They say that all great journeys begin with a single step. And, if you ride a motorcycle then, your journey begins the moment you straddle that bike.
Being on a motorcycle is about being enveloped by your surroundings, totally in the experience of the environment you’re traveling through. Today, we start off with ten riders but, only six will make it all the way to San Diego’s Little Italy. The others will split off and head back home sometime before or after our lunch.
Our weather on 1/16/2021, in Corona, California, started out at 55 degrees with a high expected of 87 degrees, zero percent chance of rain, and endless miles of visibility.
To my North now from the Chevron fuel station in Corona, California the Los Angeles National forest, is clearly visible, miles ahead, to my east are the San Bernardino mountains, also visible.
Our ride took us down the 15 freeway in the direction of San Diego with the Cleveland National forest to our west. We exit the freeway somewhere in Murrietta, California. The roads from there are almost built for motorcycles. I recall Fallbrook, and then various winery twisty roads. On one road we experienced a 26 degree drop in elevation; scenery so stunning and amazing, I commented that this ride should be done twice.
Once to enjoy the views and another to focus entirely on the beautiful and picturesque roads. Oak trees canopy draped a long stretch of roads; multi million dollar estates are concealed off the roads. Creeks that spill onto the roadway with built in cement creek crossing shows us how wild and untamed the area still is.
Being on a motorcycle is about being enveloped by your surroundings, totally in the experience of the environment you’re traveling through.
Then suddenly up ahead we all come to a grinding stop. A fireman is now directing traffic. A brush fire? No. Something spilled on the road. We question the possibility until we are released to proceed and then observe a car that is 100% totaled from end to end; the airbags can be seen deployed. Up ahead another road stop. This time we see the helicopter with the accident victim(s) about to take off. The car observed was not a fancy sports car but, a family type car. Earlier as we traveled this road south, I counted 17 exotics and corvettes doing exactly what we were now but, in a different direction. Just having fun driving or riding but, unlike the wreckage driver, we possess the skills to do so safely.
At yet at another Chevron we stop to regroup. We have now managed the least amount of freeway possible from Riverside to San Diego county before arriving at Mt Soledad National memorial park.
The mountain is known to many for more than just its views — the tall white cross that now sits in the center of Mt. Soledad Park dates back more than 100 years and has been the subject of longstanding controversy.
In fact, it was once the focus of one of the most famous lawsuits involving the separation of church and state in California. The curator I spoke to was a 101st Airborne helicopter pilot in Vietnam who shared with me the mountains history and how the land is now privately owned by the Veterans Association.
Three different crosses have actually been constructed on the hill since the early 1900s. The original cross was made of pure California redwood and erected by locals in 1913 who were living in La Jolla and Pacific Beach. Just 10 years later, in 1923, the cross was destroyed and stolen by vandals.
The war memorial was constructed at the foot of the cross much later. The memorial itself is composed of six concentric walls that hold more than 3,500 black granite plaques, all of which were purchased by donors and engraved with the names and photos of War veterans. Today, there are more than 1,700 in place. The Mount Soledad cross and war memorial are located at 6905 La Jolla Scenic Drive S., La Jolla 92037.
The community of La Jolla is upscale in every way; also known as “the jewel” of San Diego. … La Jolla’s biggest draw for locals and visitors are the beautiful beaches. We saw many people crossing the city roads carrying surfboards and paddle boards.
This is mid January, and the weather now is 81 degrees.
We came for the ride and initially the tacos at “The Taco Stand”, however, the line was near a block long. We opted for the best pizza, salad and calzones around at Mr. Moto Pizza.
Before all of this great riding our plan is to settle eventually into a hotel in nearby heart of Little Italy.
If you haven’t been then to San Diego or Little Italy then here is some first hand recent knowledge.
Little Italy is in a non covid world a chic, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, packed with trendy cocktail bars, brew pubs and restaurants with bustling patios.
It also has everything upscale nearby going for it; it has to, all those high end condo tenants living all around the area, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Unfortunately, we are in a state of pandemic duress. Everything is confusing as if you can consume anything from water, alcohol, or food. Some businesses seem to have seating but, most have signs saying to go orders only yet, people are sitting and eating. Our appetizers and $5.00 margaritas were consumed on an electrical utilities box on the sidewalk in front of a high end luxury rental building. Every once in a while, a perfectly dressed human walked out with Fluffy or Shiba in tow. Yet we saw no dog poo, anywhere or even grass for Fiffy to pee on. No homeless tents or encampments either. Everyone felt safe in America’s friendliest city.
Even in our hotel, the Harborview Inn and Suites; where just after parking our motorcycles a large white guy with a Hispanic woman in tow, walks over and punches a white tatted up, prison garment wearing guy holding on to the collar of a full sized grey pitbull. This later precipitated a full fire engine response, ambulance, four to six police SUV cruisers but, no media.
We never saw the suites part but, I can assure you the view part of the hotel has long ago disappeared. Probably during the hotel’s first 100 years of life.
Less than forty minutes from the three o’clock magic hour of checking in and we’re not allowed to check in. The heavily accented English Indian speaker did however, allow several of us access to a restroom. Wish I would’ve known, I used the parking lot.
San Diego’s Little Italy district started in the 1920′s; it has to survive, billions and billions of dollars of real estate all around now are depending on it.
Today however, it seems somewhat shuddered. At one time, more than 6,000 Italian families lived in Little Italy; several small homes that they lived in appear to have been left in tact. The Italians worked in the tuna industry until they succeeded in chasing the fish back across the border to Mexico.
We also walked to the harbor where the eating situation is entirely different from Little Italy. In this area it appears people and businesses are left to their own devices. From bridal showers to birthdays and football games on television are still worshipped and celebrated. And everyone wore their covid masks and behaved in a just and humane way. No loud voices, yelling or screaming to offend your fellow man. People lined up for what seemed like an hour just for the thrill of buying an expensive drink and enjoying the view of the setting sun over San Diego bay. And now it’s time for a real dinner and then dessert.
We are now saving a visit to Coronado Island and San Diego’s Barrio Logan for a future ride. There is too much to see and experience in just one weekend.
Taco Reviewed: King and Queen Cantina
One star is considered poor; two stars is good, three stars is very good, four stars is great, five stars is excellent!
1. Scenic Historic Location – 5 stars
Fairly subjective and a wild card rating
2. Value – 5 stars
Value for your money.
3. Food Flavor and Texture – 5 stars
4. Food Presentation –
5. Service, Setting and Cleanliness – 5 stars
Cleanliness is also considered a strong factor as we are in a Covid year.
Day two- the ride continues!!!!