Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: CA Dreamin': Roads that make OH-555 look like a joke.


CA Dreamin': Roads that make OH-555 look like a joke.

I've been around enough motorcyclists out here in Ohio to hear about "the roads." Since Ohio is mostly flat without much variety in terrain, many riders flock down to the southeast corner of the state to get some sort of adrenaline rush from blind turns, unpredictable traffic, and in some cases, irresponsible vehicles that cross double lines into opposing lanes.

I've done the SE Ohio thing and there are quite a few nice areas that satisfy my need for curves and scenery because California is a 4.5 day ride from here (if I take it casually). But here's the problem with most of it: there's lots of curves out here but there's nothing to look at. Look at a sheep or some other random livestock puddling down the road and you could find yourself missing a tight corner and ending up in someone's gravel-laced driveway. Out here, the ride is just a series of curves you need to survive and maybe some greenery and cornfields to break up the monotony.

This is when I think about the roads I miss on the West Coast. These are the backroads that are so far away from the traffic of the cities and highways and yet are still less than a two hour (straight line) distance from home. These roads are simply roads. The curves are distinct to where you're not trying to discern it from the entrance to someone's house. The mountains, scenery, and if you're in the right place, the view of the Pacific Ocean, and elevation changes are breathtaking and picture-worthy. And if needed sooner than wanted, the ride back home is a straight line down a couple interstates.

Here is a route similar to one that Matt and I took on New Year's Day 2008. I've modified it so that it starts a little farther out near Banning, CA (off of I-10) and ends in Temecula, CA somewhere near a casino known as Pechanga. It also passes through Julian, CA (home of wonderful apple pies), a old-fashioned western style place that doesn't dip below 40 degrees at any given time.

I'll be throwing out more scenic roads that I've done and miss riding through, and those that put these Midwest roads to shame. As another winter passes through the Buckeye State, all I can do is dream about those routes. When I ride the motorcycle on those non-icy days, I will continue wishing I was back there too.

We enjoyed our first New Year's Day ride as a couple in this area and I hope to do it again someday. For now, all we can settle for is this "Polar Bear" ride which consists of 25 miles down I-270 to meet at a restaurant and get a cute pin to say we "survived" riding in January. Wow.

Happy New Year, everyone! It'll only get better...I hope.

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Here's a close-up of CA-243.

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Here is one of several additional options on the way, Palomar Mountain.

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