Well, Sunday was Valentine’s Day and what do you do on Valentine’s Day? Roses, chocolates, cards, dinner and a lovely wal…, STOP, that needs a correction to RIDE, if you’re a member of San Diego HOG it’s what you do! The route was heart-tastic and the day sweet.
During the Road Captains’ pre-ride on Saturday it was discovered that part of the route, Highland Valley Road, had become more of a technical ride than the twisty curves usually are with water flowing across from a small irrigation line break as well as pot holes and debris from the recent storms. The ride leader, Coffee K., offered an alternate route led and swept by Road Captains Cindy K.* and Frank G. by-passing the hazards. You betcha I signed up and I wasn’t the only one, a little more than half the group did. I don’t know if this was because they were just looking for a leisurely ride or had heard that Cindy K. beats the lead to the destination 2 out of 3 times.
Highland Valley Road in North San Diego County is a road many riders love/hate with its blind corners, hairpin turns, dips and twists of the two lane blacktop. And while the water was mostly gone and a lot of the debris cleared on Sunday, it’s still deceptive and requires slower speeds and lower gears in many places. Going in too hot will take you right off the road, as one of the riders on Sunday discovered. Luckily there was room and after spraying a little dirt, the rider was right back in single file formation.
Having taken the more laidback route, I wasn’t expecting any issues myself, expecting the key word here. I’m not sure what I did wrong other than taking a right turn too tight. When I heard the scrape and felt the, push is the best word I can think of to describe what my bike did, to the left I knew it wasn’t my peg. I scratched almost the entire length of my lower exhaust pipe, still trying to figure that one out.
The ride destination restaurant was Stir Fresh Mongolian BBQ. I had never been before so queried up my line-mates for some pointers while listening to the almost rhythmic chanting quality of metal spatulas on the huge drum of a grill. You almost need an engineering degree; one bowl and a mountain of different ingredients, something was always falling out. Next came the sauces, there must have been fifteen at least, varying from sweet to mild to hot, it was a guessing game for me but I plunged in like a pro. Once you made it to the grill masters, there were three, the makings of your meal were deftly spread on the metal cooktop in a sizzling aromatic pile with the noodles being carefully reserved so as not to overcook them. Then the ancestral dance rejoined; a slow moving side-step with swinging arms bringing your feast full circle to a one time perfection.
You would think that would be all, ride finished, meal consumed and conversations spoken but you forget, it was Valentine’s Day. Tina B-C., in one of her first acts as Activities Officer, caused a stir of smiles handing out fun scratch-off Valentine Cards and chocolate favors. Now for roses, well, we’ll just leave that up to you.
*Cindy is Coffee’s wife, “CoffeeMate”, and she didn’t get to ride with him on Valentine’s Day. All’s well though, the next day, President’s Day, she hopped on Coffee’s Ultra as pillion and they tore up Mount Palomar’s curves together.