Section 2: Big Bear Lake to Kernville
259 miles 6 hours 40 minutes
The Caliente-Bodfish Road South of Lake Isabella
Our second segment of the Pacific Crest Motorcycle Road takes us through the mountains of southern California, along high 2, the famous Angeles Crest Highway. Weekends can find these roads especially crowded with both cagers and other bikes out for the weekend, so the best time to take this section is on a weekday. After passing close by the famous willow springs raceway going through the upper Mojave Desert, we go into the Sierras along a small, but the beautiful twisting back road called the Caliente-Bodfish Road.
Gas, food, and lodging, as well as camping, are never far away in this section, and if you need specialized equipment, you’ll find motorcycle dealerships are not far off the route, and the large mail-order dealer, Chaparral Motorsports is in San Bernardino.
We do travel a couple of sections of freeways on this section but not for long and there not too crowded.
Second Section Route Description
Mile 297.6 Junction of High 18 and Greenway Drive, Big Bear Lake. We begin our section riding west on high 38 around the north shore of Big bear lake. A pleasant ride that can get crowded on busy weekends. without stopping it takes us about 20 minutes to ide the just under ten miles around the lake and come to
Mile 307.4 Junction of high 38 and high 18, the Rim of the World Highway. where we turn right and travel on a fun set of twisties where the road cuts into the hillside and allows us some striking views of the San Bernardino Valley to the west. until we come t0-
Mile 319.7 Intersection with high 330, which we are on for just a few hundred feet before veering right and back onto high 18. Technically high 18 went left at the intersection but we can just go straight ahead and be back on 18 in a couple of tenths of a mile. We stay on high 18 for another 14 miles, passing a couple of junctions for high 189 that makes a loop to the north toward Lake Arrowhead and come to a junction with
Mile 333.6 High 138 that will take us out of the San Bernardino and down to the Cajon Pass Area at the
Mile 355.1 Junction o high 138 and I-15 A busy truck stop type intersection of the American West. Gas, food, and lodging. We head northward on high 138 and ascend to a junction with the famous
Mile 365.5 High 2, the Angeles Crest Highway. One of the most famous motorcycle roads in the country. Here we take a left turn and head into the small town of Wrightwood. A popular little town with a winder ski resort just up the road. We continue to
Mile 374.3 the town of Big Pines, junction with Big Pines Highway, just up the road from Wrightwood, where our route goes left and the Big Pines Highway (N4) goes straight ahead. The Angeles Crest Highway runs on the ridge of the San Gabriel Mountains that are part of what is known as the transverse ranges, that separates the basin from the Mojave Desert. The highway is closed in the winter and it is not uncommon for it to be closed because of rockslides. It is a good idea to check current road conditions before your leave Big Pines to make sure that high 2 is open. If not you can go on Big Pines highway as an alternate.
Back on high 2, we go through sections of wide sweepers on the way to Blue Ridge, where there is an open area with a nice view or the LA Basin and Mt. Baden Powell to the north. We ride for almost 16 miles on this wonderful ribbon of asphalt until we hit the junction of
Mile 390.1 Junction of high 2 and high 39, the San Gabriel Canyon Road at terribly named for us motorcyclist, Islip Saddle. We continue on high 2, hopefully without slipping, for another delightful 21 miles until we reach
Mile 411.5 The Upper Big Tujunga Canyon road (pronounced Ta-Hun-Ga) where we leave high 2 and begin to descend into the high desert once again.
Our two-lane ribbon of blacktop is a wonderful ride leading out of the San Gabriels follows a set of large powerlines that I think are coming from Hover Dam on the Colorado River. We cross or follow numerous powerlines throughout our journey, especially here near LA. All those millions require a lot of electricity. In 9 miles we come to the junction of
Mile 420.6 Angeles Forest Highway (N2) and turn right. and in 16 miles, we go from a mountains chaparral-covered hills to a true desert environment when we reach
Mile 436.9 Junction with Sierra highway where we turn right. In a little over a mile, our route, Sierra Highway, which has been part of high 122, turns left while 122 goes straight ahead, we ride another almost 2 miles to the junction with
Mile 439.7 E. Barrel springs Road, where we turn left and in a little over a mile pass under high 14. A fairly busy freeway which we have been avoiding with this little jog along Sierra and Barrel Sprints Road. We could have jumped on 14 when we came to the first Junction with Sierra but to keep to the nature of the PCMCR we did not. I am not sure if it matters a hill of beans but it’s just a little goal I have when I am on a motorcycle ride. Stay off the super slabs. Another ride of less then a mile brings us to an intersection with Tiera Subida Ave where we turn right and in another two miles come to
Mile 441.9 Elizabeth Lake Road. We turn left and head out of the Palmdale City area into the countryside, through Leona Valley and passing, in just over 14 miles, the junction with San Franciscquito canyon road on your way to
Mile 456.9 Johnson Road and turn right. In just little bit, Johnson Road makes a long left sweeper and becomes 110th St. and we follow that through the open, flat desert, crossing highway 138 and arrive at the junction with
Mile 470.9 W. Ave. A where we turn right, ride for two miles, then turn left at
Mile 472.9 90th St. W. where we turn left and travel past a few pit mines and into the Tehachapi Mountains, ending up on the outskirts of the town of Tehachapi at:
Mile 496.9 Junction with E. Tehachapi Blvd, where we turn left, pass a Loves Truck Stop and hit the onramp to our fist stretch of interstate highway, or super slab riding on High 58 going west. This venture onto a freeway is unavoidable at this juncture and not a bad one here. High 58 is a four-lane road that is not that heavily traveled. A quick note, Tehachapi has the last gas for until we reach Lake Isabela, 54 miles ahead. We follow high 58 west for 18 miles when we come to the
Mile 515 Caliente exit. The sing on high 58 just says Caliente, and this is the Caliente-Bodfish Road heading north to Lake Isabella and Kernville. We turn right and for the next 36 miles wonder through the foothills of the Piute Mountains on our way to Lake Isabella. This is a fun ride with very little traffic and one that has been written about from time to time in various motorcycling publications. We top a saddle, see the Lake in the distance and begin deciding into the town of Lake Isabela, where, at the junction with
Mile 550.3 We turn left, pass over highway 178, and proceeded around the west shore of the lake, through the small little community of Wofford Heights, where you will find a lakeside campground. A little further up the road, just past a golf course, we arrive at the end of the second section of the PCMCR at the town of Kernville.
Mile 561.4 Town of Kernville. Here you will find places to eat, several motels, gas, and a nice little Riverside park to spend a little time along the banks of the Kern River coming out of the high country in Sequoia national Park, which we will be going through on the next section of our journey. Section 3
We have reached a kind of milestone on our ride, we are finished with the Sothern California section and headed into the Sierra Nevada, the longest continues mountains range in the United States.