6th North County Cruisers

Angeles Crest Highway/ Big Bear Adventure

September 23rd-25th, 2011

Writeup by Steve Malott

Pictures by Alan Miller, Roger Perez, Carol Dugger, and John Piner

Previous Angeles Crest Rides:

October 1st-3rd, 2010 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

Our Angeles Crest Highway Group

For this trip, we set up several options for our riders. You could arrive on Friday night and check into the Cajon Pass Best Western or you could ride up on Saturday morning. A third option was to ride up on Sunday morning in order to ride Big Bear. We have people who took advantage of each option. We had a number of people who rode Angeles Crest Highway and then headed home.

Related Links:

Angeles Crest Route Instructions

Big Bear Route Instructions


Friday, September 23rd - Riding to our Cajon Pass Hotel

There were six of us who decided to drive / ride up to the hotel on Friday. I trailered my bike and Rebecca Buys' bike while Mike Buys followed on his goldwing. A second "faster" group including John Piner, Mary Barrington, and Carol Dugger left at the same time. My group got there first.

Mary had changed the oil on her bike on Thursday night and apparently didn't tighten the oil plug enough. It vibrated out and her bike spewed hot oil on her leg. She said there was no burn but her leg was pink. She stuffed a rag in the oil feed and her group rode to Chaparrel on I-215 where she bought a new plug.

Our group then rode to Wrightwood for a late lunch / early dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Wrightwood. We then rode to Silverwood Lake. That evening, we gathered by the swimming pool for wine, cheese, and crackers.


Saturday, September 24th - Angeles Crest Highway

Angeles Crest Road Map

We had 25 bikes and 30 people on our Angeles Crest Highway. Our group included Mike and Rebecca Buys, John Piner, Carol Dugger, Mary Barrington, Steve Malott, Paul Garren, Steve DeRosa, Rick Widmark, Brian Pope, Darren and Norma Hooper, Cynthia Carter, Lew Thompson, Conny Ross, Roger Perez, Randy, Shirley, and Emily Richardson along with Randy's friends Dean, Joe, Leo, and Omar plus their passengers, Carolyn Chapman, Mike and Susan McCarthy, and Burt Sherriff.

The map above shows the normal route that we take for Angeles Crest Highway. This year, Angeles Crest Highway was open for it's entire length. However, Upper Big Tujunga was closed due to an avalanche. After the Big Tijunga dam, we rode right on Angeles Forest Highway and then turned left on Angeles Crest Highway.

We had a group of 10 bikes (led by Paul) arrive at 8:15 A.M. They rode up from the San Diego area and would return home after the ride. A long day! We departed from the hotel at 9 A.M. The group of 25 bikes took a while to get clear of the hotel parking lot.

Start of the ride

Unlike last year, we had perfect riding weather. We rode thru Wrightwood and then started climbing Angeles Crest Highway. We stopped at the first viewpoint and took the group photo shown at the start of this writeup.

Climbing to Wrightwood

We continued riding West and had some confusion as part of our group stopped at the Jarvi viewpoint and the second half continued past. We quickly regrouped and took our next break at Newcomb's Ranch.

We next took a side trip up to Mt. Wilson. This road is narrow and twisty compared to the gentle sweepers we had ridden on Angeles Crest Highway. The view of Los Angeles is normally impressive but all we could see were the tops of the clouds. We did get a nice view of the Mt. Wilson antennas.

Mt. Wilson Antennas

We continued East on Angeles Crest Highway and rode down to I-210. We took I-210 West for 8 miles and exited at Sunland. We had our lunch in Sunland with most of our group stopping at the Jack-in-the-Box..

Following lunch, we regrouped and rode North on Oro Vista which turned into Big Tujunga Road. We stopped at the view point for the Big Tujunga dam. This area had been decimated by a fire in 2009 but is noticeably greener now. You can still see remants of the fire damage.

At this point, we split up into separate groups where everyone could ride at their own pace, take pictures if they wished, with the plan to regroup at the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center. This is always a popular section of the ride. Our fast riders can satisfy their need for speed (within the speed limit) while our other bikes can enjoy a leisure ride.

San Andreus Fault

We toured the Visitor Center and part of our group split off to ride back to San Diego. We had a group of 10 bikes that took the side trip to the Devils Punch Bowl County Park. Along the way, we stopped to take a picture at the San Andreas Fault. We didn't feel any tremors!

Devils Punch Bowl Visitor Center

A tour of the Devils Punch Bowl is always interesting. The punch bowl is a huge crater composed of huge boulders. There are hiking trails all over the area. They also have three owls on display in huge outdoor cages. These owls were rescued and are not able to survive in the wild.

My favorite exhibits are inside the visitor center where they have live rattlesnakes, tarantulas, scorpions, etc. In the above picture, Shirley and Emily Richardson are examining a coiled pacific rattlesnake. Scary.

Following the tour, we rode back to the hotel for dinner followed by wine, cheese, and crackers. It was a good day.


Sunday, September 25th - Big Bear and Home

Our Big Bear Group

Following Saturday's ride, many of our bikes rode home. We had 14 bikes (17 people) for our Sunday Big Bear ride. We were joined by Alan Miller at the start along with Cynthia's friends Fred and Diane. So our group included Mike and Rebecca Buys, John Piner, Cynthia Haverkamp, Randy and Shirley and Emily Richardson, Carol Dugger, Conny Ross, Darren and Norma Hooper, Fred and Diane, Mary Barrington, Alan Miller, and Steve Malott. Matt London arrived late but caught up with us just before we reached Big Bear City.

Big Bear Road Map

We heard on the news that a gasolene tanker had overturned on Thursday spilling 8300 gallons. The cleanup was still in process and Rt. 38 was closed at Angeles Oaks. We decided to have lunch in Big Bear City and then return by way of Rt. 38 on the Northern side of the lake. We then took Rt. 330 back to the expressways.

Big Bear Group Bikes

We were surrounded by fog and it was a little chilly near the hotel. We all bundled up with several layers of clothing and rode East on Rt. 138. We only traveled a couple miles on twisty roads when the sky suddenly cleared. We had climbed above the clouds. We stopped at Silverwood lake to shed a layer of clothes and take several great group pictures. We then continued on Rt. 138 to Rt. 18. The route was very twisty with switchbacks.

Riding Above The Clouds

At the end of Rt. 138, we picked up Rt. 18. This stretch is called the "Rim of the World" which normally is great description of the view. However, all we could see was the top of the clouds. Still breath taking.

Big Bear Twisties

As usual, Alan dashed ahead to take action pictures of our group. Here are several great pictures that also show the terrific scenery.

More Big Bear Twisties

We resumed riding and took Rt. 18 to Rt. 38 and rode thru the wilderness section of Big Bear. We stopped at the bottom and Dan offered to lead the ride thru Oak Glen.

Conny's Bike

We took a break just before Big Bear City. Darren noticed a spring on the ground by Conny's bike. He found that the spring was from the rear brake and fixed it.

We rode into Big Bear City and had lunch at El Jacalito Mexican Restaurant. We confirmed that Rt. 38 was still closed at Angeles Oaks. We rode Rt. 38 along the northern lake coast thru Fawndale. We continued on to Running Springs where we took Rt. 330 down to the expressway. It became cold and foggy as we descended into the clouds.