Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back from Santa Maria Ride

The Deer Lodge, Ojai, CAGot back home yesterday from my ride up to Santa Maria and back.

It was just Brian and I that went on the ride.

Here's a map of the route...

http://www.motorcyclephilosophy.org/ 2008/05/santa-maria-overnight-ride.html

I posted my photos here...

http://picasaweb.google.com/cleardigital/ SantaMariaRideMay312008

Here are the highlights...

  • Big Pines Highway - Wrightwood to Valyermo (maplink) - Another killer motorcycle ride of SoCal - Mountain scenery, alpine forests, lakes, switchbacks, sweepers, what else can I say?


  • Soledad Canyon Rd - Palmdale to Canyon Country (maplink) - I've never ridden this road before. It's a nice road, well suited for novice riders yearning to find a challenge. Nothing tight, just wide sweepers and some good scenery.


  • Vince's Coffee Shop, Santa Paula, CA (maplink) - tiny little cafe offering mostly Mexican fare. Had a taco and Sprite. You sit outside on the main drag, and watch the motorcycles ride by. Makes for a nice afternoon break.


  • Highway 150 - Santa Paula to Carpinteria (maplink) - Mostly an easy road to ride with some really tight, hairpin curves just before you get into Ojai. There's some really great scenery along Lake Casitas, where the road features some fast sweepers.

  • Highway 192 - Carpinteria to Santa Barbara (maplink) - This road shows you where all the money ends up in Southern California, with views of the most luxurious mansions in Santa Barbara, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands.


  • Highway 154 - Santa Barbara to Solvang (maplink) - Not very twisty, but some decents. The main attract here is the Cold Springs Tavern, and views of Lake Cachuma.


  • Solvang, CA (maplink) - A tourist town built on a Dutch theme. Stopped here for some coffee and jalapeno cheese bread.


  • Cool Hand Luke's, Santa Maria, CA (website link) - A western-style restaurant and bar. Drank a few beers and had steak dinners. Then watched Kimbo Slice in his UFC fight to see if he'd win. As suspected, he won, considering the UFC is banking so much money on this guy.


  • Highway 166 - Santa Maria to New Cuyama (maplink) - This road's biggest claim to fame was that it took the life of Hollywood legend James Dean. Otherwise, it's a pretty easy road to ride, all wide sweepers, with some great views of canyons and mountain peaks.


  • New Cuyama, CA (maplink) - Neat little town, barely any people there, except for a gas station and a coffee shop. Always lots of motorcycles parked at the coffee shop, seems to be a great place to stop between Bakersfield and Santa Maria.


  • Cerro Noroeste Rd - Highway 166 to Pine Mountain Club (maplink) - Rated as one of my all time favorite roads of Southern California. Very twisty, mostly wide to tight sweepers, only a few switchbacks. It's a dangerous road considering there are no signs advising the speed of each curve. Awesome views of the valley. Lots of motorcycles riding this road.


  • The Screaming Squirrel Restaurant & Mad Bailey's Pub, Pine Mountain Club, CA (maplink) - I suppose what the Screamin' Chikin is to Devore, the Screaming Squirrel is to Pine Mountain Club, except with not as many bikers (probably because you have to endure some twisties to get there). The food is here is pretty good, just the standard American fare. It's really upstairs where you want to hang out, the English style pub, with some really cold beer.


  • Lockwood Valley Rd - Lake of the Woods to Highway 33 - (maplink) - Mostly a leisurely ride, but there is a stretch running through some mountains and canyons that gets really twisty, some 10-15mph curves, and a few places where water runs over the road. Otherwise, the kind of road where you want to slow it down to 55mph and enjoy the landscape.


  • Jacinto Reyes Scenic Byway - Lockwood Valley Rd to Ojai (maplink) - Otherwise known as Highway 33, this stretch is arguably the top motorcycle ride in Southern California, if not, definitely in the top three. There is a 17 mile descent from the top of Pollard Point down into Wheeler Gorge, that is absolutely wicked, just an endless series of tight sweepers that'll have you leaning left and right more times than John McCain on a campaign speech.


  • The Deer Lodge, Ojai, CA (maplink) - The best way to end one a ride along the Jacinto Reyes Scenic Byway is a stop for beer at The Deer Lodge. Brian and I had a couple of bottles of his home brewed beer (he brought along his own concoction), and we hung out and listened to some pretty good live blues. The smell of BBQ'd pig wafting through the air added the final touch to this biker experience.

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)