Words and photos by Adri Law
Three days of riding around and two nights of camping, just for a tasty slice of pie.
Yes, you read that correctly—our entire trip revolved around eating pie, and apparently there is no better place to do so than down south in Julian, CA. Becky, my partner in crime, planned the route and we spiced things up by renting big biker mama Harleys with all the bells and whistles, ’cause why the hell not?
We picked up our bikes the morning of, and the man who got us situated with our motorcycles saw where we were headed and made a point of mentioning we were not to cross the border into Mexico, which was funny to us as we’ve ridden there so many times before and it’s definitely one of Becky’s favourite places.
From LA we headed south on the 5 toward Oceanside, then across the 76 with a stop to grab a quick bite in Bonsall. After lunch, we made our way up the super windy roads towards the Palomar Observatory which was closed, but the ride itself was the fun part anyway. We continued towards camp but made a pitstop at a gorgeous lookout point in San Ysabel.
The view was gorgeous so we took some photos then hopped back on the bikes. As we were riding down the hill, I felt a little poke on my shin. I reached down thinking a stick was caught in my boot, but the pain gradually worsened and as we slowed down I was able to glance over, and there it was: a bee stuck between the tongue of my boot and my sock. We pulled over, jumped off our bikes, and off came my boot. The bee was gone but there was his little stinger, with guts attached right on my thick sock (which thankfully kept it from getting stuck). A bee-sting might not seem like a big deal, but Becky’s pretty damn allergic so it easily could have been, and our asses would have been on the way to the hospital instead of camp!
We eventually got it together and arrived at the site in one piece, then got everything set up. Fires weren’t allowed but we cozied up in our tent, poured ourselves each a mug of Slow & Low, and chatted about the day and how comfortable our big ass bikes were. The next morning we were up and at it. We packed up camp and headed out, it was time for pie! We spoke to a few locals at the gas station while we filled up; we went with Joe’s recommendation of The Julian Cafe.
We split a pot pie and salad for brunch, both were tasty, and took our beloved apple pie to go. We rode up the street and found a nice little shaded area to pull over and enjoy our little slices of heaven! If you like pie, this is THE SPOT, 10/10 recommend and I’d love to go back to Julian just to try more of the cute restaurants and bakeries.
Next we were headed south to camp in Lake Morena. It was a gorgeous ride through the mountains and we were grateful for a little drop in temperature, but the further south towards the border we went, the warmer it got. We may have taken a wrong turn or two along the way, but soon arrived at our next destination Oak Shores Malt Shop, a small mom and pop convenience store/restaurant with a surprising amount of great snack and drink options.
We ordered some food, sat down, and each took a turn washing up in the bathroom. The service was quick so we had our early dinner, grabbed some supplies for the night and headed to our campground. We checked in, then took our bikes down to the lake to enjoy the view and document the journey. We rode over to our campsite and were excited to be allowed to have a fire, but since we didn’t pick up any wood prior and were not eager to get back on our bikes, we ended up scouring the other fire pits and came up with enough wood to last us a little hang out and a few fireside old fashions.
We woke up the next morning, packed up, and got one last look at that gorgeous lake. The Malt shop was our last stop before filling up our tanks and heading home. We travelled west from Campo along the 94, which happened to be a highway that followed a portion of the Mexico-US border, then finally reached the coast. We cruised up the 5 all the way back as I caught a glance at Becky in my rearview mirror—I could tell she would have rather been hauling ass down the Baja instead.
See more from our travel feature Neck of the Woods here.