LAKE (2)“Car commercial ride”
Everyone knows that best way to sell a brand of automobile is to show young people driving down a road, surrounded by beautiful scenery. These roads are almost always set in lofty alpine mountains, starkly desolate deserts, and dramatically striking shorelines. The commercials evoke an image of freedom, power and excitement, as the landscape provides the seductive lure of the great unknown. Wow! All that in a 60 second film clip!
So, thinking this, the thought occurred to me that a great motorcycle trip would include all of these elements (but with old codgers) and would need to be part desert, mountain, and shoreline. But, where could I find all these wonderful roads? That was the easy part: Just follow David Stephens on a portion of one of his amazing rides!
Jim Stauber and I did just that, at the end of August. We not only followed our leader, but tried to absorb a small amount of the vast knowledge that David is master of: All things necessary for a successful long ride. I’m not sure just how much we absorbed, but we sure did have a great time trying.
We left from the Sycamore Chevron station at 8 am sharp, and dodged early morning traffic until we got on the Northbound 14 out of Newhall. From there, until our return on the 101 through Santa Barbara, the roads were clear, with just a few repair crews halting traffic (and giving us a much appreciated break).
I didn’t zero out my odometer until we gassed up at Mojave (total from there was 980 miles). At that gas stop, I got to try out my new “cooling” vest I had picked up from Cycle Gear. Pouring water on it and zipping it up under my mesh jacket utilized the ‘evaporation = temperature drop’ formula that worked really well, even in the 100+ degree heat of the beautiful yet deadly Mohave Desert and Owens Valley.
LAKE (1)The Owens Valley is a land of stark contrasts, dry sand and salted dry lake bottoms, paralleled by exposed stone peaks of the tallest mountains in the lower 48 States. Along the way, the views of ancient lava flows are a dramatic reminder of the forces that created this valley and the mountains on either side of it. The views of the dry, southern section of the Valley begin to turn green as the elevation starts to rise in the North. By the time we reached Bishop, we were greeted by beautifully lush ranch land. Up the hill, through Tom’s Place, we saw our first pine forests. From then on, it was a mixture of pines and pastures, interspersed between great areas of emptiness. (‘emptiness’, by the way, is superbly beautiful), until we reached Bridgeport, and our first night’s stop.
Bridgeport is an awesome little town that is well known to anglers. Most businesses close down at the end of October, as this little town becomes very cold (and fishing becomes really difficult) during the winter months. We dined at the Sportsmen’s Bar and Grill (terrific meal at the end of quite a long day) and were served by a gentleman sporting a tattoo on his arm that I thought was cool because it looked like a formula for some new wonder drug that might make me feel young again. David instantly recognized it as Schrodinger’s Equation. (Of course we all know that Schrodinger’s Equation describes quantum mechanical behavior, right?) It seems that this math dude had left the academic life to seek a bit of harmony in this sleepy little town, and in the process, had become a terrific waiter.
REDWOODSWell, the meal was great (the beer cold), and I learned a little bit of math, but it had been a long day so we retired to our rooms at the Maple Inn, and slept with dreams of the coming jaunt over the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Climbing up the mountain from Topaz Lake, the view was as spectacular as any on Earth, with stunning vistas that demanded a stop from the three travelers. The windblown pass beckoned us to look over the steep edge and marvel at the magnificence of our Sierras.
Continuing on, we made for Ebbett’s Pass. I’ve copied and pasted this from Wikipedia:
Today, Ebbetts Pass is one of the least traveled passes in the Sierra Nevada. An extensive section of highway over the pass is less than two lanes with no dividing line. It has very steep sections with hairpin corners.[11] The eastern slope is particularly difficult, as many of the hairpin corners are blind, and steepen suddenly at the apex, making it necessary to shift to first gear in most vehicles. It is rarely used by commercial traffic and is not recommended for vehicles towing long trailers.[12]
YES!!!!!! The perfect motorcycle road over the perfect mountain pass!!!
Well, David led us safely over this gorgeous road with a stop for lunch at Lake Alpine Lodge (recommended if you have lots of time) and on down to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Another big WOW! This is a fantastic Must See. It’s like a little Sequoia, with giant trees and beauty at every turn. The stump that David is pictured on was cut in 1853, is 24’ in diameter, and was estimated to have lived 1,244 years. (“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone….”). Although that one’s just a stump now, there are plenty others that are being well taken care of (don’t complain when you’re charged a $10 fee per motorcycle. Someone needs to provide the care to keep these guys around for another couple of thousand years).
Well, what could top that? You’re right! Pizza and Beer! And that’s what we dined on at Mike’s Pizza, in Angel’s Camp that night. Got to meet a bunch of fire fighters who were staying at the motel. They were on their 32nd day of fighting fires all over the State. Real heroes, and a great bunch of fellows!
After dinner, we bid David adieu, as his route continued to the north, early the next day, and ours headed west. I don’t think Jim and I would have attempted the ride had we not had the benefit of David’s experience, camaraderie, and most of all, his patience with two newbie’s. Having a Mentor of David’s caliber made the trip a wonderful learning experience, an absolute success, and one hell of a great time!
Thursday morning, Jim and I struck out for Carmel, just under 200 miles across the San Joaquin Valley. Another perfect excuse to utilize my $40 yuppie vest, as we zoomed down Interstate 5. In San Juan Bautista, there is a little bakery that is run by the good folks at Mission San Juan Bautista. Well worth a stop (thanks again to David for this bit of info). The mission was used in the Hitchcock movie, Vertigo, and it’s worth seeing as well, but we had to get down through Hwy 1 to Morro Bay before nightfall, so we passed on that (but did have some great turnovers at the bakery).
We gassed up in Carmel and struck out on the one and only Hwy 1. Completing the circle of magnificent scenery, this road stands out as the world’s most photographed highway. On this perfect day, the delightfully cool breeze was flowing in from the sea, the sparkly sunlight was glistening on the choppy waters, the traffic unusually light, and the curves absolutely magnificent. Motorbike Nirvana.
We stopped and took photos at almost every other turn (it just keeps getting better and better). But we eventually realized that we needed to start concentrating on straightening out some of the twisties by switching off the “Oh, look! Pretty!” mode, and switching on the “Brake, lean, gas, repeat” mode on our bikes. So we did, and life just got even better. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped, the scenery flew past and we putted into Morro Bay around dark thirty.
LESRIDEFor dinner, we decided to give our steeds a rest and download the Uber app. So I naturally did what any mature adult would do in this situation: called my kids to ask how to do it and they walked me through it. A word about Uber: GREAT! We rode for less than 14 bucks, and a generous gratuity ‘cause the only two Uber drivers in Morro Bay, David (who drove us to the restaurant) and Sandra (who brought us back to the motel), drive identical Ford Escapes and are both interesting to talk to.
The next morning saw us packing up for the ride home. I figured it would be uneventful, but when you ride with Jim, expect the unexpected. He wanted to pull off in Pismo Beach (I did not). He was just being polite (to allow me to remove my jacket as it was beginning to heat up as we went south). We pulled off the 101 into a Motel parking lot that overlooked the ocean. Lo and behold, we sighted whales just off the shore, so we made a beeline to the pier, where we witnessed more than 30 or so whales having a whale of a good time, eating fish, slapping tails at the birds, and leaping out of the big blue ocean and falling back into it with bigger splashes than I get with my patented belly-flop.
Now, after you’ve witnessed the all the amazing scenery a human can behold in the California deserts, mountains and shorelines…..scenery that, presented in a car commercial could make you fall in love with any metallic ‘cage’ that Detroit, Japan or nowadays even Korea has to offer…… how can you finish up the ride with something so awesome that it can cap off all this, this….. spectacularness?
Yup, you guessed it again! A single scoop of Chocolate Brownie, from 31 Flavors, in a glorious sugar cone (the others taste like cardboard). Oh, yes……

Les Montrose


RANDY WALKER volunteered to lead a ride up to Lompoc for a Jalama Burger at “their other cafe” at our Planning Meeting last year. Little did we know this would be 240 delicious miles of wild flowers. Indeed the hills were alive. We all commented on the fact that the time just flew by with all the beautiful scenery to take in. We could hardly wait to get around the next bend in the road.

One thing some did learn was that when you go to a cafe featuring Jalama burgers…stick to that. Thanks so much for putting this ride together Randy…Good to see Patty as your passenger as well.

Here’s pics anyone can enjoy. You dont have to be on FB. Just copy and paste into your browser…..


With it pouring down rain all night our ride leader decided it would be safer to just have breakfast.  So we sent out a “ride reminder” saying the ride was cancelled but we were having breakfast at Cocos at 10. 13 people showed up and had a terrific breakfast with the best server we’ve ever had. His name is Effrin and if you are at the Simi Cocos ask for him.1fbcocbreak
LES MONTROSE and MERT LAPEYRE MONTROSE have a deep, rich history in Simi and the surrounding area that goes back for decades. Mert’s grandfather Jean Baptist Lapeyre and his brother Pete sailed from France and settled in the Tierra Rejada Valley in the late 1800’s, ranching and farming that area.  Her grandmother’s father owned the ranch that later became Joel Mccrea’s home. Her father, Alex inherited his uncle Pete’s ranch and kept it going until the planned intrusion of Olsen Road, and the ranch was sold in the late 1960’s to the Doheny family. Mert, although still a Moorpark resident, docents at the Strathearn Park and is always willing to share her knowledge of the early Simi and Moorpark areas.

Les is a comparable newcomer to the area, having moved with his family from the San Fernando Valley to Simi in 1963. He graduated Simi High in 69′ and has worked for a considerable time for another pioneer family at PW Gillibrand Co’s (Mert’s sister) mining facilities in Tapo Canyon. Both Mert and Les spent 17 years working together as park caretakers for Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, which, with the Simi Valley Historical Society, runs the Strathearn Park.

With that in mind who better to tell the story of Strathearn Park than Mert? We “broke” in the gate since they dont open til 1 and she got us into all the beautiful old homes and barns and we walked the grounds for almost 2 hours. Just the well manicured grounds were a delight to the eyes and the inside of the homes brought her stories. of times gone by, to life with their well kept authentic furnishings.

Thanks Mert, and Les too, for a very interesting walk through Simi history. Here is just a taste of our tour in pics……If you ever have the chance to take the tour there you wont be sorry.


Normally when you start an article about some 30 year old organization youd say “From its humble beginnings.” It was anything but humble when nearly 100 GWRRA riders met at the Simi Valley Elks club in June of 1985. They were disgruntled with the local GWRRA organization and had defected so to speak.

For a year they went on rides and began to organize their own club now known as Tri Valley Touring Riders. Coming from a well known highly organized GWRRA nothing would do but to draw up “by-laws” and appoint 20 officers…. one for every aspect of TVTR. They had 3 or 4 meetings a month with a secretary taking down minutes that were read at the next meeting.

And they not only rode bikes but camped and went to plays and other social events. Their first newsletters had recipes in them and homey information about fellow riders. They werent a club so much as they were good friends just having fun.

Then in 1995 the local GWRRA got their act together and, along with some burnout I suspect, the major part of the group dropped out of TVTR and went back to GWRRA. This left TVTR in a spin with just a hand full of people left and those 50 pages of By Laws and all those rules.

They struggled along with one Director after another until finally LISA GOMES/SHERR took over in 1996. The club never caught its breath and along with that Lisa got married and was moving up North. David & Sandy Stephens had joined in 1996 and when they heard all of this continued to show up on rides. However by 1997 they showed up for a ride and no one was there.

They rode home and pondered what to do next and Sandy decided shed try to revive it. Having just beaten cancer it was the shot in the arm she needed. Something to put all her energy into. She loved the organizing part but had zip computer skills. She begged friends for help and created a web site. Back then you could do that for free and the club certainly didnt have any funds.

After 19 years we’re still thriving with about 50 “subscribers.” The $10 we charge is for the password to our website. Oh and there are no By-Laws or officers or minutes. We’re simply an all makes and models, highly organized, SOBER bunch of riding friends with rides every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month and a few over nights now and then.

Sandy still doesnt know that much about computers but with her friend Tim Sanchez’ help she manages to update it regularly.

With lunch served from Famous Daves BBQ our committee did a terrific job of putting our 30th year party together.

Wayne & Mary Spearman, Suzanne Martin, Janis & Steve Papiro, Rex Lehto, Matt Mosher, Darrel Sparks, Debra Kraus, Jim Stauber & Julian Ruelas.

TVTR members attending included..

Founding member Nardi Martinez……. Director before Sandy..Lisa Gomez/Scherr……old timers Cliff & Char Hodge and…….. former members Dana & Debbie Smith.

Thanks to all of those who helped as well as those who joined us to celebrate.




Did life ever hand you a miserable week of stress? One where you could hardly wait til that massage on Saturday morning? You’d come out feeling like a limp rag and ready for another week?
1BLGRPBikers have a secret in that regard. Their ‘massage’ for the soul is a motorcycle. No need to travel 100s of miles or be gone for days.
It was a warm 80 degree day in the middle of March when MATT MOSHER met a group of us at the Chevron. He warned us it was only about a 100 mile ride. What he didnt warn us about was that 2BLORGBLOSit had poured down rain just weeks before so everything was like a carpet of green. As we turned a corner the strong sweet smell of orange blossoms filled the air and as if that wasnt enough he’d found a road with deer grazing in a field. Someone said later they liked riding along the ocean and someone else said WE DID?3BLOCEAN There were so many sites and sounds and smells it just flooded our senses.
He took a break up in Ojai and then we headed for Thousand Oaks and that CHILI DARREL SPARKS had been cooking up all morning. Darrel had met us at the Chevron and collected a can of chili from each rider. One couple..Mark & 4BLCHILHOSStephanie Reid…on a Harley showed up saying theyd found our web site online could they ride with us but they had no chili. Darrel assured them there would be enough and they joined us.
We got to Matt & Darrels house, right at noon, hot and hungry. He had put together 2 chilies this time. One vegetarian and one5BLCHILIVEG FULL of tri tip and olives and other goodies. They were both mouth watering delicious. There were piles of veggies and condiments you could add to the mix and…of course….corn bread muffins. Full to 6BLFLOATSthe brim Darrel announced there were root beer floats for dessert!
After lunch we sat around and visited and Darrel had us play a game where we each listed all the motorcycles we’d ever owned and their makes. David Stephens won for having owned the most bikes and Leonard Cifelli won for having ridden the longest number of years. They each got a huge bag of Starbucks coffee!
Its our well kept secret that 100 miles and some great chili works better than a massage any day of the week. Well done Matt & Darrel…..well done!
See more pics on FB. No need to join to view these..