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Turns out the ride became a twisty road festival, but not for me.
We met up at 74 and the 5 Fwy at 8 am with Gregg, Lim, Bill (Rhino) and me. We take off and I'm following Gregg on his new SV 650. He generously offered to show me what he had learned at the Road Skills school. I gain a new appreciation for Gregg and his friendship on this ride, thanks Gregg! I did fine going up to Hell's Kitchen on Ortega, but then Gregg took off at his more normal speed as we headed down to Lake Elsinore. We were joined by 5 other riders from Southern Cruisers Riding Club with 3 lady riders and 2 other guys. Well I started falling back as we headed down into Lake elsinore and while they were patient in waiting for me, it never got better.
Our route took every side road you could think of with all kinds of turns and switchbacks. Getting on the 15 fwy we raced to keep up with the leader (Rhino) who seemed to forget that there was a string of motorcycles behind him. No such thing as back fill lane changes, hand signals or staggered riding to speak of. Turning off at Rainbow Valley we hit another stretch of back country twisting roads that led us to Hwy 76 and Pala Casino where we stopped for gas. One lady rider did drop her motorcycle in the station but no damage to speak of.
Ahead of us was our first BIG part of the ride, the trip up to Mt. Palomar via the South Grade road-a real spaghetti road if ever there was one. Absolutely unbelieveable and I could not even attempt to keep up. They waited for me and the two other riders I was holding up behind me and we got to the a stop near the top. It's definitely getting colder but I left the wind breaker on so no problems.This is just a sample...decreasing radius turns, switch backs all up hill.
From our stop at about 5200+ ft elevation we head down via the East Grade road.
A little less steep but still a doozy! Once we get back to Rte. 76, do we head for Julian? Not on your life. Instead we go through Mesa Grande Indian Reservation. The Indians purposely made these roads crazy just to keep the early settlers out and here we are riding through this. I am definitely getting tired.
Back on the Road to Julian and AGAIN we find another back country road to zip around on. I am about done. At least I made it with no real incident, no near miss or anything like that so I'm happy with the result but not the trip.
Arriving at Julian, parking is tight but we all head for the Rongbranch Restaurant and lunch. I am done and decide this is not for me. Ahead the route was going down into the Anza Borrego Desert and then back up some really tight uphill grades. I give my notice after lunch and surprised to learn that another rider, Charlie from Corona decides to go with me and just bail. I know the way back and he follows. He and the other Harley cruiser riders all did quite well and I realize my skill level is below what it might be. Gregg recommend the StreetMasters School and I might consider it, but following him from one side of the road to the other to anticipate a turn made me nervous.
The ride back was going well and we stop in Warner Springs for a quick rest break. Getting back on 79 we go 50 yards and traffic is stopped. A hay truck overturned and there is no estimate of how long it will be before it opens except "20 minutes to 4 hours" so we turn around and head back on Hwy. 76 past Pala Casino. The trip back is actually enjoyable after all the twisting, and I appreciate Charlie coming along. No idea how many miles, but enough.
It has me thinking about my skills on these group rides and I can see there will be fewer groups rides with STAR or others, although it did make me more appreciative of how STAR operates on the road. I still don't like the nit picking and over emphasis to detail by some in STAR leadership. CLICK THE PICTURE TO SEE THE ALBUM...