Set out yesterday afternoon with the Monkeys, which ended up being just a handful of us. Starting out from Temecula it was Jesse, David (the two founders) and Jesse's son along with myself. At the last moment though, Jay arrived and we set off toward Anza with the intent to ride up to the top of Thomas Mountain to catch the sunset - and catch it we did. The last time I was up here I ate it on my bike, but this time around we'd take a different route up. Instead of riding around and approaching from the East, we'd take a direct stab at it by riding in through Azna on Bautista Canyon Road and ultimately via. 6S16. Jesse previously indicated that this was a more intermediate level ride and after doing it, I see why. While it was still an easy ride, it's far more technical than any of the other group rides I've done previously with the Monkeys apart from maybe the run through Happy Valley which at times was similarly technical. That said, if you're comfortable on your machine, it's kind of a cakewalk. I'm still not quite up to the task of keeping up with Jesse on his KLR through the lot of it, but I did a decent job and we quickly picked our way to the top. All in all, we knocked out the 10 1/2 miles to the top in short order and took some time to laugh, talk and share various motorcycling stories. By the end of it, we were rewarded with one of the best sunsets I've seen in years. Once she set down below Diamond Valley Reservoir, we all saddled up and headed out toward Highway 74. As we waited for Jay to catch up, we found that his taillight was out. We group together keeping him in the center of the pack to keep him well illuminated all the way back into Temecula. Both Jesse and myself offered to let him stay over but he insisted that he didn't want to be a burden. He grabbed a room at a local hotel for the night until the light of day could get him home safely. At some point I may have quipped "But you have a Ducati. I thought Italians were famed for reliable electronics?" All said and done we rode 94 miles from my doorstep, about 18 of those being off pavement. If I get this footage cut up and such I should have an accompanying video soon-ish. Also this weekend I'm gonna try to get out somewhere challenging with the intent of testing my skills - we'll see how that goes though. Until next time!