Living here in the San Diego sunshine sometimes makes me feel guilty. The guilt lasts about a minute and I have to look out the window at my Harley and grab the keys.
It’s Saturday morning and I just have to do a stogie run. The temperature is nearing 90 degrees and it’s not even 11:00 am yet. Being up in the northeast part of the county I think it would be a good idea to hit a cigar lounge closer to the coast first.
I find it more relaxing taking the back roads as much as possible and not stressing the freeway. To anyone riding into San Diego, take advantage of our back-country. We have it all, ranches, farms, casinos and small communities.
Wildcat Canyon Road stretches from Ramona to Lakeside. The road is curvy but a real blast. The cattle ranches are something to see as you pass through the Barona Indian Reservation. Heading southwest you pass the Barona Casino to your right. It’s one of the first casinos established in San Diego County. When Barona Casino first opened in 1994 it was called the “Big Top” because the entire casino was in large white tents. Since then it has become a huge success. There is now a very large main casino building, resort and golf course. I really love our counties casinos and don’t want to go off track. I will do a casino run for a later article.
As I get to the bottom of the hill in Lakeside, I pass the Rodeo Grounds and head down Maine Avenue through downtown Lakeside. Downtown Lakeside is an old western historical community. Lakeside is truly a rodeo town. Passing through Main Avenue I merge into Los Coches Road and take it to interstate 8 east and then to interstate 163 north. If I pass the exit I’d end up at the beach and lose out on the stogies. Of course being it’s San Diego, it would still be a great day.
Exiting off the freeway at Clairemont Mesa Boulevard I go westbound to Liberty Tobacco at 7341 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
Liberty has a fantastic selection of cigars at great prices. I really enjoy their “Counterfeit Cubans”. There is a TV, comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi. There is a nice patio area as well. The humidor is really big and well maintained. The guys that hang out there are great and no matter if it’s just me or I bring some of my riding brothers, it is always biker friendly.
After smoking down most of my stogie I was talking to a young marine who just got back from Afghanistan recently defending my freedom. He was finishing up on a Punch Corona and told me he was going to San Diego Harley Davidson down the street to look at a Sportster 1200. When he told me that was his dream, I had to stop and realize he was not only fighting for freedom, he was about to live it. When I was leaving, he told me to be safe, I had to thank him because he already made sure of that.
Now I head back to interstate 163 and ride south back to the 8 freeway east. Traffic is pretty good for a hot Saturday. I exit the freeway in El Cajon at Highway 67 north. I pull up to a large group of independent riders and ride with them up the hill until we break off at Poway Road. I am back in rural San Diego County. The roads aren’t as curvy as Wildcat Canyon but really good. Highway 67 turns into Main Street in the historic unincorporated western town of Ramona. This is where I began the run this morning. There is a new cigar lounge I have been waiting to try out called the Stallion Cigar Club at 2344 Main Street. The lounge is still in the opening stage but very comfortable. I have a feeling this is going to be a regular stogie stop for me. The selection of cigars is great. I had a Fonseca Toro. The cigar was very fresh. I sat down and talked to neighbors I’ve never met. The owner told me his establishment is biker friendly and says we could park our bikes right in front of the door. The music was great, stuff I love to listen to like the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers and everything that made me want to melt into the couch and enjoy the air conditioning after riding in the heat. When I left the lounge, it was 94 degrees. It’s time to get home and fire up the barbecue and pound down a few cold ones. I have to feel guilty again and think about those less fortunate who do not live the San Diego dream.