S. Cal / Arizona ride
Live in Boston and its cold up here. Just bought tickets to S. califorina. My brother lives in Redlands and I have a r80rt stored out there so I can take these trips when I need a getaway. My girlfriend and I are both teachers and will be traveling 2/19-2/26. We are riding with my brother to the coast on 2/20 &2/21. During the week we are on our own and I'm looking for advice on nice warm roads in Arizona, thinking about Parker, Oatman. Lake Havasue City, and that area.
What do you think?
If you want to stay "warm" you're going to have to stick to the lower elevations. That is a nice time of year to visit Death Valley and the deserts of Southern California, Southwest Arizona. Take plenty of water and don't pass a gas station.
You will probably have to stay away from Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona, but a ride down the Colorado River to see London Bridge in Lake Havasu then on down to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument along the border would be a warm ride. Some long stretches with little scenery in between, but still warm.
A ride over to the west side of Tucson and Saguaro National Monument, Desert Museum then down to Patagonia is very scenic in a desert/grassland sort of way. You might even head over to Tombstone and around to the east side of the Chiracauhua (sp?) mountains on the southeast side of Arizona then around to Morenci. There's a lot of nice roads to the north here, but you're getting above 5000' which I could be dicey depending on the weather. Then back through Safford and on up toward Phoenix. I would avoid Phoenix like the plague on a bike (I don't like cities), but if you try to skirt around the north side you can get into higher elevations as there aren't too many roads to choose from.
Could cut through southern Nevada and see the Hoover Dam and the new bridge.
Good luck with your travels. Keep the sticky side down.
If you're riding to the coast from Redlands, then you should consider including:
1) The road between Lebec and Ojai (pronounce O-hi): take interstate 5 to the Frazier Park exit (top off your gas here or in Gorman), then bear left/southwest on to Lockwood Valley Road; all the way west to route 33, then left (south) into Ojai. Yes there will be some cops, and watch for sand in the hills.
2) All of the roads through the Santa Monica Mountains (low range) are fun - Topanga Canyon, Mulholland Drive (to the Rock Store), Piuma Road, Kanan Dume Road, Latigo Canyon, Decker Canyon - some of these are very technical roads where good tires will be appreciated. Cops again...
3) Much of route 2, the Los Angeles Crest, will be closed (due to past fire damage) and/or icy (at the higher elevations), but the west side is open and accessible up the "back way" via Tujunga Canyon Road. Food and service at Newcomb's Ranch are mediocre but it's a stop and a bite; Mount Wilson is home to most of the local TV transmitters (great view of ALL of Los Angeles, out to the water) and an active solar observatory with a small space-exploration museum.
Northeast of Phoenix, you might check out the road between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake; either direction from there is fun.
Joshua Tree National Park
Is low, warm and quite scenic in a desert sort of way.
The mountains just east of Bakersfield and south of Lake Isabella are quite scenic.
I just got back from the area last week and did 1000 mile loop from Vegas down to Lake Havasu, Joshua Tree Nat'l Park then Death Valley. Weather was always sunny, wind was biggest concern for 1 day. Lowest morning temperature was 27 highest temperature was in Death Valley at 72.
Good Riding. Keep the shiny side up.