Dr. Greg & Milledue II go "HOME" to Hemet, California...
Dr. Greg & Milledue II go "HOME" to Hemet, California...
"Ride Reports" or "Day Trippin'"??
This is just a measly 8-DAY ride, and I was going to put it in Day Trippin', but the rules clearly state that week or longer rides belong in Ride Reports, and I always follow the rules...
So, here amongst the RTW rides, is my meager 8-day trip on Milledue II (2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200S Touring) from Albuquerque, New Mexico to my HOMETOWN of Hemet, California. And back.
A WARNING to Potential Readers of this Ride Report
Mostly this is a trip for this 65-YO geezer to take a quick look around his old birthplace and see a few old high-school buddies; doin' "research" for my upcoming memoir. So most of it is pictures and talk about grumpy old men who spend lots of time griping about the government, etc. Just so's you know what you're in for...
A brief eDUCATIon about Milledue II
Milledue II (shown ready for the trip below) is a 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200S Touring, and is my second of two identical bikes. Milledue I had an unfortunate encounter with hoarfrost in southern Colorado in November 2010 and was totaled.
Milledue II is stock, except for:
1. TT Zega Pro 45L cases --- I don't travel light (camping gear). I LOVE those cases.
2. Tuneboy Electronic Cruise Control --- Absolutely wonderful for long trips!
3. Laminar Lip (bolted on, DAMHIK to do that)
4. Sargent lower seat & rear luggage platform
Milledue II has accumulated about 33,000 miles (Milledue I had about 12,000 at his demise) and has pretty much been bulletproof. Way too fast for an old guy like me, but...it seems to fit me (I'm 5-8, 150) and well, so far so good.
Day 1: Albuquerque, New Mexico to Fool Hollow Lake (Show Low, Arizona)
With less than 300 miles to cover the first day I didn't leave too early. Like most of you, I avoid the interstates, so I was gonna take I-40 WEST from Albuquerque to Grants, NM, where I would turn SOUTH on NM 53 and head into eastern Arizona.
Started out with a full tank (I have a 200+ mile range), and was gonna refuel in Grants. Uh-oh, no gas station at the junction of NM 53. Oh well, there's gotta be something on ahead. Famous last words in the US West backcountry...
El Morro National Monument
Not having found a gas station yet, I came upon "El Morro Nat'l. Monument." Now I've lived in New Mexico since January 1977 and I've never been here. Gotta stop.
There was a short (0.5-mile) hiking trail (and some longer ones), but I contented myself with watching the 20-minute film (always like those) and wandering around the museum. I always like the sense of "history" one gets from seeing where the pioneers came through, what the American Indian settlements were like, etc. Probably shoulda majored in History in college instead of Mechanical Engineering (of course then I'd never have found a job...)
Some more pictures of El Morro...
Lots of "inscriptions" on El Morro...although since it's sandstone they're eroding fast... Naturally the "inscription" area is fenced off, since even we modern humans seem to like to leave our inscriptions.
Oh yeah, didn't find a gas station till Zuni, New Mexico. About 150+ miles. A little closer than I like, and I definitely wouldn't have made the next town.
BTW, about 11 miles out of Zuni I turned SOUTH on AZ 191, which I'm sure some you know has that "infamous" section from roughly Alpine to Morenci...GREAT ROAD! The section I was to be on wasn't quite that great...
Lunch at TLC'S FAMILY KITCHEN
The next town was St. John's, Arizona, and the first restaurant (out of two) that I arrived at was TLC'S:
It was just about lunchtime, and the place was jammed: good sign. A "cute-as-a-bug" little girl very formally led me to a counter stool...I REALLY wanted to snap her photo to put here, but I just didn't feel like I should. I mean, a creepy old guy like me taking a photo of a cute little girl. There was a local sheriff sitting at the stool next to me, and I felt he might take a dim view of my photographic exploits.
Had a great burger, too...dunno why I didn't take a picture of THAT! There are a number of upcoming "food" pics, but I guess I just forgot this time.
Got out my map, no wait, I think I used my iPhone, and found it was only about 50 miles to my campground at Show Low, Arizona. So I took my time and had a nice, leisurely lunch.
Fool Hollow Lake State Park (Show Low, Arizona)
Sure enough, left St. John's on AZ 61 and less than an hour later I was pulling' up to the guard shack at the State Park. Snapped this pic while waiting: which RV would you rather have?
There is both an "RV Area" and a "Tent Area;" found my spot with no problem. Nice little concrete slab for Milledue to rest on: camping area back in the trees (lake still further back).
I always bring the "New Mexico" State flag along when camping; I've seen numerous Texans with the "Lone Star" camp chairs, etc., so I try to "fly the New Mexico flag" on certain occasions.
AHHHHH, camp set up, folding chair set up...time for the Doc to relax with a little bourbon,
And I finally figured out what that Zega Pro top case is good for:
For some reason, I'm never very good at "sunset" photography. This was my best attempt at Fool Hollow Lake:
Spent an uneventful night; when the moon rose at 2230 (I was asleep by then) the coyotes awoke me, but I never mind that. My host "Scott" the next night in Wickenburg, Arizona had warned me that "it was gonna be cold at Show Low" but I replied that I was a tough guy. Yeah, right.
Turned out that it was 46 deg F the next morning: not bad at all.
Next day: Show Low, Arizona to Wickenburg, Arizona.
Go to see you on the road again... :beer
Day 2: Fool Hollow Lake (Show Low, Arizona) to Wickenburg, Arizona
After gritting my teeth in the sleeping bag and confronting the 46-degree chill, I spent my usual two hours (can't seem to do it faster) fixing breakfast, breaking camp, and packing up. Finally...ready to go:
Some Excellent Riding Thru the Mogollon Plateau...
Just as I was getting into some fun twisty roads, I met this young lady:
But I was then FIRST IN LINE and had a CLEAR ROAD in front of me once the "light turned green:"
AZ 260 snakes through some very pretty country, and of course I was too busy to take any pics. As I neared Payson hwy 260 went to 4-lane and things got busy, but the climb out of Payson on 260 thru Pine and Strawberry was EPIC! Sorry no pics...
Crossed I-17 near Camp Verde, and headed for the old mining town of Jerome...
Jerome, Arizona: Historic Mining Town
My buddy Scott had recommended I stop in Jerome for lunch, and it was just about time. Even though it was a weekday, it was hard to find parking because:
1. Jerome is pretty popular
2. There's not much area there
3. Most of the area is "tilted"
But I persevered...can you spot Milledue in the pic below?
After a bit of searching, I found the cafe that Scott had recommended...
Ordered some kind of "club sandwich" IIRC...Got a pic this time, and MMMMMM it was tasty!
An outside view of the "Mile High Grill"...
Walked around Jerome for a while...hard to believe that in the 1920s the population was over 10,000 people (where did they PUT them all?) Population now is a few hundred...
I think this is a view from Jerome to the NORTHWEST (it's a ways down). Pretty toasty down in the valley, but very pleasant at Jerome.
Once I got back to Milledue I snapped a pic back towards the town. Historic place. Richest copper vein ever found in North America, I believe...
Highway 89A from Jerome to Prescott and Beyond...
There was a very fun steep twisty little climb up out of Jerome on AZ 89A and on down into Prescott, Arizona. Again, I was a bit too busy to snap any pics (I do take pictures while riding; Mrs. Greg said "don't do that" but even I was too focused).
Prescott contained a LEO just waiting for guys like me as highway 89 left to the SOUTH. I had accelerated somewhat and was just SURE from his body language he was gonna go after me, but...he didn't! Whew! Musta been the 45L cases...nobody schlepping those could do much speeding.
The DESCENT down hwy 89 into the "Prescott Valley" was just stunning. At times the 2-lane road separated into distinct lanes (I was fortunate to have zero traffic) due to the terrain. It was SOOOO MUCH FUN! Y'know, even loaded down that darn Multistrada carves corners pretty well (even with old geezer ME riding).
Safely Ensconced in Wickenburg, Arizona
Got safely down off the mountain, and found ADV inmate Scott's place: Milledue found a Euro garage-mate in Scott's KTM 640 Adventure. He isn't intimidated by them (unlike R12GS's...)
Meanwhile, inside the kitchen Scott and lovely wife Patti were both movin' fast, fixing some good eats for our dinner. Those folks were SOOOOOO sweet. Looks like a couple of interested dogs, too...
We all ended up talking long into the night. One of the great things about staying with ADV inmates is the great people you meet. BTW, Scott was wearing an "89A" T-shirt. Like I said, it was an EPIC ride...
NEXT: Wickenburg, Arizona to Hemet, California
I'll try to continue this RR tomorrow. You can look forward to the drama of Dr. Greg seeing some of his old high school buddies! I'm sure you can hardly wait...
Dr. Gregg -
Good to see you out and about enjoying the retirement. Enjoying the pics and story. Interestingly enough, I was just in Jerome eating at that same place yesterday on my multi. Some fun riding around that area. The wife and I rode 89a down from Flagstaff for lunch, but didn't continue on to Prescott. I don't know where you are now, or if this trip is over, but if you're coming back through this way you're welcome to stay.
As an aside - how do you like that seargent seat with the luggage area deal - it looks pretty strange on the website. I never take a passenger and end up strapping stuff on the backseat anyway, so that looks like a good solution. Plus, although the stock seat is pretty good, when I put in long days I'm looking for other options.
It was great having you visit with us Greg. Hope to do it again.
I'm in. It'll be interesting to see how the old Prof. I never took a class from writes up his adventure. (Never took a class from you cuz I was in the other department in the next building south working for the likes of Dr. Anil. Don't think he's the ADV type.) Didn't take your classes back in the 90's but I sure do remember eyeing up that fancy red Italian moto parked down by the NE lab many times. Anywho, interesting read so far. Can't wait for more.
Day 3: Wickenburg, Arizona to Hemet, California
Sorry for the delay; an "unnamed" health issue got in the way...let's get back on the road.
While loading Milledue for the ride into CA, this baby caught my eye:
I remarked to Scott that "it must be easy to work on..." and he told me about some fastener (sorry, forgot exactly what) that was literally impossible to access. Guess the tractor was built around it...
The morning was gorgeous. I LOVE the desert (it's so clean!), and the Wickenburg area has some nice hiking in the surrounding area (and good desert riding as well, I'm sure),
Where the Heck is "Bouse" Arizona?...
Leaving Wickenburg for California, the obvious choice is to head west on US 60 to I-10, crossing the Colorado River at Blythe (BLYTHE...can you think of a more "miserable-sounding" name for a town?). So naturally we can't do that.
Decided to head west on US 60---pretty much can't avoid that---but after the tiny towns of Aguila, Wenden, and Salome (we'll see that on the return trip)---there is the junction of AZ 72 to the WNW which goes up to the Colorado River at Parker, Arizona. And it goes thru this town of Bouse, Arizona.
The name intrigued me...turns out Bouse is pronounced to rhyme with "house"...and is quite a "thriving" community in the sort of "junk desert" way:
The landscape on the way to Bouse was nothing special, but it was country I had not seen before---and that automatically makes it worthwhile:
Approaching "Granite Pass" (elev. 1,925 ft).
When I got to Bouse I spied the legendary "Coachman's Restaurant"...
There were no cars parked out front as I rode up, but what the heck---I hadn't had too much to eat at Scott's---let's get some breakfast!
The food was good, and I had the MOST ATTENTIVE WAITER I've had in a LONG time. He kept the coffee cup full, didn't "hover" over me, and was most helpful. So I left a good tip. And, uh, it was a good thing I had enough cash, because:
One poor bugger that finished before me (and hadn't seen the sign, which admittedly was kinda tucked down out of sight) had to schlep it "2 blocks" down to the ATM. Whew!
While I was eating, I looked up "Bouse, Arizona" on my iPhone. Turns out that there was some "WW II Desert Training" facility nearby, but I didn't really feel like I had time (or desire) to explore much. Also---not surprisingly---the population of Bouse is pretty seasonal; in fact, the owner of the "Coachman's Restaurant" said he was gonna close for the summer later that week. Man, I just made it in time!
Parker, Arizona to Hemet, California
Once across the Colorado River---tried to get a pic but couldn't get my camera ready in time---one catches CA 62 W. This first section of 62 is called "Blood Alley" since it has about 30 miles of "whoops" that are notorious for causing horrible accidents. Luckily the traffic was minimal. Here's an example of the scenery one sees for miles and miles:
After staying on 62 through the surprisingly heavy traffic of 29 Palms, Yucca Valley, etc. (won't make that mistake again), I caught my first view of Mt. San Jacinto (elev. 10,831 ft.):
This view is looking south, up Snow Creek Canyon. My hometown of Hemet is basically on the other side of Mt. San Jacinto. Growing up there, during the late 60s/early 70s I backpacked over every mile of trail in the San Jacinto Mts., and climbed Mt. San Jacinto (not using the Tramway) many times. This view brought back a lotta good memories...
Shortly after the Mt. San Jac pic I merged with I-10, and life accelerated a couple notches. On thru Cabazon, Banning, then turn south at Beaumont onto Lamb Canyon Road. Hey, it used to be 2 lanes! Well, now it's 4 lanes and a lotta traffic. Things have changed since 1963...
My Ol' High School Buddy Steve...
Once down into the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley, I rode over to Steve's house. Steve is an old high school buddy whom I've known since 1957. We've done all kinds of crazy stuff together. Steve's wonderful wife Virginia put on a fine dinner for us all. The pic below shows Travis (Steve's son), Kelly (Travis's girlfriend), Steve, and Virginia. Good folks all!
Well, I had made it. Back to Hemet where I was born and grew up.
Tomorrow morning Steve volunteered to drive me around the area so I could take a few pics of the areas I wanted to see, then he had taken it upon himself to organize a "luncheon" of some of our old buddies.
It felt good to be back in my old SoCal hometown, in the company of longtime friends.
Looking forward to reading the rest of your RR :)
Glad to see you're back riding and on MULTI :D I thoroughly enjoyed your first RR (when you rode out to NYC to visit your son I believe?). In fact, when I was looking to buy a bike two years ago, it was between Multi and another 2 bikes and it was partially due to your report that I opted for Multi :1drink
I need a commission from Ducati...
Good to hear, and thanks. Dang, your story is not the first I've heard; I need a commission from Ducati for all this writing...:D
Day 4: Sightseeing (if it can be called that) around Hemet, California
As I said earlier, having retired last year, I've decided to write my "memoir" covering the period 1947--1973: this is from my birth (whoopee!) to the year I met Mrs. Greg. This period covers a lotta stuff in U.S. History, and I just felt like I wanted to chronicle what growing up during this period in small-town Southern California was like.
As I was finding out (as if I didn't know)---SoCal ain't like that anymore.
My host Steve had agreed to drive me around the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley in search of places of interest to me.
NOTE: This day's activity (and the next, for that matter) will probably not be of much interest to most of you. Please bear with me, and in a couple days I'll be back on the road headed back to New Mexico...
Some Places in Hemet that I Remember...
Before we had left another ol' buddy of mine---Tommy---(yeah, I've got a bunch of 'em out Hemet way) showed up at Steve's place, and we all chatted for a while. Got a pic of all of us old geezers below: L-R there's Steve, Dr. Greg, and Tommy (note for the sharp-eyed: Dr. Greg wearing 2007 WestFest T-shirt).
Tommy was able to recount a number of stories about stopping in at my folks' store (my parents ran a "mom-and-pop" store/gas station in the area for a couple decades) and talking to my Dad about car stuff...those memories were exactly what I was in search of on this trip. Thanks, Tommy!
I can't resist putting an old photo of my dad (the legendary "Duke" Starr) behind the cash register at "the store" back around 1958...what a great picture (IMHO)! Those were the days...
Here's our first stop: the house I grew up in on "Elmwood Street" in Hemet...
My folks moved into this house in 1951 when it was newly built. My Dad put in a beautiful front (and back) lawn, my Mom put in a bunch of roses out front. It was all shiny and new! Well, what did I expect? The neighborhood is pretty rough, too. Three scroungy-looking young "hoodlums" were walking down the middle of the street, too. Sigh. Well, it'll come back "shiny and new" in my memoir...
Next stop was over in San Jacinto (about 3 miles north) at my grandparents' house back in the early 50s. I have fond memories of my grandma fixing me lunch, and my grandad showing me 8x10 glossy photos from his days as mine foreman back in Oklahoma...
I learned to ride a bicycle along the street (Estudillo Ave.) in front of this house. It actually didn't look too bad. Tiny little house, too...ah, the memories.
Here's the front view of "Alessandro Elementary School" where I learned to read. Looks a little tougher now...
And here's the "playground" outside Alessandro Elementary...used to be dirt; I remember playing "kickball" here. And I remember something else, too...:evil
About 2nd grade (circa 1953) one day after school a girl (Bertha Dudley) said she'd pull down her pants over at the side of the playground. Well, naturally all of us boys were excited. I guess she did, but there were so many boys clustered around that I couldn't see much. I think she moved away sometime during the next few years...:lol3
Lunch With a Bunch of Old Geezers
Steve and I barely got back in time for me to take some medication (you know you're getting old when your "medication bag" is the biggest bag you carry on a trip), then head for a nearby restaurant to meet some more "ol' buddies." It was so nice of Steve to organize this.
Well, here's the pic of all of us:
Man, looks like some of 'em are one step from the graveyard!:grim Near camera, there's Steve (L) and Steve's son Travis behind him, Tom (R), with Dr. Greg behind him. No point in going through them all. The guy behind Travis (violet shirt) is Eldon, who was a big football star at Hemet High School, and later San Jose State. We'll see Eldon at his place tomorrow.
Just a bunch of hardworkin' guys. I had a great time there. So glad I made the trip.
An Afternoon Ride
Actually I lied about the lack of motorcycle content: I did take a ride by myself that afternoon. Headed off east on CA 74 up to Mountain Center. I know that road like the back of my hand; in fact, I know all the roads in the San Jacinto Mountains like the back of my hand. Used to humiliate fratboys in Porsche 911s when I had my 1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang (sold in 1974 for $3,700---you can kill me now):baldy
Had a fun ride up that road on Milledue, a little bit slower than I used to (that GT-350 stuck pretty well), but still fun. Instead of turning off to Idyllwild I kept on 74, which eventually goes down to Palm Springs (and is a pretty good ride). Snapped this pic somewhere around Garner Valley, before I took 371 down to Anza.
On thru Anza and Aguanga to "Sage Road" (formerly CA 79) which is a delightfully twisty-turny roller-coaster of a road. On March 30, 1972 I was cycling with two good friends (I used to be a bicycle racer) on Sage Road when a pickup truck took us all out. Killed my best friend, broke my femur, radius/ulna, 2-weeks in a coma. Spent two months in traction (orthopedic surgery wasn't as advanced back then).
But notwithstanding that, Sage Road is still a great ride. Just beware of one particularly nasty downhill, decreasing-radius corner. DAMHIK.
Well, that pretty much concluded my Hemet Valley sightseeing. The next day I had plans to take the "back way" down to Fallbrook (northern San Diego County) to see Jerry, another ol' buddy I hadn't seen since I was back in Arkansas on a trip around 1975.
Screw Jack, Anyone?
Turns out that my host Steve has kind of become an expert in resurrecting "screw jacks." Any of you morons know what a "screw jack" is? Didn't think so; here's a pic of a matched pair:
If anyone is interested in a nice screw jack, I can put ya in touch with Steve!
Well, I'm tired of writing for the moment. See ya again soon with more SoCal gems :thumb
Me, too! I now understand your 89A t-shirt :D
Day 5: A Ride to Fallbrook, California via Sage
There was a period in my life (mid 70s) when Mrs. Greg and I thought about moving "back to the land" and had some property in the Ozark Mountains of NW Arkansas. That didn't work out, but along the way we met Jerry. He and his wife (they've since split) had a small farm in the Ozarks---Jerry is the best "ag" guy I've ever seen.
Anyway, Jerry has knocked about the US West for the last 40 years, and landed in Fallbrook, CA. I had my host Steve plot me a route to Fallbrook that avoided I-15, and set off to see Jerry...
Orange Groves & Vineyards...There're Still Some Left!
My route led south of Hemet on the aforementioned Sage Road as far as Sage itself, where I commenced riding on a bunch of "county roads" that eventually led me to Fallbrook. Many of these were delightfully twisty, and I was kept on my toes navigating (route changes every few miles), so I didn't get any pics. Well, almost none:
Along a straight stretch I got this pic; you could smell the orange blossoms!! And there were some vineyards! A little bit of "old southern California" is still left. All the agricultural area around Hemet (apricots & citrus, primarily) has long since been ripped out for cheesy houses. Sigh.
BTW, I COULD NOT BELIEVE the amount of development around Temecula! Back when I was growing up, there was nothing there but a "wide spot in the road." Sure ain't true now...
Lunch with Jerry...
We met at the Fallbrook Public Library; Jerry's hair was a little grayer (mine is, too) but he was in pretty good spirits:
Man, I think it's time for me to change that T-shirt...
We found an Irish Pub nearby, and got some lunch.
Jerry had been everywhere, and seen everything since I had last seen him. We ended up talking for over 3 hours. Having had an IPA, it was probably wise for me to wait that long, considering the twistiness of the return ride.
As always, it was SOOOOO good to see an old friend. And to treat him to a better lunch than he's probably had in a while...
A Stop at Eldon's Place near Sage, California
I think I mentioned earlier that I had promised Eldon (another ol' high school buddy) that I'd stop off on my way back from Jerry's to see his place near Sage. The country around Sage is just spectacular (to me), rolling hills...well, I like it.
Eldon's place is a little ways back on a dirt road...hey, no problem, the MTS1200 is an ADV bike, right? Once I got there, Eldon drove me around in his little "golf cart."
Kinda hard to see the "lay of the land" in these crummy photos, but---like I said---I just love the Sage area.
Eldon lives alone now, and although his football-star days at San Jose State are long since over, he keeps himself in pretty good shape (looks like, anyway).
So this is the kind of area and folks I grew up around. Simple, honest (well, mostly :lol3) hardworkin' guys.
By the time I got back to Steve's place, he and Virginia were a little worried about me (it was almost sunset). I managed to get a pic of them before it got dark. They were SO NICE to me while I was there.
Well, the next morning I was heading back to New Mexico. Did what packing I could and had a good night's sleep.
I realize this is a pretty LAME ride report; thanks to anyone who's following it. I debated about whether to even post it, but I like to look back over these RR's years later. So I did.
Good job. I know it's mostly personal but for some of us around your age who have not been in contact with old class mates it makes me envious. It's always good to go back to the old neighborhood where you have grown up and see the changes, usually not for the better. :clap
Good to hear that...
I also recalled that there is ONE MORE MODIFICATION to Milledue from stock:
5. Changed to 15/42 gearing (two tooth up on the rear sprocket). Suits me a lot better...
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