lake arrowhead

Day trip to San Bernardino Mountains: Lake Arrowhead

Sometimes you dream about being in other places in a far away land but sometimes where you are may have places undiscovered. Today is not one of those days but a re-visit to a place visited long ago was pretty nice. 

Got a text from our sister-in-law Marlene about heading up to Big Bear since my mother-in-law was gonna watch our kids. Basically a free Sunday without the kids bearing down on us... so we decided a little day trip to the mountains was a perfect idea. We were really going to scout for a home to rent for the winter time but a relaxing and slow paced day was really needed.

My brother-in-law Billy is a big fan of Harley Davidson's and as an enthusiast of any motor vehicle, finding that special moment to take out your "baby" can only lead to good times, right? They ended up getting a head start on us since we still had to get ready. Had the grandparents come pick up my boy and then we hopped in my Honda S2000 with the hardtop removed and the soft top down. It's probably been 3 years since I had the top removed but today was a perfect reason to roll top down. Stopped by IEPR to grab the Sony A7s, generic EF to E-mount adapter and a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II. Because I didn't have the Metabones available, the generic one didn't allow for aperture control so everything was shot wide open. 

Filled up at a Chevron in Claremont off the 10fwy. Took this with an iPhone since the A7s was packed away in the trunk. My wife is not familiar with using the new system so most of the way up was shot on my iPhone 6. Fancy I know...

S2000 is still a baby with only 23,857 miles for an 06. 

S2000 is still a baby with only 23,857 miles for an 06. 

It's been a long time since I have driven the S2000 up into the mountains. Seems like every time I am in the mountains, I am driving some slow commuter car so today was a real treat, at least for me... the wifey was getting sick. Sorry babe.

One of the best parts about driving up to Lake Arrowhead are the double lanes. No need to worry about getting caught behind a family in a mini van driving the speed limit. I ain't got no time for that. Life is a race, need to get to the top fast!

Look at these roads... beautiful... anyone with any kind of sport vehicle needs to come up here frequently. 

After we climbed most of the mountain, pulled over to snap the landscape and let the S cool down for a minute. I have to say that I still have to get used to the focus peaking on the A7 series... the camera definitely showed the car in focus but when I got home, the bushes are in focus. Had to put the soft top on cause I was getting burnt up!


The generic EF to E mount adapter showed some significant vignetting and since I could only shoot wide open, it was what it was.... adds to the mood of the sky. Look at all that LA smog! Breathe it in folks, breathe it in... lol 

Leather brown Chuck Taylors

Leather brown Chuck Taylors

Setting the camera up, test subject... my trusty old leather Chucks

MBN (must be nice) to have a view like this in your backyard. I am guessing that is one of the perks of living all the way up here

Look at that smile... gazing out into the the world... next stop, Lake Arrowhead 6 miles away. 

If you look close enough, the wifey spotted a rock climber. Yup, some guy decided that right over there would be a nice rock to climb. Maybe one day I will understand the fascination of climbing rocks.... maybe... lol

When we finally got to the village, we got super lucky finding parking right away. It wasn't until after we started to walk towards the businesses how many people were driving around looking for a place to park. Life is always about timing... Met up with the bro and sis. I was starving and without jumping on my phone to look for a place to eat on Yelp, I just walked into McDonald's and grabbed a double meal combo. Double cheeseburger and small fries for $2.50? Sold. Yes @manleyeats will occasionally eat fast foods... it's ok, its fast and hits the spot... don't judge me.


After the fuel up, we were people watching by the dock and noticed something hilarious. I have to admit that dogs that live up here have lives better than most elsewhere. I want to be a dog like this in my next lifetime. You ready for it?

Without hesitation, Marlene was rushing me to get a photo of these dogs. The owners were real cool about it... but look at these dogs... they have sunglasses! I'm pretty sure they were more expensive than my Chilli Bean glasses. Will you just look at how happy they are?!

People were doing all sorts of happy things.... I need to be doing what they are doing... it's on the list of things I need to do. 


So one of the things I do best is critique shit... this drives some people crazy while some people like that about me. For me, it's what I do. If you don't like that, try talking to the tree at your nearest park, you might get a better response. jk #sorrybutnotsorry. The other thing is eating... I love to eat but I usually can't eat without doing the thing I do best, which is critique.... so I am kind of an asshole when it comes to food. At least that is what everyone thinks but in reality I just have a set of standards that needs to be met. That's why people get confused when I can enjoy a meal at McDonald's and a steak at Vic and Anthony's. You see, it is like this, you can take the same french fry from McDonald's, throw them in the fryer, fry until golden brown, remove them from oil, salt and serve. If you eat those fries within 3 mins, they will be amazing. Let them sit for 10 mins, game over. Just throw them away. I don't need to eat no 10 min fry. Timing is everything as I mentioned before. Of course freshness, balance, flavor, butter and salt are a must. Yes I can just do butter and salt as a meal lol.

They had a some interesting stores if you had a need to spend money... i.e.: a dinosaur store, dog desserts only, knickknack store but I was quickly drawn by the beef jerky woman. I mean all commercial beef jerky is so nasty in terms of flavor and texture. When I find a small business where they actually care about the quality of their product, I support. 

Sky Ranch Specialties has all sorts of high quality beef jerky for your desired palette. Since I enjoy things that are spicy, salty and vinegary, I opted for the Peppered jerky since that is my favorite. I bought a bag and when I chewed into them, I had to get another bag. What I didn't take a photo of is their Southwest BBQ Jerky... the semi-sweet but hickory smoked flavor got me... and this is coming from someone who doesn't like any sweets in my meats. Killed two bags before the end of the day. Get some!

Next stop was The Grapevine Store which was a very nice stop to cool down with some beer and wine. We ended up getting a sampler of their hard ciders. Two of the four tasted like candy.... on our way out, we ended up grabbing two bottles of their sweet beer later to find out we got the wrong one. We ordered Doc's Draft when it was really the Rekorderlig Berry we wanted. But no fret, we still handled it.

Look at how the ladies smile with glee when presented with cold elixir of a very sweet caliber. In combination with the beef jerky, all was good.

After the beer consumption, we headed out to the deck to check out the sights. Not sure why I posted a photo of the red umbrella... Red is my favorite color and I like the tones of this one I guess lol. 

As stated before, I am not a fan of sweets usually but I am a sucker for toffee... perhaps its the butter and sugar combination but that tickles my fancy. I am all about it. So walked into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a bit of a sample. 


Next on the list was a short cruise over to our dinner spot. So we jumped into our cars and bike and had a beautiful scenic drive over. 

Did a quick photoshoot of my bro and sis chillin' by his Harley. Didn't go for a dramatic photo, just something to remember the day by. 

For dinner, we check out a restaurant on Yelp rated with a 4.5 star review called Stone Creek Bistro. Very hipster-ish restaurant, small but cozy, lots of wood decor and a nice and easy vibe. Our waitress was pretty funny, with her sassy spirit... made it a nice enjoyable evening. Billy ordered the New York Steak (it was funny to see the waitress' face when he asked for A1 lol), Marlene got the Pork Chops, Methuse got the Carbonara and I got the appetizer BLT. 

After dinner, there was still some daylight left. We walked out to this beautiful landscape.

We were debating about heading to Temecula Wineries but we started to get tired. Got home, put my head on my LoveSac to get a little nap in at 8:30pm and then woke up at 8:30am. LOL... it was a great day.

Andrew Manley