Lockwood-Cerro Noroeste
It exploded ... water bottles and all.

284 miles, approximately: 5:04 hours travel time.

Pictures by:  The Captain and Mr. Speedy

[ Saturday - August 2, 2008 ]

Both Nu and I are wondering if the rest of the day is going to be as bad as the morning.  We're sitting at a Chevron gas station at Frazier Park and Nu has just dropped his bike.  He even bent the Captain's shift lever a little in the process.  "Let's get all of the drama out now so we don't have to deal with it later." he says.  Fortunately, the rest of the day did work out this way.

Going back to the beginning of it all, it's 7:45 AM and I get a ring on my cell phone.  It's Nu.  He wants me to open the door.  I said, "You're here already?"  He replied, "I aint buyin' no beer for nobody!"  Funnier than hell.  I had posted on the forum several night before that those who are interested in today's ride are required to be at my place between 8:00-8:30 AM.  Additionally, the last person to show up at the meeting location, is required to buy a round of beer for everybody.  Jesting or incentive?  It all depends on your perspective.  I wasn't even in the suit yet.  No matter, it didn't take long for me to get ready.

The 8:00AM crew.

The 8:30AM crew.

8:00 AM, the Captain shows up.  He's not going to be buy beer for anybody.  At about 20 minutes later, Bryan shows up.  Obviously he's not buying beer for anybody.  Now there's only two left.  Is it going to be Mr. Speedy (Russell) or Shorty (Mike)?  It's going to be a close race.  Only time will tell.  About 8:45 AM, Mike shows up.  Oh man!  It looks like Russ is going to pick up the tab the next time we head to a bar.  Actually, Russ would have been here sooner if it hadn't been for the fact he couldn't find his wallet.  That would definitely put a crimp on things to ride around without a license.  Not to mention he wouldn't have money to buy us all that round of beer.

The lineup.

We make a fairly quick stop at a Starbucks and then headed out.  Here is where all the troubles begin.

1 - As we make our way on the 210, Russ rides up to me and flashes his helmet strap.  Crap!  He forgot to strap his helmet on.  OK.  We'll just pull over towards the slow lane and keep on moving at a slow pace.  Well, that was the thought at least.  When Russ pulled over so did Mike and Bryan.  The ending result, we all pull to the side of the freeway.  With all this traffic, I don't know if we'll be able to get back on the freeway without one of us getting creamed.  Big rig after big rig is passing us not to mention the uncountable number of cars.  Eventually, I see Russ shooting pass us in the fast lane.  Time to go, but we can't.  There's way too much traffic.  There's a window, but then it disappears.  Another window comes, and goes.  On and off it goes until finally, I see a big gap between two cars.  I yank crank the throttle and I slam on the PPT and scream, "Go! Go! Go!".  Nu pops out ahead of me and gets into formation.  Eventually, we're all back in formation and continue on.

2 - We're on the 134 Fwy heading east, and we're about to merge onto the 5.  We're holding formation, or so I thought.  As we take the junction between the 134 and the 5, a stupid Mercedes driver breaks our formation.  Just because the idiot doesn't know how to negotiate speed and can't plan his route ahead, doesn't give him the permission to break a motorcycle's formation.  I can see Bryan riding around him on the left side to get pass the Mercedes' stupid maneuver.  Eventually, the Mercedes get up to me and I gave him a dirty look.  Once the helmet cam is spotted, all bets are off.  With this new insight, the driver backs off a bit.

3 - I get reports of Bryan's cooler is shaking around pretty badly.  At Valencia Bryan radios he's going to pull over but we should keep going and he'll catchup.  Unfortunately, the minute Bryan pulls off, so does Mike and Russ.  The remaining three of us stay on the freeway in the slow lane.  At one point, the Captain takes and exit off of the freeway.  I was wonder what the heck he's doing, but he comes right back and join Nu and myself.  As if this wasn't bad enough, now there's stopped traffic.  The Captain, Nu and myself get stuck in the slow lane while the other three zipped right pass us.  Crud!  Time to get moving.  I spot an opportunity to change lane and gave out another yelp on the two-way, "Go! Go! Go!"  Unfortunately, the Captain doesn't have a radio so he doesn't know Nu and my intention.  Now the Captain is left straggling behind.  I told Nu to catch up to the rest and take the Lake Hughes exit in Castaic if the Captain and I aren't able to meet up with them.  Slowly but surely, I see the Captain in my rear view mirrors.  He eventually forms up behind me.  On the other hand, now that he's caught up, I'm going to catch up to the rest.  I want to change lane but there's a car to the left and towards the back.  The guy came up but isn't passing me fast enough.  I decided to go anyway.  As I signal and turned my head to look, he spotted me and allowed me to change into his lane.  I gun it and caught up with the rest.  I was hoping the Captain would do the same but he's caught in traffic again.  Eventually, we get around all the madness, ignore the Lake Hughes exit, and keep climb the hills of the 5.

4 - As we near Gorman and Frazier Park, I get a chime on the two-way from Bryan and Nu, that Bryan has tossed his cooler.  The speed at which we're riding along with the excessive vibration from the freeway caused the cooler to fly off of his pillion seat.  Mike was behind Bryan and saw his life flash in front of him.  Nu later told me, "The cooler fell off.  It exploded and everything flew out of it, water bottles and all."  Once again Bryan pulled over to the side of the Fwy and so did Russ and Mike.  The Captain, Nu and myself, kept going until we too eventually pull off to the side.  Man this sure is a bad morning.  Way too much drama.  The good news is, we only have another 6 miles to get to our first destination.  Frazier Park.

5 - With only 1 1/2 miles left, we have to get into the slow lane to prepare for our exit.  We run into a slow truck and go around him.  At 1/2 mile to the exit, another big rig changes lane and get in front of our group.  Now we're crawling at 55 MPH.  I get a chime on the radio from Nu that we should haul it.  Haul what?  There's a big rig in front of me.  I'm not going to argue with something that weighs at least 10x more than me.  It's a low and agonizing exit, but we exited the freeway nonetheless.

6 - We get to a Chevron gas station to top off before we head out for the Lockwood-Cerro Noroeste loop.  I fill up the cooler with ice and drinks.  Nu drops his bike.  He had dropped his glove and was trying to go for it.  Boom it goes.  The Captain, Bryan, Nu and myself all helped to pick up the 650GS.  We didn't need four people to pick up a 390 lbs bike but it sure made the pickup really easy.  Yes.  Hopefully this is the end of all the drama and the rest of the day can be free of troubles.

That's the road we're going to take when we come back around.

At last, we're on the our intended route.  It felt like a chore just to get out here.  However, as I look around at the surrounding country side, I just know in my being that this is going to be an awesome ride.

Lockwood, as beautiful as ever.  We are greeted by a large meadow upon entrance.  Immediately all concepts and thoughts of a metropolitan life fades away into the background.  Even a burned out forest in the distance is better than any man made skyline.  Sections of road where there are suppose to be stream crossings are all dried out.  I'm told by Bryan and Nu that we're still in a drought period.  It's very apparent this is the case from the looks of the surrounding terrain.  I've been telling the guys to watch out for washouts and loose rock but I never anticipated the road conditions to be as bad as it is.  There are many sections of the road where you can't see tarmac.  If it was just small sections here and there, that would be OK.  However, the smattering of dirt on the road is pretty proliferated.  The Captain, Mike, Nu, and Russ all experienced sliding tires as they took some of the sharp dirt filled corners.  I was fortunate enough not to experience any sliding, but it was on my mind nonetheless.

Some how Lockwood appears to be a lot shorter this time around.  Turn here.  Turn there.  There you have it.  We're sitting at the three way intersection between Lockwood Valley road and the 33 Hwy.  We make the right hand turn to head north on the 33 Hwy.

When I originally planned the route for today, I was concerned that it would be too much work to come back on Lockwood.  As a result, I made the grand decision to head out on Lockwood first then come back on Cerro Noroeste.  So far, it has proven to be a wise decision.

It's about 12:30 PM.  We should probably stop somewhere for a bite to eat, but the GPS doesn't show any dining establishments around here.  No name brands at least.  We pass up one place, then find another place.  Just as we're about to pass up the second place.  I pull the moto train to the side of the road and ask the gang whether we're ready for some food.  "Sure!" they all said.  We make a U-turn and head into the parking area.  Hoo hoo!  What do I see?  Covered parting for motorcycles.  This is way cool.

Covered parking for motorcycles only.

The man... and his machine.

Unfortunately, the Cafe is closed.  Only the pistachio and convenience store are open.  Bryan asked the clerk if there is another restaurant near by.  She said, "About two miles down the road.  There is a place you can eat.  It's called The Place on the right side of the road.  You can't miss it.  It's painted yellow."  With that, we come back out, suit back up, and take off for some needed food. It's a bar/cafe.  It looks nice enough.  There are tables outside so we decided to have lunch in the great outdoors and tend to the bikes at the same time.  A table under a shady tree is just what the doctor ordered.  Man, I can almost lie down and take a nap.  It's so comfy.  In fact, Mike had spread his moto coat on the grass and was lazying about.

Let's see.  "The Place" burger, a hamburger, a cheese burger, and a lobster burger (I can't remember what the other two orders were).  Some Pepsi, and some Lemonade.  It sure hits the spot.  After the meal and general discussions about things like... anacondas, we're all ready for a nap.  While we're sitting there yammering away, about silly stuff, Bryan went into the restaurant to check on the check.  The bugger ended up picking up the tab.  What's the heck?  It was a really nice thing Bryan did.  Thanks for the wonderful lunch Bryan.  After being broke from taking an extended vacation in the British Isles, he still manages to treat us all to lunch.  What more can I say.  he's a genuinely nice guy.

As we get to our bikes, there were two bikers with female pillion riders.  I didn't make much of it and continue to suit up.  In the process of getting ready Bryan couldn't produce the two-way radio he brought for this day.  Fearing he might have dropped it at the pistachio place, he quickly suited up and took off to chase it down.  I was hurriedly getting ready, and I'm almost ready to go.  As I dawn the last piece of equipment, one of the female pillion rider ask Nu which way we were heading.  Nu point north and said, "That way."  With the question answered, she winked at Russell.  SScreeeech!!! You're probably doing a double take and re-reading the last sentence.  Yes, she talked to Nu but winked at Russ.  Poor Russ was shocked and caught by surprise so he didn't know what to make of it.  By the time Russ received the flirtatious gesture, I was already long gone.  Chasing after Bryan to see if  he indeed  had dropped the radio at the pistachio place.  No joy.  Instead, he found it in a different compartment in his backpack.  That's cool.  So long as he finds it, that's all that matters.  As for Russ' social encounter, what happened?  Nothing happened.  However it left him with a big fat question mark floating above his head.  Something to the effect, "... wait, she was talking to Nu, but winked at me?  How does that work?"  Fast motorcycle drivers and even fast pillion riders.  Hm...

Back on the 33 we go.  We hit the T between the 33 and the 166 and make a right hand turn to head towards the entrance to Cerro Noroeste.  Thank god I have a GPS.  If it hadn't been for the GPS warning me about the distance to the entrance, I would have missed it completely.  It was right behind a blind turn.  At last, the beautiful part of this loop.  The first thing that occurred to me is how bright the center divider is.  They have recently been repainted.  Nice bright yellow.  Just a couple months ago, the center line was barely visible.

Parts of the road looks choppy but on the whole, it's nice and smooth.  This lower section of Cerro have some really nice curves.  At one point, we encounter the very first tightening turn.  As I shoot pass the yellow line my thoughts were, "Crap!  I didn't see that one coming."  However, as I look in my rear view mirror, the Captain took my line and ended up over shooting also.  Ha ha, I'm not the only one that missed it.  The good news is there is no opposing traffic for miles.  This is the perfect spot to make such a mistake.  However, I have to make a concerted effort to spot the tightening turns and crank the bike a little more.  Surely enough, there were several more similar turns and I nailed them all.

As we come to a straight section, there were a group of cars parked on the side of the road.  What's this?  These people all have high power cameras and binoculars.  What the heck are they looking at.  When the Captain ask me what I thought they were looking at, I said, "They probably spying on nudists sun bathing."  He laughed, but I don't he believed me.  Then again, who cares.  It's such a beautiful day for a ride that I don't much care to be curious.  Just soaking up nature's view is plenty good for me.

Bryan, Mike and Russ stopped to take some pictures of the valley below.

Nu is just happy to be riding on such a beautiful day.

Yup!  Happy to be on the road.

The further and further we go up the mountain, the more beautiful and spectacular the view becomes.  The last time we road Cerro Noroeste, I loved it.  Now, I love the road even more.  Heading in the opposite direction definitely makes the ride more interesting also.  Everybody is enjoying the ride and the scenery.

Yet another stop to take in the view.

The Captain definitely has an eye for a scene.  This is poster quality folks.

Check out that machine man!  3 years old and it still looks brand new.

Oh come on!  What's this?  No middle of the road picture?

There you go!  A middle of the road picture.

Who's that cool space dude in the middle of the road?

Is he going insane?

Eventually we're riding a ridge of one of the mountain's tentacles.  You can look left and right and see valleys below.

As like before there are more tightening turns.  The one thing about riding in a pack of friends, all your friends can see you make mistakes.  Nu experienced this when Russ is trailing him.  In Russell's words, "He was running out of road fast.  He had to do something really quick otherwise he's going to be off the road.  I was afraid he wasn't going to make it, but he eventually pulled it back."  Nu was leaning the bike into the turn but it wasn't good enough.  He had to get off the seat and really drag knee to make that turn.  Well, he didn't quite drag knee but he got off the seat and that was good enough.  It saved him.  That's good, we don't need ambulances on our rides.

All good things must come to an end.  Cerro Noroeste ended and rolled right into Mil Potrero.  Mil Potrero isn't as spectacular as Cerro Noroeste but it's just as fun.  It felt like we're riding through the Mammoth region.  Tall pine and redwood trees.  It rolls back and forth until we reached Pine Mountain Club.  That's where Russell had the scare of his life.  He didn't make a mistake and ride into opposing traffic's lane, it's the other way around.  A big bashed up blue ford sedan is cutting mountain road corners and crossed the double yellow with all four wheels.  Poor Russ was in the middle of a turn when the idiot came right into his lane.  It nearly killed him but thankfully nothing happened and Russ is still with us today.  In reality, if Russ was in a car, he would have been smashed into.  Even with a cage I don't know if anybody would survive a head on like that.  It has to be at least 40 MPH either way.  That would add up to 80 MPH with a head on impact.  It's an ugly sight with a sudden stop after 80 MPH.  It sounds funny coming from a motorcyclist, but when are these people going to figure out that these Hwy roads are not race tracks and they should slow down.  As for us, even thought we're leaning and all, we're still keeping to our lanes and the speed limit.  In fact, getting off the seat is allowing us to maintain control and stay within our lanes.  Fortunately thing worked out to be uneventful.  It's bad enough to hear let alone experience.  Man!  I hope he/she/it wasn't drunk because that would be really bad.

Similar to Cerro Noroeste, Mil Potrero ends.  Oh darn!  Again, all good things must come to an end.  We're headed back to Frazier Park.  Russ flashes the signal, finger to the gas tank.  He wants fuel.  Once again, we stop at the same Chevron gas station that we went to earlier today.  This is when I found out about Russell predicament.  I told Russ, "Well, If anything, I'm just glad you're still with us."

Some suspect we're getting back on the 5 Fwy.  I say, "No $#^%@ way!"  I've had my share of the 5 today and I hated it when I was on it.  Nope!  We're taking an alternate route.

Before we left the gas station, the Captain was desperately looking for a Starbucks.  I looked for a Starbucks on my BMW Nav III and a Starbucks showed up bit it's miles away from here.  I knew he wasn't happy when I told him there wasn't a Starbucks within the vicinity.  Still he insisted on coffee and I promised to try and find something in Gorman.  We take the Peace Valley road (the old I5) to get to Gorman.  I look and look.  There are no coffee shops anywhere.  The closest thing is the Sizzler's restaurant.  When I gestured to the Captain that there are no other places for Coffee, I can tell he was a bit disappointed.  He knows he's tired.  Still we continue on with the promise that we'll get coffee later.

We turn back out onto Gorman Post road and continue south.  For once it doesn't feel so bad to ride this road.  I think it has to do with the fact we're traveling with the wind instead of against it.  As we get through Hwy 138 and onto Old Ridge Route, I get a ping from Nu.  "Dude, the Captain is really tired.  He's swerving back and forth."  Just then it occurred to me ... wait a minute, I have coffee in my MRE.  I got back on the horn and told Nu, "Hey!  I have coffee.  It's in my MRE."  With that Nu comes back with, "Wait I have coffee too.  I forgot about that."  "OK, we'll stop when we reach the top of the route."  Right when I get to the Old Ridge Route and Pine Canyon road three way, I signal for all to pull over.  Russell, Mike and Bryan all had question marks over their heads wondering why we stopped.  They hadn't been included in the conversation about the Captain swerving on the road so I filled them in.  I said, "We're stopping to make the Captain some coffee.  He's really tired."  With that I cracked open the MRE, pulled out the water bag and heat pack.  Nu produced two small bags of intense instant coffee.  I put water from the Captain's Camelbak into the little MRE water bag.  I then put a little bit of water from my Camelbak into the heat pack.  Within a matter of seconds, the heat pack was super hot.  "Alright!  Coffee is coming right up."  The Captain even dared to ask, "Are you sure it's hot enough to boil the water?"  I replied, "Here, you touch it."  "Wow, that pretty good."  Minutes later with the water almost boiling hot, the Captain adds the super duper intense coffee into the bag and shakes it up.  After downing a couple of gulps, I can see the Captain's spirit rise like a phoenix.  Jokingly he says, "OK, forget LA, let's go to Mammoth right now."  Yes!  I see a remarkable difference in the Captain.  Nothing like a little substance abuse to get the blood flowing.

Now he's wired!

The MRE that saved the Captain.

Give me every last crumb of that spicy pound cake!

Yum! Yum! Yum!  Cracker and strawberry jam.

And we're off.  Pine Canyon road it is.  We saw two cars the entire time we're on this road.  That makes it all that much nicer to have so little traffic.  Similar to, but not exactly the same, Lockwood, there is also sand and rocks on the dirt.  However, it's nowhere near as severe.  It's all a pleasant little ride.  Until the road ends into the bigger version of Pine Canyon road.  We hang right and head towards Lake Elizabeth near Lancaster.

Wouldn't you know it.  I missed the turn onto Elizabeth Lake road and ended up making the entire train do a U-turn.  It goes to show, you can have a GPS but if you don't read it right, you'll still get lost or end up making U-turns.  I'm surprised the Captain didn't give me grief for this one.  San Francisquito, Spunky Canyon road, and ultimately Bouquet Canyon road.  This is where another action packed segment of this all day ride begins.  BTW, for some reason my Bluetooth headset is not working with the BMW Nav III.  It probably has something to do with the recent firmware upgrade that I did.  I have to look into this later then I get home.  This is the main reason why I missed the turn (e.g. no audio cuing).

For those that are not familiar with Bouquet Canyon road, it is a superbly curvaceous road.  Just the type of road you'd want to ride if you want to test your skills regarding scrape toe guard, foot pegs, and other such equipment.  The line up goes: me, the Captain, Mr. Speedy, Bryan, Mike, and Nu.  The way things spread out, The Captain was on my tail, Bryan was on Mr. Speedy's tail, and Nu was on Mike tail.  It's funny how everybody end up being paired up like that.  Anyway, this is where the battle begins.

It's a fight between the BMW R12R and the Honda Blackbird!

I'm off my seat cranking the bike over.  What do I see?  The Captain is right on my tail.  He's putting the pressure on.  Dam!  I can't get rid of him.  I lift up my rear, plop it back down with one bun off the seat, and pull the bike soft or hard depending on how tight of a turn I want to make.  As I go into the corner, I see the Captain coming up right behind and tail my arshe.  Once I reach the apex, I accelerate out and put a little distance between me and him.  When I reach the next corner, he on my tail again.  That coffee is giving the Captain that edge.  He wasn't going to let me off.  That' fine!  I'm going to shoot out of the turn and try to distance myself from him again.  It goes like this turn after turn.  All this while we're both dodging sand spots here and there in some of the turns.  In one of the turns, the Captain is right on me so I have to take a bad approach.  Dam him if I'm going to let him pass me.  It was a race to nowhere folks.  As soon as the battle began, it also ends.  Bouquet Canyon road relinquishes it's tight hold on us as we ride more sweeping turns.  The Captain gave me a run for my money but it was a blast of pure fun.  He thumbed up several times acknowledging the great ride we just did.  In reality I know he wasn't trying to pass me.  He's just enjoying the road and the tight riding.

In the course of this fight between the R12R and the Blackbird, Mike was also fighting to prevent himself from crashing.  He had taken one of the corners late and encountered a sand patch.  Unfortunately he hit the sand and started sliding his front.  Being the quick thinker, he put his foot down, recovered the bike, and kept on going.  He slightly twisted his foot, but kept on trucking.  Nu caught sight of what happened and backed off the pressure.

At last we reach Sand Canyon road.  We pull over for the last time and discuss what had happened on Bouquet.  This is where I learned about Mike hurt foot and how he almost went down.  However, everything is OK and we can all make it home in one piece.

In the end, we opted to skip Little Tujunga as it will be too much to ride.  We're all tired so it's best to just take the 14 and 210 home.  With our break time through, we shook hands and started the last segment to end the ride.  As we reach Pasadena, one by one, people started peeling off and head home.  This has been a beautiful ride with an exciting end, excluding the incidences on the 5 Fwy on the way up.  This route is a keeper.  We'll have to do this again in the future.  Hopefully the next time around there will be less sand on the road.

Written on:  August 2, 2008
Last modified: August 16, 2008