A Beer Stop

This photo was made on a whim as Mike Harmon and I left the bar at Newcomb’s Ranch on California Route 2 in the Angeles Mountains in early September, 2012. Escaping from the heat in the valleys, we rode up into the mountains through Cajon Pass, then took route 138 to the turn onto Route 2. Newcomb’s Ranch is a natural stopping point on Route 2 and the only stopping point on the 54 mile road between Wrightwood and La Canada with a restaurant/patio/bar and a parking lot large enough to hold over two hundred motorcycles.

I like stopping for a beer there, then looking at all of the different motorcycles and maybe photographing a few. It makes for a nice interlude in a ride and Route two is nearly always a good ride, due to the way the road was engineered in the 1970s. It is a much more modern road than many of the mountain routes in California and because there are no decreasing radius turns, we typically run between 45 and 55 Mph for the entire span of Route 2 between Wrightwood and La Canada. That’s not particularly fast compared to the speeds that the sport bikers roll on the road, but it feels good on the v-twin cruisers we use. Because of the relatively fast, long sweeping curves, it seems that there are fewer motorcyclist casualties on that road than the more quirky and slower roads in the San Jacinto and San Bernardino Mountains which were engineered primarily for logging operations before the twentieth century.

Nowdays, the riding group is generally “older” guys than it was in the past: everyone is between forty and seventy years old. When the average age of the group was younger, our beer stops were more frequent and lasted longer. It seems that the older group only stops for a beer on about half of the rides now, and “a beer” is just that, a single beer. There is no one in the group who pounds down three or four beers in the time it takes the rest of us to deplete the contents of a single bottle. This is all my viewpoint, of course, but it now seems that we’re more focused on the ride, and spend more time riding.

The photo was made with a Nikon N90s (F90x) on Kentmere 100 film.