Angeles Crest Highway
Today I took a ride up the Angeles Crest Highway. That’s Highway 2 for all the people out there keeping score. It was conceived back in 1912 and it they said they were going to build “the most scenic and picturesque mountain road in California”. I’m happy to report they were correct! The road runs right through the Angeles National Forest and connects La Canada, Flintridge to the ski town of Wrightwood. Not to mention it’s probably one of the most popular motorcycle rides in southern California.
So Today I decided to drive to Newcomb’s Ranch. It’s a restaurant that serves as a midpoint between Flintridge and Wrightwood. On a good day you can find the parking lot filled to capacity with every kind of motorcycle you can imagine. I was told that every weekend you can find dozens (sometimes hundreds) of motorcycle riders charging the two lane mountain highway. I was very happy I chose a Thursday for my first trip. In fact, a few of the other riders I met were strictly weekday drivers, suggesting that weekends were far too busy for their tastes. I tend to agree with that philosophy. I want to enjoy the ride, be able to go my own speed and take careful consideration for road conditions. I don’t want to be caught up with other riders, fighting for space on the road. I like space around me so I can breathe.
Fortunately, today’s journey proved to be as beautiful as promised. The Crest Highway takes you right along the tips of the San Gabriel mountains providing some spectacular views. Elevation drops gradually and then takes you right back up again. Not too many tight curves, but never a straight road to be found. Every bend, twist and turn opens up for another amazing view calling you onward for more. Of course, with steep mountain sides and loose gravel all around it’s common to see rocks in the road. It’s a road that, although beautiful, demands your constant attention.
My destination today was only to get to Newcomb’s Ranch and back. From my house it is 44 miles… and from there it’s another 33 miles to Wrightwood. The riders at the ranch argued that the next half of the ride is probably the more spectacular. Obviously, I’ll have to find out for myself!