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Old 04-29-2013, 06:40 PM   #136
Desert Dave OP
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So this thread has been pretty quiet recently, seems my employer thinks getting the job done is just as important as my riding time. I have a little different view on that, but my weekends have been full with my "other" life and I've really missed being on the road, in the mountains, riding and enjoying the moment.
I came to the conclusion it was essential to my sanity to take a weekend off. My plan was to ride up 108 to Kennedy Meadows where the highway is closed for the winter and just take a day relaxing. Then something un ordinary happened, the passes opened in April! You've got to be kidding me. This was meant to be.
Rolling out in the morning I couldn't decide if I wanted to ride 3 passes, or just hit Sonora Pass and relax. Then it hit me, why not do both? Besides I really had the itch to ride, so the new plan was to ride over Ebbitts and Monitor like I had nothing to live for and still get to Sonora Pass by early afternoon. And that's what I did. I was scrubbing in new tires and felt like a caged animal set free up there.
So the day wasn't much about photos, but some hard riding. Still, something seemed wrong about going over these first two passes without at least a "photo of record". First stop of the day, just over Ebbits Pass. Man these roads are just killer.




Kind of ironic that the last installment to this thread was just down the hill from here. SO glad I made that ride and got the photos of Chalmers Mansion as by now the snow was gone that low, and the photo opportunity with it.
Monitor Pass was really play time....tires were feeling GOOD. No traffic and clear road. Probably won't be this good again until Fall when the riding season starts again. One more quick stop in the Eastern Sierras, where the mountains meet the desert.





Riding familiar turns heading up the hill this place just feels like coming home. A quick "Scouting" run over the top and figured then I'd find a spot for lunch when what do I see parked on the side of the road?





Now I'm not really shy about introducing myself, so I quickly stop and proceed to get to know the owner of this sexy machine. I swear, moto people are just the best on the planet, and what a great place for a B.S. session with my new friend John.






After listening to his riding impressions of the Guzzi and showing interest he casually tells me I should take it for a spin. Can you think of a better test ride for this bike than Sonora Pass? I can't. Seems he was interested in my Tenere and so the swap was made and we rode a few miles with enough turns to really get a decent first impression of the others ride. I think we were both looking like a couple giddy schoolgirls after the ride. I love the spontaneity of being on the road.

A hungry Guzzi watches lunch pass by.





Shortly after we part ways and I head back over the pass for lunch. I know restaurants are cool for being social and all, and it's the ADVrider thing to take a photo of your meal, but can you think of a better place to eat a B.T. sandwich than this? ( B.T. is just a BLT without the lettuce... that's getting to close to eating salad)





Nothing like taking a nap in the high sierras and waking up to this. This is where I get my landscaping ideas.





It's late in the day and I start rolling again. One last stop at one of my "super secret" chill spots. Doesn't look like much from the road, but a short hike down leads to a hidden path that will take you to an outcropping I like to climb out on and look down. Besides I needed a new profile photo and I think this represents me well.





More chill time. Just sitting there being in tune with the Universe. I always photograph this place as it's always a little different. Maybe I have an overactive imagination (I do) or my mind just thinks differently than everybody else on the planet, but I started to see something in the shadows that was a bit freaky, but cool, and now everytime I look at this photo I can't "not see" it. Give it a minute.





It's always hard to leave, but the Sun was low in the sky and time to roll. It's funny, but I cleaned my visor, checked my tire wear and I realized I was doing every thing I could to avoid leaving. What a great day, I felt recharged and satisfied once again.

I usually hit the passes the first weekend open. We are in for a dry year. What a contrast to opening weekend two years ago with record snowfall, thought I'd throw in a few photos from that ride just for fun.











See Ya up There!!

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Old 04-30-2013, 08:26 AM   #137
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Thanks for sharing and the usual great photos, Dave .... I was thinking of heading up for an Ebbetts/Monitor/Sonora loop when I saw that 4 and 108 had opened, but I just couldn't handle the idea of dragging across the Bay Area and Valley for the second time in two weeks. I rode 50 and then Luther/Monitor passes two weeks ago and it looks like most of the little snow there was, is gone.

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Old 05-01-2013, 04:17 AM   #138
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.... I was thinking of heading up for an Ebbetts/Monitor/Sonora loop when I saw that 4 and 108 had opened, but I just couldn't handle the idea of dragging across the Bay Area and Valley for the second time in two weeks. I rode 50 and then Luther/Monitor passes two weeks ago and it looks like most of the little snow there was, is gone.
I remember living in the Bay Area and dreading the ride across the valley, especially in summer so I understand In fact when I moved to Tracy many of my riding friends asked why I moved so far from the good riding, what they don't realize is headed East I'm an hour away from the Sierra Foothills, and headed West just an hour or so away from the coastal redwoods, not really bad Still if I were you I'd consider getting up there in the next few weeks before Memorial day

Yes, Monitor just has small patches of snow left. Going to be dry this year. I guess the early opening makes up for the early closing last year in October. To bad we didn't get more snow in between.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:05 AM   #139
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Love Sonora Pass! Beautiful pics Dave. We live and work in the bay area, but will retire to our home off 108 in Soulsbyvile.




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Old 05-01-2013, 04:33 PM   #140
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Love Sonora Pass! Beautiful pics Dave. We live and work in the bay area, but will retire to our home off 108 in Soulsbyvile.
Ohh nice I keep moving East myself, from the Peninsula, to the East bay, currently the Central Valley and I figure the next move will be retirement in the mountains.

I'm a little jealous.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:16 PM   #141
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This is one of those great threads that compels me to drop what ever it is that pretends to be important, and just go ride. I still haven't completely figured out the whole slow down and enjoy the journey thing, but I'm trying...
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:24 PM   #142
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This is one of those great threads that compels me to drop what ever it is that pretends to be important, and just go ride. I still haven't completely figured out the whole slow down and enjoy the journey thing, but I'm trying...
Perfect. Sometimes when I re-read it I want to do the same

As for the slow down thing, it's not for everyone, you'll know if/when it's right Last weekend was the first time in forever I blasted Ebbitts like that and had to force myself to stop for one photo, and remember there's nothing wrong with riding the same Pass twice in one day like I did Saturday on Sonora, once at speed and then return for a relaxed view of the same road. Lets face it, the best part of the road is from Dardanelle over and down to "the hairpin" overview of the desert, it's o.k. to do it multiple times.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:37 PM   #143
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Wow. I'm inspired. Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:43 PM   #144
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I live in Redding,You have been doing some good riding,keep it up!!!It was late and I had been drinking.
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Old 05-03-2013, 04:17 AM   #145
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I love on Redding,You have been doing some good riding,keep it up!!!


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Wow. I'm inspired. Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.
And on a weekday no less! Love it when I can do that. Have fun getting into trouble
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #146
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I've already explained why summer is my "Off season" for riding (Hey, I live in CA) so I had some time to do some long overdue maintenance on the Strom and give the ol girl a little attention. Out for a quick test ride on new chain and sprockets, this is probably the shortest Ride Report I've ever done. Also why I always carry my compact camera even when I'm not out looking for photos, ten minutes from my house on a Delta Levee I've been on hundreds of times,but it looked different this day and I couldn't resist stopping for a photo, even in the blazing heat.





Now for my second shortest Ride Report, that same evening I'd been planning on experimenting with some night photography at a spot just outside Livermore. I've seen a sunset there more than a few times and thought watching a moonset cast shadows would be spectacular to. With the Strom in top condition perfect reason for a night ride to cool off. Arrived about 9pm and spent the next 4 hours enjoying the moment, quiet, and what a show. It's these little escapes that are sometimes as big as the dramatic rides.

Here's a few of the results.





I couldn't resist, if you know only ONE constellation......




If this looks normal to you it's time for bed





Literally NO traffic on the road I took advantage of a couple of teenage lovebirds driving up to my spot after midnight to get a cool photo.





This night photography was really just practice. If you've read this thread you saw my Burney Falls photos from last year when I went up there to visit friends, and believe it or not they invited me back again! I was on a mission to get a photo of the falls I've never seen before, a night shot. This trip was quick and I didn't record it like last year, but I spent far more time at the park hiking around.


If you've been there and never hiked above the falls you really should. The most uncanny thing I've seen, just as the water is coming straight out of the porous rock at the falls, the river itself comes out of the ground shortley upstream. In fact less than a mile up (even you lazy riders can handle that!) the stream is not there, just a pile of rocks. I've never seen so much water spring in such a short distance.
This is the dried riverbed where I met a photographer doing the same thing I was.






This little mudhole was so full of life that we spent an hour or so there finding so many creatures giving us a show. This is what I love about photography and why it's becoming such a big part of my riding experience, this sort of thing is missed by most.










Finally evening sets, and after a big meal from my gracious hosts I left the campfire and set out alone to get the shot a came here for.

You won't find this on a postcard in the store....but you will at ADVrider






The strange things you see after dark.....Bat?? Moth?? Tinkerbell??






Seems my summer so far has been about after hours photography, so this last weekend I decided to try my hand at capturing some falling stars, so where else should I go? You guessed it, Sonora Pass and the eastern Sierras. I mean even if I don't get what I came for, it's not like it sucks being there.

I'm not ALWAYS taking photos (notice the months of gaps in this thread), but still you know it was a good day of riding when my camera doesn't even come out of the bag until an hour before sunset. After a great dinner at the Mountain View BBQ in Walker I start my ride back up the pass. Can't pass up a shot like this





The last minutes of light are always magical in color.





When it's this dark, the Milky Way is magical, with some of the colors coming through. A little longer exposure and light is stunning.





After midnight, 9000ft, temps dropping into the 30s and I'm on a motorcycle looking for photo oppurtunities. Life is just Awesome.




With lots of patience, which really isn't a problem when I'm enjoying the moment, I saw my shooting stars across the Milky Way. It's almost silly the rush this stuff gives me.





O.K. this one is an airplane ....but it makes such a cool photo!!






What a great ride back down the mountain in the wee hours of the morning. The road is all mine, and I got to use my Gerbings for the first time in months!
The following morning a little high desrt seemed in order. Anytime I can ride into Nevada in August while there is still a chill in the air, I'm going to take it.





This fun road followed the wash next to it for a few miles, and at some points the wash became the road....or the road became a wash and I started to regret switching back to full street tires in spots. Some of the faster sections where it turned to sand washes had me doing the coin flip, you know do I slow down and increase the chances of tucking the front end , but it will be a slower fall? Or stay on the gas and hope for the best? Needless to say my front tire was doing some sideways plows at highway speeds more than a few times.





More stunning mountains.





This last photo is what adventure riding is all about to me. Not racing Dakar, or sleeping in a hut on a world tour, but just an awesome touring bike that eats miles and twisties and makes me want to follow small roads like this "just to see". Life on my terms, go where I want and enjoy as much of it as I can.


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Old 08-13-2013, 11:46 PM   #147
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Stunning, as usual.

Delta: Clarksburg? Saw a canal like that a few weeks ago.
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:14 AM   #148
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Stunning, as usual.

Delta: Clarksburg? Saw a canal like that a few weeks ago.

Thanks, glad you're still enjoying it.

A bit further south, I'm not even sure the name of the road but I could look it up. This is just outside of Tracy, one of my after work getaways.


On a side note, forgot to post this photo taken Saturday on 108. Maybe a local?

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Old 08-14-2013, 07:04 AM   #149
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Dave, you and I see things very much the same way- would be great to ride together. We're just around the corner from each other as well.

I was thinking of heading up to Leavitt Lake this weekend. Wanna come and teach me some tricks? Ordering an intervalometer as I type this...
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #150
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Desert Dave,

Nice thread. I just moved back to CA, close to Tracy (Ripon). I have been re-discovering the Sierra's on my new Triumph Explorer.
I have taken a few photos but yours do a much better job of capturing what the Sierras have to offer.

I spend the last 24 years moving all around the US and knew I would be back here someday. I finally worked out a relocation with my employer a few months back and moved from PA back home to CA.

Been to Ebbets pass & Tioga pass in the past 2 weekends alone..

I am sure we will pass each other on the road someday.

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