The Crest!

Doc Martin, Hector, and Bruce up on the Crest

We had a rip-roaring magnificent ride yesterday on one of the world’s greatest motorcycle roads… 

      The Angeles Crest Highway! 

The Crest, as it’s more popularly known, is a wonderful road that cuts through the Angeles National Forest and across the San Gabriel Mountains.  Great scenery.   Titanic twisties.  Wonderful weather.   It was awesome!  But it wasn’t the only road we rode yesterday…  

Oh, this is gonna be a good one, boys and girls.  Grab a cup of coffee, and let me tell you a bit about our putt… 

Our objective yesterday was to have a great ride, stay completely off the freeways, and do the grand loop around and through the San Gabriel Mountains.  Defining the route was a challenge.   Even though we’re here in California and we’re known for our freeways, there are some places that are tough to get to if your objective is to stay off the freeways.   For us, that meant a short stretch on a dirt road, but more about that later… 

Bruce's turquoise twins...

The day started with us all meeting at the plant early in the morning.   I knew it was gonna be a good one when I arrived early and saw Bruce waiting at the gate.  

Bruce, you’ll remember from a blog a few months ago, bought a CSC Classic and had us paint it to match his ’91 Harley Heritage Softail.   This turquoise-and-white CSC bike is a true classic, and it’s beautiful.  Bruce keeps it absolutely immaculate, but we all  knew it wouldn’t stay that way long…we had plans to do a bit of dual-sporting with our California Scooters! 

Indulge me in a short diversion…Bruce is the first guy we know of who outfitted his California Scooter with a burglar alarm.  It’s pretty cool and we had fun watching Bruce demo it for us in the CSC parking lot.  Check out this video showing how it works…

Arlene, Martin, and Hector filtered in, and Steve and I enjoyed checking out everybody’s bikes.   Doc Martin (hey, I’m not making this up…he really is a doctor) was the only guy on our ride who wasn’t on a California Scooter, but in watching Martin examining our bikes, that’s a situation I suspect won’t last long. 

Our first order of business was to decide where to go for breakfast…and Merendero’s got the nod.  It’s a little Mexican place just up the road from the CSC plant, and it sure was good.  I told everybody to order whatever they wanted and not to worry about how expensive anything was, because (this was the surprise), Hector was buying.   I said it as a joke, but Hector readily agreed!   Then I felt guilty, but that feeling sure passed in a hurry when my breakfast arrived.  It was good! 

Breakfast at Merendero's...Arlene, Martin, Hector, Bruce, and Steve

Hector is a pretty cool guy.  He’s an artist.  You’ve undoubtedly seen his work in motorcycle and car publications, and you’ve seen it in new vehicle designs.  More than a few manufacturers put Hector’s talents to good use when they want to see their design concepts on paper, and we’re pleased to tell you that we do, too.   Hector’s amazingly talented, he’s a fun guy, and as I found out up in the mountains, he’s a tough guy to catch on a motorcycle! 

A sample of Hector's artistry...

Our route took us up to Baseline (so named because it runs along the southern base of the San Gabriel Mountains), onto Duncan Canyon Road, and then onto old Route 66. 

Yep, the original Route 66.  It’s hard to believe that this old two-lane road was once the major east-west thoroughfare from Chicago to Los Angeles.   The stretch we were on was all but abandoned…the only vehicles we saw on it were other motorcycles out for a ride like we were.  Route 66 paralleled Interstate 15 through the Cajon Pass around the eastern edge of the San Gabriels, and then we found the road we wanted…Swarthout Canyon Road.   

Swarthout Canyon Road is paved for a bit, it crosses the railroad tracks, and then the pavement ends.   I’ve ridden this road before, but it’s always been on bikes like my KLR Kawi (bikes built for the dirt). 

After waiting for a long freight train to pass and traversing a cool section of twisties, we came to the end of the pavement… 

On Swarthout Canyon Road waiting for a long freight train in Cajon Pass

Pavement? We don't need no stinkin' pavement!

California Scooters become dual sport bikes on Swarthout Canyon Road in the Cajon Pass!

I had confidence in our California Scooters. I knew they would have no problems in the dirt because of our experience riding these great motorcycles down to Cabo San Lucas and back in Mexico (we found ourselves on plenty of dirt road detours on that ride). A CSC motorcycle’s light weight, low seat height, low center of gravity, and wide tires are actually ideal for riding in the soft stuff.   Wanna see what I mean? 

Here’s a cool shot I especially like of Bruce, just after we finished riding Swarthout Canyon Road…

A cool shot of Bruce at the end of Swarthout Canyon Road

Our romp in the dirt was only 3.5 miles long, but that road was rough and it sure felt a lot longer.  The bikes came out of it dusty and dirty, and then we arrived at Lone Pine Canyon Road. 

Lone Pine Canyon Road is a long uphill slog into Wrightwood.  All of our bikes did just fine on the several-mile-long climb into the northern slope  of the San Gabriels.   The scenery, the weather, and the road were awesome. 

The intersection of Swarthout Canyon and Lone Pine Canyon...there are lots of canyons in these mountains!

Scenes from my California Scooter's saddle...charging up Lone Pine Canyon Road...the weather was great!

More scenes from the saddle on Lone Pine Canyon...yeah, I's a tough job...

We stopped to top off the tanks in Wrightwood before we took to the Crest (there would be no more gas stations until we arrived in Glendale on the other side of the mountains).  The bikes really didn’t take much fuel, but we wanted to make sure we would be okay. 

We drew a crowd in the small gas station in Wrightwood, as is always the case when you’re on a California Scooter.  Everybody wanted to know about the bikes, and we handed out a bunch of brochures.   A mother and daughter on a Kymco were particularly intrigued.  It’s all part of the rock star experience…if you ride a California scooter, you know what I’m talking about. 

Mom and daughter on Brand X, wishing they had California Scooters instead!

Arlene and Bruce in Wrightwood...we're about to turn left onto the Crest!

From that point on, we were on the Crest, and the scenery, the riding, and the overall experience were fabulous.  It’s some of the best riding in the world.  If you’re into motorcycles, riding the Crest has to be on your bucket list…it’s that good.    But enough talking about it…let’s have a look at what this Angeles Crest Highway riding is all about!

That's Hector way up there...a tough guy to catch!

Bruce, Arlene, and Steve on the Crest

The tailgunner's view...that would be me!

Riding the Crest, trying to keep up with Steve on the yellow CSC motorcycle...

A quick shot of Steve...California Scooters absolutely excel in this kind of riding...the short wheelbase and small-diameter wheels make the bikes super adept in the twisties...those old Mustang guys really knew what they were doing!

After riding the Crest for about an hour, we arrived at Newcomb’s Ranch, which is a super place to take a break, have some lunch, check out the bikes, and enjoy the company of other good folks.  At its core, motorcycling is primarily a social activity, and I always enjoy meeting new people on these rides.   I got lucky again…Martin popped for lunch this time.   I had the Ortega chili pepper cheeseburger, and it was good.  I figured that Martin is a doctor, so it had to be healthy eating!

Here’s a quick video in front of Newcomb’s…

There were a lot of cool bikes in the Newcomb’s parking lot, but this one really caught my eye…

An absolutely pristine 1965 305cc Honda Super Hawk...what a beautiful bike!

My Dad used to ride a 1965 Honda Super Hawk like the one in the photo above…he bought it new for $765.   They were great bikes back in those days. It felt good to see one up on the Crest, still in use, and still providing a good ride for its owner. I believe in another 40 or 50 years people will be seeing our California Scooters doing the same thing. I’m convinced that California Scooters are already classic bikes, and they will be for many years.

We had a lot of folks milling around our California Scooters after we ate lunch, and I let a few guys take mine out for a ride.   As always, they returned with smiles.   It’s hard not to on these bikes.  

Everyone wants to know more about our bikes, and we hear a lot of the same questions. The one I always like is this:   What’s it like on the road?   I like to tell folks about the Baja ride. When I mention that we rode our California Scooters all the way to Cabo San Lucas and back, it’s always the same reaction…and here it is…

On the way down from Newcomb’s, we took it pretty easy.  It was a nice, relaxed, leisurely ride…letting our California Scooters swoop through the curves on the legendary Angeles Crest Highway.  The views were incredible, and I stopped for this last photo of my Baja Blaster looking out over the San Gabriel Mountains…

My red Classic California Scooter taking in the scenery along Angeles Crest Highway

We came down out of the mountains in Glendale, and from there it was a spirited surface street ride all the way home.  What a day!

If you liked reading about our ride, well, hey, why don’t you join us on the next one?  Just let us know, and we’ll make sure you’re invited on our next California Scooter Company ride!

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