Mid-Winter Riding in Southern California

I recently flew out to Southern California to visit family.  It’s great to get away from the cold and snow that is so typical of Upstate NY in February.    Daytime temperatures here in California have been 75-80 degrees making it perfect riding weather.

The last time I was out here, I had discovered some roads that are a bit off the beaten path but didn’t have time to fully explore them.  So this time, I kind of knew were to go and decided to give these routes another try.   I rode up the Ortega Highway to a road called South Main Divide.  This road starts out as a normal road but eventually turns into a single lane paved trail that meanders through the canyons.  It’s a nice easy ride through some beautiful mountains.

At the end of the South Main Divide trail, I found some nice easy dirt roads/trails to continue onto.  There were some rutted sections but nothing that seemed too challenging.   When I ran into a  gate that prevented me from continuing, I stopped and had some lunch.

On the return trip, I retraced my path.  It’s amazing how much different the same road looks when going in the opposite direction.  The afternoon shadows in the canyons made for some amazing views that were not visible earlier in the day.

The ride was through the canyons around Malibu.  I did have to spend some time on the freeway to get there and back, but it was worth it.  The LA traffic wasn’t too bad and I’m becoming a bit more comfortable with lane splitting so even when things do slow down, I can keep moving and a reasonable pace.

I got to Malibu at around 9:00 am and before heading into the canyons, I stopped at a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee.  It was rather obvious that this is an upscale neighborhood by looking at the cars parked there.  There was a black Bently coupe, a white Bently convertible, a couple of Audi’s, a Porsche, and various types of BMW  cars and SUV’s.

After my coffee stop, I started the good part of the day’s ride by heading up Latigo Canyon.  From there, I turned on to Mulholland Highway and headed toward the Rock Store.  From there, I turned around and took Encinal Canyon Road back down to the PCH.

I went North on the PCH and turned on to Decker Road  heaidng back into the canyons.  I’m not exactly sure what roads I took once up in the canyons but I ended up on Yerba Buena Dr. at some point.

Yerba Buena Dr. is a bit beat up but has some spectacular scenery making it a road worthy of exploring.  This road brought me back down to the PCH where I stopped at Neptune’s Nest for a fried seafood lunch.

The PCH north of Yerba Buena Dr. was closed off for some reason so after lunch, I headed south on the PCH and turned back onto Encinal Canyon Road to get back up to the Mulholland Highway.  I continued on Mulholland, picked up the 101 near Woodland Hills and headed back home for the day.

Perfect weather, and very few cars in the canyons make for a great day of riding.  The canyon roads here in Southern California never disappoint.

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