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Canyon carving in LA County


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Lisa and I decided this morning to take a ride...just the two of us. She was tired of me telling her how great all the roads up in LA county are, so we headed north. We got off the freeway at Topanga Canyon and fueled up while trying not to get run over by some idiots riding a variety of cruisers and one custom chopper.


Anway, then we set off down Topanga Canyon...passed a few cars, then got behind some more, so we just settled in. Before too long, we made our turn onto Fernwood Pacific, which climbs a ways, then becomes a 1-lane very steep descent through La Tuna Canyon.


A year ago, Dick and Laney and I did this road and I was amazed at how Dick did the turns. He'd come in really slow, then flop the bike over grab the gas and d*mn near rip the asphalt off the road acclerating out of it. I also remember passing the dude in the very expensive Porsche and watching the look on his face as his $90,000 car was passed by a girl on a little red bike with a Sock Monkey on the back. laugh.giflaugh.gif But anyway...I wanted to try to mimic Dick's style on this descent.


I think I did a fair job of it. The road cuts and carves through this very steep V-shaped canyon, and eventually you come around the bend and the whole Pacific Ocean is right there in front of you...only you can't look at it because there's a 10mph hairpin 20 feet ahead. smile.gif


I believe 90%Angel's comprehensive review of La Tuna Canyon was "Bitchin". smile.gif


We zipped up the Coast Highway passing Porsches, Mercedes, Vipers, and two Ferrari's (sorry Dick...the three vintage Ferrari's in race trim from last year were not there today. frown.gif ) before turning off onto Latigo Canyon road.


Latigo is another one of those great telelever/paralever roads. As we're cranking over in a turn...peg feeler just nicking the pavement, we're hitting all manner of dips, bumps, etc. The Works shocks and the telelever/paralever are doing their thing beautifully and the MEZ 4's are glued to the road. During one such turn, I asked Lisa "Do you know what happens to the steering when you hit crap like this?" "No, what?" "Absolutely nothing." laugh.gif We worked the tight turns of Latigo pretty hard and I was remembering why Dick likes it so much. Turn after turn after turn...never getting out of 3rd gear and just ripping the asphalt out of the corners. In slow, weight over, nudge the bars, hold it, hold it, hold it...aaaanndddd POWER ON. Up and out, then weight over, power off, hard on the brakes, and down into the next corner where the routine is repeated.


Just about the time you just simply can't make another turn, Mullholland comes into view. We got a very brief rest on Mullholland before we blasted past the Ducati club stopped and the lookout and got back into the really tight stuff. Hey...we've got an audience now...let's show 'em what a big-*ss RT can do in these corners. Scrrrrraaaaapapppppeeee. smile.gif


We stopped for a while at the Rock Store and watched a bunch of cruisers, a few Ducs, 3 old ring-a-ding-dingers (RD-350's, I think), and a pack of...yes...scooters. shocked.gif


We saw a couple of RT's , but didn't get a chance to introduce ourselves.


We set out back UP mullholland, through those awesome turns, past the lookout (this time it was a bunch of Suzuki crotch rockets that were stopped) and picked up Encinal Canyon. OK...now I know why Daryll is getting so good...this is one of "his roads" and I see why. the pavement is generally better quality than Latigo and the turns are one big sweeper after another. Speeds are higher and there's not as much braking and shifting.


Lisa prefered Encinal, I prefered La Tuna and Latigo, but we both agreed that they all rock. smile.gif


We hit the Coast highway again and resisted the urge to go hit Decker Canyon and back up to Mullholland smile.gif instead we zipped back through Malibu and picked up I-10 by the Santa Monica Pier.


A quick slab blast with some lane-splitting and we're home.


Weather: Well, it could have been better. The marine layer was trying hard to stick around that that messed up the ocean view a little. There was still quite a beautiful view and everyone, from surfers to kayakers (Hi, mjames), to us motorcycle hoons seemed to be out enjoying it. Temps were cooler than they were yesterday...I the temp at the beach was probably 68-70 and it was probably high-70's in the canyons.


We had very light traffic in general. The Coast highway was a bit congested, the freeways were fairly bad, and Topanga Canyon had a little traffic. The canyon roads that we came to ride were basically empty and every time we came up on someone (only a few times), they quickly moved over.


You know...people complain about LA..the smog, the traffic, the high real-estate costs. And that's all true, but then one day you'll be riding your motorcycle on a beautiful canyon road on a bright sunny day with all the vents in your riding gear opened and you'll realize: My god....it's February.

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Please stop posting your local ride reports. They are becoming quite disturbing. If you do not cease and desist, I may be forced to sell the farm, pack up, and move to your neighborhood so that I can take these awesome rides with you. smile.gif


OK, so I don't have a farm, and I'm not about to pack up and move to CA, at least, not yet. But you are tempting us with some great ride tales. I know we all have our favorite roads, and each state has a variety of rides, but CA seems to have the greatest variety, and they almost seem infinite. To be able to ride from the Pacific Coast through the desert, through the mountains, and back to the coast again, all in an easy day ride, all with beautiful weather, is simply unheard of elsewhere. I've been on a couple of rides with you guys down in that area, and I've ridden a few of those roads on my own; I can't wait to get back there and ride some more. But a word of warning if you keep posting these tales: one weekend morning, when you're ready to head out on a ride, and you open your garage door, I'll be sitting outside waiting for you. laugh.gif

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one weekend morning, when you're ready to head out on a ride, and you open your garage door, I'll be sitting outside waiting for you.



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"...one weekend morning... .... I'll be sitting outside waiting for you"


Inquiring minds want to know: what will you be sitting ON? tongue.gif



Let's see... I got $10 that says you'll be on a KRS. crazy.gif


And... for the record, Bro: it would be a welcome surprise to see you waiting - on any moto - when my garage door goes up! Then, we hoon up to Russell & Lisa's and "convince" them to play hooky for a few days. Eh?


Not fair for them to have those roads to themselves, is it. Dang, RB... you sure had a funner weekend than ol' Tool did!


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you sure had a funner weekend than ol' Tool did!


Yeah, well...yesterday was the fun day. Today there's a couple of trees in the backyard that have an appointment with the pruning/trimming blade of my reciprocating saw. Laundry needs to be done, the garage is a mess, and...well...you get the point. frown.gif


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Great ride report Russell. Yes, all the canyons up there are a blast and provide very different experiences. I've spent whole afternoons riding back and forth through the canyons. You can go from something like Decker which is really tight and twisty to something like Encinal which is all sweepers. La Tuna and Latigo are a ton of fun. Topanga/Old Topanga and Kannan have too much car traffic, but are really nice roads for cruising or a gentle introduction.


I guess my secret's out. There's also nothing to complain about when you're cruising up PCH in Malibu except maybe the fact that there's a speed limit.


My last couple rides convinced me I need new shocks. I'm looking forward to getting back out in the canyon with a better suspension under me.


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This was a really great ride. We started out way too late, but it didn't matter. We still had time to do quite a few roads, have a coke and some popcorn at the Rock Store (and make fun of the gaggle of Vespas!), and cruise down the PCH.


We left OC at 12:30pm. We slabbed it up there, then went up Topanga, which was pretty trafficky. I was disheartened "crap," I thought, " if there is gonna be this much traffic all day, this isn't going to be much fun". However, then we turned on Fernwood Pacific. It looked like we were going up someone's driveway! That road took us on some tight twisties, and we saw maybe 1 car the whole time. Then, it turned into a one lane road, which was great, as you didn't have to worry about oncoming traffic. I think it would be a great (albeit challenging) practice road. (Just don't screw up...or you can see how well your bike flies, then floats (in the ocean!) The ocean view was obstructed by the marine layer, so I'd like to come back again when it is clear.


Encinal was a good road. It was kind of like being on a roller coaster, as it was fast sweeper turns. I like those roads better as a passenger...not all the braking and shifting...just GO!


For dinner that night, we went to Tony Romas. Had an awesome steak, piled with onion strings, fries and a corn fritter casserole, (gotta love a place with a "corn fritter casserole" on the menu) and topped it off with a creme brulle/bread pudding/carmel thing. Cool way to end a cool day.



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I was up on those same roads Sunday. Of note was the fact there was no extra CHP enforcement at the rockstore as there has been in the past. Although the V1 did pay for itself again by protecting me 3 times in just one direction through Malibu from the L.A.S.D.

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no extra CHP enforcement at the rockstore


There was one car making laps on Mullholland. We passed him coming down from the lookout at a fairly agressive lean. I waved. He waved. Lisa shook her head...and that was it. We watched him go up and down a few times and after he passed the Rock Store going the opposite way that we wanted to go, we headed out. No problemo.


Speaking of that...how do you like the big K on those tight roads? Some people say it's not as good in the tight stuff as the RT, but my first RS ride in the twisties was on those canyons and I thought it handled it beautifully. In slower than the RT, but with the extra power, you reall rip out the other side.

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Feels like it corners just as good or better to me on the tight corners. Although I am partial to going into the corner slower and later to see more through the turn then constantly accel through and out of the turn as you suggest so maybe that's why I don't notice any loss of ability there.

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Next time ya'll are up my way, give me a shout. I'm a short ride away from there very near the Hidden Valley end (Rt. 101) of Decker Canyon (aka Rt 23 or Westlake Blvd).

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You guys with canyons in your back yard make me wanna ....! Ah, nevermind.


Is it hard to talk when you're all choked up with sand and cactus? smile.gif


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Brant Herbert

when you're all choked up with sand


You know, there's something to that. I've had to touch up my front fairing 3 times so far in 55k miles, each time when I could no longer stand the large collection (at least a dozen or more each time) of white spots from missing paint. It needs it again. I go to BMWRT.com events and I see these pristine high-mileage RTs and think, How the heck do those guys keep their bikes so clean looking. Living in the desert, there's rock and sand everywhere (well, duh!) and it seems small rocks get tired of sitting on the scorched earth and just wanna get airborne to cool off. And of course they seem to jump up right in front of me! But I guess it's a small price to pay for some pretty good year round riding weather. So I can't complain. smile.gif

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Ain't it SWEEEEET....

Those canyons are in my back yard!

Oxnard Ca. 10 minutes to HWY 1

Less than 20 miles to Decker Canyon and Mullholland.

You should make the trip up to OJAI and do HWY 33 also.

It's very UN-trafficated.

HWY 101 to 33 (ventura), 33 to HWY 5, then head south again.

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Leave CA-33 with a right turn on Lockwood Valley Rd. If no snow, ascend through Pine Mountain Club and cross Cerro Noroeste to 166. Left to Santa Maria, or right to Mariposa, and then a short stint on I-5 South.


Straight on Lockwood Vally rides through Frazer Park. South on I-5 or take the parallel service road to Goreman. Cross to the east side and descend Goreman Post Road (especially when Spring Flowers are blooming) to CA-138 East.


CA-138 offers two neat departures to the South. One is up to the Old Ridge Route, and down to Three Points. From there, left back to 138 or right down Pine Mountain/Elizabeth Lake Road to Lake Hughes. That's an alternate to continuing on CA-138 to about 200th St and the turn-off directly to Three Points. The second is at about 145th Street, and this beauty winds past The California Poppy Reserve. Cross the mountain on Muntz Ranch Road (Robbin's Road) to Lake Elizabeth. Left to Lake Hughes, or right to San Francisquito Canyon and down to I-5.


At Lake Hughes, Lake Hughes Road crosses great mountain country to Castaic. San Francisquito riders would head north on I-5 a few miles to meet your southerly course onto CA-126 West toward Ventura.


Leave 126 at Torrey Road and head into The Orange Groves. After crossing the Santa Clarita River, right at the dead end takes the Rider along a ridge hugging view of this beautiful valley to the intersection with CA-23. Turn left and after the first sharp left, continue straight at the impending sharp right onto Bardsdale. Two miles or so and take the left at the main road, back up to the ridge, and then along South Mountain Rd. Balcom Canyon is open, and those who don't get lost in this country would love that crossing. Continuing on SMR drops one into Santa Paula at 12th St. Either heads you on to complete the loop to Oxnard/Ventura at CA-101.


If you can do that in a day, I'll bet your arms get tired. wink.gif


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Too bad it's raining outside today ... yes, it does rain in So Cal! If not, your route would have tempted me to take a "mental health" day off from work to take in that ride. I've done most of that route in various pieces spread over different rides and agree that the north side of the 101 offers some great roads to complement those in the Santa Monica Mtns on the south side.


Oh well, I have a great deal of work to catch up on anyway ... but I will save that route for a ride sometime soon.




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