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Old 04-11-2005, 05:17 PM   #1
bajajoaquin
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So-Cal tour

Well, it's not that impressive, since I live in So-Cal, but I thought I'd post it anyway.

I'd been anxious to put some miles on my bike lately, since all I've been doing was commuting. I thought about riding to San Francisco taking the Pashnit coast range route, but I was wisely counseled to not take a new touring rider on a really long trip.

Instead, I decided to do desert and coastal mountains this past weekend, rather than going to San Francisco. I got my co-worker, Jeff, to go with me. We took off from Irvine on Saturday morning with a loose plan of riding as much as possible over the weekend.

We started in Irvine, and rode over Ortega Highway, stopping for breakfast at Hell's Kitchen. Since it was early, there weren't any Harleys around, and a couple of other bikes just showed up as we were leaving.

Traffic was really light, and I came within one car of getting a completely clean run up Ortega. I figured it was a good omen.

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:18 PM   #2
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Not far away, we stopped for the second photo-op, which was the Lookout, on the other side of Ortega.

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:19 PM   #3
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Once down the hill, we took 15 South into Temecula. We made our way to S16 and over to Palomar Mountain. It was Jeff's first time riding up there, and he was all but speechless when we got to the top. We stopped, had some water, and talked to a guy with a really clean, stock '82 Seca 650.

The bikes at Palomar:

(by the way: check out the guy on the Gixxer at far right: cheap textile jacket, jeans, and tennis shoes! :instance )

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:20 PM   #4
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From there, we went down the back side of Palomar towards Lake Henshaw. We stopped at some memorial or other and took more pictures.

Smile, Jeff!

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:21 PM   #5
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Once off of the Mountain, we went by Lake Henshaw, stopping, of course, for photo ops around the lake. We were originally going to go north up to the S2, but we swung south along some road whose name I can't remember currently. It was really tight, like first gear stuff in sections, but later opened up to more sweeping bends. I think we saw one other vehicle the whole time.

Eventually, we caught up to the 79 again and made our turn onto S2 to Borrego Springs.

Lake Henshaw:

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:23 PM   #6
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Although we missed most of the local flower display, there were some pretty impressive colors. We passed by a lot without stopping for pictures. The valley around Lake Henshaw was particularly impressive, with whole fields covered entirely in yellow.

We did stop eventually, though. Once we turned onto S2, we stopped pretty quickly for photos. Why there? We had to pee, of course!

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:24 PM   #7
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From there, we made it to S22, and quickly came up on the twisty bit. S22 eventually goes to Borrego Springs, and drops down into the valley pretty rapidly. Once at the crest, the force of the wind hit us full-on, and it made riding a little difficult. Still, it's got some big sweepers, and is a fun road.

We wanted to stop to get a photo of the view down to the valley floor. So we did.

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:25 PM   #8
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Of course, no sooner did we snap that pic and get back on the road when we found one of those designated "Senic Outlooks" that offered a better view. So we stopped again for pictures.

I got off my bike, but didn't take my helmet off, because I thought we were just stopping for a moment. I walked back up the hill so I could get a perspective with the bikes in it. When I turned around, I saw both bikes on the ground. With my helmet on and earplugs in, I didn't hear them go over.

Turns out that the wind knocked over Jeff's bike, which tumlbled into mine. He broke off his brake lever and a turn signal. My bike got the right saddlebag rashed, broke off a turn signal, bent the brake lever, and scuffed my cases. Up 'till now, my bike and been a pristine 2-owner bike. fook.

Still, the important thing was to get a brake lever for Jeff. We located one in Thousand Palms, about two hours away. After dumping his bike again at the gas station (remember: stay calm after you have an accident; don't compound it) we made it out to the shop. Unfortunately, we were wrong about the brake lever. It wasn't broken. Instead, it's the "knocker" which is the piece on adjustable levers that is between the lever and the brake piston. None to be had, anywhere.

Without much in the way of options, we bought some MSR epoxy (bascially JB Weld) and some safety wire.

At our place in Palm Desert, we bought beer and steaks and got to work. I came up with a plan: use a little bit of epoxy to "weld" the two pieces back together so we could then work with it. After letting it set, we wrapped the lever with safety wire. We then mixed up more epoxy and put it down over the safety wire. Basically, the idea was to make it like rebar and concrete: wire (rebar) is very good in tension and epoxy (concrete) is good in compression. With luck, that composite structure would hold.

Finished product (the next morning):

(by the way, if you look really closely, you can see that Jeff wrote "fixed" on the lever. That's probably why it worked.)

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:26 PM   #9
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In this pic, the rash doesn't look so bad. I was really embarassed to be riding around on it, though. I don't know why, really, since I'm normally a form-follows-function kind of guy.

Anyway, here's what it looks like. You can't see the bent lever or the banged-up cases, but you can make out the broken signal.

Oh, yeah: when the signal broke, it also broke the faring.

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:27 PM   #10
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Since the lever requried a lot of beer to fix, we didn't get a very early start the next day. The option to ride up to Big Bear was kinda out, so we instead took 74 out of Palm Desert. Called the Palms to Pines highway, it goes from the desert floor up into scrub pine forests.

The area just outside Palm Desert was awesome. Good, even sweepers that gradually open into a straighter set of sections. It tightens up again at the end, but that's getting ahead of things a bit.

See? Desert rocks with snow in the background:

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:27 PM   #11
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Rather than run the 74 straight to Hemet, we rode up to the 273, and through Idylwild, over to Banning. Really fun. A lot of traffic, so you had to be creative in order to get open road.

We gassed up in Banning, where we saw this crappy little shop with a really cool hotrod out front. In this pic, it's purple, but in other light, it was bronze. It was the coolest, most dramatic pearlescent paint I've ever seen.

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Old 04-11-2005, 05:28 PM   #12
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We stopped on the way back up to take a picture of the drop to the valley floor. From there, we met back up with the 74, and rode it through Hemet, back to Lake Elsinore, and over Ortega Highway.

I had wanted to get in as close to a thousand miles as possible, but because of the broken lever, we had to cut the ride short on Saturday afternoon. Getting going late cut out a big part of Sunday, too, so that was even less.

Oh well, there's still the rest of spring, the entire summer, next fall, next winter (it can't rain that much AGAIN! ), etc.....

273 to Banning:

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Old 04-12-2005, 09:42 AM   #13
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Here, let a bit of mmmmmMojo help out with that rash
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