Well, since I couldn't talk any of my regular ride companions into getting out on the road today, I thought I'd just do a little exploring. Now, I had no intention of taking pictures, so all I had along was my iPhone, which explains the barely passable quality of the pictures. I also didn't think that I'd be going anywhere that would be worth writing about, either... but here it all is anyway.
I left town via the Usual Route, and the first twisty road had dirt and sand in some of the corners, as was expected given the fact hat we have recently had some weather here in California. I didn't take any pictures at this point because I'd seen it a thousand times. Passing through Ramona and out OJH again, some dirt but not really bad at all. As I was climbing in elevation it was still warm, so I took that as a good sign.
My first "new road" was one that I'd passed any number of times and wondered if it led anywhere interesting. As it turns out, it did.
It went from nice two-lane to narrow and beat up unpainted one-lane, and led me to the Sutherland Dam:
It was a pretty little valley the dam was in, and I had had no idea any of it existed. Well, that's not entirely true. After all, the road I had taken to get there was called "Sutherland Dam Road" so I guess in the back of my mind was the possibility it would lead me to a dam- and there it was.
Well, at the dam the pavement (such as it was) ended. Bearing off to the left was a nice, inviting dirt road. So of course I took it. Again, this was not so unusual, so I didn't take any photos of the road until later.
This road Teed into another dirt road at an odd intersection. I had arrived on a dirt road, and the road leading left was dirt. The road leading right was dirt. The intersection, though, was nicely paved. I wish I'd taken a photo... Anyhow, the road sign said this new road was one I had seen (and again, wondered about) before. So, knowing that the other end of it came out in familiar territory, I hung a right. Left, I figured, went back to Ramona. I'll check it out sometime in the future.
Heading up the canyon, the dirt road was in great shape. Surfaced with DG (decomposed granite- like really large grains of sand) the rains had firmed it up nicelay and it was a lot of fun. Out in the middle of BFE, though, I came across something really, really odd. I was at least ten miles up this dirt road from the nearest pavement leading toward town, and about the same to the next paved road ahead, as it turned out, but here in this little canyon was a suburban neighborhood. A few square blocks of tract homes with nice yards, and cars in the driveways. A dog barked at me from the security of his fenced yard... all in all, completely typical. Except for the fact that no-one on earth knows it's there. Well, OK the residents know, and now I know, too... After I passed it I got to a good spot to view it and I took this picture:
You can't really see it in the photo, but there are four streets, each one a couple of blocks long. I saw no store or anything like that, but there was a nice little park.
See the road on the left in the picture? That's the dirt road I'd been on for a while.
After a while I got to where I'd remembered the top end of the road should be. It looks great from here, and honestly it was a fun road.
About halfway down was this sign:
I opted to head back down it to the junction I'd entered from and go the other way, but got sidetracked when I saw this side road:
Unable to resist the siren's song, I plunged madly forward to my doom. Or so it seemed after a little while.
I had to make two runs at it because I didn't have enough momentum to bump up the little rise on the other side of the washout. You can see where my front tire plowed into the bank on the other side. I sure could have used one of those dirt bikes just about then. Wrestling my bike back out of the washout took a fair bit of effort, so I stopped to take a breather before getting going again. When I took out my phone to take the picture I saw I had cell reception, much to my surprise. That also meant I had a data connection for my phone's GPS to tell me where the eff I was, and how much more of this I had to go to get to civilization. Turns out is was only twelve more miles, and I really hate to turn back around...
Here was the view back the way I'd came:
See that dirt road way back there on the hillside? Yeah, I didn't want to admit defeat and go back that way at all. As it turns out, that washout's big brother was just around a couple more turns, and there were some bog boulders (waist high or so) to slalom though immediately after the washout. Learning from my recent mistake I kept on the gas and powered though. Sorry, I wasn't about to stop on the steep climb to take pictures of that section. Maybe next time, OK?
Soon after that the road headed down into a lovely little valley (again, one I had not known of before). My last obstacle was a big pipe rail gate across the road. Evidently they didn't want motorized vehicles on the road I'd been on for the last hour and a half- imagine that. I snuck around the right side of the gate, pushing the barbed wire fencepost over enough to give me room to sidle on by. Again, a skinny bike would have been nice through there.
A left hand turn past the gate, and here it was:
Gloriously smooth and hard pavement. I was happy to see it.
I headed back to town, got some gas and a coke, and back out on the road I went. I headed over to Palomar. Here's a shot of the hills in the distance:
At first going up the fast side of Palomar I was amazed how clean it was. A little higher in elevation, though, brought me to this:
And some more:
This is halfway up the hill:
I crossed over the top, still amazed at how clean the road was. Wet, sure, but very little dirt or sand. Sorry I didn't take any pictures on the way down the front.
Stopping for gas at the Casino gas station, I realized I'd better head home. The temperature was dropping fast as the afternoon wore on, and I was sporting my smoked visor, so I didn't want to be on the road after dark.
I certainly wasn't about to pass up more fun opportunities, though, so I didn't head straight back to the freeway. No, I took the sceninc route:
And that's my last photo, and pretty much the end of my tale. A few good roads later I was on the freeway, and home again by a quarter after 5.
All in all, a fine day of riding.
Edited to fix photo links.