Monday, October 21, 2013

Otay Mountain Truck Trail ride: 10/20/13

I did a quick solo ride (2.5 hours) of the Otay Truck Trail today.

The trail, southeast of San Diego, is right along the Mexican border and gives the rider some very scenic views.

This is not a difficult road for dual sport bikes or 4 wheel drive vehicles as it's mostly gravel with some red clay dirt, used and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Border Patrol and BLM.

The Otay Truck Trail follows the ridgetops of the San Ysidro Mountains. From most of the high points, riders can see way into Mexico toward the south, the Jamul Mountains to the north, Lyons Peak to the northeast and Tecate Peak to the east. Riders can park next to the fence and actualy step into Mexico where the fence ends (not recommended).

The trail is easy because it is almost all leveled shelf road; limited passing opportunities and many blind corners are the only difficulties you will face. Numerous mirrors are positioned at blind spots to ensure you don't end up as the hood ornament on a border agent's truck.

I saw only two other vehicles on today's ride -- both 4x4s -- and passed them as I went up the hill. And while I didn't meet up with any border agents on the trail today, I was buzzed by a helicopter and a small airplane -- both USBP -- that were likely looking to see who was setting off their sensors. Once they were satisfied that my ugly orange KLR650 wasn't smuggling people or contraband, they headed off in search of more interesting things to do.

If you do go, plan for enough time to explore the many side trails that lead to observation points (mainly for border agents) along the way.

Most of them end just a few hundred yards from the main road but are interesting to follow. I ran into several "Ys" along the way and took them all. It's my policy that when presented with a "Y" I always say, "Y not."

How to get there: There are two main entrances to the Otay Truck Trail, both about 20 miles from downtown San Diego.

The north entrance is off of Otay Lakes Road, east of Lower Otay Reservoir. About 2.5 miles west of Highway 94 is the Pio Pico Country Store. The entrance to the Otay Truck Trail is on the west side of the parking lot (up the hill, not into the RV park).

The east entrance is off Highway 94, about 1.5 miles east of Dulzura, at Marron Valley Road. Follow Marron Valley Road for 2.5 miles where the Otay Truck Trail branches off to the right.

Entering or exiting at the west end can sometimes be tricky as border agents will often shut and lock the gates; no worries as there are ways around that. The easiest way to exit at the west end of the trail at Alta Road, not far from Donovan State Prison and the county/ferderal detention complex.* When you reach this exit at Alta Road, turn left and head toward the 905 an the major north/south freeways (I-5/I-805).

* NOTE: Those that know me understand why I was unfortunately in one or more of these facilities. Nuff said...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My pal Ted: 1,500 miles, 24 hours, 74 years old...


My friend Ted—74 years young—is on his way to see his new great-grandson in Kansas. He decided to ride his motorcycle—a 2007 Honda ST1300—and do an IBA Bun Burner Gold, defined by the Iron Butt Association as 1,500 miles in under 24 hours.

Ted, who lives just up the street, has ridden with me on quite a few rides. The first whopper was the USA 4 Corners Tour…a little 10,000 mile ride in under 21 days. I warned him when we first started to, “Not try to keep up with me” as I was a pro long distance rider. He laughed and said, “Right back at you, brother!” And he was right. He completed his first IBA Saddle Sore ride with me, from San Diego to Salem, Oregon, like it was second nature.

A little while later, he and I ran up to Northern Arizona and Southern Utah for some epic riding on a 3-day, 1,200 mile rode…just for fun.

I loaned him my SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger so his friends and family could track his progress on this ride. The link is here and below:

Ted is off to a great start! He departed San Diego yesterday at 6pm and reached his first stop of Gila Bend, AZ by 10pm.

He was in Pecos, TX this morning at 6:30--a 940 mile ride in a little over 12 hours. That's better than a 75 MPH average. That's an Iron Butt ride!

Ibuprofen: One of the long distance rider's 4 food groups.

He rode from San Diego to Moore, OK in under 22 hours, arriving sore but happy. After a brief rest and some ibuprofen, he rode the rest of the way to Richmond, Kansas.

Inspiring, to say the least.

Enjoy as we ride along with Ted.

I have a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. Find me now.

Here is the link to follow Ted on his IBA Bun Burner Gold ride: TED

Here's Ted's input:

That was me under 22 hours, I guess I picked the right route. I started at the Chevron station on 1st Ave. in San Diego.

With a little rain though the mountains, then the weather was great all the way to Moore OK.

The 1st stop was Gila Bend, AZ (286 miles); Lordsburg,NM (280 miles); Van Horn, TX (283 miles). At this point I was over half way in 12.5 hours.

Next stop Roscoe, TX (244 miles) where I ate my peanut butter sandwich with Red Bull drink and then 244 miles to Sanger, TX. Got gas & went 145 miles to Moore, OK, where I finsihed.

That Russel day long seat is worth every penny!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Save the Bacon ride (October 5, 2013)

I participate in local charity rides every month or two on average. Mainly poker runs, but sometimes just a nice ride to support a good cause.

Yesterday I rode with a few friends in the Save the Bacon ride ( in support of wounded Deputy Sheriffs. It was hosted by the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County and was sponsored by El Cajon (San Diego) Harley Davidson and Pure Forge Brakes.

The entry fee ($25 for solo riders, $35 for 2 up) included the Ride, Lunch, 2 Drinks, and 2 Raffle Tickets and a nice ride pin.

I met 10 other riders -- including Pastor Jim Baize -- at a local church at 8:30 and we departed a few minutes later.

We arrived at the starting location (El Cajon Harley Davidson) before 9am and there were already hundreds of bikes. This was the first time that I had to park behind EC HD.

Someone announced, "kickstands up in 15 minutes" but we were so busy talking with friends that by the time we got to our bikes, the main group had departed with the police escort. No worries, we lined up and a slew of stragglers joined us. In all, I think about 15 bikes headed out.

We took the highway (instead of back roads) to catch the main group already en route to Julian and met up with them at the I-8 and the 79 exit.

The weather was nice (not too hot, in the mid 80's) but the winds were high, and by that I mean BLOWING. My big old pig of a bike didn't move much, but the Ducati, the Hyabusa and smaller HDs were pushed all over the place. I hear there were 30-45 MPH winds on the highway that day.

The route was a self-guided tour through the back hills and mountains of San Diego County. We enjoyed a beautiful ride through Descanso and Cuyamaca on our way to Julian. Since I know the area pretty well, Pastor Jim asked me to lead the group to our final stop.

Once I realized that several riders in our group had never been to the Apple Pie Capital of the US (if not the World), I suggested a slight detour to ride Wynola Road. Everyone was game and we rode back through the very busy town of Julian and through 3 miles of picturesque country roads on our way to the lunch site. It was good riding, no traffic and in no time we had passed through Ramona on our way to Poway, arriving at about 12:30.

Hundreds of other motorcycle enthusiasts were already enjoying chow, good conversation and a rocking band. I'll have to get the exact figure.

I missed last years (first) ride (“Ride for Ali”) that directly benefited Ali Perez and Craig Johnson, two deputies injured in a highly publicized 2012 gun battle. Hundreds of riders from the greater Southern California law enforcement community, as well as many motorcycle enthusiasts from our local community, came out to show their support. This year, both Det. Perez and Sgt. Johnson returned to help turn this amazing event into an annual fundraiser for the Critical Incident Support and the foundation.

It was a good time for a great cause!