I went on a mini tour this past weekend, trying to hit dirt trails and roads where I could. I left from Normal Heights hitting both Mission Trails and Sycamore Canyon trails on my way to Ramona. I camped north of Ramona somewhere high up the Black Mountain Truck Trail. My original plan was to camp on top of Black Mountain at the old fire lookout, but I couldn't make it up before dark. In the morning I woke up in a cloud and continued up the trail to the top. Not having any local knowledge I planned my route using Google maps and discovered a locked gate at the top. Instead of turning around, I went through a gap in the fence. I know, probably not the right call, but man it was worth it. It was this little wonderland in a cloud, with lush green carpeting, large stone features, and a mix of new growth and fire damaged trees. It felt like a Tim Burton movie set. I had to go under another fence to get out of there and eventually ran into another locked gate that I couldn't go around or over. I saw a couple people in a driveway so decided I should ask the way out. The rancher was surprised to see me back there as apparently the roads had been made private about 30 years prior. He was mostly amused that I had been camping out on my bike and that I didn't have a car parked anywhere nearby. He said that he didn't mind that I was riding around back there, but if some of the other owners saw me they would be pretty upset. He showed me the way to get back to Black Canyon Road and wished me good luck.
I cruised down Black Canyon Rd all the way back to Ramona, then took the 78 and Elfin Forest Road to Solana Beach. Along the way I caught up with some sdbikecommuter friends out for a 65 miler. My friends from Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers were playing at the Belly Up and I planned to camp at San Elijo State Beach. That plan was foiled as the campground was closed for renovations, but some concertgoers were admiring my rig and offered their backyard as a campground. Good times!
Black Canyon Road