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Old 11-29-2008, 09:52 PM   #1
MissMoxy
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Nov 23-28 1500 mile solo L.A./Lake Isabella/Paso Robles

I found out four days before Thanksgiving week that I would have the week off without burning alot of leave. I decided that I would head over to Lake Isabella and see if I could accomplish Southern California Mad Map loop 9,10,11 and 12. I called the KOA campground and they reported 75 degrees during the day with 55 at night and, as the person recalled, the roads around the area were not closed as far as any inclement weather. A few days before the trip...which I planned to be around a thousand miles, I decided I would head to L.A. to see my cousin. Saturday I last minute had my front tire changed and my rear tire I confidently left on with 8k miles on it.

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Sunday the 23rd I headed out at 7:30am. My mom said a tearful goodbye at made me promise I wouldn't go past 72 mph and not drive after dark. I traveled South on 680, East on 580 and hit highway 5. Highway 5 was B O R I N G.....there weren't alot of gas stops and the scenery was bland. Bad enough that you can see w a a a y down the freeway of where you'll be in 10 minutes. For amusement my eyes zoned in and out of the flies that were now piling up on my face shield. Passing through Coalinga I smelled the stench of cows...then the fly matter began to pile up.... I neared Tejon pass and could hardly make out the San Emigdio mountains in the thick haze. Traveling through the pass was a welcomed sight. Traffic became thicker as I headed south on I 5. Descending the grade the haze became worse and traffic just about choking. I counted 2 other motorcycles....CrAzY to ride in this stuff !! I was traveling the Eastern side of Mad Map Loop #6 and still haven't found why that Eastern side is highlighted yelllow......I took 405 to 101 West and arrived in Topanga at 3:30 where I would be spending the next couple of nights (originally only 1 night was planned but they convinced me to stay another).

24th. Monday We took the kids to school, the commute traffic subsided and I was off to explore mad map recommendation number 7. I headed up windy Fernwood Pacific Drive that ambled down the backside. The views of L.A. were ....eh....ok.
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I took a left onto Mullholland and travelled up , then down Kanan Dume Road- nice, windy good-condition road that lead to Hwy 1 .Gas was not that easy to find. I gassed up and planned to head North on 1 to hit Deer Creek road, which, I had to keep an eye peeled for the turn off because at that point I was traveling in the boonies where the road was two lanes and no houses.

The ascent was breathtaking and the scenery exciting (stemming from Hwy 5 drudgery). Houses hugged and dotted the surrounding hillside.
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The road changed names to Yerba Beuena and so did the road conditions. No houses were out here. This road I felt every jarring piece of gravel under my tires...reminiscent of Mines where the lose gravel bits blend in with the pavement cracks and sags. The road narrowed and blended into the roadside shrubs.... I felt truely alone ...
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The rest of the road was littered with houses and as equally windy...but nothing much I felt to take pictures of.... I wound my way back up the hillside towards my cousines and took a sharp U turn that lead me back down towards hwy One on Las Flores Road. This road had hairpin turns and gave a view out onto the brushy hillside as I passed houses and cars coming up the canyon. Definately not the road to take when needing to rush into town.
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__________________
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Last edited by MissMoxy; 11-30-2008 at 08:12 AM..
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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Yurba Buena Road
I drove into Malibu where I was expecting to see a well-developed area. Instead the town looked like any other...but upon closer look of the quaint village were posh clothing shops. I stopped and had a pre-birthday gargantuan muffin that was sickly sweet
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I then headed up Topanga Canyon along with all the other vehicles where the road curved around. Great road but fraught with traffic !

The one road I wish I had taken was Latigo Canyon- where mad map describes it as a 'tight, twisty mess but worth the views'

I stayed away from Malibu Canyon due to mad map stating 'beware of commuter traffic'- similar to Topanga canyon....fun, but not really worth driving with commuter traffic

I ended my spree for the day at 3:30 to spend time with the kids and enjoy the evening.

25th. Tuesday Morning I left at 9 in hopes that I would miss the commuter traffic heading out Topanga...luckily I would be traveling in the opposite direction on PCH. I took Tuna Canyon Road which, 1/4 of the way down the hill turned into a one way road (wahooo...no vehicles to worry about coming up...however, still in the back of my head) The road was very narrow and had a fair amout of water-filled garbage cans (due to people going over the side), hairpin turns and loose gravel. This was a delightful little twisty road that had me alternating my brakes and using my engine as braking.
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Once I hit PCH I traveled north to Hwy 23- Decker Canyon Road. This road was equally windy as well and lead me through quite the scenery change.
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The stretch from Sulphur Springs to Ojai was lined with vineyards. I was traveling the Southern and Western loop of Mad Map #6
Moorpark to Ojai there were mountains lining either side of the valley....nice.
Traveling to Ojai I passed Olive orchards (?) as well as Orange Orchards.
150 was a well traveled route as semis and cars were buzzing along. Ojai itself was a quaint but touristy spruced-up town. Once Ascending Maricopa Highway the scenery became rugged
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and cars , once again were sparse. Having the Spot tracker gave me peace of mind
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:39 PM   #3
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:40 PM   #4
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Hwy 33 North out of Ojai


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Descending to the valley below
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I think 'they' want to be sure we see it can get ICY
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Watch for snow , slippery
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Pine Mountain summit 5,160
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next 25 miles
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:43 PM   #5
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:07 PM   #6
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Descending out of the Sierra Madre Mountains was a straight stretch of 33 that was relatively uneventful flat farmland buffed on either side with mountains. From Ojai to Hwy 166 I was traveling the Eastern side of Mad Map loop # 5. I turned North on 166 and was competing with semis on the downgrade. From the intersection of 33 and 168 to Taft I was traveling the Eastern route of Mad Map #4. Nearing Taft I traveled through unsightly oilfields, across 119, up 101 thru Bakersfield to 178 up to Lake Isabella. Going up the narrow valley with steep hillsides seemed something out of Scotland. Boulders dotted the hillside with patches of golden grass and splotches of trees. I disliked traveling up this one lane road because cars were FLYING up and the 1/4 mile turnout was always around a bend....way too late to stop for the speed going. I could tell this was going to be a touristy attraction when the one lane highway turned into four. That night was spent at a KOA where it steadily rained on my tent.

26th. Wednesday I eagerly headed out to the gas station for an update on the weather. Snow was reported at 6 thousand feet. I still planned to hit County road 41 and see what the conditions were. I purchased a spare gallon of gas can and strapped it to the back of my bike (not knowing if I would find myself heading to death valley due to weather). what a site I was.
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I descended 178, hit 395 north, gassed up and fed myself hot soup in Pearsonville ready for my climb up 41. The weather was drizzly. I knew what lay ahead due to me stopping and asking people descending down the mountain. Their opinions were to turn around due to snow at 6k feet. I made it 20 miles to the Grumpy Bear Inn at Kennedy Meadows- which was closed but the friendly owners Pat and Diane were in and served me tea by the fire (they had just completed a motorcycle trip themselves). I told them I wanted to head up a little further and take a few more pictures...be careful they said
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I made it to about 7k feet before I decided time to turn around. My thermometer said 45d. I must say my bike handled excellent in the freshly fallen snow (with layer of ice underneath) and at no point did I feel a tire slip. The snow rooster-tailed off my rear tire as I traveled. The road I traveled was staying warm enough not to ice up...but seeing as no cars were coming the opposite direction and that my toes and fingers were numb....time to head back. I highly doubt I'll be doing something like that again... a check off the list !
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:32 PM   #7
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I headed back to 395....by that time the weather in the basin was clearing
I called a few BARFERS for a weather report on 395 and with the information I recieved decided to head to Tehachapi and pamper myself with a Holiday Inn to completely thaw.
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Thursday the 27th I headed thru Bakersfield on Highway 58, across Buttonwillow and was supposed to remain on 58...however, the signs were askew and I ended up taking 33 North thru a desert-wasteland-oilfield (which was dotted PINK on the mad map....argh). Cross this one off the list !! 33 crossed 46 so I took that West into Cholame (James Dean Crash site) then 41/46 West (dotted pink) into Paso Robles. While at a rest stop in Shandon I talked with a local biker who suggested a route to me that would get me to my Mercy Hot Springs.
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I liked the idea and headed thru Paso Robles to Nacimiento Drive (G14) to Lockwood which was the western side of Mad map loop #3, North on San Lucas Road (dotted pink, and no gas) which crossed 101, up 198 then North on 25 which was the western loop of mad map # 2 pettering out to pink and yellow. Lockwood Road was a gem of a scenic hideaway that spit me out onto grapevine fields ! 25 was equally impressive and windy but worrisome because, once again, gas was sparse but scenery wonderful ! Turning off on G14 all the way to Hollister there were VERY few cars. Even a few motorcyclists breezed by going the opposite direction.
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Interlake Road
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:42 PM   #8
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San Lucas Road
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53 miles to next gas...yea....right. try 100 if you don't take the turn into King City. Made it from Paso Robles to Hollister on a tank of gas. Pushing it !
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hwy 198
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38 miles Hwy 25
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__________________
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:47 PM   #9
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Hwy 25
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Hwy 25
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Hwy 25
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Mercy Hot Springs
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My foot at Mercy Hot Springs in 98 degree Sulfur Pool
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:03 AM   #10
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I had made it up 25 but had to head to Hollister to gas up. It was then to decide weather to spend the night in town or go for Mercy hot springs up a road I had no idea what the conditons were. I decided to *gulp* drive after dark....shhh...since I didn't want to spend another night in a hotel. The sun set as I tootled along J1 (panoche road) at 32 miles later came upon the Panoche Inn (a bar-only place despite the Inn name)I HAD to pee. Thanksgiving was being celebrated and a mound of food was on the table. Cheryl and Larry(the owners) handed me a plate and welcomed me for Thanksgiving with their 8 family members !! So, for an hour we sat and chatted and ate before I poked myself to get up and go the 8 miles to the Springs. Before I left, I jokingly asked what breakfast ammenities they had-Larry said all he could offer was coffee in the morning.

I slowly wound my way up to the springs...the road was harmless... As I entered the Springs a coyote darted in front of my lights and seemed unaffraid. Larry (the owner of the springs) set me up with a campsite (just behind the 98 degree pool) and Sauna. I set up my tent and hopped in the pool. I don't know how long I was in the pool....my cell was out of service...but I had a great view of the stars for about 10 minutess before cloudcover came and the outside temp dropped to 50 degrees. I hopped into the Sauna then back into the pool where I sat until I pruned and then decided to pry myself from the heater vent. Sleep was no problem but the sound of my bags rustling and the noise of feet (paws) outside my tent jarred me awake. Most likely coyote...nothing further happend that night
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:26 AM   #11
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Friday the 28th . So, after a morning soak in the pool I packed up and headed back to Panoche Inn where instead of coffee I was fed turkey dinner leftovers and eggs. Larry, a biker himself, and I chatted for a bit about roads and what to take as I snacked on the bar peanuts. He mentioned the road to New Idria which had been abandoned since 1970. I knew if I traveled all the way I would have to turn around and come back (the road past New Idra pettered out into a rough dirt road only passable by ATV to Los Gatos )...leaving me borderline having to use my spare tank of gas....ok...this was exciting...weather was good, bike was sound, road was rough and I was ready !! The views up to New Idria were excellent. There were a few farmhouses stretched out on the 25 miles to the town as well as quail and grouse hunters. The road...was in dire need of TLC and tested my suspension as well as my tires and bone stamina. It's a shame that such a stretch of road is abandoned due to how beautiful the scenery was...but, I guess, all the well it is...going back to nature. New Idria was hidden amongst the hills and the road turned to mud so I didn't get a good look. I came up to a sign saying absolutely No parking , standing, stopping or loitering at anytime the next two miles ....and a "To Hell with the Sierra Club" sign.so I decided to turn around and head back
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:47 AM   #12
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The rest of my day , as Larry at the bar suggested, was spent driving back thru Hollister 156 West, 101 North, 129 to Hwy 1. I was going to stop at a KOA in santa cruz but traffic was getting thicker heading north. So, I decided to drive the rest home and took 17 to 880 to 680.

I sat at home that evening and was amazed at where I just came from that morning....stepping outside a bar and seeing wonderful farmland with very little traffic and golden mountains...to being herded through with traffic as I neared San Jose... It was a great trip and now I think I'll head East......

I had people at every stop I made want to chat about their motorcycling experience or talk about the route I was going to take. Everyone was eager and friendly at wanting to tell their story and I learned something from everyone. The route I took the last three days of the trip were suggestions from motorcyclists that lived in the area. John highly recommended the North Eastern Part of Mad map loop #3 over the stretch from lockwood to King City as well as a San Lucas Road. He recommended coming back in Spring and traveling Shell Creek Road that runs North and South between 41 and 58. He said the fields are covered with flowers and delicate vernal pools. He also said traveling the Southern Loop of Mad Map #3- from Bitterwater Road to Santa Margarita was highly recommended.

Rick, the manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Tehachapi and I chatted at length about our motorcycles and similar crashing experiences.

The man walking his dog at Pearsonville originated from Europe and would take Europeans motorcycling up Lake Isabella Area in the summer... I had a good chat with him and his wife.

Heading out on 58 past Bakersfield I had a gas station manager eagerly come out and have a smoke and talk about my motorcycle.

Then a man who was filling up his car briskly walked up... took me a little off guard...but he just had to tell me that he and his brother rode dirt bikes and had a gsxr and he was on his 3rd hayabusa....

funny how so many are wanting to tell their stories....

This will sound sappy, BUT, this trip helped hit my 'reset' button: I thought deeply, reflected on the past, have a better idea of who I am, and have a clearer picture of what I want for my future . There's nothing like motorcycle therapy !!
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:16 AM   #13
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178 grade up to Isabella
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Descending 178 to 395
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Hwy 33 Oilfields.....
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my simple-food diet
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San Lucas Road
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:26 AM   #14
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Grumpy Bear Retreat Fire
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Hwy 198
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Hwy 25

There were straight stretches of highway 25 where if I had not had my saddlebags and gear I would have floored it. Luckily I couldn't. I would have missed the scenery
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HEY ! Let's go ride our BIKES !!!!

Last edited by MissMoxy; 12-01-2008 at 08:04 AM..
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Old 11-30-2008, 08:46 AM   #15
MissMoxy
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: nearer the water
Motorcycles: Vstrom650, stuff of stories: F800st, Vstrom650, sv650s, Dr350
Name: Nibor
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Cows next 16 miles
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Warming up at Grumpy Bear
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Mullholland Rd
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Ascent North out of Ojai
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25/198/Peachtree Rd intersection
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HEY ! Let's go ride our BIKES !!!!
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