For the third time in recent history, the trek was made from all points North and South to meet in San Diego at 24 Cycles new shop location before heading to the camping experience known as "North Drinks With The South." Why is it named that you might ask? As the title hints, riders do come from spots along the map to participate and, yeah, they’re fond of fermented hops and grains. You could have probably figured that out on your own by reading on.
Atom Rotten of 24 Cycles opened his shop early Saturday for what has become San Diego's "most looked-forward to" off-road-on-street motorcycle camping event! Sure, there are some larger names in the field (Highway 8, Highway 94) but we plowed a different path. North Drinks With The South isn't every year, and it isn't announced before hand (except for a loose lip slip or an invite between those in the know.) I think Atom even threw out an Instagram bone the day prior, however. This event is elusive but not exclusive. You’ve just got to be daring enough (and trusting enough) to jump on your bike when it’s time to blast out of the norm. Throw common sense to the wind… the wind is sure to bring it back if it’s important.
The beauty of San Diego (versus Los Angeles where I live) is that 15 minutes out of the city, is literally OUT of the city... it might even be out of the country as everyone’s phones received Mexican service charge texts as we scraped the border fence traveling (ultimately) to our overnight destination. Nothing like riding 50 deep and bar hopping the back holes of local wells, being greeted with almost a full mouth of teeth, and a hardy handshake from the sleepy hollow un-expectant proprietors. People are nicer in the country. Kids riding their bicycles stop to wave at you. Seriously, in Los Angeles, kids riding bicycles might stop to shoot at you (or try sell you bunk dope at a red light... but that's another story).
When you travel with 24 Cycles, you travel along both the best of scenic back country roads and (some might say) the sketchiest (if you're talking washed out dirt roads with more grooves than Bootsy Collins... or more groves than a spoon on a frottoir... yeah that's it!) But that's what separates the die-hards from the wusstards. After cruising sun -bleached two-lane blacktop for miles and miles, are you willing to endure (un)even more miles of drifting through washed out sandy gullies to arrive at your own seemingly private, hidden and secluded campground? Off the beaten path indeed... and then off just a little more. No hotels, no convenience stores, no gas station, no electricity, no amenities but a hole in the ground and toilet paper (if YOU brought it). Your Auto-Club operator would probably just ask you what you wanted on your tombstone if you had broken down and if you could puff through enough smoke signals to communicate with the modern world this place is so secluded. Technology? Look to the sky because that's the only place you're likely to see the 21st century pass overhead at 30,000 feet. Right here is the awesome beauty of the wide open, the expanse of nothingness, good friends, new friends, and the laughter of intoxication (and the occasional howl of the wild Chewbacca).
Once there everyone parked their steeds and assembled their dog tents before breaking into the community coolers. Everyone bought in with a 12 pack and everyone drank together until the wee hours of the morning. Acoustic guitars were played and one was even sacrificed to the God of Fire (sorry Gnome) before the end of the night. Local artists performed classic hits of the McCain valley with new (vile and dirty) limericks created, like the now infamous; "Have you met my good friend Rev?" (Actually just another rendition of Rich's "Propane and Cocaine" and we’re about to get to the propane…).
Our host with the most brought the firewood and the Carne enough to keep everyone warmly stewed and to fill everyone with a belly full of asada at dinner and again at breakfast with tacos huevos. As it was in the wee hours of the next morning that the weather changed from absolutely perfect (as is known to be the case in Southern California) to “almost perfect” with a chance of heavy winds. Now, this is no Haboob (an intense blasting dust storm) by any means but when you wake up from a night of peaceful snoring slumber and find yourself in the middle of violently shaking tent it's either someone raping your tent (probably one of the Beerbreed) or the wind trying to shake the fleas out of a coyotes butt. Keep trying wind. You'll get those little buggers one day!
~ Lady Hump