Adventure to Be Had
So it's about time I got to posting something new on here again. Don't worry non-techies, this one isn't going to be focused on robots or control laws or Ardie's slow but steady evolution. There won't be any algorithms, derivations, or blinking lights (okay, well some of you might miss those). While I have been keeping up on my tech. projects, my documentation of them has been somewhat poor of late. So, instead, I'm going to be talking about a new kind of adventure today, a new kind of quality.
Instead, we rode up to the small town of Pozo just south of Santa Margarita Lake, and we decided to take Hi Mountain Road to the top of the ridge to the South. Our full journey actually took us a lot further, as you can see from the attached map. The blue path marks the route we took through the county. The dark blue indicates that we rode to the destination marked and then turned around to leave the same way. We started at the iHop in San Luis Obsipo and ended up in Oceano to end our adventure. We definitely took the long way through.
Hi Mountain Road Ridge
As you climb up the mountain, you eventually come to an intersection of four trails. This is shown in the picture below.
martial arts skills. Of course, it actually just looks
like he was frolicking about.
Continuing the short ride to the West, we crested the mountain and ended up with some stunning views of the valleys below. Jeff was having so much fun, in fact, that he couldn't help but skip and dance in joy as shown to the right. (Actually, Jeff was having some problems with the local bees and his solution was to dance about and swat at them to mine and Thomas's amusement). Either way, it was a classic Jeff picture.
Jeff finished up his video blogging and we mounted back up to continue the ride. Thomas mentioned that there was a lookout tower nearby so we shifted into gear and off we rode.
side of the tower
One thing that became apparent while visiting with the group of people at the tower was that these kinds of services and facilities are very valuable. Not only do such sites give folks like us the chance to go on adventures, or appreciate California's beauty (as Thomas is doing through a lookout scope pictured above), but they also serve as valuable scientific locations. We learned that numerous botanical, ecological, geological, and astronomical studies are conducted from this post. Students and researchers alike use the station to monitor local wildlife populations. Astronomers sometimes set their telescopes up at this tower to observe various events. Geologists and surveyors use the site to study and map California's geology and topology.
All of this is possible because we, as taxpayers, fund this kind of infrastructure. Hell, even the roads that we rode to get up to this tower are maintained by the State Parks Department. Next time you hear a politician talking about cutting spending, it's this kind of science and infrastructure funding that they are talking about cutting. It's important to keep that kind of thing in mind.
2011, for purposes ranging from the scientific to the adventurous.
Upper Lopez Canyon Road
Upper Lopez Canyon Road (the long road pictured above) actually crosses a river about seven or eight times. So we got our full share of dirty riding in. In fact, the first river crossing was a lot deeper than anything I had motored through on my KLR before. All I knew about getting across rivers with my new bike was that, when you start to lose traction, gassing the throttle can pull you out of a slip. Knowing that, I decided to ride full bore into the first crossing with the throttle open in low gear. Well, that crossing was a good two feet deep at least. For those efforts, I was met with a nice head-to-toe wall of water and continued the rest of the ride with boots soaked inside and out.
Jeff, having watched me, got a kick out of the whole ordeal, but, unfortunately, failed to capture the glorious moment on camera. The only evidence I had of my epic mistake was how dirty my KLR got along the way.
Actually since we were running out of daylight, we kind of motored through the rest of Upper Lopez Canyon fairly quickly. Thomas was, apparently, in the biggest rush. He often ripped ahead of Jeff and I and just kept the throttle open. He didn't even pause at a couple of the river crossings. Once we got to the end of the trail Jeff did a little more video blogging, and we watched a Forest Ranger write up some teenagers for some infraction or another.
At the end of trail there was an old wooden sign pointing the way to a footpath which, apparently, leads to some waterfalls of some sort. I think I am going to have to get some friends out there one day and make a day trip out of the whole ordeal. If nothing else, the ride is fun. But to find some waterfalls to play in, well, that would top off an already exceptional adventure. Jeff, Thomas, and myself, however, were running out of fuel (in our stomachs, not our bikes) and had other commitments later that night. So we flipped some U-turns at the end of the trail and rode out the way we came.
And myself? Well, let's just say I went from being timid in the dirt to understanding just how much fun a low-geared, high-powered back wheel can be on a motorcycle. I didn't know I could toss a 400 pound dirtbike around like a ragdoll, but with that thumper engine in the KLR, the whole exercise just becomes habit.
All-in-all, it was one hell of a fun adventure, and a great initiation of the California Central Coast KLR Club (pictured above).
It is hard to do these pictures full justice on this website. If you would like a copy of the full resolution images, shoot me an e-mail and let me know. I will zip them up and send them to you.