(Welcome to S6 - Palomar Mountain Road.)
This road is the reason motorcycles dominate Palomar Mountain. It's not an easy road and it's ranked as the most technical road in California. This is a snap shot of it. More map views in the entry below.
So as promised, this update will be more of a ride report than a smattering of photos of donuts and foreigners flashing peace signs (well, maybe a few here too). When I ride, I dislike stopping and taking photos. Disrupting the flow is bad enough but once I get back on the bike, I have to pass all the same cars again, so that's a double bummer. Nevertheless, I've managed to take a few pictures of my weekend with students on Saturday then Palomar on Sunday. We made a few stops here and there but not nearly as many photos as you may like, but still, it's better than nothing.
Send all complaints to yourself. ^_^
Yesterday, I met up with 3 of my students at a Starbucks on Ortega Highway, just missing a large group of OC Moto guys by half an hour. I hadn't been on Ortega in quite a while and the weather was perfect that day, but I couldn't ride north on the famous mountain road because I was going to ride south on the famous 5 freeway. Regardless, it was a beautiful start to a great weekend. 77 degrees and clear skies greeted us as we had our coffee and discussed what the day would entail.
(Starbucks at the beginning of Ortega Hwy. 27211 Ortega Hwy. San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675)
Setting off, they followed me onto the main artery and we covered 63 miles and crossed 3 freeways to arrive at Balboa Park. I was dead bored so I played with the tow car and since there wasn't any traffic, the girls decided to play tag and take photos. I was, in all honesty, very impressed with how fast they went and they did a good job trying to keep up.
It was later reported that the two passengers were screaming at the driver to slow down.
(Me being bored somewhere along the 5 freeway.)
When we slowed down, I started riding circles around the Lexus. Tailgated for a photo.
From the 5 to the 805 to the 163, we arrived at Balboa Park. Parking was easy enough (for me) and after meeting up at the giant fountain, they didn't waste time in taking group photos. I really dislike being in pictures unless I have my helmet on, but they're kind of hard to say "no" to. I mean, look at them.
Would you say "no" to anything they asked?
I didn't think so. And neither would I.
Since I ride down to Balboa and San Diego quite often, I let them go ahead and just followed along. They took various photos while I wandered around and ignored them.
(Here's a big fountain.)
(Here's a greehouse with a pond in front of it.)
(Here's an ornate building.)
(Here's an ornate hallway or archway or something.)
Occasionally I'd revisit and give them some historical facts about the place or suggest that they go look at that thing over there. At some point, they got hungry so I recommened we go to the only decent restaurant in the park.
I ordered appetizers and pointed at a few main dishes. They of course took pictures of almost everything. (Kobe Beef sushi w/ wakame and ginger Ponzu dressing, Pressed Arugula salad with candied walnuts and strawberry vinaigrette, Seafood Paella, Mushroom Risotto with White Truffles. Not Shown: Farmer's Salad with goat cheese, Crab with Shrimp and Lobster cakes.)
After lunch, we took a walk to the Japanese Garden for tea and dessert. We had a sampling of Sencha, Gen Maicha, and Sakura teas along with some green tea ice cream. The Green (sencha) and Green with toasted brown rice (Gen Maicha) were good, but the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) tea tasted similar to Bubblicious gum, so I traded my Gen Maicha with my student so that she wouldn't have to suffer through it. A friend of mine who rides a Harley 1200S and lives in San Diego was at the dog park on the other side of the bridge. He came by for a visit with his dog, Wattsford Enner (What's For Dinner). I hadn't seen him in about a year or so. He'd grown some face fungus and I told him to shave. This was his response.
Afterward, we took a stroll through the Japanese garden which is small but always pleasant and relaxing.
(Koi Pond. My second favourite place in the garden.)
(Rock Garden. My most favourite place in the garden.)
Nearing 3pm, my students decided to go to the hotel where I was staying for the night.They could not make it a two-day adventure but they wanted to see the hotel that I normally reserve when I take overnights in San Diego.
(Harbor Tower at the entrance of the Hyatt Grand Manchester.)
I also recommended that we have dessert and enjoy the view from the Top of the Hyatt lounge 40 stories above the waterfront (see top of the the Harbor Tower in photo above). Figured it would be a nice way to end the day for them. I ordered two desserts and coffee while they walked around and took pictures of the view of the city and harbor.
(On the Right side is the beginning of the Del Coronado Bridge.)
(Del Coronado Bridge.)
(Pool 36 stories down. Across is the Seaport Tower.)
(Custard Fruit Tart with raspberry something or other.)
(Chocolate ice cream truffle filled with vanilla cream and raisins soaked in amaretto. Rolled Dark Chocolate shell stuffed with seasonal fruit and painted with gold. Some more of that raspberry something or other.)
Afterward, they said their good-byes and started on their way home. I on the other hand went across the lobby to Redfield's and had a beer while waiting for my room to be ready.
My riding partner arrived at a bit past 6pm and we grabbed dinner at Sally's adjacent to the hotel. Great seafood and creative sushi. Steak cooked exactly right. (No photos because, well, the girls are gone and we don't care.) We called it an early night because we'd be riding through Julian and Palomar the next day.
(Ariel Shot of S6 -Palomar Mountain Road- downloaded from Google)
As tradition dictates, we stopped in Julian for Apple Pie before entering Palomar.
(Slice of Dutch Apple and Vanilla Ice Cream.)
Palomar Mountain hosts 3 of the most technical roads in California - S7, S6, and Nate Harrison Grade. Once there, you don't bother with photos, BUT getting there is nice and you can calm your mind before getting mashed in the corners. At the end of the road is Palomar Observatory, a great place to walk around, stretch your legs, rest your eyes, and learn something new.
Google Map View of Palomar Mountain Road
The sun was shining and the breezes kept us cool. There were A LOT of other riders on the road today given the weather conditions and we didn't see too many police. Nice day.
There's not much to see in Palomar except vast expanses of vegetation and several fields hosting livestock. It's not the most amazing place to feast your eyes but that's part of the reason why I like it so much. You can focus on the road and not feel as though you're missing something, and on the rare moments that you do look elsewhere, you get just enough to make you feel that you're somewhere else, far and away. It ain't Tahiti, but it's good enough for me.
(Leaving Santa Ysabel, entering Palomar.)
(Some grass, and trees, and horses, and sky with birds in it.)
(Some more grass, and trees, and sky....but no horses or birds.)
(More land with a few blurry flowers.)
After leaving Palomar, we got on the 15 freeway and stopped at The Lookout on Ortega Hwy to stretch. Ortega was the last leg of our ride and we passed the Starbucks where my students and I had met the morning before when the weekend began. It was a nice way to wrap things up.
Now it's time to do some work on the VFR. Front tire needs to be replaced and the brakes need to be bled. In addition, some valve adjustments are in order along with a cleaning. My rear tire is practically new so I'll wait until I wear down one more PR2 in the front before transitioning over to the PR3's. My stock lights were put back in for the time being while I wait for another set of lights to come in the mail. I'm hoping these work better than the HID's which were total crap.
Blackbird is also due for a new front tire but he's running on Dunlops.
Riding buddy and I are home now and I still have a stack of papers to grade, but instead I've been writing this blog and uploading pictures.
5:30am wake-up call and a workout to start the day tomorrow which is threatening to bring rain. I suppose I can't complain since we get so much great weather here.
Time to make dinner. After two days of eating over-priced tourist food and Hyatt hotel cuisine (this morning was in the giant breakfast buffet), our bodies are in desperate need of some home cookin'. I'll make some salmon and corn and rice tonight. In the morning, I'll feed the VFR 6 gallons at $4.33 each.
Not a cheap date and very high maintenance, but that's love I guess. =)
As always, thanks for reading.