On the road with Joe Bonnello (aka Joey B’s California Gold)


We just got a message and a buncha great photos from everybody’s favorite shorts-clad photographer, Joe Bonnello. Seems Joey B. has been out and about, exploring the nooks and crannies of California, exposing his gams to the far reaches of this great state.

We’d tell more, but Joe agreed to write us an account of his trip to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel where he took some shots. Look down for Joe’s words and then keep going to see some of his pics. I like Joe’s style. Damn this makes me want to ride …… 

The Ride. The Show. The Spring!

So it goes like this — May in California is already summer, hot, dry, dusty, brown. But, this year, no!

Cool, damp, g-r-e-e-n. Never happened I say. Gotta ride before the heat. Ride, ride I say. So, got the Cagiva ready. Found out the Quail was happening in Carmel. Got on the bike and headed across the desert to the mountains. Jumped into the twisties and proceeded to find every nasty, twisty, obscure and downright stupid road in California, all the way from Apple Valley to Monterey, and then back. Over Frazier Park. Around Taft. Across the inland mountains to Atascadero. Around the prettiest roads near Paso Robles. Through Hunter Liggett to the coast. Up spectacular PCH to Monterey, then to Carmel for the Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

Lot’s of gorgeous bikes but no Quails in sight. Out over Carmel Valley, the back way around Coalinga (epic!), across the San Joaquin Valley on farm roads, up to the base of the Sierras to Bass Lake. Hook up with Larry Langley and David Price, head south through a maze of winding, yellow-flower-lined back roads over mountains, across incredible valleys, around spectacular lakes,

Nobody on the road. Up to Kings Canyon. Across the Sierra Foothills. South over the highest pass in the Southern range, snow-plowed and open a week before. Down Sierra Highway along the raging Kern River. Secret road around a bulging Lake Isabella. Over Walker Pass to Inyokern and a spectacular sunset blast down 395 through Randsburg, Four Corners, and finally, home.


Got rain. Got cold. Got windy. But never got hot. From high desert to 7,500 ft., down to sea level and up to over 8,500 ft. in the Sierras.

Saw a bobcat! Saw hawks, vultures and an eagle. Didn’t see more than six or seven bikes and a couple dozen cars in the twisties.

Took one week to ride 1,638 miles. No freeways. No Interstate, and only a few highways, and they were good!

Cagiva Gran Canyon is still the best streetbike that I’ve ridden in 41 years. Yup, it is. I love my bike. Gonna wash it now and go for a ride up in the San Bernardino Mountains. Nice out.

Joe Bonnello



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4 Responses to “On the road with Joe Bonnello (aka Joey B’s California Gold)”

  1. Larry Langley Says:

    Had the pleasure of riding with JoeyB when he stopped in on his way back from Quail. Lunch at Velesco’s Mexican Rest. in Prather then more back roads before David and I split from Joe after Pine Flat Lake. Great guy, fun and interesting and like me, LOVES to explore back roads. Our motto is “I wonder where that goes?”

  2. Mark Thome Says:

    Joe B is one of my absolute favorite people on the planet. So good to to have him back on the scene.

    Great blog / summary Joe, more! more!

  3. Joshua Placa Says:

    It’s been some years since I last saw that crazy som’bitch, figured he had rejoined the Mafia or was slinging pizza in Naples. Good to see you’re alive and kickin’, Joe, riding like hell and giving the sport some respectability.

  4. Kenny O Says:

    Joe B ROCKS !

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