Last Sunday, I went on a ride with the Ranch Rider to Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen is a motorsport restaurant located in Lake Elsinore off of Highway 74 also known as Ortega Highway. It has been a biker hangout since 2004 and my late husband and I used to go there all the time to check out the bikes.
Prior to KSU (kick stand up), we were nervously watching the weather since there was High Wind Advisory down the hill as we call it. We live up in the area known as the “High Desert” which differentiates us from the rest of Southern California by elevation (we’re above 3,000 feet), climate and vegetation that are native to this area. For us to get down to the rest of Southern California, we have to travel through the Cajon Pass which is notorious for wind hazard that can produces gust up to 80 mph. However, the Wind Advisory was stating that it was further down the freeway and it should be over by noon. So we proceeded with the ride.
Needless to say, the wind was pretty bad in the corridor and I got blown into another lane. The panic set in and I exited the freeway at the next off ramp to catch my breath. I don’t know why I struggle so much with the street bike than I do with the Tdub. I have ridden in the windy area of New Mexico on the Tdub and I can handle it just fine even if I’m leaning sideways. But on the street bike…I fly all over the place like it’s a sail. While standing at the gas station trying to keep the bike upright and trying to decide whether to keep going or to turn around and head on home.
When I first started learning how to ride six years ago, I have had many “deer in the headlight” moment and my late husband would always patiently wait for it to subsides and quietly give me encouragement. I so wished he was there with me to give the extra push that I so badly needed. Suddenly, another rider pulled up to the pump and so I asked him if he was heading down the hill or coming up the hill. He said that he was going up the hill, so I asked what the wind was like further down the hill and he said it was nothing. The only bad part was right where we were standing. So, I took a deep breath and persevered on to catch up with the Ranch Rider.
Actually, I made it to Hell’s Kitchen before they did. I took a back road that I knew that bypass downtown Lake Elsinore which meant I missed the group at the gas station. The group cheered when they saw me there. After awhile, some of us decided that we should continue onto Cook’s Corners, another motorsport restaurant in Trabuco, CA.
You betcha, I did joined them for the second part of the ride as well. Only this time on the way home, I took the long way via Sierra Ave and Glen Helen Parkway to avoid the windy corridor.
I’m sure that my late husband is looking down at me with a twinkle in his eye and a nod of approval of atta girl.