Garner Valley

The yellow blooms of California Goldfields carpet the floor of Garner Valley. Nikon N90s (F90x) & Kodak Gold 100 film.

As I’ve mentioned previously, there is a stretch of California Route 74 in the San Jacinto Mountains that runs through Garner Valley. The stretch is approximately 12 miles long. It is a series of long smooth straights running through the middle of the valley floor and between stands of pines.

Riding over the ridge to the west of Garner Valley past Baldy Mountain. Panasonic Lumix FX01 camera.

Despite the lack of winding curves and sudden changes in elevation, it is my favorite section of mountain road. I sometimes wish that it was a hundred and twenty miles long rather than a dozen, but that is geographically impossible, since the valley would then run through the north end of the Salton Sea.

View to the northwest. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 camera.

Due to the excellent scenery in the valley, Garner Ranch in Garner Valley has been used as a backdrop for numerous early Western films, like Guns and Guitars, Springtime in the Rockies, and Storm Over Wyoming. It was also used for a stand in for the Ponderosa ranch in the television series Bonanza.

View to the north. Nikon N90s (F90x) and Kodak Gold 100 film.

When I ride down the long descent from the ridge in the west past Baldy Mountain, I typically slow  the motorcycle down to under fifty miles per hour by the time I pass the entrance to Lake Hemet on the northwest floor of the valley. The valley is not long enough for me and I want the ride through to last longer than it would at higher speeds.

Motorcycles parked during a photo stop. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 camera.

It has a similar effect on me as smoking a joint did in the 1970s. I suddenly relax. I’m in no hurry to do anything other then “putt” along, taking in the scenery and the faint smell of pine in the clean mountain air. I don’t care what time it is and I lose my schedule for the duration of the ride through the valley…