Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Our new home for 2 weeks and our ride to Los Padres National Forest

On Monday the 23rd, we headed north to the Rancho Oso Thousand Trails rv park. The drive to the park was an adventure in itself. We had to drive around LA.!!! The traffic was horrific for the first 125 miles. Let me tell you it's hard to find a place to pull over to use the restroom with 5 lanes of traffic going 60 miles per hour when you have no idea what the exits hold. There were no truck stops along our route. The next 50 miles was relaxing with little traffic. The next 25 miles was up, up and down and around curve after curve. The last couple of miles to the park was like none other that we have had in almost 8 years on the road. There were 3 curves that had mirrors on them so you see if anyone was coming the other way. I have no idea what you were suppose to do if there was someone coming. The road is very narrow with just enough (maybe) room to pass. Once in the park it is quite nice. The sites are roomy with plenty of room to get a large trailer backed in.
Our site for the next 2 weeks
The view out my window

  They have a tennis/pickleball court, shuffle board, a pool table, card room and miniature golf.
 One of 2 pools.

We got all set up and took a walk around the park to see what was here. When we returned to the rv our neighbors had returned on their motorcycle. How's that for good luck--another couple that rides right next door. We visited with them for over a hour and decided to take a ride the next day. Bill and Diane have been to this park several times and knew of a lot of good roads to ride.

Heading out for the day with Bill (and Diane) leading the way.

A look back to the park

The first road we took was horse farms and vineyards
We stopped in Solvang Ca. for lunch. Solvang is a Dutch town with lots of shops. We will have to return to spend more time here. Looks like a lot to see here.
 After leaving the town, we headed a little north for the Los Padres National Forest.  

The road  started to climb
The scenery was great. 
 It's getting real curvy

and curvier  
 We have ridden the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee and let me tell you that the Dragon is a punk compared to the road we were on. There many horseshoe turns with a steep upward grade. We rode about 10 miles up to an overlook and I don't think there was a straight piece of road the whole way up. What a road!!

We have reached the overlook. This is not the top of the mountain, but as far up as we went.  That is a ranch below.

 On the way way down these 2 mule deer ran across the road in front of Bill. Look real close and you will see them.
 Here's one of the tight turns. Notice no guard rails here.
On the way back we stopped to check out a stagecoach stop that is now a restaurant. We plan to return there for lunch. 

We drove over this bridge to get to the stage stop and under to get back to the rv park.
 The neat little way Diane mounted their bike.

So ended our first full day at Rancho Oso. We plan on taking more rides with our new friends in the week to come. Thursday we will ride to Lompoc, Ca. to visit with Louise's bother Tim.

Till next time
Duane and Louise

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Big Bear Lake ride

We took off on the bike this morning about 9:00 AM and headed north for the Big Bear Lake area. The first 40 miles of the trip was on the interstate. The traffic was not to bad. The next 35 miles turned into one of our favorite rides of all time. Lots and lots of curves and great views. 

I was busy with the curves and Louise was busy with the camera. 

 We pulled over and parked to get this shot of the valley below.
Big Bear Lake

This store is operated by the daughter of one of my carving friends, Bill Strickler, my mentor at carving birds. Bill is one of the best bird carvers I have ever met.

We were hungry when we got there and decided on pizza for lunch after getting a recommendation from Bill's daughter.

 I took this pic looking down the street. This area full of little shops. It reminded us of a little Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. 

We made the loop back to the valley on Rte. 38. This route was curvy but not as curvy as it was on Rte. 18 on the way up. On the trip today we climbed to an elevation of 8455 feet above sea level from 1424 at the rv park.

The views just kept coming.

This was a great trip which took us from valley to mountain and back again. The trip back was great on the mountain but turned a little bad when we hit the valley. TRAFFIC!!!!! The rest of the trip, about 30 miles, was bumper to bumper and stop and go. California has a white line law that allows motorcycles to ride the white line between cars when traffic is slow. I do NOT have the guts to do that. It looks to me like there is way to many things that can go wrong with that. There were a number of bikes pass us but I just stayed in line and  tried to stay safe. We arrived back at the park about 5:30 PM.
We are winding down in our stay at Wilderness Lakes. Monday we will move up the coast to the Santa Barbara area for 2 weeks. While there we will visit Louise's brother Tim and his wife. My next post will be from there.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wilderness Lakes Campground and visiting friends

We arrived at Wilderness Lakes Campground, a Thousand Trails campground, on Monday the 9th. The park is located about 5 miles out side of Menifee, Ca. This park is quite large with 523 sites. There are a lot pull-through's that made it easy for us to park. The sites are fairly large with picnic tables and a barbecue pedestal.  This place has about everything you could want. 2 swimming pools, one is adults only, two clubhouses, one adults only, and tennis/pickleball courts--we play every day we are in the park-- large pool hall, workout room, card room and a nice store for things you forgot to bring. If the place has a draw back, all sites are 30 amp. They are installing 50 amp service to part of the park at this time. They say these sites should be ready to rent by the end of this month.  There are lots of activities for every age group.  We keep busy with pickleball in the mornings.  Duane plays pool after lunch while I usually swim in the adult pool.  In the evening Duane plays pool with a different group.  I play games with whomever shows up.  If no one comes I work on jigsaw puzzles.  
Our site
 They have 4 pickleball courts.
 The adult pool.
 This place should be called Wilderness Canals. The lakes are laid out more like canals with back in sites all along them. The canals are stocked with cat fish but there is an extra charge if you want to fish.  I passed.
 On Friday the 13th we took off on the bike to visit with long time friend Danny and his wife Sally. We rode about 50 miles to Oceanside, Ca. where we walked out on the pier and a great lunch. 

I first met Danny when my family moved to Dayton, Oh when I was in the 7th grade. We became very good friends and spent a lot of time together. We took several trips to Florida and one trip to California together before he headed off to college and I got married. We have kept in touch every since and try to get together when ever we get close enough to each other.

Ruby's restaurant on the pier.

On Monday we saddled up and headed to Danny and Sally's house for a couple of days. The ride their house took us over the Ortega Highway. After going around Lake Elsinore, we started the climb up the mountain.
The base of the mountain
 First level view of the lake
 Here come the curves
 third level view

 Still going up
 Leaning into the curve. Louise is taking this picture over my shoulder holding the camera level.
The pass tops out at 2665 above sea level.  After climbing up you have to go down, all the way to sea level. The curves kept coming and while I was busy setting up for the next one Louise was enjoying the scenery and snapping pictures.
 This is the road leading in to Danny's house.
 Pulling up to the house.
 Sally, Danny and me
 Tuesday morning we headed in LA to visit the Gene Autry Western Museum.
 The first room we went into was a traveling exhibit on Route 66. This room brought back a lot of memories of when I traveled this route with my Grandmother years ago. This is the route that Danny and I traveled when we went to California in 1967.  In this room and several others photography was not allowed. In the rooms that you could use a camera, you could not use flash so I didn't take very many pictures inside. They had a lot of movie/tv cowboy memorabilia which I really really enjoyed since I grew up watching most of the westerns on display. There was a large gun room with a lot of guns used by famous people such as the Earps and Annie Oakley . The next room was Indian bead and quill work. What magnificent work this was. The last room western saddles, cowboy wear  and antiques. This museum is very well done and I would recommend it to anyone interested in our cowboy/western history.

Wednesday mourning we were back on the bike and heading back over the mountain to our little house on wheels. Friday were off to Big Bear Lake for the day. 
Til next time
Duane and Louise