All right, laundry's in and I'm back. I went up to Big Bear and decided to take the long way around through Fawnskin. What a surprise! That road, back in the day, used to be little travelled as it wasn't in the best of shape and had some nice, tight curves. Well it seems like they wanted more tourists over there, so they re-paved and it seems they straightened it out. And tourists they got! It was annoying as hell, following these minivans and suv's that would just stop in the middle of the street to look at the pretty water. I saw a side road that said it lead to Holcomb Valley, so I just took it. About a mile or so in was a sigh that says pavement ends. Now the road looked familiar from back in the day and it just turned into a well maintained fire road. I wasn't prepared for any serious dirt, as I had no water, no tubes and had (doh!) left my cell phone at home, but I figured a nice fire road would be no issue. Unfortunatelly, I lost some of the pictures from this little jaunt, but here's a couple taken about 5 miles in when I stopped for a smoke: A KLR on a dirt road, where it belongs: Abush (for no reason what-so-ever): About 8 miles in there was a tiny paved intersection. For some reason they paved the intersection despite all the roads being dirt. Anyhow, I ran into these guys: They were checking their gps and we shot the shit for a bit. One was from San Diego, one from Fullerton (I believe) and another from Anaheim. I had decided to go back the way I came, as I didn't want to go further not being prepared. One thing I didn't mention, either here or to these guys, is that I haven't had any experience with dirt outside well maintained roads since I was in my 20's (I'm 50 now) on my old Rickman 250. Anyhow, one guy told me to take 3n16 (or was it 14) because it's a "real easy road" that leads right back to Big Bear in 8 miles. Cool. Thanks, dude! Turns out, the road was tougher than the one I had been on. First thing I run into is some deep ruts. No biggie, just like the old days, remain standing and pick a path. Must be an anomoly, I thought. Still standing, I hit some nice soft dust and felt the handlebars pitch a bit. Okay, I remain standing...make it through no big deal. The road was nice for a bit, then turned to some serious downhills (for me anyhow) with loose gravel. Here we go! I stayed standing and peeked at my odometer...6 miles...2 to go...nice, I'm going to make it. Yes, there are no pictures because, beautiful as it was, I just wanted to get to civilization knowing how unprepared I was to be riding in the dirt! At 8 miles, more serious downhills with loose gravel, however by now I kind of had my dirt legs back, so it was no big deal...quite fun when I didn't worry about a flat or anything. The road wound up to be 12 miles long, but did kick me out in Big Bear. My first real dirt experience on the KLR, totally unprepared, was really no big deal. I'm going back, definatelly, with water, tubes and tools and will take more pictures and make a day out of it! Big fun! (Actually, I'm kind of proud as I didn't know how I'd handle it after 30 years, but the legs came right back!). Got to Big Bear and went to the Starbucks (hey, it's got caffeine and I needed a smoke badly by now!). Here's my dusty KLR: A Von's in the mountains (the view was much better, and I thought it was kind of funny seeing a Von's for some reason): There was a creepy Santa across the street: and a couple of sweet sport bikes in the parking lot. Love the new KTM: I made friends with a nice dog while drinking coffee: It got to be about 2:30 and I was talking to the dog's owner. Nice guy, lives in Palm Springs in the winter, the mountain in summer. I told him I was going to hang out in the village for a bit, take some pictures. He informed me that Octoberfest was going on. Crap, later there will be drunks going down the mountain! I decided it was a good time to split. Looking at the clock, it was just after 2:30: I headed down the mountain, and didn't stop for pics or anything. As I got to the freeway, my leftt mirror kept folding in in the wind. Crap, I wasn't going all the way back to Long Beach without a left side mirror! I stopped at Chapparel, fully prepared to buy an aftermarket set of mirrors. When I took the mirror off, I noticed it had a screw to tighten the ball joint on the back. Sweet! Just tighten the screw and head on home. Remember I said I only had the stock tool kit with me? Guess what, the phillip's head screwdriver was too big. Damn! Had to go into Chapparel anyhow and got a 9 dollar screwdriver set. It's a nice little set (and the cheapest they had) that I will keep on the bike, but I really didn't need it. Oh well, back on the road and towards home. The wind was something else! Hitting a headwind on the 10, I had the throttle pinned and could only get 80mph out of the thumper. I thought something was wrong until it dawned on me that I was going into the wind! Finally got back to Long Beach and stopped for dinner (supper for those of you back east). Stopped here for a fish burrito and a quesidilla: If you ever get to Long Beach, Hole (I can't make that accent thing) mole is a must. All their fish is amazing. I think the secret ingredient is crack! Sorry, didn't get any food pictures again (I'm slipping...gotta fix that). Walked over to the store to buy smokes and on the was back saw the full (or at least almost, I didn't check) moon was going to make for a nice urban night: All in all, a good time was had. Definately have to get in more dirt. Any suggestions you socal people? Thanks for coming!