Corral Canyon OHV May 20-22, 2005

Finally I had put together the full package. I had ordered, received, and painted the Hitch Carrier (which came unpainted to save 2 weeks), and the Van was ready to go. Late May, it was getting hot in the desert, so I decided to go the Corral Canyon OHV Area in the Cleveland National Forest. At 4000 or so feet, it was likely to be somewhat cooler than the desert, and the OHV had lots of trails to ride.

After the trips to Ocotillo, it was a nice change to be riding slightly more challenging trails. I started by skirting the park on the perimeter dirt road, then cut right across the middle of it on a green (beginner) trail. Lots of tight slow turns, small drop offs, and interesting stuff to negotiate, as I made my way back to camp on the first ride.

The next morning, I planned an extended ride. I brought plenty of water, and actually drove OUT of the park, on a Forest Service Road upto the top of Los Pinos Mountain, to the Lookout Tower. A Ranger at the camp had told me about it, and said to say hi to Norm, the lonely Ranger at the top, if I got up there.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and an absolutely lovely ride up to the top. When I got there, Norm poked his head out of the tower and invited me up for a look. I climbed the four flights of stairs upto the top of the tower, and the view was stupendous. You could see the ocean 80 miles away, and could even make out Mt. Baldy, some 150 to the north. We visited and emjoyed the view for quite a while. Norm offered and I accepted a cup of coffee and got to hear his stories of being a ranger, and about the book that he was writing (a western) while serving his duty on the mountain.

Norm also told about the alternate trail back to camp, called the Spur Meadow Trail, which he said I'd enjoy, and which I did. Perfect not-too-easy not-too-hard riding brought me back to camp satisfied, tired, and invigorated that afternoon.

I spent two nights at the Campground. The first night (Friday) was apparently High School Graduation in the area. A Raucous Party, with 50-60 people, music, lights, and lots of underage drinking went on until the Cops came and broke it up in the wee hours. Some campers were very put off by the noise and chaos of the scene, but I didn't mind, as I was on the other side of the campground.

I went on several more rides at Corral, including one down to Lake Morena. Interestingly, it turns out that this is the first place I have ever camped with the Van for 2 nights in a row. Even through the Alaska, Yosemite and Sequoia trips, I had never stayed two nights in a row in the same place! The Van is just so easy to move, so mobile, that I have always wanted to keep exploring new areas every single day, but now, with the bike, it turned into a cozy home to return to after a long day of riding.

I had a wonderful time on this trip, but on the last ride of the day, something in the Yellow Hornet got broken. I guess after my abuse in the Desert, which included winding it out with full-throttle in neutral multiple times, a piston ring gave out, and it started screeching. So, I was able to ride it at Corral, but I knew that I'd have to rebuild at least the top end before any further trips.

Nonetheless, I definitly got a glimpse of the potential of the bike with this trip. So once again, I returned home excited, to rebuild the Yellow Hornet, and plan yet another trip.