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  Ride Recaps
Chapter Overnighter - SWStarBQ, Camp Verde

Death Valley

We started our adventure out from the Starbucks on Chapman. We were met there by Ken Indorf and Linda and Howard Montgomery. I was the only one with a trailer this time – Gail was meeting Ken in Camp Verde, so she had the car and lots of room for stuff. We headed out up the 57 to the 91 east and out to the 10.

Our first stop was at Gramma’s Kitchen in Beaumont for breakfast. We met Bob Barbano and Al Piwonka with his godson Michael there. We were now a group of eight riders on 6 bikes. As usual breakfast was great – everyone was more than excited to head out to Arizona. The weather was a little chilly, but clear and bright. The chilly part wouldn’t last long.

We continued our ride out the 10 for a while with our first gas stop in Fantasy Springs off of Dillon Road. By now the weather had warmed up and it would stay about 84 degrees the rest of the day. It was at this stop that Howard got a call and had to return to Orange County. Linda would continue on as my passenger – if only her clothes had made the trip with her. A minor mistake and her bag went back with Howard and his bag went on with her. More about that later.

So we continued on, one less bike, down the 10 to Quartsite for our next gas stop, then into Congress for our lunch stop at Nichols West. This is a four star restaurant in the middle of nowhere. The burgers are amazing. Everyone was starting to unwind and just enjoy the ride. I can’t even begin to tell you just what a beautiful day it was.

We finished up with one last gas stop before our last leg into Camp Verde. This leg took us up and around Prescott on some really great twisty roads and some amazing scenery. Eventually we hit the 17 for a one exit up jump and then made it to our hotel.

We were one of the first to arrive – in fact only two other bikes were in the parking lot and no others arrived until Friday. We checked in and found our way to our rooms. So, the hotel is down the hill from the Casino and all of the restaurants. They have a shuttle that runs back and forth. Seeing as we were starving, we all unloaded and cleaned up, then summoned the shuttle to take us up the hill to eat.

Our choices were a Johnny Rockets (we had burgers for lunch), a Steakhouse (we planned on that for Friday night), or the Buffet. So the buffet it was – or wasn’t – hate to say it but the food at the buffet was not all that great. Good thing we were all starving!

After dinner we wandered around the casino to see what was up – that didn’t take long. We were all ready to just sit and relax a bit. So we headed back to the hotel and spent some time just talking and laughing and maybe a few cigars.

We all met up Friday morning to take the shuttle back up to the buffet for breakfast. Who could mess up eggs right? Well – it was the blandest breakfast I have ever had. No more buffet for us. After breakfast we headed back down to the hotel and saddled up for a day of adventure.

For those of you who were with us for our trip out to Sedona last year, you know that we tried to go to Montezuma’s Castle and got stopped by rain. If you remember we stopped in the parking lot of a hotel/Casino to change into rain gear – well that is the hotel we are staying in. So our first order of business was to go to Montezuma’s Castle. It literally was a right out of the parking lot and an immediate left, then down maybe a mile.

The Castle was really interesting – built into the wall of the mountain in Limestone. A perfect fortress. We hiked around the park and were treated to a Ranger’s presentation on the Castle and the rocks and pottery that were found there. Very interesting. After the presentation we hiked back up to the gift shop and restrooms and then we were off again.

Well, our next stop was Walmart so Linda could get herself some girl clothes for the trip. Since Howard had taken her bag by mistake and left her his – and he is a little bit taller than her – she needed a few essentials. Lol So off into Camp Verde for a little shopping at Walmart.

Now I know that a trip to Walmart doesn’t sound exciting, but I have to tell you that the scenery around Camp Verde is really awesome. We arrived and spent a little time shopping – Linda got herself a few things, Al got some flip flops, Ken got a prescription filled, and Susan got a couple of tops too!

Once we were done shopping, we headed across the parking lot to Carl’s for lunch. It was such a relaxing day. Al was telling us about this Copper Museum that he had always wanted to go to in Clarksdale, so we headed out to see. We rode out through the rest of Camp Verde, through Cottonwood, and down into Clarksdale.

The Copper Museum was really cool. It’s housed in the old Clarksdale High School building that was built back in the thirties. Each room contained specific types of Copper and Brass items, like kitchen, farming, ornamental, religious, etc. It was amazing – if you are ever in the area you should check it out.

It was time to head back to the hotel so we saddled up and headed back.

We arrived back at the hotel and made dinner reservations for the group of us at the Storyteller’s Steakhouse. It was great to see that a few more people had arrived, with about 50 bikes in the parking lot. We all took a little time to clean up and then meet in the lobby. From there the shuttle was summoned and we headed up. The restaurant is decorated like a cavern with tables in little caves around. The food was amazing! Everyone was really pleased with their dinners. Susan and I split a Filet Mignon with some tasty sides. Ken and Gail had an Oso Bucco, it was all really good. Then there was dessert which we all ate even though we were stuffed.

After dinner we headed back down to the hotel to catch the Meet and Greet. Sadly there weren’t many people there. Seems like there were more people in the parking lot. So that’s where we headed. We hung out for a bit in the parking lot chatting with everyone who had arrived. The evenings were really relaxing with no bugs, a slight breeze, and warm temps.

Saturday we all met up in the parking lot ready to head out for breakfast. Bob Barbano had identified a restaurant in town that had a great rating so we were off. We headed down the street to a place called Beto’s Mexican Food. It is a small restaurant with great food. In fact I think it’s the best breakfast burrito I have ever had. Al tried their Sopapilla and Gail had the Chorizo and eggs – it all looked really great. Again we all ate too much since the food was so good.

After breakfast we had decided to take a ride down through Jerome and into Prescott. We had originally thought about stopping in Jerome, but apparently the Hell’s Angels were having a wedding in town and they were expecting over 200 members – so we decided to just ride through on our way to Prescott. On our way out of Jerome we stopped at the Scenic Overlook and we were joined by the Temecula Chapter. We invited them to join us for the rest of the ride and we were thrilled that they said yes.

Although we have driven through Prescott on several occasions, we have never stopped there, so we decided it would be great to park at the square and walk around. Although parking was a little scarce, we were lucky to find a few spots to accommodate all of us . Once parked, we decided to meet back at 1:30 and we all scattered. The Prescott square is filled with lots of antique shops, jewelry stores, clothing stores and lots of Saloons. Apparently, historically, there was once a Saloon in every other storefront.

A few of us started out together and made our way around the square and eventually stopped for lunch at the Lone Spur. Lunch was really good and the restaurant was filled with some really great art and artifacts. After a small lunch we headed down to the Palace Saloon to meet up with more of our group. The Palace Saloon is one of the genuine article. You enter through swinging double doors into a great room with a big oak bar. We also spotted a semi-celebrity there – Cato Cailyn of OJ Simpson fame was at a table in the back of the saloon. Several of us took a look and agreed that it indeed was him. LOL

Eventually it was time to head back to the bikes and head back to the hotel for the Barbeque. We gathered together and attempted to find gas and head back. We found a small gas station at the edge of town and the smaller tanks filled up. We then headed back through and out of town and back to our hotel.

After cleaning up, we all headed down to the banquet room to check out the auction items. Unlike previous StarBQs, we were allowed into the banquet room, and after checking out the Chinese Auction items (buying a few tickets and putting them into the boxes) we found a table and sat down to chat. We stayed there until the event started. For once the StarBQ actually had a barbeque! The dinner was really good with barbequed beef, salad, beans, rolls, and then dessert. We all stuffed ourselves.

The presentations began with Alan and Ginger speaking a bit about the organization and the Start Family Foundation. The hosting chapters were recognized for their work, and then the raffle and Chinese Auction started. A couple of our members won some of the auction items (Gail and Al). We hung out until about 8:30, then we headed back up to our rooms to start packing for the ride home.

Sunday morning a small group of us headed home, with others heading out to other destinations, continuing their vacations. In the end it was just Me, Susan, and Al riding with Linda and Michael as passengers. We left early, deciding to press as far as Wickenburg before stopping for gas and breakfast. The goal was to beat the heat – ha!

By the time we got to Wickenburg it was already 85 degrees. It was comfortable but we knew it would get hotter the lower we got in elevation. We had breakfast at McDonald’s, opting for a quick meal and then back on the road.

Our next stop was Quartzite and the temps were rising. We gassed up and hydrated. We were enjoying the scenery but not the heat so much. We knew that the worst heat was in front of us, and it was a doozy. Once we hit Blythe the temps had reached 106 degrees and at one point between Blythe and Banning it hovered at 108 for a bit. Thankfully once we hit Brea the temps had dropped down to a cool 95 degrees. By the time we hit Fountain Valley it was a nice 78 degrees and comfortable.

Another successful overnighter – next, June Lake! See you there.

May - Borrego Springs

What a difference a week can make. The preride day was bright and hot – today not so much. Although there was a threat of rain, the weather was not really showing much so we decided to head down to Mission and see. I arrived to find a nice group of brave souls ready to ride. In fact, in the end we ended up with about 25 bikes and riders.

The group gathered upstairs for our meeting where we were joined for our ride by Dave Long and XXXX from the Temecula Chapter. We covered our usual business, the LED light deal I have going, and our plans for the SWStarBQ. After a few raffle drawings and the 50/50, we headed down to the bikes to group up and head out.

We were two groups with myself and Don Carter leading. We headed down the 5 South. It was a little chilly, but not too bad. We made our usual stop at the Camp Pendleton Rest Stop and then continued on down the 5 to Santa Fe Drive. We exited and headed east. The route took us out Paseo Delicias around Lake Hodges and into Ramona for our first gas stop.

Now during this part of the ride we only encountered some light misty rain, and some light cloud cover. After gassing up, we headed out through Santa Ysabel, Wynola, Julian and onto the Banner Grade. There were a couple of times that the cloud cover dipped low and there were a few rain drops but we were all prepared and stayed dry.

Eventually we started to descend down the other side of the mountains, and the weather changed dramatically. Lots of sunshine and a nice breeze. (Thank goodness, on the pre-ride we got hit with some real heat and a lot of wind.)

We turned onto Yaqui Pass and down into Borrego Springs. We stopped at Pablito’s for lunch. Lunch was great – they put us out on the patio and provided some great food and great service.

After lunch we all debated what gear to put on – we knew we were going back up the mountains and into the rain again, but in Borrego Springs it was now hot. So it was a mixed bag. As we headed back up the Montezuma Valley Road we quickly left the warm sun behind and were back into the cold and misty mountains. We hit a little more rain on our way through Warner Springs and up the 79 and then the 76 into Pala for our last gas stop.

The weather had made the ride a little long so I decided to make an executive decision to call the ride at the gas station in Pala and let everyone split off to home – but first one piece of business, we voted Ted Jones in!! Welcome Ted!

And with that we split into two groups – one going straight out the 76 to the 5 north, and one going up the 15 to the 91.

Great ride – next month Sunrise Highway, see you there.

 April - Mt Palomar

Not a cloud in the sky and mild temperatures in the forecast – this was a great day for a ride. I arrived at Mission Motorsports to a few early birds ready for our ride to Mt Palomar. Scott Komie was already there with his new to him Goldwing – yes another Goldwing in the group! Lots of other members arrived, along with a new rider Jack Ayers – Hi Jack!

Once the donuts arrived, we all followed them inside to get the coffee going and the raffle tickets sold. Then we were upstairs for the meeting. Not much news, next bike night April 13th at Tutto Fresco and our 15th Anniversary Celebration will be following our July ride at Al Piwonka’s house.

After the meeting, we were downstairs and lined up into two groups with myself leading group 1 and Don Carter leading group 2. Once everyone was ready, we headed out down the 5 south to the 76 east and out towards Pala. Our first gas stop was at the Pala Casino gas station. I can say it a dozen times – it was a beautiful day. Sun was shining and it was about 72 degrees.

We continued down the 76 east where we finally hit the twisties – the hillsides are all green with lots of flowers blooming. The smells of orange blossoms and lilacs were everywhere. The critters were out as well – lots of squirrels and birds. I was shocked when a Bobcat crossed the road in front of me and then up the hillside. In all my years riding and travelling through California, this was the first time I have ever seen a Bobcat in the wild.

We made the turn up the South Grade road and headed up Palomar Mountain. The mountain views were spectacular – especially with the clear skies. A few bicyclists on the road, but not too many. After some twists and turns, we arrived at the observatory.

We took a little time to explore the observatory and the grounds surrounding it and then we were back on the bikes to head out to lunch. We returned down the mountain and then off on Mesa Grande Road, this is one we haven’t ridden before – it took a little longer, but was well worth it. There were great views and great twists and turns. Eventually we made a right onto the 79 headed to Santa Ysabel.

At the junction with the 79, there was a couple of men with a camera on a tripod taking pictures of the cows on the rolling green hills. Apparently, they had called the cattle to dinner or something as the entire herd was running towards where they has the camera pointed. It was amazing to see all those cows and their calves running.

We arrived the junction between the 79 and the 78, and our lunch stop, the Apple Country Restaurant. Lunch was great! Could not have asked for better service – and the pie!

After lunch, we were back on the bikes and back up the 79 toward Lake Henshaw – which is actually a lake again after this year’s rains. We followed the 79 back up through Warner Springs, around the mountain and into Temecula. We stopped for gas at the usual Chevron in Temecula - then we were back on the bikes and down the road to the 15 north.

We took the 15 north to Baxter and then down to Grand and onto the Ortega. The ride out the Ortega was nice and smooth – except for this white car that was going so slow and would not pull over no matter what - eventually they finally realized that there were a whole bunch of bikes and cars behind them and they pulled over. From there it was smooth sailing out to the 5 north and back to Mission Motorsports.

At Mission we were treated, (as usual) to some freshly barbequed hot dogs and drinks and the ride was called.

Next Month Anza Borrego and Julian! See you there!

  March - Fallbrook/Deluz

The Fallbrook/Deluz ride is always one of the chapter favorites. So as usual we had a great turn out of over 30 bikes ready for the ride. The weather was clear and would stay in the mid 60’s – perfect riding weather. Everyone was milling around, eating donuts and purchasing raffle and 50/50 tickets, then, eventually we moved up to the conference room for our meeting. It was a little crowded, with a few spilling out into the hall. Information was shared about upcoming events, and rides.

There was a little discussion about the need for everyone to take advantage of the rider classes available out there. Vinnie puts on a skills day once a year, and there are several advanced rider classes that can be found. Also, if you don't care for the group setting, you should talk to Paul McInerny about the possibility of taking a little of his time for some riding instruction - Paul is a retired Garden Grove Motors Seargent and trainer.

We broke into four groups with Myself, Scott Hamilton, Ken Indorf, and Richard “Taz” Green leading. After a little shuffling we were set and soon enough we were off, heading down the 5. As usual we made our first stop at the rest area past Pendelton. And as usual we were bombarded by foreign tourists wanting to look at, touch, and sit on our bikes – oh and of course take lots of photos! This time the visitors were from China!

Once we were able to pry the last tourist off of the bikes, we headed off back down the 5, off at the 76 and took the left on Mission Avenue. From there the roads started their twists and turns – could not have asked for a more beautiful day. The roads through Fallbrook were clear with very little traffic. Each twist and turn provided another beautiful view. The recent rains have made the hillsides green and the flowers bloom. There was a little sand on the road, but very little of the water that we had seen on the pre-ride.

After a nice long ride through the mountains and oak trees, we arrived in Wildomar and our gas stop. After a little chatter and a nice break, we saddled up for the next leg of our ride out past Lake Perris and around Lake Mathews. We finally made the grade down into Dos Lagos and into the Chili's parking lot.

As always Chili’s was more than accommodating to us. They didn’t even flinch when I told them the week before that I would have over 30 members there for lunch – and of course then we brought 36. They seated us and got everyone’s drink and food orders quickly. I can’t thank them enough – it was awesome. The food was good and the friendship was even better. We filled up half the restaurant.

After lunch we were back on the bikes and headed down and around the 15 through Corona and Glen Ivy. We stopped for a quick gas stop for the smaller tanks and then jumped onto the 15 south. We exited lake and made our way down to Grand and onto the Ortega Highway. A quick right and we were back in the twisties. We were again lucky as there wasn’t a lot of traffic but it had started to cloud up and the temps had dropped into the low 60's. As always Ortega was fun, great turns and twisties. Eventually we made our way down and onto the 5.

Just a quick ride up to Bake Parkway, a left and a couple of rights and we were back at Mission Motorsports. A really great day!

Just a little business, some hot dogs and water, and the ride was called. Next month Mt Palomar! See you there.

  February - USS Midway (postponed from January)

Finally, we get to go to the USS Midway again! It seems that every time we schedule this ride there is always a weather problem that has cause it to be postponed or cancelled. Thank goodness today there was no rain in sight.

I was excited for this trip and I guess so were a few others. We had a great turn out with a couple of new faces. Once everyone had gotten their cup of coffee and a donut or two, we headed upstairs for our meeting. There was a little bit of business, some raffle ticket pulled and the 50/50. Congrats to all the winners!

We broke into three groups with Myself, Scott Hamilton, and Ken Indorf leading After a little shuffling we were set and soon enough we were off, heading down the 5. As usual we made our first stop at the rest area past Pendelton. For once we actually weren't met by foreign tourists - shock! After a short rest, we saddled up and continued down the 5 into San Diego.

We arrived at the USS Midway and were able to make a deal with the nice ladies working the parking kiosk to cut us a break on the parking fee - yay! We promised to park four in a space in exchange for a discount.

Once parked we gathered to discuss when to meet back at the bikes and then Scott and Ken went to get our tickets - we had prepaid and gotten a nice group rate. We were able to keep the group together long enough to get up the galleyway and then to take a group picture - but then they all scrambled.

For those of you who don't know it, Scott Hamilton served on the USS Midway. He was kind enough to provide a nice tour of the flight deck and some wonderful stories of his life on the ship to some of the group. Some others went down to the engine room, the bridge, all over the ship. Lunch was in the Fantail Cafe - an outdoor patio off the rear of the ship.

There was a lot to see and each time we all get to explore a little more -

Once the tour was over, we all met back at the bikes for the ride home. We made our way out the parking lot and around to Pacific Coast Highway. Our first stop was for gas and then we hopped onto the 5 for our ride home. We were originally supposed to take a different route back which would have put us on the Ortega - but it was still closed due to damage from the recent storms. So it was straight up the 5 for us.

We were very lucky and didn't really hit much traffic heading back to Mission. Just a quick ride up and off at Bake Parkway, a left and a couple of rights and we were back at Mission Motorsports. A really great day!

Next Month - Fallbrook/Deluz. See you then!

  January - USS Midway

As always, our first chapter ride and meeting of the year is crazy; with new ride waivers, new officers, and of course the charter reading. I was ready for all of it, but I was not ready for the rain. There was some rain and the threat of rain throughout the day - so most everyone arrived in cars.

Everyone was great and arrived with their waivers pre-filled and it was easy for us to get through the process of checking and signing off on them. Thanks to Mike Fry and Paul McInerny for helping get those waivers processed.

After some catching up and socializing, we moved everyone up to the conference room for the meeting. There were rockers to be presented for outgoing and incoming officers and leads, and a few mileage rockers.

The following Officers and Leads were announced:

Ed Palaoro - President
Scott Hamilton - Vice President/Lead Road Captain
Mike Fry- Sergeant-At-Arms
Ken Indorf - Secretary/Treasurer
Greg Schedcik- Vet Representative
Paul McInerny- Lead Tailgunner/Lead Shepherd
Linda Mongomery - Raffle Coordinators
Richard Von Luft - Bike Night Coordinator
Susan Palaoro - Web Master

There was the usual info on upcoming events and information. Then we settled in for the reading of the charter. Thanks to those who volunteered to read the pages and help us get through. Once the charter was read we were all downstairs to head out to breakfast.

And that’s a great way to start off a new year! Keep an eye out for our new ride schedule due out January 22nd. See you in February.





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