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Old 06-28-2010, 11:11 PM   #1
Edelweys OP
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Edelweys: It's Time (A Week in the Sierras)

It’s time: A Week in the California Sierras

Legal disclaimer: Animals were harmed, Bambi is getting a bad review, questionable language,
suggestive sexual content. Read on at our own risk.

I wanted to do a trip with a very loose outline, no set daily routes or destinations, less about getting somewhere,
and more about being HERE, and enjoying the ride as the main ingredient. And since photography is more than
a hobby for me, I hoped for a little photo-safari of sorts.

There were only 3 events I wanted to get on the menu for the week:
First: connect somewhere along the route with Geoff (GOMA) and his buddy Elliot, and join them for a few hours,
miles, and beers on their voyage from San Diego to Alaska.

Second: meet up with my buddy Scott, as he and his family were camping somewhere near Mammoth.

And third: meet up with Nicole (Nicomama) and friends at Mineral King on Thursday.


So let’s get packed and go: my plants are hooked up to a life support system; hopefully this will work.

Had to complete a last minute work related appointment on Saturday morning, and I finally get on the road
by 11. It’s about time to blow this joint and head out!

After some uneventful ride from Huntington Beach into the Valley, I start out with a route I had saved on my GPS:
Jimmy (1224R) and Tony (Trout) had introduced me to these roads when the 3 of us headed up to the
Kern River/WARPED event in April.

The range readout tells me 398 miles until I run out of gas, enough for a few hours of fun…


Leaving behind traffic lights and congestion at San Francisquito Canyon Rd:



finally it looks and smells like there is still some nature left in this world. Maybe I should have brought some
hiking boots after all?

Retracing the steps from a couple of months ago, I get my dirt-sensors slowly dialed into my legs. What was
packed and muddy before, is now loose and sandy, but nothing too bad.


I take it easy, since my experience is limited: after all, I barely have a year under my belt, half of it on a
650 Dakar, half on Big Bertha…

I just HAVE to post the pictures from the last trip, when everything was glowing with fresh poppies, and we decided
to contribute to the newest ADV calendar, coming soon to a gay locker room near you…




Does Jimmy look a bit ‘verklemmt’? Trust me, there was nothing going on, no making out, despite the
romantic setting. (holding hands doesn’t count, right?)

A little further down the road I found this dirt trail leading right into the Joshua trees:



looked too nice to pass up, so I followed it in for a little while: THAT’S the kind of dirt experience I was hoping to find
on this trip (unfortunately, this would be the last time it was that easy).



Beef with Garmin:
At Tehachapi I am caught up in a detour because of construction; - no big deal to get back to my route, but what
I didn’t realize: it switched from guiding me along the saved route to the fastest way to the destination at Lake Isabella.
So instead of getting my kicks on the curvy mountain passes from Caliente to Bodfish, I find myself on the 58
to the 178, along the Kern River to Lake Isabella.
With scenery like this, nobody is complaining, though.






But I learned from this and a couple of later similar incidents: whenever I deviate from a given route, and then get back
onto it later, it’s best to ‘stop’ the route, and enter it again. This may be a Garmin issue, or Zumo 550 specific, I don’t know,
but I’m curious to get some feedback on this.

Cruising by horse pastures near Lake Isabella.

Finally: the start of my own route, hand carved on Google Earth, along roads that looked good from 20,000 meters above
(or wherever they fly their Google kites).


This looks just PERFECT!! The plan was to take this road up to the 9 Canyon Road, and drop down towards the 395 on the other side.
So far, so good.
After about 300 feet I realize I had turned too soon, and my actual road (with the ominous name of Canebrake Rd) is the distance
of a football field to my right. Make that a soccer field, given the timing of the World Cup…
So instead of a nicely packed surface, I wobble around in loose sand for about a mile, before it gets steeper and firmer.



The view is spectacular and more than makes up for the sweat on the lower section.



After passing a campground, the road flexes its muscles and shows me washboard abs: not too much fun, but I’m out in the woods
on a dirt road, and curious about the next turn.

9 Mile Canyon Road: I wonder how long it’s going to be…?
It’s slab again, but nothing boring: a windy downhill with steep banks: you definitely don’t want to ignore that arrow,



or you may find yourself a couple of thousand feet lower (and quicker than you planned).



Just before hitting the 395, I follow an aqueduct road north,



paralleling the Freeway to about Little Lake, where I am met with a closed gate 10 feet from the Hwy.


Luckily, no lock on that gate, and I head north to my next dirty treasure: off the Fwy at Gill Station Coso Rd, head east
to a dirt road leading to a white field on the map, connecting on the other side of that white field, and some (hopefully)
perfect trails up to connect with Cactus Flats Rd. I had waypoints, coordinates of landmarks, water, food, youthful
(but not truthful) vigor, so here we go: it started out just as planned, a bit sandy at the beginning as expected, but manageable.

Street pirates have apparently installed the boulder up on the hill, but fortunately it’s the weekend, and they are Union – I’m safe.


Not safe from a locked gate, though:


the bright white spot on my Google satellite picture turned out to be a pumice mine. Time to turn around? Not quite.
I knew I only had to get to the other side of the mine, and I’d be on my way. So first, let’s see where this road to the left leads:


Dead end after less than a mile…

An attempt to the right gets me into uncharted territory, and I am barely getting any grip in the deeper sand here.


Finally I end up at a pumice field that leads to a sharp drop into the mine, with another gate at the other side.
Needless to say, I didn’t drop in…

So I’m still enjoying myself, until I smell the clutch in the process of turning the loaded beast around in the deep sand.
But this is the adventure I was seeking, and I make it back to the front gate without dropping the fat monster
(don’t tell her).

Now there is one more option: a road to the south, and with some luck it will turn east and I find a connector on the
other side of a young mountain headed north, circumventing this mine and connecting on the other side.
It looks promising: it turns just as needed, I even find a trail forking off,



only to be met by yet another gate: this time it’s the government that wants me to keep out a test site for live ordnance.



I did bring my Dirty Harry on this trip (you never know when you’re going to encounter a hostile deer in the forest),
but figure it may not be enough firepower to win that battle…

So back we go the way I came from, all the way to the 395. That was a good hour and a half of playing time.
At least that’s how I look at it. Be now, be here, have fun: there is no wasted time in dead ends.

On the other side of the Fwy I find another dirt road along the aqueduct, and Diaz Lake on the other side is beckoning,
but there's no crossing.



I head back, and get into a swarm of bees (wild, carnivorous, blood thirsty, Africanized bees – just for effect…)
I am able to duck, and other than a couple of bee-corpses on my windshield, no harm. (The fact that bees have a
sophisticated communication system throughout the state was not known to me at that point, but would catch up
with me in a few days…)

Diaz Lake had been on my ‘potential’ list for spending the night, so I head in: camping fee is $10, no shower,
but bathrooms (no flush). And who needs a shower when you have a lake?


Set up camp,



and: it’s time for a swim!


Then: dinner at dusk with a view. Maybe I’ll stay here the rest of the week…
NOT!!!


Someone had left some hiking shoes behind at my campsite: they look past their prime, but were pretty tasty
- with some mayonnaise.


No need for the rain fly on my tent,



and the starry sky is unbefugginglieveable! (I warned you about the language)
Not a light source in miles, I can see and taste the Milky Way, and even see a couple of shooting stars. The night
would have been perfect, if it wasn’t for the mating call of a toad, or waterfowl, or a hung-over donkey trying to tune
a rusty trumpet (don't look up rusty trumpet in the urban dictionary...).
(WTF, I said don't look it up!)
Whatever it is, it’s just a few feet away, but untouchable in the protective envelope of the reed grass.
And it’s not the only one, there are a dozen more in various spots all around, and I am too exhausted to move my tent,
so I just lie there, waiting for the next stab into my brain. And I will bring earplugs and dynamite on my next trip…


Until tomorrow, where I get to play in the Alabama Hills, have some nice lunch in bear territory at 10,000 feet,
and lose my concentration at the concentration camp.


Edelweys screwed with this post 07-25-2010 at 02:24 PM
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:28 AM   #2
9Dave
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Looks like this was placed in the GPS Tracks by mistake. Moved to RR.

Dave
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:48 AM   #3
Blackforest
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very nice pictures and a nice sense of humor (especially the watch). Sounds like southeast german humor?
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:26 AM   #4
Edelweys OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9Dave
Looks like this was placed in the GPS Tracks by mistake. Moved to RR.

Dave
Thanks 9Dave, this is my first attempt at throwing a RR at the Big Interweb.
Next I'll figure out how to add on to it.
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Old 06-29-2010, 06:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackforest
very nice pictures and a nice sense of humor (especially the watch). Sounds like southeast german humor?
Thanks Blackforest, just south of South Germany: make it Austria, but with a German birthplace.
That's why my 3 Stickers on my pannier make sense:
A for Austria (grew up)
D for Germany (born)
V for Vatican (Papal infallibility)

(and that's a fact...)
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:07 AM   #6
MeLikeCookies
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Andreas...

Great start! Keep it coming!

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Old 06-29-2010, 10:54 AM   #7
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Oh the poppy fields, the memories........haha! Great pics Andreas looks like ya had a great time!
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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Man, that's what 2 wheeled therapy is all about..... looks like a most relaxing time!
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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Thumb More !

You got my attention Andeas, great beginning to what I anticipate as an epic RR. Keep it coming !
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:21 PM   #10
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I love the watch, I'm gonna get me one. Look forward to the rest of the RR
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:03 PM   #11
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Day 2 in the Sierras

Day two: Alabama Hills, High Altitude, and a double side of Twin Lakes

So here I am on the morning after, and the only mirror close by is the smooth surface of Diaz Lake. Naturally I throw rocks in there, because I don’t want to see the bags under my eyes after the brutal noise torture of last night.


I do take some time though to appreciate the beauty brought on by the first sunlight.


One little detail I take seriously when it comes to my mornings, even when camping: coffee. There’s no compromise, and the only valid equipment is the traditional Italian espresso maker.



And with the newly discovered treasure of dry milk (thanks for the tip Nicole/Nicomama!), I am independent from ice or frequent trips to the dealers of chilled cow juice.
Dry milk foams up surprisingly well (with a tiny egg beater, 99c at Cost Plus, or double that at REI, if you want to splurge), and makes a perfect cappuccino.



Mmmmmmmhhhh…. Good Morning California!!

One last look around at the lake and the horses grazing in the adjacent field (no donkey and no trumpets, believe me: I looked!),






It's simply too crowded here: my nearest neighbor is the RV over there about 150 yards away, so it's time



to head up to Lone Pine for some vitamins (a grapefruit and some OJ) at the Totem Café.



Inside I meet some hikers/campers from Argentina, Sweden, and the local tribe. They are tenting it at Horseshoe Meadows, which I wanted to visit after seeing some great pictures on Google Earth (what a great tool for trip planning!). I had even contemplated to spend the night up there, but after hearing that the temps are in the mid 20s (that’s -4º Celsius), I am a little more disinclined.

My sleeping bag isn’t a real 4-season bed, but I’ll see what happens and don’t rule it out just yet.
But first it’s time to head into the Alabama Hills, a scenic area that served as backdrop for many movies, and PLAY and EXPLORE!


The scenery is truly spectacular: with Mt. Whitney and friends in the background, I follow any trail that comes along, some evoke a smile, a grin, others a ‘you shouldn’t be here’ with all the gear on Big Bertha’s fragile frame: with the full tank and my own meat&bones, we’re close to a 1000lbs, that just doesn’t sound good when you’re going down whoops in the sand.


But so far all is well, I get out of all close calls with no more than some sweat on my brow. Actually I’m having so much fun for almost 2 hours: it MUST be illegal…


Yes I know it’s over saturated: just playing around.

The Jabba rock-monster doesn’t have a well-developed sense of humor, and wants some bite out of the early morning visitor.



But I’m not about to give him my head, or give any head for that matter,







and after a couple of more BB posing opportunities (BB for Big Bertha, not Brigitte Bardot, for you older connoisseurs / perverts / co-conspirators), it’s the perfect time of day to head up the hill.




The switchbacks are loooong and steep, and within minutes I’m looking at Alabama Hills and Owens Lake from the bird-perspective.




The first bear advertisement of the ride: there will be many more over the next few days. Not a single one had a recipe posted, though…


I also understand now that shooting them is frowned upon. Oh well, tasty though!

Over 10k feet of elevation: BB’s new record.
BTW, I compared the GPS altimeter to various altitude markers along the way: quite accurate, always within a few feet. Zumo 550: awesome product, close to perfect.
I understand Tony/Trout just bought the 660: I’m curious to see the differences/improvement.

But back to nature and finding a nice spot for lunch: I take my cardboard boxes with pots/pans, stove/spices, and a bottle of wine that I just bought in Lone Pine at Joseph’s, and head out into the forest for a nice spot.
Then it all opens up, and I’m in the first of the meadows.

A little creak, a seat in the grass, some patches of snow in the trees to my left, some bear and eggs sizzling in my pan, and the panorama of Mt. Somethingrather in the background: a glass of wine would round that experience off perfectly.

But my trusted cup was half a mile away in my pannier, so what’s a boy to do? It was the best fogging wine anyone ever drank out of a bottle…



Legal disclaimer: the foregoing is obviously an exaggeration, the wine bottle was only used for props, and no alcohol blah, blah, motorcycle, blah, blah, riding, blah.
I hear though, from well informed experts, that at this altitude it goes straight to the loss of morals and character chakra: so guys, take your date into the mountains! (or vice versa…)

So now I’m contemplating if I should camp up here, then connect with Goma and Elliiot tomorrow morning. But: it’s only 1 o’clock, and I ate the hiking shoes last night, and these mountains don’t like to be trampled on in flip-flops. And there’s not much else to do up here but hike, so I decide to take one and take off.
Back in the parking lot, I see this, and I wonder about modesty and wishful thinking (see, I was sober at the time!)

So down the hill we go,



up to Manzanar’s concentration camp. Didn’t take any pictures there, but tried to cut through their property to a dirt road I thought I remembered starting there. But everywhere I turn, there are just little foot trails, and I get deeper and deeper into some loose dirt, until my rear wheel is finally stuck up to the break disk in the sand trap. I resort to my handbook: The Zen of Cursing, and am first taking off my pants. No, no, no, not what you are thinking! I would NEVER take advantage of BB in that kind of vulnerable position!

But I was still wearing my jeans underneath my riding gear, and too much heat impedes the thinking process…

So a little cooler now, I am able to rock the bike forth and back, and with a gentle touch on the gas get out of the trap: a 35 inseam does come in handy at times…

Back to the main building, where Chris is flagging me down with a serious expression on his face, explaining how my transgression was the cause for his depression (almost sober now…)
Seriously though, he explains that they had quite a few thefts of artifacts, and are kind of edgy when people circumvent barriers and take off into the closed off section of the property.
After I communicate my dilemma of trying to find my dirt road, we check my GPS route, and find out it was all my mistake: my dirt started a few miles further north, and I am absolved of my sin.

And then: FINALLY! After a few miles on Birch Creek Rd I turn west into my perfect trail:



this is what I wanted to find, and it’s just as expected.



I cruise along for a couple of miles, and the trail gets gradually more difficult.


The tire tracks stop, and the boulders in the trail get more frequent and larger.
It’s around 90 degrees, and the first subtle hint of ‘should I be here?’ comes up.




Pretty soon I have to stop to take a breather: I do some reconnaissance up the hill to find a good line, moving young boulders out to the left and right.
What I know now: when you’re tired and lack confidence, you have a tendency to not be able to stay on the line you picked…
So I ended up plowing through the obstacles I had moved to the side, just like a big fat pinball.
Again, thanks to my inseam, I am able to stay upright.


I have to stop a couple of more times for a water break, to let the clutch cool down, and to have some serious talks with myself that involved quite a few WTFs and dumbasses.

I know I’m not going to die here: I have plenty of water, food, shelter, and could walk to the freeway in a few hours, but still, the potential embarrassment of being stranded out here keeps my adrenaline flowing.
I am just hoping the next road, promised by Lady Garmin in 1 mile, is going to be a bigger one than this, and not its little brother.

Fortunately, this is where I dump out, and I breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.

Amazing how the challenges of the last hour have improved my skill level, and confidence. Now I’m cruising at 40 to 50 miles an hour (on occasion), standing to get out from behind the windshield and cool off.
And just when I seem to have the world by a string: I find myself met by the second swarm of bees in as many days, but this time I’m riding Jewish-Italian style (I forgot to warn you of stereotyping and offensive racial profiling), with my shirt open to my belly button, a bushy chest toupee, and heavy gold chains clanking in the afternoon sun.
(poetic freedom, let’s just say I felt exposed)

They’re already bouncing off my helmet and jacket, and luckily I’m able to roll up in a ball behind the windshield without any damage. (the last word on bees in not spoken yet…)

But now, after having passed the test of the boulder-dash, I am having fun again, and follow nice little trails I had mapped out, including a short section of the old 395.







Back on the 395, I just want to go to somewhere nice and stay the night.
After Bishop, the miles fall away quickly, and as I cruise by mountains and lakes to the right,



mountains to the left,



and mountains behind me,



I get to Mono Lake.













The Seagulls miss the big target, it doesn’t look like an inviting place to find a campsite, so I decide to keep on going to Bridgeport. Luckily I had found out the day before that my buddy Scott and family were at the Twin Lakes 13 miles out of that town, and NOT the Twin Lakes by Mammoth, which I had planned as the destination of my route…
Details, details…

But Bridgeport is easy to find, and a sign at the shell station at the end of town directs me to the lakes.


This is cow country, and the beef here is supposed to be excellent. These are definitely not Riverside conditions: these cows die HAPPY for you!

But they’re suspicious: what are YOU looking at???

On and on towards the mountains.




And finally: Mono Lake resort, an evening hanging out with Scott and his family, with Michael Michael Motorcycle (NOT Mike Mike Motorbike, who is here on the forum), and Todd with his family.








All are passionate dirt and/or dual purpose riders, but didn’t bring any bikes on this trip.

What they did bring though, was spirited beverages, the consummations of which lead to lewd and lascivious conduct, the likes I had never seen before.
There was some frontal nudity, some spanking of misbehaving and behaving bystanders, and admonishment by the park security.
Children were cooped up in their own trailer, but were still embarrassed for their parents.
Fortunately, what happens at Twin Lakes, stays at Twin Lakes: - unless I can get hold of Scott’s camera, which I used to take some incriminating pictures, - then all bets are off…



That’s it for day two.
Tomorrow animals are caught and eaten, Bambi gets a bad rap, Goma and Elliot join the party.

Edelweys screwed with this post 06-29-2010 at 08:14 PM
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Old 06-29-2010, 08:21 PM   #12
Edelweys OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klammer
You got my attention Andeas, great beginning to what I anticipate as an epic RR. Keep it coming !
Thanks, man: I have to thank you to hook me up with the ADV group: new friendships have developed, new roads have been traveled, just because of our chance encounter at Rowher.
Good times...

Incidentally, my mom came today to visit from Austria, and brought an old photo album: it includes an old pic of Franz Klammer, before he became a superstar, in the early 70's: really resembles you...
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:48 PM   #13
airborndad
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Awesome RR Andreas, fully enjoying it
BTW That's the perfect Watch for a motorcycle ride,

Keith
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:06 AM   #14
RedDogAlberta
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Great shots and nice route.

An old riding buddy of mine used to have a watch removal ceremony at the start of each of our trips where he recited the same "time is now of no importance" speech.
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:38 AM   #15
BiggieFalls
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Nice to see you getting BB dirty Andreas. I thought for sure that you and another ADV'r (mentioned somewhere on this page) were off frolicking and riding Pinzgauers bareback in the Austrian Alps. Shade.

Vielleicht you are more like johngil's power lines.

AC & DC.

There certainly are some tell-tale signs in your post. Like the second plant back in this photo. What exactly are you growing there? And will that accommodate two plant sitters at the same time?


And what about the "Gays Of The Year" calendar?
Quote:
Heyyyyy. I'm Randy. Very Randy. You should see me blow my old rusty trumpet.

Hi fellas. I'm Rusty....

Seriously though, looks like an amazing ride so far with some great pictures. I can barely wait till you get to your third goal. No censoring! I'm thinking Jabba rock-monster, minus the teeth.


BTW, it looks like your watch is stuck at a hair past a freckle. Maybe it wasn't waterproof.
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