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December 17, 2007

Rolling, Rolling on the Rivers: Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail 3

The resumption of my ride began with a bang, or was that a PHWAP!...SSSSSS?

I hopped the bus back in to Riverside, turned left out of the Transit Depot, pedaled the mile back up Mission Inn Ave./Mission Blvd., and turned left into the parking lot of Carson Dog Park , below Mt. Rubidoux, where the Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail waited for me to resume my journey to the mountains from the Mission Blvd. underpass.

San_ri24The parking lot is bumpy going for a bike with my type of tires, and I realized that I should have entered the Bike Trail on the opposite side of the street from the park when I discovered my rear tire suddenly had a flat.

It's 815am and after a few cranks of my Bicycle Pump I come to the unwelcome conclusion that I had a problem on my hands. ;-D

In the past I would have done one of 2 things: Walk my bike to the nearest bus stop, head into downtown Riverside looking for a bike shop opening at 9 or 10am, or pack it in, and dejectedly head on home.

Not THIS time! I am PREPARED!

I had that Repair Kit I  had recently put together and it was time to suck it up and show what I was made of!

Remembering how the guy at the REI in Huntington Beach had removed and replaced the tube without taking the tire off the wheel, I struggled to duplicate the feat, fighting an ultimately winning battle using patience and a tire lever to replace the tube.

During this desperate 30 minute struggle I get a passing young lady to take a photo for posterity. ;-D

Tube pumped and tire ready to be returned to its proper position... I look in puzzlement at the chain:

How did it go again? ;-D

As I stand there worriedly scratching my head I see 2 cyclists approach on the trail, and flag them down.

With the help of Ralph and Billy I soon have everything back in place and all is right with the world again, and by 915am I am ready to get the back on the road.

First I eat a sandwich and some fruit for breakfast, saving my trail mix and 2 other sandwiches, for later (Just as I had done when I rode the 1st 55.13 miles days earlier.).

San_ri25 Continuing my journey (Late comers can saddle up here!) along one of the three great rivers of Southern California I prepare to head off through Riverside, into Colton and San Bernardino, in San Bernardino County, where the Bike Trail ends 9.85 miles later.

My ride was only just beginning, though, as I was not about to let the end of the Official Trail stop me from reaching the mountains.

The powers that be are slowly devising plans to eventually take the western trail through Prado to connect with the orange County section (Presumably on the north side of the Green River Golf Club, thru the Chino Hills State Park, and also extend the trail east from Waterman to the mountains, but in the mean time cyclist have to use an alternate route to go east.

After 2 1/2 miles, passing a golf course and some new housing, on my right, I come to an "off ramp" (Signs pointing to the nearby street.) at Riverside Ave. and the county line/Riverside City Limits.

Passing the turn-off I enter Colton and soon the urban landscape is left behind again as Mother Nature is master of all she surveys.


At 59.13 mi. (Even though this is a resumption of my journey, the mileage will reflect the distance as if I had never stopped.) I pass a nice little picnic area placed smack dab in the middle of the much widened river bed.

There's not a porta-potty in sight, which is more than passing strange if you ask me (As if the placement of a picnic table in a flood prone area wasn't strange enough!). ;-D


The trail and river pass a huge waste dump, on my right, and I can see Big Bear Mountain in the distance.

At this point let me explain about 2 oddities you may have noticed in the pictures so far.

That pole is a hiking pole with a camera mount, in case I could not find someone to take pictures of me. ;-D

And, yes, I changed shirt. I forgot to use the same shirt, as before, to preserse the illusion of continuity. ;-D

San_ri28Between the picnic area and the end of the trail there are several benches and trash cans and even another couple of picnic tables, though not in the river.

At 64.13 mi., after passing under a railroad track and the various interchanges where the 10 and 215 freeways meet, I find myself in  the south end of the city of San Bernardino.

Mother Nature's running rampant again and this stretch is apparently a playground for sex-crazed  Mosquitos judging by the signs, posted on the fence, advising the prudish that the county  is "Monitoring for Mosquito Breeding".

I don't know which is the odder image passing through my peculiar little brain:

1. Millions of horny bugs engaged in a non-stop orgy of, um, procreation.


2. A handful of Government Snoops lasciviously spying on said orgy.

Shield the kiddies, as you pedal by, just in case. ;-D

San_ri29 On my right civilization returns, with industrial parks, and I encounter walkers and cyclists on the trail.

At 65 mi. the exisiting Santa Ana River Bicycle Trail ends at Waterman Ave., and across the street is a sign:


Santa Ana  River Channel

San Timoteo Weed Abatement and Re-vegitation Project.

US Army Engineers District.

Cyclists now have a choice to make:

1. Head to the nearest light, cross over, and head north into downtown San Bernardino where Omnitrans Busses and Metrolink Trains await:

North on Waterman, left on Orange Show Rd., right on E St. to 4th Street Transit Mall ( The final chapter of this series discusses transit options.).

2. Turn right, heading down Waterman to Washington St. where you can catch the Riverside Transit #25 westbound to the Downtown Riverside Transit Terminal Via Barton Rd.


3. Do as I do, and take to the surface streets, near the river, and continue on to the base of the San Bernardino Mountains and the San Bernardino National Forest, home of mighty Big Bear.

If you choose #3, then follow me! Things are about to get REALLY interesting. ;-D

At 1130am I turn right onto Waterman Ave. and, shortly, left on Redlands Blvd..

On Redlands, to the west of the intersection, are some fast food joints if you are hungry, or need to go potty: Go ahead, I'll wait. ;-D

San_ri30 Ok, ready? Great! ;-D

Heading east on Redlands Blvd. I briefly pass through the northern reaches of Loma Linda before entering Redlands when I turn left onto California St..

At around 68 mi., as I ride along Redlands Blvd., I begin to realize that "city" is not entirely an apt description of what I find as I head into the cities of Redlands and Mentone.

Fast food joints soon give way to an Orange Grove, one that will soon be partially destroyed to make room for a new Elementary School.

There is a lot of open land out here and a lot of developement of prime locations, for housing and business projects, is going on where ever you look.

I remember riding through here in the 1970's, on the bus to Redlands and Yucaipa, and seeing little urban developement.

After the left at California St., passing Pharaoh's Kingdom Adventure Park, an ill-fated attempt at an Amusement Park that was open for many misbegotten years before finally closing its 17 acres full of rides, race car tracks, golf courses, water slides, laser tag area, an amphitheatre for concerts, and more, and a right on to San Bernardino Ave., I am again surrounded by industrial parks and some open land.

Watch for 18 wheelers, here, as they run rampant through these parts!

San_ri31 After just over 69 1/2 miles, across from another orchard, is a church with a bookstore/cafe, and nearby school.

The Packing House is a non-denominational church, with a large following, and its small Christian Bookstore and cafe is a very nice place to stop for nutritional and spiritual nourishment.

The store opens at 8am daily, except Saturday when it opens at 5pm, and closes at 5pm, except on Sun, Wed. and Sat.(9pm) and Friday (Noon).

After a short left on Alabama St. and a right on to Pioneer Ave. I now find myself on a narrow road, past more orchards, before entering an area of redlands with a combination of old and new housing.

The Santa Ana River can be glimpsed to the north as I make my way through the neighborhood.

San_ri32 At 73.63 mi. I finally have a clear view of the foothils below Big Bear, to the east, and the mountains above the eastern end of the city of Highland.

See that large R on the side of the mountain, in the upper right of the picture?

That's Mount R, hee, hee. ;-D

Every year, in March, Univ. of Redlands students, staff, alumni and members of the Redlands community make the annual trek up to "Mount R" to assist in the clearing away of debris and brush on the collegiate letter "R."

There is a story, here, that is almost 100 years old and pride, plus a sense of history, school spirit and duty, led future generations to do something to maintain this majestic legacy.

The Redlands "R" is believed to be one of the largest collegiate letters in the nation, standing approximately 500 feet tall and 350 feet wide. The R was engineered in 1913, only six years after Redlands was founded, when a group of freshmen (class of 1916) hiked up the mountain to build their dream-a huge "R" to announce to the entire valley the pride they felt in their school.

The freshmen were apparently having lunch on the front lawn of the Administration Building when someone came up with the idea of building a letter on the side of a nearby mountain. The mountain chosen, Mount Harrison, was later found to be inaccessible-residents near the mountain did not like the idea of college students tramping regularly through the area. So another mountain was selected, although it was a bit farther away from the campus. The freshman gathered a group together, and over the course of three different three-day trips managed to put a recognizable "R" on the side of the mountain. During the following year, another group of freshmen were sent up the mountain led by brave sophomores (the freshmen of the original party) to burn the entire "R" area. The burning of the brush completed the "R."

Continuing in the spirit of the class of 1916, a requirement for all entering freshmen was a trip to the "R" for an annual cleanup. The university's yearbook "La Letra" was even named in honor of the "R" in Spanish for "the letter."

From about 1960 to 1983 the area was neglected and tradition nearly forgotten.

Then, in 1984, freshman Greg Horn became interested in the tradition of the "R" and decided to bring the symbol back to its original state, thus bringing new life to an old tradition.

When the university turned 100 last spring the R was made to glow at night.

Some might say residents and former residents are "Mad About Redlands", but that's a matter of opinion best left to Psychologists and the jealous. ;-D


After more groves and some open spaces Pioneer becomes Sessumes Dr. and passes tiny Redlands Municipal Airport, on my left, arriving at Wabash Ave., in the outskirts of Redlands.

I turn right on Wabash Ave. and shortly turn left onto State Route 38/Mentone Blvd. .

It is 130pm, I have traveled 76.13 mi., and find myself entering Mentone.

As I ride through Mentone, passing retail and homes, I visit the first of 2 historic businesses in the city.

The place is a relative youngster, compared to the second establishment, and can't even claim the longest residency on the highway but, for a bookworm like me, it is a fascinating place to visit.


As the website explains:

In 1931, a man nailed a hand painted sign to the side of his building advertising quality bookbinding.  He had learned the secrets of hand bookbinding from a Swiss craftsman.  And the story and service of the Book Craftsman began...

Your books, Bibles and special memories are meticulously restored by a team of old world craftsman working in a specially-equipped shop.  The historic building we work in reminds us that our craft -- of carefully binding books by hand -- is a dying art.

The Book Craftsman has been featured on NBC, ABC, Fox TV and Access America, and their Content Policy may give some folks fits (I say, good for them!), but before you judge them for their values, judge the quality of their work.

Restoring books, some centuries old, are their specialty, and they take a special interest in Family Bibles (Wonderful slide show!) .

They also do binding for more modern literary needs, including those of the self publisher, as well.

I stood there, in awe, looking at some very, very, old books they had restored and put on display.

I got back on my bike and continued on my journey.

(Continue to the action, and info, packed final leg!)

December 17, 2007 in Riding Riverside County, Riding San Bernardino County | Permalink


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Tracked on Jan 8, 2008 6:52:31 PM


Once again the Cycling Dude takes on the persona of a Garrison Keillor on wheels.

With wit and wisdom, we are regaled by a multi-channel reflection as he roams the trail:

From clever tethers of horse trail leather in Norco, to government surveillance of cavorting, sex-crazed mosquitoes just South of San Bernadino, it is always a pleasurable journey to go along for the ride and enjoy the Santa Ana River Trail.

Posted by: Randy | Dec 20, 2007 4:48:01 AM

I've been there where the benches are.

It's a popular dirt bike riding spot, although it is considred trespassing.

Sometimes I go thru the bike path in my quad when there's nobody riding in the path. :-D

Posted by: Chris | Nov 13, 2009 5:52:56 PM

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