As most of you know, Adri and I have weird jobs. We have no jobs, but also a lot of jobs. It’s a weird day and age but we seem to make it work. She is a freelance photographer and I am a freelance motorcyclist, writer, and producer. So once a year, we combine our skills and create an opportunity for brands to hire us to take photos for them for their websites, social media, or ads. This year, because of COVID, Adri and I decided to just do a trip just the two of us – take photos of each other and just go on an adventure.
Thankfully one of the brands who hired us provided bikes, brand new Harley Davidsons too! EagleRider jumped on board and said to us, “Take 2 of our motorcycles for however long you’d like and take some photos.” So we were set. We met at the EagleRider near LAX and packed up our bikes for the week: A brand new Harley Davidson Road King for Adri and a brand new Harley Davidson Street Glide for me!
Me and my Street Glide!
Adri and her Road King!
Adri has been riding bikes for a long time but she had never ridden a “big” new Harley before. I have been riding alongside her for many years and I knew she would have no problems, but watching her jump on that thing and not even blink an eye was impressive no matter how prepared I was. She had all her camera gear, all her products she needed to shoot, all her camping gear for 2 nights, and all her stuff loaded up on this 800-pound bike and was just cruising down the 405 like it was no big deal.
Our plan was to go to Julian, CA – but the slowest way possible. We wanted to find small, beautiful roads to take our photos and to explore. I did a ton of research before the trip and right after we left LA we headed straight for Palomar Mountain just outside Pala, California. The area was so low-key and there were next to no cars. The road went up and up until we were above the smoke and were in the big trees.
Adri at one of the pull-outs on the way up to Palomar Mountain
Me at the top of Palomar Mountain
We floated down E Grade Road towards Lake Henshaw and to be honest, I feel bad even writing about this road because I’m pretty sure it’s nearly untouched by motorcyclists. It was amazing, truly one of the prettiest roads I have ever ridden. Keep in mind we are only 2 hours from LA.
So the 76 HWY connects Interstate 5 to Julian. It itself is a beautiful road but after Pala, you’re able to turn up East Grade Road towards Henshaw Truck Trail and ride beautiful switch backs all the way to the top of Palomar Mountain. At the top, make a right where the sign points towards Lake Henshaw. You then have 18 miles of windy roads with a beautiful view that ends at a lake. What is better than that!?
Adri at the lookout above Lake Henshaw
Our day was going perfectly. We were able to take a bunch of awesome photos, ride some amazing roads and we were having a blast on our bikes. Then, a bee flew in Adri’s boot and stung her leg. There’s always something!
Adri on the side of the Highway tending to her bee sting
The sun has been going down quite early these days so we cruised to our campsite. I pre-booked a state campground called Paso Picacho. This place is just over 100 miles from LA and there are 85 campsites, beautiful facilities, total privacy under the tall trees and only $35 a night for us both.
On our way to Paso Picacho Campground
Adri Shooting some product at our campsite
The next morning it was ride time. We cruised back into the town of Julian and got some Shepherd’s Pie for breakfast. Julian is the Pie capital of California so we got a couple of extra slices to take with us. Unfortunately, I thought I could carry pie slices on my lap while I rode and the pie went flying down the highway before I could take any photos. Some older adventure bikers saw us cleaning up our mess on the side of the road and we got to talking. They told us that we needed to ride the Sunrise Highway through Mount Laguna. We were almost right at the base of the road and the route would put us right towards our final destination for the day, so off we went!
Off like the wind when another biker gives you route insight!
The beginning of the Sunrise Highway
Another amazing road was found!! Although this road is more known to bikers in the area – it was our first time and WOW, thank you for the recommendation if those bikers are ever reading this!
My Street Glide at the top of Mount Laguna
We still needed to get some more shots for the brands so we cruised to our next campground which was on Lake Morena just outside of Campo, California. As we floated back down the Sunrise Highway, you could feel the air getting warmer. We were dipping into the desert and out of the forest. I realized from the GPS in the fearing of my bike that we were only a hop, skip, and a jump from the Mexican border.
Me on a roadside pit stop
We arrived at Lake Morena just before the sunset over the lake. There was a boat dock beside our campsite that we used to shoot some golden-hour photos at. Reverse parking our gigantic bikes down the boat dock were no small task and I’m not going to lie – Adri’s bike ended up sideways. Eaglerider has crash bars on all their bikes and on her Road King, there were also crash bars around her saddlebags. After we picked up her bike, there was literally not one scratch or sign that the bike had been dropped. Hell, maybe I’m even lying about this!? I hope our boss at Eaglerider doesn’t read this…
Anyway… It was a perfect night and we were stoked that we had such a nice place to shoot the rest of our content.
Adri and I at Lake Morena
Adri and I being dumb, at golden hour!
We were able to have a fire that night and get a good sleep next to the lake. The next morning we were both quite tired but decided to take the scenic route back to the coast. Highway 94 was even further South and ran along the Mexican border wall. It was over 100 degrees and the sun was hot but it was worth it. This road was incredible. Being able to follow the border wall was really wild and even though it was very hot, the road led us right to the ocean so we cooled down quickly.
Adri and I trying to cool off in the shade
We popped back onto Interstate 5 and just like that, we were back in the hustle and bustle of traffic. It really is crazy how close the Julian/Campo area is to San Diego and LA and how quiet and low-key it is. I don’t feel bad sharing this information with other riders because there isn’t a time where there are ever “too many bikes”. There are ALWAYS “too many cars” though, so maybe, if you’re in a car, stay home, or get yourself on a bike!
Adri experienced some lane-splitting on a bike with hard saddlebags on our way up the coast back towards LA. She didn’t seem fazed though! We stopped in the Oceanside area at a gas station and cooled off for an hour. Sometimes those gas station stops, sitting on the pavement in the shade, and drinking a cold drink are the best parts of trips.
Adri checking her phone at our gas stop
We got our bikes back to Eaglerider before 5 pm and that was that! It was a quick 2-night camp trip but we saw a lot and found tons of new spots. Below I will post the route for you which is a big loop starting and ending at Oceanside, CA.
We had a blast and thought I’d share some insight – thank you to Russ Brown for allowing me this platform to do so! The total trip was approximately 400 miles and I don’t think we even used 2 tanks of gas. The bikes we rented are up for grabs at the Eaglerider LAX so, what are you waiting for? Get out there and ride!
By Becky Goebel