California Loop 2013 (now with added dirt)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DirtClaudeKilly, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    This California loop is approximately 2400 miles, starting in the central coast region of California and heading east through Cuyama Valley and the Carrizo Plains, east across the Central Valley, up Rancheria Road to the Sierra’s, North generally following the Pacific Quest Crest (PCQ) tracks, around Mount Shasta, though the Trinity Alps, down the Lost Coast including Usal Road and then down the coast home.

    I rode 80% of this ride last year, however the 20% I didn’t ride is what made me want to ride it again. It felt like unfinished business. Here is last years ride report . Last year I rode a KTM 990 Adventure, the size and weight of the bike along with some electrical gremlins caused me to regrettably bypass some of the more remote and rugged areas. I sold the KTM and bought a used Yamaha WR250R for this trip. I am doing the ride solo again.
    Here are the tracks

    California Loop 2013

    Note - I had accidentally linked to last years tracks, now fixed.
    #1
  2. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    DAY 1 272 miles Central Coast to Holey Meadows Camp
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    Today is about getting to the Sierra&#8217;s, I follow the back roads to Tepusquet Rd and Hwy 166, through the Cuyama valley and the desolate Carrizo Plains. From there it is down Hwy 58, across the hot and dusty central valley to Rancheria road. Rancheria Road starts at about 600&#8217; elevation just east of Bakersfield, initially it is paved but soon turns into gravel and dirt as it climbs almost 7000&#8217; in elevation over the next 45 miles. The coolness of the mountains is a welcome relief after the heat of the valley. I camp at Holey Meadows campground in Sequoia National Forest.

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    #2
  3. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    The motorcycle.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    I found a nice lightly used 2011 Yamaha WR250R, when I bought it had been modified with<o:p></o:p>
    - Corbin Seat<o:p></o:p>
    - Skid Plate<o:p></o:p>
    - IMS 3.1 gallon tank<o:p></o:p>
    - Acerbis hand guards<o:p></o:p>
    - Promoto billet rear rack<o:p></o:p>

    To make the bike more suitable for adventure riding I also added<o:p></o:p>
    - IMS 4.7 gallon tank <o:p></o:p>
    - Highway dirt bikes top handle bar mount<o:p></o:p>
    - Eastern Beaver 3 circuit solution<o:p></o:p>
    - 2 powerlet adapters<o:p></o:p>
    - Rugged mount for Montana GPS<o:p></o:p>
    - GRP steering damper<o:p></o:p>
    - Cee Bailey Windscreen<o:p></o:p>
    - Wolfman saddle bag racks<o:p></o:p>
    - Acerbis plastic skid plate<o:p></o:p>
    - Alaska butt pad, plus .5” of foam
    <o:p></o:p>
    I used Wolfman luggage both expedition saddle bags and medium sized duffle and a tankbag. <o:p></o:p>

    The suspension, gearing, exhaust and tires are all stock. <o:p></o:p>

    I was very pleased how this motorcycle performed, it will cruise comfortably at 70 miles, and handle most dirt situations while carrying a good sized load. I became very confident riding some pretty challenging terrain on this bike. I am going to keep this one for a while.
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  4. Dubl-A

    Dubl-A SuckerDucker

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    Sweet Bike! I had a KLX250S that I still regret selling :(

    Be safe and post plenty pics :thumb
    #4
  5. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    Day 2 187 miles Holey Meadows to Dinky Creek

    Holey Meadows is a small quiet campgrounds located next to a nice meadow. I get up early make a quick cup of coffee and hit the road. I am following the PCQ tracks starting off on the Western Divide highway but soon taking a left on a Forest Service road and riding about a 20 mile dirt trek through the Giant Sequoias. The road intersects with Highway 190 and I stop for breakfast at the Pierpoint Resort. The food is decent and there is free Wifi so it is a good place to stop. After eating I take a detour from last years ride and the PCQ and head East on 190 then left on Redwood drive, there is some windy roads and a 5 mile dirt rollercoaster ride down in elevation before eventually hooking back up with Highway 190. Next stop is in Lemon Cove for gas then back up into the Sequoias on Dry Creek road to Hwy 245, then Hwy 180 and then down a dirt road to the kern river. From there it is a nice mixed dirt and paved climb up Black Rock road to Dinky Creek campground were spend the night


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    #5
  6. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    Thanks and you are right, I had accidentally linked to last years tracks when some problems caused me to take that route - these are the correct tracks. A much better ride.

    California Loop 2013

    Thanks for the heads up and the offer, but I got home about a 2 weeks ago.
    #6
  7. C_THRU_U

    C_THRU_U Adventurer

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    :clapWhat did you think of Salmon River road into hoopa?
    #7
  8. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Looks like a fun ride keep it up
    #8
  9. Shooby

    Shooby Long timer

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    Nice! Thanks for posting tracks. Did you hit any gnarly technical sections?

    :ear
    #9
  10. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    Day 3 214 miles, Dinkey Creek to Cherry Lake

    I have planned this trip so as to ride a moderate amount each day, my target is around 200 miles and 10 hours from kickstand up to kickstand down. I want to enjoy a little time in the evenings to relax - this is vacation after all.

    First stop is in the town of Shaver Lake where I get gas, food and water. I am finding that the 4.7 gallon IMS tank provides ample range. I have been getting a minimum of 60 mpg which translates to 282 mile range, I try to fill up after hitting 200 miles to account for any reroutes that may occur

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    I head North from Shaver Lake and catch a dirt forest service road down toward Redinger lake. This is a deviation from the PQC but it looked like an interesting route. I meet back up with the PCQ somewhere before I cross this nice little bridge over Redinger lake.

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    From there is it up to Mammoth Pool road, to Soda Springs road, great vistas and perfect paved twisties. Soda Springs road is a little tighter mostly single lane road and is great fun.

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    From here there are a variety of dirt road that eventually connect to Hwy 41 at Fish Camp.

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    From Fish camp it is back onto dirt forest roads. Last year when I came through here I detoured south on Hwy 41 in search of gas and missed this section. It is a 20+ mile section that winds though some recent burn areas, it is rough enough to make it interesting

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    Eventually it connects to Hwy 140 and a short ride to Briceberg road. Briceberg steeply climbs up above the canyon above the Merced river. It is hot at the lower elevations so climbing into the cooler air is nice. At the top of the climb the road becomes more of Jeep trail with some steep climbs and descents that are rutted. I am glad to be on the little Yamaha as it handles everything without complaint.

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    I take a more Westerly route that the PCQ to the Hwy 120, the PCQ route is more interesting and challenging. From Hwy 120 there is a nice creek crossing and a short fun dirt section on the way to Cherry Reservoir.
    #10
  11. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

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    I love the whole idea of the 250! I've just now started getting the "bug" for a dirt bike and have been wondering what to look for? Anywhere from a 250 to a 400 would be my first choices I think? I want to be able to hit the highway at times and 70 mph sounds good to me. Thanks for doing this RR as it's giving me more crazy ideas at 70 yrs. old. Never have had a dirt bike before!

    Gary
    #11
  12. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    Day 4 195 miles, Cherry Reservoir to Silver Creek

    The first part of the days ride is to head North following the PCQ on Forest Service roads from Cherry Reservoir to Hwy 108 and the Pinecrest Lake. Last year I took a more conservative route to the West. Within a few mile the roads turn to gravel, then dirt. There are some nice forested sections and a good camping area next to a river. I have a hard time following the tracks and end up on a dead end over grown road. Eventually I find the right route, the road gets rougher and turns into somewhat of an ATV track before connecting with Hwy 108 at Pinecrest Lake. I have a late breakfast at the snack shack near the lake.

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    The next step is to take the forest roads from Hwy 108 to Hwy 4. I am following the PQC tracks north of Beardsly lake. After about 45 miles of mostly fast dirt roads, it connects to highway 4. I do make a stop at Sourgrass Campground and dunk my head in the North Fork of the Stanislaus river.

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    Last year I found that just north of Hwy 4, the PCQ route was not passible due a washout at a river crossing. I was unable to find a work around and ending up taking a much more southerly route to Hwy 88. Proir to this trip, I spent some time looking at the maps and charted a route around the washout that got me back in the PCQ route - for a while... The riding was good with some rough sections and a creek crossing with a real steep entrance. After a while I ended up in an active logging site. I was unable to follow the PCQ tracks, there was just no road there and I could not find a way around. I ran across an old logger guy and a lot of machinery. The logger was actually very friendly and asked me where I was trying to get to. He told me the only way to get to Hwy 88 was to head south to Winton road and follow it to 88. I followed his advice but I ended up back on paved roads and well South of where I wanted to be but I kept going until I connected with Hwy 88. In retrospect I should not have followed his advice because it took me off away from the PCQ tracks. A little exploring would have connected me back with the PCQ tracks. I think I was intimidated by all of the logging activity.

    After I brisk ride to, then up Hwy 88 I reconnected with the PCQ and rode to Silver Fork campground for the evening

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    #12
  13. COboy

    COboy b00b

    Joined:
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    Wow... I love your bike. I am thinking of a very similar setup but on a WR450. Any thoughts?
    #13
  14. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    That was a fun section - I recall a rock wall on one side and drop off of the other.....

    There were few technical sections, the road at the top of the Briceberg climb out was fun, Gold Lake OHV route definitely was challenging.

    Do it... You don't need 1200 cc's to have an adventure. You must be willing to rev the heck out of it though.....

    I am not very familiar with the WR450 but my impression are that it is a superior off road bike but I think the 250r will make a better adventure bike. The 250 probably easier to ride all day and the maintenance and reliability should be superior and I has a strong rear subframe for carrying a load.

    Thanks for reading the report, I need get writing.
    #14
  15. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    Day 5 187 miles, Silver Fork campground to Packsaddle campground

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    I am getting into a groove of riding everyday. No significant physical problems and the bike is running like a top. I wish I had brought a little less stuff but hopefully next time I can travel a little lighter. The motorcycle handles the weight just fine however it just looks like too much stuff to me.

    From Silver Fork campground I follow the road down the river to Hwy 50, after a short ride on the Hwy the PCQ cuts off on a well hidden forest service road. There is a sign that states the road in closed ahead but I press ahead and find the gate open. This dirt road connects to Ice House road, the area is scenic and for a while, the road is paved and fast. I am very pleased at how well the little Yamaha performs on these roads. As long as the revs are kept up and downshift are made early it flies on these roads. Plus it is so smooth and comfortable. Soon the roads turn back to dirt and wind through the forest on the way to Hwy 80 and the Truckee area. I did see a good sized bear, luckily it took off running. Also for the first time on the dirt sections of this trip I passed another motorcyclist, it was a big BMW adventure.

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    I made it back to civilization and spent some time sitting by Donner lake enjoying the view and catching up in my social obligations. I reprovisioned in Truckee, gas, food and I was also running dangerously low on Alcohol. I followed Hwy 89 north for a while then turned east on Jackson Meadow road. This ran through a valley with beautiful meadows and mountain backdrops. From here it was back to forest roads heading toward Hwy 49 and Packsaddle campground where I spend the night.

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    #15
  16. staudio

    staudio Time for a ride...

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    :clap
    #16
  17. DirtClaudeKilly

    DirtClaudeKilly Been here awhile

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    Day 6 149 miles, Packsaddle campground to Chester

    I have been using an inexpensive pocket camera, it fits in an external pocket of the tankbag and I can pull it out and take pictures easily with my gloves on. Unfortunately I dropped it one too many times and lens would no longer open, so from now all I have is my phone to take pictures. Please bear with the picture quality.

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    During the planning of this trip, the section leading to Gold Lake stood out the most challenging and technical. The timing worked out that I could tackle this first thing in the morning. From Packsaddle camp it was only a couple of miles before the fun begins. It starts with a windy OHV track that has some interesting creek crossings and good section of baby heads. Once that is completed, there is a challenging downhill rocky section to Gold Lake. It is rough but the little Yamaha handles it comfortably and I make it down to Gold Lake no worse for the wear. I stop and rest at Gold Lake thinking that the rough sections are over. It turns out that there is still over a mile of technical rock crawling before it is over.

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    From here it is down into Graeagle, then back onto some forest roads, then into Quincy for a late breakfast. I eat at the Morning Thunder Café, the food is good but a little expensive. The ladies working there are pleasant sight, I linger for a little while.....

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    My destination for the day is the town of Chester. After 5 night camping out I need a motel, a shower and way to wash some clothes. A couple of more forest section to go. The first one is from Bucks lake road over to Hwy 70. This section has some nice views. There is also a short OHV downhill section that is steep, loose and challenging. I am glad I am not on a big bike.

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    There is a heat wave and when I get to Hwy 70 it feels like it is around 100 degrees. From Hwy 70 there is a climb out on a forest road that traverses through a recent burn area. It is a surreal experience. After a while I make my way through the burn area and rest by a nice mountain stream. The last 6 days of riding have taken a toll on me and I am ready for the comforts of a Motel. I end up a the Antlers Motel in Chester, a nice clean motel. I ask the guy (who turns out to be the owner) at the front desk if they have a laundry mat onsite, they don't but he offers to wash them for me in their machine - no charge. I take him up on the offer, I am surprised by the level of service!!

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    #17
  18. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    Just wondering, but based on the photos, it looks like Rancheria Rd. outside of Bakersfield. It's been a number of years (probably close to a dozen since I've been there), so maybe I'm wrong, but a couple of those pics look just like Rancheria Rd., just after Rio Bravo and just before the canyon.
    #18
  19. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    :thumb
    #19
  20. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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    Good job getting thru the rocks in the Basin Lakes area along the PCT near the Sierra Buttes. (My back yard)

    Good choice of smaller bike for the adventure.

    i was just up there Sunday on the 350 exc f

    looking forward to the rest of your route-especially Trinity Alps area.

    Juan
    Nevada City, Ca.
    KTM 350 EXC F
    #20