"It's a dry heat" 2017 Desert Ride
Post Reply    Forum -> Ride Reports
Author Message
73 Rally, 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 63 Li125, 65 Li225 Silver Special, 86 Elite 80, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3255
Location: Oceanside/ SF
Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:55 am quote
Its about that time of the year when we take our summer trips and the folks from last years crazy ride have been bugging me asking what ride I've got planned for this year. Rather than go to the coast again, I've decided to go inland and lead a group of scooterists around the Southern California desert. Trip dates are September 21-24th and mileage should be right around 300 miles for the whole trip. Joining me are my girlfriend Stacy, my friends Mike and Andrew and MV users socalguy, sdjohn and googie.

We'll only be taking back roads as the need for scenic fun roads outweighs the need to rush from destination to destination. In the past I've tried to average around 100-125 mile days and while it is doable, its still a real push on vintage scooters. So rather than force everyone to ride hard, I'm lowering the mileage each day so we have more time for lunch and distractions. Mileage for day 1 is around 90 miles, Day 2 is around 50. Day 3 is 75 miles and day 4 is around 90.

Since it is September in the desert where temps average 106*F during the day I'm making sure that we bring a support truck for gear, tools and water. I dont yet have a driver, but worst case scenario we'll pull names out of a hat for half day driving assignments. That way everyone pitches in and everyone has a fair shot.

Day 1 will be a back roads ride from my place in Oceanside through De Luz to Temecula. Lunch will be at one of the wineries and then we'll continue on to Hemet and then up the mountain to the Lake Hemet recreation area. I've never camped there but found out about it from a friend on a ride up to Idyllwild. I've got a great lake front camping spot picked out and everyone will pitch their tent, sleep on the ground and cook their dinner over a fire. Lights out will be when we want it to be since I've been told hardly anyone will be there.

Day 2 will be a ride down the hill on the Pines to Palm Hwy Rte 74 to a Fairfield Inn for the night. The downhill section of the route is a knee draggers delight! I'll make sure to spread out the riders as the curves are the stuff of legend. Its also our introduction to the hot weather, so I'm keeping the mileage short this day. That way we can get to our hotel and get to the pool ASAP. Normally I keep everyone together when we dine out but this time I'm saying the hell with that and everyones on their own. There's something for everyone in Palm Desert so I'm sure our guys will have some fun.

Day 3 is gonna be the hardest day. Hopefully everyone wont be hung over as were riding right into the belly of the beast and heading into the actual Anza Borrego desert. Plenty of water will be drunk as we head to the Salton Sea for lunch at the Alamo restaurant and then head west finally to Borrego Springs Resort and Spa. There's no cell or gas stations on this leg so I'm glad we'll have the truck in case anything happens. If it all goes well we should be pulling in for drinks by the pool and have time for a ride to see the metal sculptures scattered around the town. Dinner that night will be a group effort at Carlee's Bar where there's billiards, live music, dancing and plenty of American beer!

Day 4 is our last hurrah rolling west either on the 76 (fast way home) or taking the 78 through Julian and Ramona (slower way). The local guys will break off when they feel like it but any remaining stragglers get free beer from my place.

We just have to wait now but it should be a fun trip. If anyones on the way and would like to join in for a section come on down!

Desert route.jpg

Lake Hemet where we're camping the first night

lake hemet.jpg

lake hemet 2.jpg

Palm Desert the second night

Salton Sea for lunch on the third day

Just follow the smell to the Salton Sea

Last destination Borrego Springs

borrego 4.jpg

borrego 3.jpg

borrego 2.jpg

Veni, Vidi, Posti
74 Super, 75 Super, PX project, LML off-roader and new to 2018, '66 Blue Badge Smallframe
Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 7042
Location: Victoria, Australia
Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:31 am quote
Looks pretty cool (if you'll pardon the pun), I bet you guys will have a great time!
Scooterless (Previously owned Ruckus, Zuma, Burgman 400, GTS 250 & 300, & BV 350)
Joined: 02 Apr 2014
Posts: 303
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:23 am quote
Wish I didn't live so far away...looks to be a great event.

I was stationed at Camp Pendleton and MCRD San Diego for 6 years and would love to ride around Southern California. Unfortunately, I didn't get into riding scooters until after I retired.
74 v90/100 smallframe, 1974 primavera 125 (getting there), 80 P200E,
Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 253
Location: San Diego
Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:53 pm quote
Have a great trip! Lots to see and do in La Quinta.
1980 P200E, 1974 Primavera, 04 Ninja 250
Joined: 04 Apr 2013
Posts: 3772
Location: San Diego, CA
Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:03 am quote
I'm not going to steal mjrally's fire and post up a thorough review before he gets a chance, but we had an awesome ride. There were twisties aplenty, wide open stretches, good people, and plenty of fun. While there were a few mechanical setbacks, they were minor and never was a scoot hoisted onto the trailer rack in defeat. The weather was just perfect, and the man knows how to make sure no one is left behind. More to come later....
1976 Super (x 2), 1974 Primavera (x 2), 2006 Fly 150
Joined: 26 Sep 2013
Posts: 4868
Location: So Cal
Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:42 am quote
Yep, another killer road trip.. rain, sun, wind, straights, twisties, rough roads, smooth roads, uphill, downhill, a campground, a resort, daytime, nighttime, slow, fast (mostly fast)... u name it... this one had it all..

Great crew & scoots performed like champs.

Thx again for setting it up MJ (and Stacy), already looking forward to the next one!
73 Rally, 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 63 Li125, 65 Li225 Silver Special, 86 Elite 80, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3255
Location: Oceanside/ SF
Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:08 am quote
Ok folks here we go….

On Wednesday night MV user Googie flew down to help me prep the scoots for the ride. Before undertaking any of these rides I always go through my scoots with a fine tooth comb. Like the Boy Scouts say, Be Prepared! The Rally 200 I let her ride was ready to go with plenty of oil, fresh tires and everything torqued and inspected, but my P200 needed some adjustments. We drilled out the air filter for more torque and cleaner revving (search Heart mod), switched out the stock exhaust for a SIP Road 2.0, added some foam grip covers and added a small screen I bought from Scooterab.uk. While I normally shy away from performance parts on my long trips, I was willing to take the risk this time to shake things up. We were finished by 11 that night and needed a good nap before we got on the road.

Thursday morning bright and early I got a text from MV user Ronindamascus asking me if I had a rain contingency. I didn’t as its September in California and should be about 80*. Looking at the forecast there was only a 30% chance of rain so I said well if it rains, it rains and moved on. Ronindamascus lives in San Clemente 17 miles north of me. Since Camp Pendleton (a Marine Corps base) separates the two cities, you are limited in options to get around. If you’re not military you need to go all the way around it, or take the 5 freeway. Not trying to tempt fate I drove my truck up and grabbed him and his kitted PX150 from a nearby Park n Ride and brought him to Oceanside to help get things ready. My friend Mike was next on his S190, followed by SDJohn on a kitted P200, then my friend Andrew on his Honda TW200 and then Socalguy with his kitted Super 150 brought up the rear. Together we had our pre ride meeting, loaded up my truck with all our supplies and then said goodbye to my girlfriend Stacy who was going to drive the support truck the first day and meet up with us later.

Leaving Oceanside we made great time heading northeast that I altered the route a little to kill some time. Oceanside, Bonsall, Fallbrook were a blur until we were about to enter De Luz. Googie needed to use a restroom and the closest one was my Grandmas house. Seriously, it was a block away. My Grandma Ruth is 93 years young and is kicking ass. She’s sharp as a tack, volunteers 4 days a week and works out the other 3. Everyone lined up to say hello, used the facilities and then we were back on our way. Riding through De Luz we finally caught some real rain drops and poor Ronindamascus (who was wearing a ¾ helmet got soaked.

Ballast Point brewery was the first restaurant we came across so we stopped in to wait out the rain. An hour and a half later it finally cleared up so we got back on the road and took a tour of the Temecula wine country. As we were about to take the turn onto Sage Rd, Mike, Ronindamascus and Socalguy all said their fuel lights were on and needed gas. Closest station was 15 miles north and I had a siphon hose with me so I said lets keep going and try our luck. Worst that could happen is someone would run out a mile or two from the station and the rest could run ahead and siphon him back up. Right as I made the turn then I had to swtich to my reserve tank, then goes the next guy. “Uh Oh” I said to myself. Now things are getting interesting Nervously optimistic, we all made it to the gas station and laughed at how close some of us had gotten to being stuck on the side of the road.

While we were getting gas my friend Aaron showed up on his Buddy 170i and led us through Hemet up to Idyllwild and right to the downtown shopping area. Thinking this was going to be a summer trip, a lot of us were unprepared for the cold weather, so we all walked around buying up extra long johns, hats and gloves. I know I originally said we were going to camp at Lake Hemet but they really made it difficult to reserve a site and still offer some flexibility with 8 adults. Their rules came with fees and more fees and it wasn’t something I wanted to deal with. If it was just my girlfriend and I, I’ll stay there, but with a bunch of folks who wanted to explore I looked elsewhere.

We found our way to our campsite at Idyllwild County Park, immediately got yelled at by the parked rangers for speeding, set up camp and got a roaring fire going. Everyone scattered for dinner, some went to a movie, some to explore and the rest stayed around the fire and told stories, snacked and regaled each other on highlights from the day.

Total Mileage was 106


Morning meetup at my place


Thick clouds in the sky. Lets go for it!

Everyone lined up for hugs from Grandma Ruth

Waiting out the rain

Clear skies after the showers

Made it to Idyllwild!


Socalguy at the movie theater in Idyllwild. You even get complimentary blankets

73 Rally, 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 63 Li125, 65 Li225 Silver Special, 86 Elite 80, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3255
Location: Oceanside/ SF
Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:21 am quote
Day 2.

I think I can speak for everyone in that the night of Day 1 whooped them. With 50*F rated sleeping bags everyone shivered in their tents since the low was 39*. Breakfast was eggs, hashbrowns, Spam, juice and coffee.

With everything loaded up, Mike said he wanted to ride ahead since his rev limiter was keeping him from going any faster than 60 mph. No problem we said since we could swoop him up if anything happened. The group then took a detour to Inspiration Pt for a quick photo op and then started working our way down Hwy 74.

The Pines to Palms highway connects Mountain Center to Palm Desert and is miles of downhill curves. Everyone spread out so they could hit the curves as hard as they dared. Socalguy and I hung back to get a few pics and then try our luck. Sadly we got stuck behind a car who wasn’t willing to use a turnout so we lost out on practicing my dragging knee technique.

A few miles later we were at our hotel, and everyone either passed out or went to a nearby diner for lunch. The plan that afternoon was for everyone to go do whatever they wanted and not have to be confined to the group setting. Socalguy and Mike went to Palm Springs, Googie and Stacy went to buy a helmet (since Stacy ran out without grabbing hers), Ronindamascus hit the pool and the rest of us fell asleep.

That night our wild party group was all in bed by 8 except Ronindamascus, Stacy and I who all found somewhere to go. Stacys’ cousin lives in Palm Desert and met us at the JW Marriott for cocktails and dinner. Cocktails were at the lobby bar where all the pretty, single crowds go to hookup for the night and then dinner was at Mikado. Stacy’s cousin said it was a sushi place but really it was like Benihana. I was the sushi purist who didn’t get anything from our impressive, shrimp throwing chef, but the rest of the diners enjoyed the meal and show. Green Tea ice cream and goodbyes, it was lights out by midnight.

Total mileage 51


Aaron saying goodbye while SDJohn removes his spare tire which was hitting his exhaust

Inspiration Point

Leaving Idyllwild

Socalguy heading into one of the curves

Andrew's Stella broke down so he came on his Honda 200TM

Mine and Socalguy's scoots

Scenic overlook on the 74


Lobby Bar at the Marriott.

Sushi I mean Benihana for dinner :P

73 Rally, 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 63 Li125, 65 Li225 Silver Special, 86 Elite 80, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3255
Location: Oceanside/ SF
Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:52 am quote
Day 3

Everyone was up by 9 and coffee’d up, fed, packed and loaded by 10. Mike volunteered to drive the support truck so Stacy would have a chance to test out her new helmet. We crisscrossed our way out of Palm Desert, La Quinta and Indio until we were on Harrison St. passing the citrus and date farms. The dates are grown on palm trees and bagged up in the trees. I’m not sure if that’s to protect the fruit from pesky birds or to catch it if it falls but no matter the size of the tree, someone had been up there bagging the fruit.

My google map planned route took us to Hwy 86 where everyone finally got a glimpse of the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea started out as an overflow from the Colorado River but is now more of a migratory bird area than a watersports haven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea) . The road traffic moves fast here so we all tucked down and gave our scoots a wide open blast for 15 miles to get rid of any cobwebs till we got to Salton City.

One of my co-workers recommended the Alamo Mexican Restaurant in Salton City so we stopped there to eat and then go explore. Nearby, Andrew picked up a razor blade in his rear tire so after politely asking the hostess if we could change his tire in the shade, we took over the outside dining area and got to work. Mike and Andrew took two cold beers to a nearby offroad shop to bribe them into using some tools and were able to get his tire fixed and everything back together. During that time everyone got a good break to either watch college football, tune their scoots, drink some more water or try out each others scoots to pass the time.

We then all took Marina Drive to the waters edge when disaster struck for me. My scoot started surging for some reason and could barely hold 40 mph. Instead of walking to the water, I tried to investigate what was the problem. I cleaned the carb and inspected the electrical system but everything seemed fine. The P200 ran fine again so I thought I whatever gremlin was there had moved on. On the way out of town on Borrego Salton Sea Way the same surging happened again! On the flats it went away and then out of the blue itd start surging again. The view of the Anza Borrego canyons is amazing and looks like you’re on Mars but the road can be pretty rough in spots. Due to the rough roads, it eventually clicked that my problem must be something with my carb float/needle.

As we entered Borrego Springs we saw some skydivers and then went off to Galleta Meadows to see the sculptures. The scoot problems had cleared so I took some time to explore myself and try my off road sand riding skills. I came back and then met up with the rest of the group and then were off to the Borrego Springs Resort and Spa to meet my friends Cole and Erin (who rode up from San Diego on Cole’s Triumph Tiger 800. He’s not a Vespa owner yet!) Then it was drinks by the pool, hot tub fun, more drinks and then off to Carlee’s the only place in town for a night out.

Carlee’s was packed but everyone found a spot up against a wall and stuffed their faces while we listened to Soul Fever, a soul cover band. The billiard table was covered up but once we were fat and happy, everyone headed home or went out for a night ride.

Socalguy, Mike, Stacy and I tried to make a big loop around the town but Apple Maps failed us and we ended up on a closed off dead end road. It was actually a great thing that the road was closed because we all stopped and killed our scoots for 20 minutes so we could look up at the night sky and see the thousands of stars and galaxies. Then it was back to the hotel and lights out by 11.

Total mileage 94


Parking lot pre-ride meetup

SDJohn on the way out of town

Dates bagged up in the trees

Stacy on her Buddy 125

Harrison St. Almost to the Salton Sea

There she is! The Salton Sea

Ronindamascus and the Alamo Restaurant

Tire changing pic

Refilled tire. Success!!

At the waters edge

Whats left of the marina

Selfie of Socalguy and I on the way to Borrego Springs

Mike and Stacy at the "Serpent"



Dinner crew at Carlee's

Firing the scoots back up after looking at the stars

73 Rally, 74 Rally, 76 ET3, 80 P200, 63 Li125, 65 Li225 Silver Special, 86 Elite 80, 2015 HD Road Glide Special, 2011 Ural Tourist
Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 3255
Location: Oceanside/ SF
Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:01 am quote
Day 4-

The last morning everyone was up and hungry so we all went to Calico’s for coffee and bagels or Los Jilbertos for breakfast burritos. Los Jilbertos was another recommendation from a co-worker of mine. Food was good and its got a creepy Jesus drawing on the bathroom mirror looking at you while you’re in there! We took a vote to decide which way we would head home since we had a few options. One way was up the Banner Grade to Julian and see the Apple Festival and the other was up S22 and avoid it entirely. Votes turned up 4-2 Julian with 3 undecided. Andrew and Mike are both local and said their goodbyes and went home solo while the rest of us loaded up the truck and headed to Julian.

Julian was packed and parking was a mess due to their annual fall Apple Festival. We found a small section of curb to jam our scoots in and wiggled our way to Julian cupcake Co. for some delicious cupcake and drinks. I settled on the crumb apple cupcake with vanilla ice cream. Everyone shopped around for a bit or enjoyed people watching until we were ready to head home. Cole, Erin and SDJohn parted ways in Ramona while Googie, Socalguy, Ronindamascus and I took the 79 to the 76 and went west to West Lilac Road for some crazy curves.

On the way back my carb started acting up again but come hell or high water I wasn’t going to quit! I patted my scoot and told her I loved her and that we were going to make it and by 4 we all were safely back at my house for celebratory drinks and story telling.

Days mileage 108 Total mileage 359.

Big thanks to my girlfriend Stacy for helping with the support truck and to all my friends who helped make this another excellent scooter tour. We’ll see what we come up with next year!


Found my carb problem. One float assembly securing screw was stripped and the other fell out. Voila' a little bit of bailing wire to secure it and its good as new. Can't do that on a modern scoot!

Leaving Borrego Springs

Ronindamascus taking one of the curves

Approaching Banner Grade

Julian, CA

Apple pie at Julian Pie Company

Googie hitting the turns on Couser Canyon Rd

vespa gts 250 ie
Joined: 09 Oct 2016
Posts: 33
Location: piqua ohio
Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:17 am quote
Great ride pic's
'79 P200E, '77 Rally, '76 V90, '74 Rally
Joined: 07 Dec 2014
Posts: 143
Location: San Francisco
Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:00 pm quote
What an awesome trip, MJ! Until next year, I will be practicing the turns at speed, and buying more scoots. ;P
P125X, P200E
Joined: 02 Apr 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Fresno, CA
Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:32 pm quote
Looks like another great ride MJ! Thank you for the pics and the narration... it's really fun to follow along on your adventures!
'05 PX150
Joined: 14 Jul 2014
Posts: 111
Location: San Clemente, CA
Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:47 pm quote
MJ created an awesome trip for us! Couldn't have asked for a better tour guide. Every detail well planned and executed. Great crew and great times!





GTS 300ie
Joined: 18 Nov 2012
Posts: 74
Location: California
Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:09 pm quote
Excellent ride and story. Know every road your route ride them frequently on my 300. What a perfect place to call home.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 LX150 2015 GTS 2013 BV 350
Joined: 13 Sep 2012
Posts: 8695
Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:12 pm quote
Great report and photos. Count me envious. I'd love to ride out there some day.
Molto Verboso
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 1506
Location: Minneapolis USA
Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:51 am quote
California Dreaming
Thanks for sharing the road trip.

Bob Copeland
GTS 300
Joined: 19 Aug 2014
Posts: 269
Location: Northern Cal
Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:54 am quote
A good plan, good friends, and scooters...what could be better? I enjoyed the photos and write-up, great job. Thanks for posting.
2006 Vespa LX 150
Joined: 26 Oct 2017
Posts: 85
Location: Daphne, Alabama
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:40 am quote
THIS! So...much...this! What an awesome trip with friends, great scenery and food, and of course scooters!

Okay, thats it...pencil me in for the next trip! I am going to start looking at airline tickets.

Although, someone is probably going to have to tow my Vespa... lol
Land of 10,000 Scoots Rally   vespa scooterwest scooter west Motorsport Scooters   Cool Ass scooter seat cover
Post Reply    Forum -> Ride Reports
[ Time: 0.2128s ][ Queries: 25 (0.0463s) ][ Debug on ]