BLOG ARCHIVES

Look in the Blog Archive in the box to the right for past ride reports going back to 2006. New material posted as rides or other motorcycle news occurs. Thanks for reading. Comments always welcome, be sure to log in below. Comments will be reviewed. Please note the disclaimer below.

About Me

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Motorcycling has been a life changing experience. I hope sharing the info and pictures on the Blog gives you some idea how impressed I am with the experience, travel and the people I have met. Made new friends especially among Riders here in Orange County. Special recognition to Johney (Wrench)-helps with all the maintenance stuff+rides, plus other great riding friends: Ken Y., Luis V. & Minita, Chuck & Patty, John R., Joe, Carolyn, Gregg, Charlie & Carol, Rick, Stan P., Ed & Susan P., Barry, plus Terry, Bob B., Brian H., Glenn, William & Daveta Jo, Bob (Concho) and others. ************* DISCLAIMER: This is my personal write-up (Blog) of motorcycling news, rides and events that I am involved with in some way and not affiliated with any group, organization or club that might be mentioned herein. There should be no confusion regarding the fact these are my personal comments and not those of any other entity.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.
Monument Valley, Utah-9/2011 photo by Johney Harper!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT Walter D.Ehlers

Our flag ceremony for Wednesday August 24, was the most meaningful program ever assembled at the circle in the City of Orange.It is rare in life that you get to meet someone that has made a real difference for his entire country, for his fellow service members, his family and for freedom and has been honored as a true hero.  To me, a Medal of Honor recipient especially from WWII is a greatest warrior that was part of the Greatest Generation.  This was a true honor for me and one that I am very proud to be able to write about. 
 Staff Sergeant Walter D.  Ehlers United States Army (AGE 90)

Born on May 7, 1921, in Junction City, Kansas, Ehlers joined the Army from the city of Manhattan. He and his older brother Roland served in the same unit and participated in the fighting in North Africa and Sicily.[1]

 By D-Day on June 6, 1944, Ehlers was a staff sergeant and squad leader in the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. His squad, part of the invasion's second wave, waited off shore in a Landing Craft, Infantry, while the first group of soldiers landed. When the first wave became pinned down on the beach, his unit was transferred to a Higgins boat and sent forward early to assist. They fought their way off the beach and by June 9 were near the town of Goville, 8 miles (13 km) inland.[1] On that day, he led his unit's attack against German forces and single-handedly defeated several enemy machinegun nests. The next day, his platoon came under heavy fire and he covered their withdrawal, carried a wounded rifleman to safety, and continued to lead despite his own wounds.[2] For his actions, he was issued the Medal of Honor six months later, on December 19, 1944.
On July 14, more than a month after D-Day, Ehlers learned that his brother Roland had died at Omaha Beach when his landing craft was struck by a mortar shell.[1]
He appeared in the 1955 film The Long Gray Line, starring Tyrone Power.

YOUTUBE ORAL HISTORY

MY OWN VIDEO- Mark is our program leader.


 After this photo opportunity, I could not see much, something got into my eyes!  This really touched me.

 John getting a couple WWII books signed


 Big crowd for our flag ceremony








 Johney had Mr. Ehlers sign his Citation





Sunday, August 21, 2011

PATRIOT GUARD MISSION

We meet at Stan's home for a ride to a private airport facility on the south side of LAX to provide a flag line for a returning Army hero, Jinsu Lee Specialist U.S. Army.  Our STAR group includes Stan, Johney, John and me.   We get there rather early since traffic was light and Johney with his GPS-Nav leads right to the LandMark terminal.

His family arrives, along with military escort, hearse and a Bagpipe player.  This is the first mission I have been on where a bagpipe was played. 






 Many of the PGR riders ( some arrive by car or truck) are from our Wednesday flag ceremony in the City of Orange



 Always difficult to witness a scene like this.


Scary 8 seconds coming home:

View Larger MapI was in the right lane, SUV was in the left in a line of vehicles.

I am coming from the 91 Fwy on the overpass to the 57 north. It rises up over the freeway below with a steep curve and posted for 45 mph as I recall. I am in the right lane of the 2 lane road very near the top and heading towards the down slope part. I am passing several vehicles on my left as that line is slower and my lane is open. Suddenly a blue Cadillac SUV pulls out right into me and all I see is a huge fender on my 9 o'clock coming right at me. I attempt to swerve to the right and I know I am going to get hit. No time to blow the horn and not a lot of room to maneuver due to a wall that if I were to go over is probably 50-60 feet in the air. As I see the fender fall behind me, he must have swerved back at the last second and we avoid an encounter. I literally had to look when I arrived to make sure I was not hit.
I do not know how he put all these parts together, a very strange contraption.


Friday, August 05, 2011

Lake Cuyamaca Chapter ride

Our STAR Chapter 230 first of the month ride will take us down to San Diego where we head east on Interstate 8 and then turn north on Hwy 79 to swing past Lake Cuyamaca, about half way through the 285 mile trip.
THIS IS THE PRE-RIDE REPORT: As we zip past the lake pictured in the Google Street View scene it occurs to me that we miss a number of possible scenic viewpoints, vistas and other attractions on this trip.  Of course it is impossible to stop at every and any thing that might catch our eye, but with the help of Google we get a chance to see several sights we missed along the way.  So that is what our focus will be for this trip report...where we did not stop.

Lake Cuyamaca could very possibly be a real geological wonder, a major vacation destination and a vast water resource for all of San Diego.  It appears that the lake stretches for yards and yards out almost to the horizon it is almost that huge.  It is so large it puts many back yard ponds to shame.  It's even possible the lake has vast unknown depths reaching into the mind numbing numbers of 20 to 30 feet deep in spots, with unknown ancient prehistoric creatures just lurking beyond sight in the 10 or 15 feet deep regions of the unknown.  Could there be schools of Tuna or Salmon out there, well no, not really likely.  Because of the pristine nature of the lake and it's mystery source for water it can be really tasty to drink as long as you use several thousand dollars worth of filtration equipment including reverse osmosis and charcoal.  It's a shame we don't get to stop at the country store right there at the lake and check out all the paraphernalia related to the lakes history and current story.  No chance to buy a map book, or post card series, or commemorative pins, cups, booklets, ceramic pot holders or anything related to the lake.
UPDATE: Now that the ride is over and I actually had a chance to see the real Lake Cuyamaca, I can tell you it is everything I imagined it was, AND LESS!  It really is a rather small lake or a very big pond and I'm not even sure about the 30 foot depth part.

We could be missing the buying and scenic opportunity of a lifetime by passing up a stop here:

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Vista Point turnout off Hwy 79
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Turn-off to the Sunrise Highway, it loops all the way around back to Interstate 8.  This road takes you to Mt. Laguna, a scenic overlook as well as a lot of radar and other electronic towers.

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Where else did we not stop?  For one we did not stop in the town of Julian and for that I am grateful.  Parking there on weekends is a nightmare.  Lots of motorcycles, cars and people, plus they paved the road and parking in front of the RongBranch Restaurant.  This is Hwy 78, Main st. through town.

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All repaved except for the patch right in front for parking.
Warner Springs Ranch, I have stayed here.  Two natural hot spring fed pools. (and we just zipped past it)

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More to come... all this and I haven't even been on the ride.  this is a first.

The story continues with the actual ride report. 
The usual early morning gathering of riders and passengers







The trip south on 5 from Orange was uneventful with a quick stop in a rest area south of the checkpoint. 

We continued on to the 805 and then head east on Interstate 8, first for a gas stop and then to the turnoff for Highway 79.

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  It starts to warm up as soon as we leave the coastal San Diego area, so at the gas stop I water up the Kool Vest...it is a real life saver in the heat. 
Thar's Ken above on his gold Wing checking to see if his accessories order came in at Wing Stuff.
When we start on Hwy 79, it is exactly as I saw it through the Google Street View photo shots, so not a lot of real surprises, even though the turns and twists were plenty curvy but not intense and not in large numbers.  Our destination is the Apple Restaurant at the intersection of Hwy 79 and Julian road.

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On the road photo courtesy Susan Palaoro
We arrive and park as Group One and who should pop up behind me...none other than Wayne Moye our mystery-shadow guest rider.  He does not like group rides but will follow in our tracks and meet up with us at a lunch stop or some other location.  What a surprise.


 An even bigger surprise awaits me just as I'm about to finish up lunch.  A lady comes over and tells me she's Gloria (Lucy55) from Beginner Bikers.Org forum.  I had hoped to meet her and Vernon but there was no text message to let me know they were coming so this was a really big surprise and special treat.  This was fabulous, a rare chance to connect to some folks that I have been communicating with via our BBO Forum and HERE THEY ARE!  We catch up on a lot of things about motorcycles, rides, riding skills and what's going on in general as they order, and then it's time to get ready to mount up and head out.  This stands out as a real highlight of the entire day.
From here the group motors on 79 to the 15 Freeway then up to the 74 known as the Ortega Highway through Lake Elsinore where it is near 100 deg., over the mountains to where it connects back to Interstate 5 and our final ride destination in Orange.  What is amazing to me is that while at the end I'm tired, still I'm not totally wrung out as I would have been in the past, this is a breakthrough of major proportion.  Maybe it's the Kool Vest, or the frozen Gatorade I brought or much better riding skills so I'm riding the motorcycle not fighting with it through the turns, or maybe all of it.  It just works and I'm doing pretty darn good riding this thing and having a great time!