you really want to make a day of it, you can extend your ride from Lake Arrowhead another 120 miles and experience one of the better California Mountain roads by taking the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway. Also known as California Hwy. 2. This road is a favorite of motorcycle riders in the Los Angeles area. It is 55 miles in length and runs from I-15  to La Canada at I-210. The elevation change is from 7900 to 1500 feet. It is said that this road offers spectacular views of the San Gabriel mountains and valleys as well as views of the Mojave Desert and Pomona Valleys. There is even a popular motorcycle stop along the way called Newcomb's Ranch where many movies have been filmed. I have not done this road myself, but it is on my list of things to do the next time I am there.
Saturday night we walked down to the lake to watch what is said to be one of the top ten fireworks shows in the state of California. I haven't seen the other 9, but would have to agree that it must be right up there as the fireworks are shot from a barge in the middle of Big Bear Lake. It creates quite a unique experience to see the reflect off of the lake. We spent Saturday night in the Castle Wood Egyptian themed Anthony and Cleopatra cabin.
Big Bear Lake is a wonderful summer destination for the whole family, but certainly as a place for motorcycle riding. Not only are there a couple of great day rides from this home base, but there is so much more to do. Not only can you take the time to relax at your cabin and enjoy the mid 70's weather, but you can take a boat tour on the lake, take a hike or ride the ski lift to the top for an excellent view of the lake and the surrounding area. And if you are really into the history of Big Bear Lake, go to the Visitors Center on the North side of the lake and watch the 15 minute video history. Very interesting how this town was settled.
The travel on a bike to and from Big Bear can be a little rough, but you will not be disappointed with the experience that you will have enjoying the surroundings and riding in the area.
On the way back we exited Big Bear Lake on Hwy. 18 to the North and made our way over to the Joshua Tree National Forest. If you have the time and the inclination, this is an excellent way to return to the Phoenix. I was totally surprised at the park. It is almost more about the boulders than it is about the Joshua Trees. But these are the biggest Joshua's that I have ever seen. The problem with going back this way is that it is going to extend your trip and put you into the middle of the heat on the way home. The park doesn't open until 8am, so you can't get the early start going this way. By the time we got through the park it was already 108 degrees on the way to 114 where we spent about 3 hours of our ride. It was Hot, Hot, Hot. But we were protected from the sun by our helmets and each drank a large bottle of water every 100 miles along the way in between stops. Leaving at 5am is the best way to do it in the middle of the summer and you will be fine.
Even though it was very uncomfortable for about 3 hours of the ride, it was a great 850 mile weekend ride and I can't wait to take another trip to Big Bear Lake and do these same routes again. If you plan to go, just google Big Bear Lodging and you will see many places to stay. I would suggest somewhere close to the Village area. Have Fun!
The Route to Big Bear: From Phoenix is approximately 350 miles to Big Bear Lake. Take I-10 approx. 310 miles to I-210/30 for 5 miles to Hwy. 330 known as the Rim of the World Hwy. that will take you to Big Bear Lake.
The return trip through Joshua Tree Forest: Take Hwy. 18 North out of Big Bear to Hwy. 247, to Hwy. 62, 29 Palms Hwy. to the Park entrance which is 70 miles. Take the 60 mile ride through the park and exit on I-10 just East of Indio. Take I-10 the 220 miles back to Phoenix.
Click Here for Maps
Click Here for 167 Photos

Useful Links:
As always, Google for yourself, but here are some links to start with.
Castlewood Cottages
Big Bear Lake Information
Lake Arrowhead Information
Angeles Crest Scenic Byway

Highlights This Week 

Saturday, July 25th
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Free Appreciation Breakfast.
Taking a ride Saturday morning? Stop by Arrowhead HD for a free breakfast on your way out of town.
Saturday, July 25th
Hogs and Dogs at Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson. The monthly and popular Stubbs Hogs and Dogs
is not only going to Feed you, but they are going to help your safety as a rider.

Bike Nights This Week 

Thursday Night 

The Bike Night At The Billet Bar The Billet Bar is the place to be for the Summer nights and weekends. Set on the patio and watch the action. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures.

This Week 

July 24-26
18th Annual Too Broke for Sturgis. Too Broke is hosted by ABATE of Arizona and is an Old School Biker Event that is being held for the 7th year at Mormon Lake Lodge Campground and Arena near Flagstaff, Arizona. The 2009 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. Underage drinking will not be tolerated. The price of admission is $30 for the weekend. If you are an ABATE member the weekend admission is $20. A Saturday only day pass is available for $15. Admission includes: Live music and camping Friday & Saturday nights, ride pins to the first 1000, Ms. Too Broke contest, people games, bike games, bike show, poker walk, 50/50 raffle, tattoo contest, and wet T-shirt contest, plus lots of vendors.  B.Y.O.B. Packaged liquor is available at the lodge bar and general store. Also available cabins, RV spaces w/ hookups, restaurant, and propane. General store: groceries, beverages & ice, coin-op showers & horseback riding. No ATM on property. More info: 602-222-8329 or for vendor space: 520-371-1735.
Here is an excellent FAQ about the event that you will want to read if you are planning on going.   

Saturday, July 25th
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Free Appreciation Breakfast. Taking a ride Saturday morning? Stop by Arrowhead HD for a free breakfast on your way out of town. Arrowhead Harley-Davidson wants to invite EVERYONE to a customer appreciation breakfast on the last Saturday of every month from 8:30am till 10:00 am. Join us for a FREE pancake, sausage and egg breakfast served up by Big D's Flippin Cakes. Thank you for all your support and business! Ride by Arrowhead Harley-Davidson the last Saturday of Every Month for a free breakfast. Arrowhead Harley-Davidson is located at 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr. in Peoria. 623-247-5542. 
Saturday, July 25th
Hogs and Dogs at Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson. The monthly and popular Stubbs Hogs and Dogs is not only going to Feed you, but they are going to help your safety as a rider. Would You Know What to Do at a Motorcycle Accident Scene? The Phoenix Fire Dept. will be here at 12 PM (indoors in our air-conditioned showroom) showing you how you can save a biker's life! All riders welcome! Of course, we'll also have: FREE SANDWICHES, FREE SODAS AND WATER, BIKINI BIKE WASH FROM 11-2, MUSEUM TOURS W/BUDDY, A POOL TOURNAMENT & 15% off any general merchandise item that is RED (some restrictions apply). Plus, your chance to win a ride-along and dinner with Phoenix Fire! ALL THIS AND MORE STARTING AT 11 AM.
Saturday, July 25th
Foothills Chapter Ladies of Harley presents 5th Annual Ron Morrison's "Christmas in July" Charity Ride. This ride is to benefit Sunshine Acres Children's Home. Registration from 7am - 9am at Chandler Harley-Davidson, located at 6895 W. Chandler Blvd. in Chandler. Donations are a $10 gift card per person. Suggested retailers are Target, Wal-Mart, McDonald's Sonic, Theatres, Bowling, etc. Pancake Breakfast 7am until it is gone. Santa will present gift cards to the children starting at 10am. Help us bring smiles to the faces of these children. Refreshments to be provided by Sunshine Acres. All bikes are welcomed. 

Monday, July 27th
A celebration of life and a remembrance of Officer George Cortez Jr. #8232.
George served Maricopa County for two years as a detention officer working in custody and Enforcement Support prior to becoming and police officer with the Phoenix Police Department in 2005.  He served the citizens of Phoenix working the Cactus Park, South Mountain, and Maryvale Precinctís. Monday, July 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm. Resthaven Park Cemetery, 6290 W Northern Ave, Phoenix. 

Next Week 

Friday, July 31st
Buddy Stubbs Anthem Harley-Davidson Twilight Ride to Greasewood Flat. We are all looking for something new and different to do, and Buddy Stubbs Anthem H-D is giving us that opportunity by hosting their First Annual Twilight Ride to Greasewood Flat benefiting We Care. $20 per rider includes dinner at Greasewood Flat, a $10 gift certificate for Buddy Stubbs Anthem H-D and a donation to We Care, an Anthem organization helping seriously ill children. Ride leaves at 7 PM from Anthem H-D. You can register NOW online at ! Rain Date is August 7th! This will be a fun ride and Greasewood Flat is 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the Valley! See you there! Call 623-465-1122 for more info. . 


Don't forget, the Rocky Point Rally is ON! If you plan on going you will need to get your passport card ordered soon. If you missed the newsletter a couple of weeks ago with the announcement of the Rocky Point Rally being UN-Cancelled, Click Here to Read and have instruction on how to get your passport card. The Rally is on an being planned with some very cool additions this year. More will be announced in the coming weeks. Get your passport cards and reservations now. is now on Facebook!
I am inviting you to "Become A Fan" on the Facebook page.
Go to to add your name and bookmark this page. If you are not on Facebook, you can still go to the page, but you will not be able to communicate. There will be a link there for you to sign up for Facebook if you are inclined.
Now this guy has some talent. I can't understand a word he says, but he is able to pound nails in without being able to reach them using 3 hammers at a time.  Click Here to View.
I didn't know there was a sport called trick shot bowling,
kind of like trick shot pool, but video doesn't lie. Click Here to View. 

Video of the Week
I never knew drinking beer could be so entertaining. See what these guys do to keep from being bored. Click Here to View. 

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

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