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When we first tried this ride, our original intent was to cross the border at Tecate, Mexico and have lunch. We changed our minds when we talked with several bikers when we stopped for a break at the Dulzura Cafe. They told us stories of being detained at the border for 6 hours due to flour spilled on one rider. We continued straight to Cameron Corners and avoided the border. At 170 miles, this is the longest ride that we have taken as a club and it took 6 hours. Most of us did a total of 215 miles for the day..
The ride begins by heading South on I-15 in Escondido and approaching Lake Hodges. Normally you will see water in the lake but these have been dry times. When you are just South of Lake Hodges, exit and turn left (East) on Pomerado. Once on Pomerado, look to turn left on Highland Valley Road before you travel very far.
Highland Valley Road heads East and South until it ends at Rt. 67. It is a fun ride that borders the valley feeding Lake Hodges. The road has numerous twists and turns, some of which are near right angle. When we last took this road, we passed the remnants of a motorcycle that had hit a pickup truck head on. The truck's grill was caved in. Amazingly, no one was hurt. Enjoy the ride but be wary. Be sure to go right at the Tee when you reach Archie Moore road.
When you reach Route 67, turn right to head South. Rt. 67 is a major artery with fairly heavy traffic. It does have a great view to the West and is the best route South if you want to avoid the Interstate Highways. Follow Rt. 67 until you reach I-8. You should bear right to head toward I-8 East but you will find that you are now on Magnolia in El Cajon. Follow Magnolia to Washington where you turn left to head East again. Turn right on Avocado to head South out of El Cajon.
Follow Avocado South until you reach Rt. 94. Turn left on 94 which you will follow all of the way to Cameron Corners. Be sure to follow 94 as it turns right on Old Campo Road at Jamacha Junction. The ride will finally improve as you start to leave civilization behind. We recommend filling your gas tank, grabbing snacks, and making a restroom stop at this time. There will be no gas station until you reach Cameron Corners.
Twisting along Route 94
Rt. 94 is a great road for cruisers and sport bikes alike. It features continuously sweeping turns thru valleys surrounded by mountains -- although the mountains are not as tall as farther north. The terrain is also more arid and desert-like compared to North County. There are occasional buildings marking small towns but the area is generally desolate but beautiful.
The Dulzura Cafe makes a good rest stop. You can get sandwiches and drinks. There are restrooms located outside in back of the bar. Part of the lot is paved while the remainder is hard packed dirt. When you prepare to continue East on Rt. 94, be cautious as you leave because passing traffic does not slow down.
As you head East on Rt. 94, you will pass a side road leading to Tecate. There is a gas station at the border but it didn't look inviting. Our route continues straight ahead rather than turning towards Tecate. You will pass the San Diego Railroad Museum (on your right). I found this to be another disappointment since it is mainly a small railway station. There are no antique trains other than the one that travels to Campo. The entrance road is very big gravel and probably treacherous for a bike.
The San Diego Railroad Museum is not very impressive
Rt. 94 dips very close to the border and then veers Northeast to Cameron Corners. There is a gas station here, a hot dog place, and a small restaurant just down the road. None have restrooms that you can use. We decided to get gas but decided to wait until Pine Valley to have a late lunch.
Cameron Corners is the far point of the ride and the route starts to head back. The ride resumes by taking Buckman Springs Road North. (Buckman Springs is the road that is next to the Cameron Corners gas station.) Buckman Springs is not nearly as interesting as Rt. 94 but it is an okay route (flat and straight) to take you North towards I-8. As you get near to I-8, look to turn left on Old Highway 80 to head West and parallel the Interstate.
Old Highway 80 is concrete with asphalt patches. Maintenance has been sporadic so you will encounter rough spots from time to time. It still provides a pleasant ride and is superior to taking the interstate. Hwy 80 eventually does a forced turn right to take you to the other side of I-8. Look to turn left on Old Hwy 80 and proceed into the town of Pine Valley. Alternatively, you could proceed straight and follow Sunrise Highway up to Julian.
The town of Pine Valley has a hamburger joint and several restaurants. Be warned that the gas station and the hamburger joint do not have public restrooms. The Pine Valley County Park does have good restrooms. There is a $2 charge for the park but we believe you can dash in and out quickly.
We resume the ride by continuing East on Old Highway 80 thru the tiny town of Guatay. The speed limit drops to 35 and I've heard of speed traps. For this ride, we next turn right on Rt. 79 to head North. The remainder of this ride is the same as our Sunrise Highway ride so we will include less detail here.
Take Rt. 79 North as it twists it's way past Lake Cuyamaca and Tees into Rt. 78 at Julian. Along the way, there is a nice Vista on your right. You also could take Engineers Road to bypass Julian. (See our Sunrise Highway Map) There is gas and numerous restaurants in Julian. Follow Rt. 78 thru Julian, including a left turn in the middle of town, and continue thru Ramona back to Escondido. This section of the ride is discussed in more detail on several of our out rides including Palomar Mountain and Sunrise Highway.
The ride ends in Escondido not far from where we began. We hope you enjoyed the ride.