12th North County Cruisers

Angeles Crest Highway/ Big Bear Adventure

October 13th-15th, 2017

Writeup by Steve Malott

Pictures by Alan Miller and Kyle Seilheimer

Thanks to Jeffrey Hall for riding sweep.

Previous Angeles Crest Rides:

October 7th - 9th, 2016 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

September 24th - 26th, 2015 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

October 10th - 12th, 2014 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

October 4th - 6th, 2013 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

October 5th - 7th, 2012 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

September 23rd - 25th, 2011 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

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

October 15-17, 2004 Angeles Crest / Big Bear Ride

We had a great weekend trip to Angeles Crest Highway and Big Bear. So many stories. Our Saturday group of 21 bikes and 25 riders included Stuart Cook, Bruce Barnes, Mike Brink, Tim Labelle, Art Braun, Scott Roney, Kyle Seilheimer & Janet Roberts, Alan Miller, Josh Miller, Jeffrey Hall & Ana Salas & his dog Shadow, Matt & Laura Lowenstein, Chuck Graybeal, Steve Semolik, Tim Broadhead, Bob Blew, Brantly Blew, Lee Harbin, Jack & Melanie R., Bill & Shelley Green, Bill Sprouse, and Steve Malott.

A few words about our guests. Mike Brink and Tim Labelle are friends of Stuart who have ridden Angeles Crest with us in the past.. Chuck Graybeal lives in St. George, Utah and trailered his bike to once again ride with us. Bob Blew has ridden with us many times in the past but now lives in Yuma. His son, Brantly lives near L.A. and is (was) a relatively new rider. Lee Harbin is a friend of Bob Blew. We all know Bill Sprouse who now lives in Tucson.

Our Group

Our Sunday group of 15 bikes and 20 riders included Stuart Cook, Bruce Barnes, Bill & Shelley Green, Chuck Graybeal, Alan Miller, Josh Miller, Kyle Seilheimer & Janet Roberts, Jeffrey Hall & Ana Salas & his dog Shadow, Bob Blew, Brantly Blew, Matt & Laura Lowenstein, Steve Semolik, Art & Lulu Braun, Bill Sprouse, and Steve Malott.

Our Group

Related Links:

Angeles Crest Route Instructions

Big Bear Route Instructions


Friday, October 13th

Riding to our Cajon Pass Hotel

Some of our group decided to ride to the hotel at different times on Friday. Traffic was heavier that I remembered on previous years. By evening, most of our group had arrived. Some of us had dinner in Wrightwood at the Evergreen Cafe. I always enjoy how they decorate for each holiday.

Evergreen Cafe

Following dinner, we returned to our hotel and had snacks & beverages by the pool. It was surprisingly chilly weather but the company was warm.

Evergreen Cafe


Saturday, October 14th

Angeles Crest Highway

Angeles Crest Road Map

On Saturday morning, we were joined by 5 more bikes who rode in just for the day. We started the ride at just after 9 A.M. by heading West on Rt. 138. Rt. 138 has been under much needed construction for the past 2 years adding a second lane in each direction. They are in the last stages of completing the project but we were still restricted to one lane by red pilons.

Part of our group split off to take Lone Pine Canyon Road as an alternate route. This is actually a shorter route to Wrightwood that we may use for everyone for next years ride.

Our main group took Rt. 138 and then took Rt.2. (Angeles Crest Highway) thru Wrightood. We regrouped at the first view point and took group pictures. We were at 7,000 feet and had a terric view. It was a little chilly and quite windy. Overall, the weather was terrific for riding.

First Stop

We noticed some smoke in the air which was probably from a distant fire. We never encountered a fire during the ride, thankfully. California was experiencing a lot of bad large fires but most were in Northern California.

First Stop

We continued East and enjoyed sweeping turns as we quickly climbed to the peak at 7901 feet.

Climbing

Our second stop was at the Jarvi Viewpoint which featured more scenic photo ops.

Jarvi

We resumed riding West on Angeles Crest Highway and passed thru two consecutive tunnels. It is traditional for everyone to pull in their clutches and rev their engines to listen to the echoes. Since I was riding a Can Am Spyder, I honked my horn.

Our next stop was at Newcombs Ranch. We stopped at a view point and took a group picture along with pictures of the terrific scenery.

Newcombs

We had a quick rider meeting and talked about our upcoming side trip up Mt. Wilson. This is a someone more twisty route compared to what we had done so far. It is also a lot of fun. We enjoyed the ride up to the antennas.

Mt. Wilson

Mt. Wilson

We took our next break in the parking lot at the top of Mt. Wilson. From here it is possible to see all of the Los Angeles area. However, it is usually covered with smog.

Mt. Wilson

Mt. Wilson

We regrouped and headed back down to Angeles Crest Highway. I reached the stop sign at the bottom and looked back. I only saw half of our bikes. We waited and waited. I now knew we had a problem. We sent two bikes back to see what had happend while I lead the rest of the bikes down to La Canada Flintridge where we had our lunch break..

We waited a half hour before finally learning that one of our guests had drifted wide on a turn and caught his leg between his bike and the guard rail. He had compound fractures. He was air lifted out. His bike was relatively undamaged and was eventually ridden down to the fire station. While all of this was happening, the rest of our group was held back until the police were done assessing the situation. They then joined us for lunch.

Lunch for us was solemn as we hate to hear (or see) anyone get hurt on a ride. We were 2 hours behind schedule and decided to skip the side trip to the Big Tijunga Dam. Instead, I told everyone they could individually backtrack on Angeles Crest Highway for about 50 miles where we would regroup at the Grassy Hollow visitor center.

Meanwhile, Alan and his son Josh did ride to the Big Tijunga Dam and took this picture.

Big Tijunga

Alan and Josh caught up to us at the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center.

Visitor Center

We talked about doing the traditional side trip to the Devil's Punchbowl but decided to simply ride into Wrightwood early. Alan and Josh decided to ride to the Punch Bowl where Alan took his usual Grey Fox picture..

Grey Fox

We spread out among several restaurants for dinner in Wrightwood. Everyone then met once again at the hotel pool to share beverages, snacks, and stories from the day.


Sunday, October 15th

Big Bear and Home

Sunday was a new day and we had 15 bikes ready to roll at 9 A.M.

Big Bear Road Map

We all had an immediate wake up call as we hit the twisty section of Rt. 138 that is just East of Rt. 138.

Riding

Riding

We stopped at the Silverwood Lake lookout, took pictures, and enjoyed the view.

Our Group

Silverwood Lake

We continued East on Rt. 138 and climbed thru a set of steep switchbacks. Once again, Alan was waiting to take our pictures.

Switchbacks

We rode thru the town of Crestline and then picked up SR18 eastbound (which is also known as "Rim of the World Highway"). We stopped to admire the view looking down into the San Bernardino Valley.

Rim

We resumed riding towards Big Bear Lake and passed thru another very scenic area with lots of sweeping turnings.

Riding

We continued East on Rt. 18 and followed the Northern shore of Big Bear Lake. Alan was waiting to take pictures of us as we rode by. The lake was a beautiful back drop.

Big Bear Lake

Traffic was light and we got into the Big Bear area around lunchtime. I was daydreaming and we shot past our turn to park at our normal public parking lot. This took us all the way back to the junction of Rt. 38 and Rt. 18. I explained what happend and we U-turned to head back to the lot. I suggested taking 90 minutes for lunch so people could look around. Since many of us had done this ride before, we didn't need that much time. Some split off from the group to head home. It was suggested that next time we should skip Big Bear City and just keep riding. I will work on that for next year.

Following lunch we rode East on Rt. 38 and enjoyed the sweeping turns. We climbed up to a peak altitude of 8443 feet and descended to the freeways. We tried a new route home in order to avoid the traffic on the freeways. Instead, we turned left on Bryant and took it all the way to Wildwood Canyon Road. We took that East to Oak Glen Road and headed South into familiar territory. We took back roads the rest of the way home. It was hot riding home but the ride was fun.

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