blogging kp!

some of my travels with random musings & silliness mixed in

SR37, North San Francisco September 8, 2010

So, today I decided to take off on my own and ride my bike around the outskirts of San Francisco. I would start in Dublin, head up the freeways to SR37, then down to Sausalito via Hwy 101. Afterwards, I would go up to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area lookout and take in the view… ride over to the Sutro Baths and the Cliff House. From there I would head down the coast to Half Moon Bay and then go back to my friend’s house in Dublin.

Ambitious? Yes. Complete my planned route? Almost. See everything I wanted? Not quite… Can you say fog?

I started out by taking all the “80s”… 580, 680, 780, 80 to the 37. Not much to report as they are all just freeway. While on the 780, I did cross the Benicia-Martinez Bridge (paid my toll) it was cool but I am not a fan of bridges and heights, so, I just crossed and got on the 80 North. At Vallejo, I got off and hopped on the 37.

SR37 is also referred to as Sears Point Road. After crossing a bridge, (If you ask me, it was more of a “hump” shape instead of being flat.) I am on a two lane road with a cement barrier down the middle. The story is that SR37 was once nicknamed “Blood Alley” due to all the fatal accidents… many of which were “crossover” accidents. Once the barrier was put in place, the number of accidents dropped dramatically.

SR37 meanders through San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. What’s nice about this ride is that despite the traffic, I still felt a sense of solitude. The refuge includes open bay/tidal marsh, mud flats, and managed wetland habitats. This refuge is also home to a number of endangered species. Endangered due to humans; hydraulic mining and salt production; as well as changes for agricultural and industrial purposes such as diking and diversions of water.

I followed the 37 around San Pablo Bay to the 101 South. I stopped a few times to take some photos. And I just generally took my time. I was enjoying the solitude. I was enjoying the colors… yellow-green marsh against the blue sky… white sand “beaches” … it was just nice to be out riding and not be on a major freeway boxed in.

NOTE: If you are going to do this ride… check the Infineon Raceway website for their schedule. If it is raceday, I am guessing the traffic would be a nightmare.

I got on the 101 South and proceeded to Sausalito.

More Photos: http://photographingkp.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/sr-37-san-pablo-national-wildlife-refuge/

 

Big Bear Lake, CA August 14, 2010

After a bit of kvetching on my part about wanting to ride somewhere outside of my county, I came up with a plan to do an overnighter to Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead.   I talked to a few friends to find out if they would be interested and they said yes.  We rented two cabins and I planned our trip. I chose the route we would take as I wanted to take SR38 from Yucaipa to Big Bear… it appeared to be a longer and more scenic route.

The day before leaving, I walked out of my office and my bike wouldn’t start. I called my shop and we guessed it to be a short or a dead battery. I then called a friend for a tow. We dropped the bike at the shop and I waited til morning for an answer. It seemed to take forever… but I suppose that is what happens when you are anxious for news (and for a new battery to charge). I told my riding partners to go without me and that I would catch them… provided it was just a battery issue.

While this was happening, my riding partners were having issues of their own! One of them had a cracked case and was puking oil. Another friend needed a new tire desperately! So, two of the group rode up to Temecula for a tire change. Once I got the word my bike was done, I got on it, met another friend and took off to Temecula. It was about 2:00pm before we finally… really… got on the road.

From Temecula we took the back roads through Winchester to Beaumont and eventually to Yucaipa. We stopped for a quick coffee at a Starbucks before heading up the 38 to Big Bear Lake. SR38 was pretty awesome in that it was curvy, not too busy with traffic, lots of trees and the weather was hot and sunny. Along the way, I noticed there were many hot rod cars on the road… it was very difficult to concentrate on riding when I wanted to rubber neck! We pulled into town and there were even MORE hot rods. Turns out Big Bear has an annual run the second week of August.  I was in heaven! Well, we kept riding through town looking for our hotel and missed it. We had to double back and really search for the turn off.

No wonder we missed the cabins! They were on a side street off the main drag of Big Bear. The cabins were cute.  A little threadbare but cute.

Window @ Chad's Place

Window @ Chad's Place

After we checked in, we went looking for a place for dinner. We decided on the Italian place around the corner.

We will not be going there again.  My pasta was mushy… two bites and I gave up… I sent it back. Then I had to argue that I shouldn’t be charged for something I had two bites of. The highlight of the dinner was the stuffed artichoke. And we all felt kinda queasy the next morning. Not a pleasant experience.

From there we headed down the road to the famous “Chad’s Place”. Biker friendly. Rock n Roll. Multiple bars. Pool tables. Appetizers. (Wish we had eaten here.) The band was really good. We had to giggle though, everytime the band stopped the jukebox came on and it was hip hop, rap and top 40 dance.

We got back to our cabins around 1:30am and fell asleep to the sound of the bars emptying out.

 

Pappy and Harriets, Pioneertown, CA October 26, 2009

So this past weekend, my favorite band ~ The Farmers ~ were playing in Pioneertown, CA.

I called some friends of mine and we rode out ther for the gig. The band played at Pappy & Harriet’s … which … quite frankly is one of the coolest bars I have had the pleasure of hanging out in!

Pappy’s is indoor/outdoor, bike, horse, car and whatever else brung ya friendly. The staff are super fun and the drinks strong. I highly suggest a visit if you are out there.

THE FOOD IS INSANE!

There is a hotel 500 yards from the bar… it is reportedly haunted… my friend got a picture! She stayed in room 3… or you can stay a few miles down the road at Rimrock Ranch … see my previous posts.

You can park your RV for the night.

You can even rent a corral for your horses for the duration of the your stay.  A late nite or early morning ride would be awesome!

 

 

 

Some Links:

Pappy & Harriets:  http://www.pappyandharriets.com/index2.html

Pioneertown Inn:  http://www.pitowninn.com/

Rimrock Ranch:  http://www.rimrockranchcabins.com/

 

Sunrise Highway & Lake Cuyamaca, CA October 18, 2009

Yesterday, I had a great time at Viejas.

Today, I decided to take the longer more scenic way home. We had rented a room in El Cajon. My friend had to leave to go to work, so, I was on my own today.

I got on my bike and rode out to Pine Valley. From there I headed up over the Sunrise Highway to Mt. Laguna. It was a beautiful clear day and just a little chilly. I had my iPod going… listening to whatever came up in the shuffle and just took my time riding up the road.

The elevation was high enough that there were signs on the side of the road with various warnings about snow. Houses were sprinkled along the road and there seemed to be quite a few campgrounds. The little town of Mt. Laguna looked quaint but as I didn’t stop, I don’t have much to report.

The trees were changing color… yellows and reds and oranges. I noticed a turnout with a viewing deck coming up. I pulled into the lot, parked the bike and grabbed my camera. Nice view!! There was a couple on their bikes that I passed whole walking to the viewpoint. They had leathers on… pretty easy to spot and she rode a very red Street Glide. We exchanged the various necessities…. Where are you from? What year is your bike? Are you alone? They left and I had the viewpoint to myself. I took some photos and rode onto Lake Cuyamaca. 

I parked the bike in the Lake Cuyamaca parking lot behind the restaurant and went walking on the dock… sat there for awhile and watched the boats. The lake was very peaceful. There was a family nearby fishing… they caught a fish and the little boy lost his mind he was so excited.

After an hour of hanging out and relaxing, I headed home.

 

Viejas Casino BBQ October 17, 2009

Woke up this morning and what a great day! Beautiful… sunny, warm and beggin for a ride!

But first things first… Ohio State vs Purdue…. 9:00am game… so, I moved to my couch and prepared for college football madness… madness is an understatement… I love my team but REALLY???? losing to Purdue??? Hey Pryor your team wears WHITE!!! Stop throwin to the other guys.  Anyhoo… back to my ride.

Viejas Sign

Viejas Sign

Today out at Viejas Casino is their 5th annual “BBQ off”… think chili cook off only bbq.

Not only that but GREAT bands… Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women, the Texas Tornadoes and Los Lobos… for free… yep… I said for free. And if that weren’t enough great music but The Farmers back over in El Cajon!!!

So, I called a friend and we went in on a hotel room cuz drivin home liqoured up is not such a good idea… especially if on two wheels.

My friend had to work all day, so we planned to meet up at the casino.

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women

 

 

I took off and arrived at the casino ten minutes before Dave Alvin started. Dave Alvin has been around forever… most notably in the band the Blasters with his brother Phil. He’s also participated in one of Country Dick Montana’s best ideas (I think) … the Pleasure Barons with CDick and Mojo Nixon. Let’s not forget his time with X and The Knitters! I haven’t seen him with the Guilty Women but they are AWESOME!!!

I went into the casino after the show and stood in line for the casino membership cards. As I was in line my friend showed up. We signed up for our cards and then went back over to the stage to watch the Texas Tornadoes. They were pretty darn good! I had forgotten some of the songs they sang.

We decided to grab something to eat before Los Lobos, so we went back into the casino. The buffet line was insanely long. We walked around the food court but nothing really jumped out at us. We ended up in the cafe. The food wasn’t bad and our server was hilarious.

Los Lobos

Los Lobos

Finally. Los Lobos time. We were about five people back from the front of the stage right in front of the sax player. These guys sure know how to keep rockin! They were soooo good! My heart was beating to the bass drum.

We had a great laugh throughout the show. One of the band member’s kids was over in the corner off to the side of the stage. He was having so much fun in his own little world just dancing away and making comical faces.

We took off a bit early to avoid traffic and went to see The Farmers. As usual they freakin rocked! (And yes I still shamelessly love them… check my blog post about them on 6/18/09.) The bar was small, it was packed full of people and Captain Jack Sparrow was there!

Great day and night despite my team’s loss…. tomorrow… Sunrise Highway and Lake Cuyamaca.

 

Some Links:

Viejas BBQ:  http://viejasbbq.com/

Dave Alvin:  http://www.davealvin.net/

 

On the road to the Grand Canyon! September 4, 2009

We packed up our lunch leftovers and headed off on the 89. The 89 winds it’s way through

Along the 89

Kanab. The movie The Outlaw Josey Wells was filmed here… part of the set still exists in town. In Kanab we get on the 11 toward Fredonia, Arizona. In Fredonia,  we pick up ALT 89 to Jacob Lake. The drive to Jacob Lake is about 55 miles on a two lane road through the middle of nowhere that also happens to be beautiful!

pulled off for photos

Along the way we stop to take pictures as well as a mini hike. We are, however, in a hurry. The clouds are getting grayer and darker. We can see the rain in the distance. I have my raingear with me but do not relish riding in the rain. I hope we can get to our cabin before we get wet!

Jacob Lake is the gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. At Jacob Lake there is an Inn that has been around since 1923… founded by the Bowman family. The inn has a gas station, a small grocery store, restaurant, bakery and gift shop.  We stopped for a little while… gassed up, grabbed some pastries and beer for the cabin. The gift shop is full of great items. The Native American collection of jewelry, weavings, pottery and artwork is pretty amazing. The proprietors are very knowlegeable about their wares and have established relationships with many of the artists… some of the artists are internationally known. The Kaibab Plateau Visitor center is also located in Jacob Lake.

please don't rain, please don't rain...

"mini-hike"

The elevation gain to Jacob Lake (elev 7900 ft) is enough that Sue and I have to stop and put on more warm layers… it’s getting colder… and darker!! The drive from Jacob Lake to the North Rim is roughly 45 miles on SR67. I made sure to put my rain gear on the top of my saddlebag in case I need to pull over and put it on. I am glad I did!! We ended up driving through a few showers and a deluge or two.

We left Jacob Lake and started toward the Grand Canyon. The road is two lanes and travels through the Kaibab National Forest. Ponderosa pines and Aspen trees line the road for quite sometime and then open up to a large alpine meadow. Along the way, we notice many large lifted pick up trucks parked on the side of the road. Upon further inspection, I notice people in camouflage walking around. Apparently, it is hunting season. While we were stopped taking in the view, some hunters were parked across the road from us. We chatted across the road with them. I think they liked seeing four women travelling by themselves.

We finally arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park entrance kiosk. After a short wait, we pay and collect the “newspaper” (The Guide) the ranger hands us. The sun is really starting to go down now and it’s getting colder. The road winds it way into the park. We travel through Aspen tree lined ravines and descend gradually through the park, finally ending at the Grand Canyon Lodge.

 

The Grand Canyon!

Is there really anything left that can be said about the Grand Canyon? Hasn’t every adjective possible been used by now… gorgeous, breathtaking, stupendous, beautiful, amazing, freaking insane, epic, gnarly, wow, holy shit, awe inspiring…. so, really what’s left?

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One of my favorite quotes of all time is by our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt in 1903:

Roosevelt Point, North Rim - Grand Canyon

Roosevelt Point

 

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world… LEAVE IT AS IT IS. YOU CAN NOT IMPROVE ON IT. THE AGES HAVE BEEN AT WORK ON IT, AND MAN CAN ONLY MAR IT. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children and for all who come after you.”

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I think Mr. Roosevelt covered all of the bases in his quote… what do you think?