Friday, May 12, 2006

Where to next?

Being in Southern California this is a rather daunting question as there are so many nice places to see. We have travelled the world quite a bit and have little desire to see much more of it, we'd rather see and experience some of the great places right around home, at least while we can still ride.

Planning. Not much needed in that regard. Pick a locale for a destination than work out the logistics to get there and back, comfortably, happily. Having an 11 year old along does have it's challenges though, and in order to be fair we always try to incorporate recreation she enjoys into the ride and destination. She is water person, and as long as she can emerse herself in a body of water at the end of the day, things are much better for everyone. Motels/Hotels/Campgrounds with pools come in handy here.

Not having to carry camping gear has it's advantages, but being able to sit out under the stars before bed also has it's advantages. We've camped many times before, once using the motorcycles as transport but only for one night. Multi-day camping means more gear and hence more weight. We've done many car camping trips and being able to carry everything but the kitchen sink is very nice, we typically didn't use a third of the stuff we took however. Comfortable motorcycle camping is going to be a challenge. We have mostly backpacking gear (light tents, ligt sleeping bags, sleeping pads etc.) so we are already ahead of the game. What remains is being able to add the small things that make the trip, well, nice. Things like eating real food, and finding good campsites, with somewhere to swim.

As a first 4-5 day ride I'm hoping we can ride up the Sierra Nevadas through Lake Isabell, Sequoia NP, Yosemite, and then back down the 395 with a small divert through Death Valley and then back down the 395 to Big Bear and then home through the mountains via Idyllwild, Julian, and Lyons Valley. I think we can camp a few nights, and motel it a night or two. hmmm..

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Joshua Tree National Park

Another great ride was had by us last weekend. It was the second time I got to ride through Joshua Tree and I'm so glad I did. I saw alot more than the last time. I think it was due to the fact we rode slow and it was very early in the morning with little to no traffic. Joshua Tree is one of California's finest unspoiled desert parks and is well worth the trip if you can make it.

The ride started through Wildcat Canyon north of El Cajon and proceeded up through Santa Isabell, Warner Springs, Idyllwild, Banning, and Palm Springs. After waiting out a small fire along the 29 Palm Highway we made it to Yucca Valley where we stayed in a Super 8 Motel. Don't stay in this motel if you can, it was filthy.

We rode out the next morning at sunrise through Joshua Tree, then on to the Salton Sea for some lunch at Mama's. The video below is of the ride through Box Canyon between the South entrance of Joshua Tree and Mecca. The road has been fully redone and this is a great scenic desert ride.

Click here for the longer complete video ride report.

After lunch we headed up to Julian through Borrego Springs and the Montezuma Highway, a favorite among the sport bikers with its winding twisting road.

San Diego really does have some great rides to offer however, having been through the Sierra Nevada's and Central California, I know there is much more to go before we run out of places to ride in and around Southern California.

Southern Sierra's, Sequoias, Yosemite, and maybe even Death Valley is next on the list.