Two-Up in the San Bernardino Mountains

The storm front blew through with crashing thunder and blazing lightning, leaving in it’s wake blue skies, moderate temps, and clean crisp scenery.  It couldn’t be better for a short cruise through the mountains!

For us, early is 9:00 a.m.  We hopped on Bikeopotamus, our ’02 R1150 GSA, thumbed the starter and headed up Interstate 15 to CA 138 and Lake Silverwood.  Awesome twisties and very little traffic-soon we were in the groove, blasting along the straights, braking before the curves, and accelerating through the apexes, eager to devour the next ones…The big GSA is at home in this environment, and with it’s high clearance even two up we get some amazing lean angles!

Here is Lake Silverwood, looking north towards the desert.  Not too many boats on the water as it was pretty windy, and there was still a threat of lightning….

Continuing east on CA 138, the desert scrub gives way to pine trees and cooler temps.  We opted for “Old Mill Road” as an alternate route.  This street had zero traffic, great asphalt, and some pretty tight twisties.  Awesome!  Soon we found CA 18 and continued to head east toward Rim Forest to the “Original Cottage” restaurant.

“The Cottage” is a local eatery populated by working people, the occasional tourist, and semi-surly waitresses.  Breakfast is excellent and huge.  The breakfast scramble, or “Farmer Boy,” I believe it’s called is a giant mess of eggs, potatoes, bacon, gravy, ham, etc, etc, that is enough food to feed a small eastern European country.  The biscuits are wonderful, flaky, moist, and warm out of the oven.  I didn’t try the pancakes, but they are about 14″ across and contain about a half pound of blueberries.  Jenn and I often stop here for breakfast, and we’ve yet to be disappointed by the food!  Here are a couple of pix…

Here is a close-up of a soft ball sized biscuit…

And, of course, here is the end result of my labors…

Any way, if you are really hungry for a hearty breakfast and don’t mind the resulting food coma, ride on up to the Original Cottage Restaurant, located at 26545 State Highway 18, Rim Forest CA.  You can call them at 909.337.1212 if you need more info!  Just don’t tell your cardiologist you are eating here.

Bloated, we hoisted ourselves onto the big GSA and decided to head up to Big Bear Lake.  The ride  to the Lake is spectacular, but, as usual, watch out for traffic and be especially wary of debris in the apexes, especially after a heavy rain.  Also, remember there may be considerable delays at the dam as they are retro-fitting it.  Once we downshifted thru the traffic we accelerated into Big Bear City, around the lake and onto CA 38, which is the back way to these mountains.

If you haven’t had a chance to try CA 38 you should!  Almost no traffic, lots of very fast sweepers and a good number of tight twisties as well before you drop down into  “Mentone Beach, CA.”  Mentone should be a separate entry, so I’ll save that one for later!

So Cal has  wonderful roads!

About four hours after we left Glendora, we arrived back home.  We definitely accomplished our mission to ride some very cool roads and eat some good food.  As usual Bikeopotamus did a superb job of hauling us at speed safely and comfortably; we can’t wait for the next chance to go exploring! See you next time!


Good Eats in San Pedro

Are you hungry?  If so, you owe it to yourself to check out “The Gaffey Street Diner” in downtown San Pedro…the Diner is easy to find.  Just take the San Pedro fwy from downtown LA to it’s end at Gaffey Street.  Turn left onto Gaffey, go about two hundred yards, and the diner is on the right side of the street.  A couple of caveats…parking can be a bit problematic, especially on weekend mornings, when it seems that everyone is San Pedro is having breakfast here!  My advice is to ride your motorcyle for hassle-free parking.

 Gaffey Street Diner has a full assortment of the usual breakfast fare as well as specials you might not see at the typical diner.  Whatever you order, the portions are huge, the service is friendly, and the food is delicious!  ‘And, if you are not in the mood for breakfast, or one of their killer sandwiches, Gaffey Street is now serving dinner.  J and I are going to have to come  back after five in the evening, and give them a try-if dinner is as scrumptious as breakfast and lunch we can’t lose!

Today, J and I decided on lunch.  She ordered a veggie burger, which was a boca burger garnished with all the fresh trimmings, plus a large portion of Gaffey Street’s seasoned fries.  For me, it was a bbq ham sandwich…

BBQ Ham Sandwich

Gaffey Street Diner is not the cheapest breakfast eatery around, but I think you will be satisfied with your dining experience here! 

See you on the road, and ride safely!

Steve and J


Woo hoo! A New Motorcycle!

Well, new to us, at least!  Jennifer and I bought a 2002 R1150 GSA from a very good friend a couple of months ago and we are really enjoying it!  I don’t normally name my motorcycles, but if I did, “Bikeopotamus” would be it!  The big black GSA is a tall, heavy motorcycle that can take us pretty much anywhere we want to go!

We’ve done a few modifications to make Bikeopotamus a more comfortable sport touring machine…We recently rode to Ojai and had Bill Mayer Saddles make us a new seat.  We’ll post some pix soon!  We also slipped on some Shinko dual sport tires.  So far they are great on the upaved   Southern California roads we have around here, and they seem pretty durable as well.  We’ve ridden the bike about 6,000 miles since we purchased the first week of April, and so far the tires are doing great!  A Cee Bailey’s windscreen rounds out the comfort accessories…at speed, the CB wraps the wind around my head rather than buffeting it all around.   Thanks, Steve Clavin of Cee Bailey’s.  You rock!  Finally a “Versa” LED brake light modification  from will hopefully keep some driver from riding over the top of us from behind.  Those eight LED lights are really bright!

Here is a pic, taken up in the local San Gabriel mountains…

BMW GSA in the Mountains

See you on the road, and ride safely!

Steve and J


A 400 mile Odyssey for Ribs and Musings Along the Way

Is 400 miles to far to ride for some great BBQ?  How about to visit your family AND eat great BBQ?  I had read that the best BBQ in Arizona could be had not more than 20 miles from my son’s place, so the answer to both these questions is an unqualified “NO!”  So, I hopped on the R12RT and set a course east on Interstate 10 for the little city of Maricopa AZ. 

The ride was pretty uneventful as riding the “slab” can be, but the never-ending desert scenery was pretty, and made prettier by the recent rains.  And, I took a well deserved break in Quartzite, AZ for lunch, which broke the ride up a bit.  Quartzite is an amazing place.  In the summer it’s hot and deserted.  In the winter months, everyone from the northern climes moves here, so the desert floor is speckled with RV parks.  In town they hold a swap meet that has all kinds of stuff no one buys. Or at least I hope no one buys.  How about a giant plastic chicken?  Or a rug with a giant beer can stitched on it?  What about a cow skull?  I wonder how the shoppers can cram their new found treasures into their RVs?  I imagine the conversations when the ‘snowbirds’ migrate north again:  “That’s a big plastic chicken, doncha know?”  “You betcha, eh?”

Quartzite Rooster 

After a bemused visit to the vendors, I stopped at “Sweet Darlene’s” restaurant.  Built in a big steel shed, this restaurant probably sat 300 people at a time!  It was huge, with waittresses scurrying around, customers visiting each other, and loads of food being delivered.  Darlene hit all the right notes for a successful place:  very inexpensive, good food, easy parking, and fast turn over.  I sat next to Ron, an 80+ year old man who told me about his life in the special forces, his work at JPL, and finally as he warmed up, all his conspiracy theories about energy, 911, and President Obama.  I was pleasantly entranced by his conversation as I finished off a plate of $2.39 bacon, eggs, and hash browns.  I really liked Ron.  Here he is:

Despite being constantly amazed by how much adventure one can find simply by stopping and talking to people, I was on a mission. 

So, 400 tire-squaring miles later, I downshifted into my son’s driveway where I was met by my hungry son, James, his lovely wife, Chanin, and their baby, Gavin.  Or, as I like to refer to him as “El Jefe.”  Of course I had forgotten the time zone change, so I didn’ t immediately notice the glazed look of hunger in there eyes. 

We hopped into their car and took off for Gilbert, AZ, a rapidly growing suburb of Phoenix.  Gilbert is trying to hold onto it’s old west individuality, so the down town area is quaint, but I couldn’t help remembering the Gilbert of 30 years ago! 

All those thoughts were pushed aside, because downtown Gilbert is the home of “Joe’s Real BBQ.”  And real it is.  The meats are laboriously slow cooked over pecan wood fires which leaves the meat red, juicy, hot, and loaded with a smoky finish that is delightful! 

Well, apparently everyone else in Arizona also thinks it’s delightful.  We pulled up and were greeted by a forty-minute wait that spilled out into the street…surprisingly the line moved fairly quickly.  The menu here is pretty bssic:  ribs, chicken, pulled pork, and bbq’d beef are the mainstays.  I suppose you could order a salad, but hey, what are you, a communist or something?  I will say they have a huge selection of soft drinks including homemade rootbeer that is pretty good.  You pick what you want off a selection board, then move to a serving counter where a courteous yet business- like young person gives you the meat and side dishes you orderd.  Fortunately, there are lots of tables, and we got to our table with stomach’s rumbling.

Chanin ordered the giant baked potato with pulled pork while James and I orded the pork ribs.  Gavin ate Cheerios and anything else we put with his little one year old grasp!  Well, we made short work of our meals.  The ribs were great.  Nearly fall-off-the-bone tender with just the right amount of charring, they were pretty much irresistable.  The baked potato was gigantic, and the side dishes such as macaroni and cheese, corn, and corn bread were pretty good, though the mac ‘n cheese could have used a nice baked finish…

Joe's Ribs are Delicious!

An hour later we waddled out, and my wallet for the three of us was only lighter by about $38.  Not bad for the best BBQ I’ve tasted in Arizona!

By the way, here is the contact information for Joe’s should you decide to go down there and sample it yourself:

Joe’s Real BBQ

Until next time, enjoy the road, and the adventure!


A Few Days on the Central Coast

In my opinion, few things in life are better than a great motorcycle ride, especially with a wonderful riding partner like J, incredible scenery, and some great food!  After watching the weather reports carefully, we figured we could time a four day ride up to the central coast of California between storms.

So, off we went!  Our first first stop was Paso Robles, a great small city with some wonderful restaurants, great wineries, and the Paso Robles Inn!  We highly recommend the Paso Robles Inn.  Located on Spring Street just across from the town square, the Inn has delightful rooms, many with hot tubs that tap into the hot springs which are located underneath the property.  Plus, there are several great wine tasting establishments within stumbling distance of the Inn!

A Beautiful Place to Stay
A Beautiful Place to Stay

The mineral water did wonders for the achy muscles as did a great walk around town.  The next morning we decided to ride the “G” roads through the central coast mountains.  This is great riding.  Mile after mile of sweeping twisties, vineyards, and very little traffic.  We stopped here for coffee and conversation with the manager who told me he has lived his entire life here.  “I’ve been around, but I’ve always comeback.  Why leave?”  When you consider the beauty of the area, you can understand his decision!

Great coffee and conversation
Great coffee and conversation at the Bee Rock Store!

After the Bee Rock Store we were eager to see where the “G” roads would lead us next…we headed higher into the fog-shrouded mountains where the temps dropped into the forties.  Thank you Gerbing Electric Jackets!  Eventually we headed through Fort Hunter-Liggett an active Army base.  We turned for Jolon and US 101 for a few miles of slab.  Following the GPS, we quickly got off the freeway and found a “back” way to Carmel Valley Road which would eventually take us to our second night’s lodging.

A Gorgeous Valley
A Gorgeous Valley

The Carmel Valley is a beautiful place….lush rolling hills, incredible pastoral scenery, and narrow very twisty roads can make Carmel Valley Road a motorcyclist’s delight!  A word of caution-potholes and animals abound.  Keep your eyes open because this lonely road is no place to deal with a broken motorcycle or body!

It seems all too soon that we rolled into Carmel-by-the-Sea, a beautiful coastal village filled with art shops and beautiful zillion dollar homes.  We pulled into the Best Western Bay View Inn for our nights lodging.  We enjoy staying here because it’s nice, it’s reasonable, and it is two blocks from Ocean Ave., the main street.  It is also almost across the street from the employee owned “The Forge in the Forest,” my all time favorite restaurant!

Looking out from our Room
Looking out from our Room
Carmel is a great place to hang out, especially if you like restaurants, art, wine, people watching, and incredible scenery.  In fact, one of the prettiest drives in the world is between Carmel and Cambria.  This is the “Big Sur” area of central California and CA Highway One is a must-do motorcycle trip.  Take your time, ride sensibly, and stop often for pictures, at least the first few times you ride it.  CA1 is heavily enforced by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) with good reason; the drop-offs to the sea are spectacular and leave no room for error!
About halfway down the ride take a breather at Lucia, a quaint market, restaurant, and inn.  Lucia is perched percariously on the side of CA1.  It looks like it could all slide down into the ocean at any time!  Fortunately it hasn’t!  The restaurant here is very good, albeit a bit expensive.  But, the view is one-in-a-million!  Well worth the stop!  Also, if you go into the little market you’ll find a shelf near the coffee loaded with the pastry of the day…these goodies are baked locally and offered only here for sale.  Sometimes I’ll just grab a cup of coffee and a pastry if I’m not looking for a full meal!
Overlooking Lucia and Pacific Coast Highway 
From Lucia, the Pacific Coast Highway continues to wind along the cliffside for miles until the road eventually leaves the cliffs.  While the scenery stays spectacular, I always wish I was turning around here and going north again, just to play in the twisties!
Until next time, enjoy the ride!