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DesertSurfer 08-03-2012 02:27 AM

Destination: Imitation Mediterranean... The poor man's fly and ride adventure
Imagine riding long steep dirt track mountain ridgelines with island views over the Pacific on your right shoulder and deep blue lakes spread out along your left.

Explore waterfalls, navigate simple creek crossings and follow parallel flowing streams.

Venture through deep wilderness canyons extending far beyond the horizon leading you up to giant mountain peaks.

Inhale the aromatic fragrances of citrus groves, nut orchards, vineyards and fruit harvests while meandering the S curved country back roads.

Pack a tent and sleeping bag to set up in a hideaway campground or relax at a winery villa or small motor lodge, all accessible on this personalized adventure ride.

And this Adventure paradise can easily be experienced over an extended weekend. Simply leave that difficult work week behind. Book your cheap flight to the west coast of the US, landing in Los Angeles. Or you can travel by train, car or bring your own Adventure bike. The routes can be planned with primarily dirt, tarmac or percentages of both. And this secluded riding destination is less then an hour away from LAX where your rental adventure bike/s await you.

You can travel it alone as I often do, or you can bring along a friend. And if I’m not busy I’ll guide you around.

Follow along and I’ll show you some of my travel prep, the various routes and the many highlights of this incredibly inexpensive fly and ride adventure. Stay tuned... more to come...

Baygecko 08-06-2012 11:39 PM

All so close to the Big City....
Pretty amazing you can see all that and do that kind of riding all so close to LA.

DesertSurfer 08-09-2012 09:01 PM

Alright everybody... here we go:
It's funny how someone can live almost their entire life in one area and never really know all the best kept adventure riding secrets. Like most avid Los Angelean riders, I had never heard of Mount Santiago Peak, until I began studying deep into the internet and the Southern California Backcountry 4x4 Adventure Guide. That's when I discovered the Main Divide Trail in the Cleveland National Forest's northern section. This area happens to be in eastern and northern Orange County and off the radar to most living in Southern California and beyond.

The Logistics:

Part One- Marina Del Rey to Maple Spring Gate and into the Main Divide Trail.

For the purpose of a possible fly and ride, this journey starts in Los Angeles. If you're from out of town you can catch a flight into LAX ( Los Angeles International Airport). Or you can take a train into downtown and then metro line to LAX. You'll be renting your own KTM 950 from Santa Monica Honda (actually in Marina Del Rey California and approximately a 10 minute cab from LAX). Ask for Tom, the sales and rental manager. Rates varies depending on days needed. Get their info online, call in advance and they will make you a sweet deal. The first leg illustrated by the above map has a 45 minute freeway section leading from Marina Del Rey to Santiago Canyon road which is a nice test ride if you're on the rental bike.

The Prep:

This trip doesn't necessarily require a heavy load of gear since I won't be doing any ground camping ( however, there are some great campsites along the route if desired). Traveling lighter allows more agility on the dirt track.

Some essential supplies I recommend for any trip includes: mini hoist with replacement heavy cord, heavy rated ratchet strap, full tire irons with patch kit, engine compression tire pump kit, slime tire pump, clutch and brake fluid, engine ice, small container motorex oil, pre-filter socks, fixaflat is optional. For this trip these items will go at the bottom of an easy removeable topcase ( for longer trips I prefer the Giant Loop Great Basin bag). Also not pictured for the topcase is a Nikon D5100 with two lenses ( wide and zoom), 2 8gig sd cards. A few essentials not pictured but stored exclusively in jacket pocket... IPhone 4 including Pandora music library connecting to blue tooth helmet unit, nitril gloves and toilet tissues. And of course there's always a partial frozen full Camel Bak combining water and electrolites along with protein bars. Choose your gear wisely since a portion of this route is quite remote.

I strongly recommend a range of 200 miles minimum between refueling, although this trip only requires 120 miles at it's farthest distance from civilization. But the extra range of this advtank allows a full day on this ride without refueling if needed. For tires I like the TKC 80 which work well on soft pack, shallow water crossings, some small river washes, broken asphalt and some freeway. Also new 17/44 drive set 2 teeth larger rear (slight lower gearing for dirt but still great for long slabbing).

I'll also be testing a new RTT steering stabilizer with handlebar remote damper adjustment during this adventure tour. The stabilizer is built into the upper clamp with bar riser and works with Fastway's Cycra bend hand guards. This should help with the rocky dirt sections throughout this 180 miles of mixed terrain each day.

A new addition of a modified PC Skins for the Uni pre-filter.

My 950 Adventure in it's "service bay" after final prepping for this two day adventure ride out of Los Angeles.

The Departure: I normally leave from my bike's "service bay" out the back alley, which is about 5 minutes from the Honda/ KTM shop in Marina Del Rey.

A quick freeway tune up ride heading south of Los Angeles to the dirt trail out of Maple Springs.

Nice quaint cafe at the end of Silverado Canyon road nearing the Maple Springs forest service gate into Main Divide Trail.

The Maple Springs Gate and northern entrance to the Main Divide Trail. It's important to check it's opened during rainy and fire seasons.

Bench at Maple Springs Gate offers a nice food stop before the 34 miles of dirt along the Main Divide Trail.

Large shade tree just past the Maple Springs Gate.

DesertSurfer 08-10-2012 12:43 AM

Part Two- 35 miles of dirt track up and over Santiago Peak ( marked from point B to point A).

One of several creeks that cross the Main Divide Trail,

The Main Divide winding through the treeline around mile 4.

Heading into the forest making way toward the top of Mt. Santiago Peak.

Overlooking Black Star Canyon nearing the top with Irvine and Orange County in view.

A rare find within the near reaches of the City of Angels... A tree formed canopy 10 miles up the Main Divide Trail.

A spectacular view out over the Pacific Ocean from the top of Mt. Santiago Peak, with Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands in the background.

Ridgeline view facing east overlooking lake Mathews.

Main Divide trail's southerly view along the next 22 mile ridgeline leading to the Ortega Highway crossing.

Nearing Ortega Highway with an eastern view of Lake Elsinore

The Ortega Highway is considered one of the premiere sportbike canyon rides in California. It's pure coincidence that it's also at the trail crossing for the North and South Main Divide trail, also equally superb for a large dual sport bike. And to make the situation more stellar, there's a great cycle cafe within a mile of the trail crossing called Hells Kitchen.

After a nice chicken sandwich and a cold beverage at Hells Kitchen, head back to the crossing and then continue onto South Main Divide toward Wildomar Wilderness Area.

Wildomar OHV area is a small remote day use area with an adjacent overnight campground. This area is almost always desolate. One of the best kept secrets in California.

Continue ahead for more on this ride report...

Gooner 08-10-2012 04:42 AM


DesertSurfer 08-14-2012 11:10 PM

Part Three- Wildomar Campground through the Wildomar Wilderness and beyond the Tenaja Truck Trail into the Santa Margarita Mt. Peak:

The Wildomar Wilderness is a unique location where a single lane minimally maintained road weaves it's way through the San Mateo Canyon along the San Mateo Creek head waters. Many believe this to be ancient sacred indian grounds. And it's American Indian origins date back over 8000 years.

Crossing the San Mateo Creek along the Wildomar Wilderness road at the top of the San Mateo Canyon.

The pristine headwaters of the San Mateo Creek, considered to be one of the most undisturbed natural water sources in all of the Western U.S..

Looking down into the vast San Mateo Canyon and the Wildomar Widerness road.

Exiting the southern end of the Wildomar Wilderness Area beyond the restrooms and picnic area, continuing south onto Tenaja Truck Trail.

Beyond the Tenaja Truck Trail is the fork of the Santa Margarita Truck Trail, a desolate unimproved jeep trail heading to the top of Santa Margarita Peak.

Nearing the top of Santa Margarita peak with a vista overlooking San Mateo Canyon which funnels the creek runoff over 60 miles to it's mouth at one of my favorite surf spots in the world... Trestles State Beach.

End of the Santa Margarita Truck Trail at Lookout Peak Trail... a savage 2 mile boulder wash incline best left for smaller enduros.

A view of the boulder wash decent from the top of Lookout Peak trail.

The top of Lookout Peak trail with a 50 mile plus view of San Mateo Wilderness area and beyond.

Mt. Santiago Peak looking south over the Pacific and San Clemente Island with Camp Pendleton Marine base property in the foreground.

Heading back down the Santa Margarita Truck Trail looking out beyond a 50 mile stretch of the undisturbed San Mateo Canyon natural watershed basin.

Follow along for more info, photos and trail maps of this amazing ride adventure...

DesertSurfer 08-17-2012 06:04 AM

Part 4- Descending down Santa Margarita Peak into the wine valley of Rancho Santa Margarita and into Temecula.

Taking a sometimes closed gated road off of Santa Margarita Truck trail on a southern section of Tenaja truck trail that leads down into De Luz falls.

A ridge overlooking the fertile growing regions of Rancho Santa Margarita, De Luz Ranchos and Fallbrook beyond.

One of many private mediterranean styled villas hidden away in a tiny corner of Rancho Santa Margarita complete with acreages of citrus groves, avocados and vineyards.

Curved unimproved country backroads connect the numerous vineyards through out this agricultural wonderland.

Winding down the end of the first day's ride arriving in the wineries and their resorts in the valley of Temecula. There are a wide range or accommodations from low end motor lodges like Quality Inn Suites to luxury resorts like South Coast Winery Resort... one of my personal favorites.

After a long day's adventure ride, kick back and enjoy your choice of over 28 different wines grown and bottled right on the South Coast Resort's property.

Afterwards stay at one of their private luxury suites situated in the center of their vineyard where you can lounge amoung the rows of vines from a private back patio.

Continue along this ride report as we discover the secrets of this Mediterranean climated hidden jewel nestled along the Pacific...

sk8rdi16 08-17-2012 10:30 AM


DesertSurfer 08-18-2012 08:01 AM

Part 5- Day Two, a ride through the Pacific Coast's little Tuscany and the return back to civilization...

Time to leave the vineyards of the Temecula Valley and head back through the winding country roads into the agricultural areas of De Luz Ranchos via Sandia Creek Road.

Rolling hills lined with orchards and vineyards surrounding beautiful mediterranean and classic style ranch homes.

Traveling up through Rancho Santa Margarita and into a private micro winery, Boorman winery for a special tasting in their tasting room.

Overlooking the rolling hills of La Cresta Highlands and Wildomar township from above.

Heading out of La Cresta Highlands onto a dirt trail leading up into Wildomar Wilderness and South Main Divide trail.

The rough road nearing the intersection to the South Main Divide Trail leading back toward Ortega highway.

Exiting onto South Main Divide from this 3 mile dirt shortcut that leads out of La Cresta and the Santa Rosa Plateau.

Descending back down into the San Mateo Canyon along the South Main Divide trail toward Ortega Highway.

Stay tuned... more great info to follow up.

MotorcopBBQ 08-18-2012 11:13 AM


DesertSurfer 08-20-2012 11:59 PM

Part 6- Leaving this select Southern California Mediterranean locale and traveling back through the Cleveland National Forest on the Main Divide Trail:

Overlooking the south end of Lake Elsinore with the snow capped San Jacinto mountains in the background.

One last stop off at Hells Kitchen for some much deserved grub and grog before the final 34 mile dirt section of the trip.

Final views from the ridgeline ascending to the top of Mt. Santiago Peak.

A last look to the south at the San Mateo Canyon peaks... and in the faint distance to the far left above the horizon is a glimpse of Mt. Santa Margarita peak.

Last of the water features at the end of the Main Divide Trail heading into Maple Springs.

Reaching the pavement just before the gate to Maple Springs.

Follow up to see the completion of this possible destination adventure ride.

DesertSurfer 08-28-2012 12:26 AM

End of the two day trip....

Following the map going from point B to point.

After leaving Maple Springs gate is another 45-50 minutes of slab on various freeways back to good old L.A. via the concrete jungles.

This two day trip included 175 miles during day one and 135 during day two. Fuel stops were done at the beginning of the trip, and off of Jamboree just prior to connecting with Santiago Canyon road leading into and out of Maple Springs. This reduces the distances without fuel to about 100 miles in the far reaches of Mt. Santa Margarita.

My overall impressions of the bike's set up:

The RTT steering stabilizer with remote is very easy to switch between no, medium and high settings. This stabilizer really only kicked in twice, which were helpful moments but overall not a necessity on this terrain. However, had I rode the last stretch of Lookout Point trail, the RTT would have had a full work out. Perhaps next time when I don't have an expensive camera package on me...

The advtank worked great with only minor spillage from the overflow tube. This added feature is a must have that really adds a nice increase in range and peace of mind.

I really liked the TKC's in this mixed bag of terrain and really accentuates the versatility of this tread design.

The 17/44 sprocket combo was a big improvement from stock. The gearing was more then adequate for this journey, however anything with a steeper grade would certainly warrant a wider spread of gearing. But this combo really showed it's benefits on the asphalt, racking in a solid 34 mpg's ( good for a carb'd 950 anyway).

The PC Skins pre-filter skin was restrictive on the full range of the bike. It was certainly great for keeping dust completely out of the carbs, the filter box and the stock paper filter... but the bike was certainly starving. I could see using this combination on any serious dustbowl cannonball runs. But the Uni pre-filter itself is easy maintenance and even that is a bit of a choke on the 950. Another potential filter combo I'll be experimenting with is the PC skin over the Uni with the DNA as the main filter. We'll see.

Hope you enjoyed this possible fly and ride enough to consider giving it a try. I wish I could say there's no other place like it... except there is in Southern Italy... at quadruple the price.

Follow along as I add more winery options to the accommodations list.

Next up, Ponte winery resort in the Temecula wine valley, which can be described as a top resort in the design of old world mission California.

WHYNOWTHEN 08-28-2012 09:28 AM

Thanks for putting that together

DesertSurfer 11-24-2012 06:38 PM

Another great accomodation after a long day's ride along this Imitation Mediterranean ride... Ponte winery resort.

Dine alfresco for lunch or dinner with a view of the vineyards while the bikes take a break.

View of the Ponte resort courtyard and alfresco dining.

The weather in this region is dry most of the year and warrants serious consideration for an adventure ride all year long. Bring along a significant other as your passenger for a luxury resort by way of a two wheeled dirt excursion.

miguelitro 11-26-2012 09:49 AM

did you correct hells kitchen on their spelling?

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