Clear Creek (via Panoche and New Idria)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by r3r3r, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. r3r3r

    r3r3r Wildebeast

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    609
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, Ca
    I had posted this one day RR over in the SF Bay Area thread yesterday, but thought some others might enjoy seeing it here as well.
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    I had a great ride through Clear Creek (and most of San Benito County) today. The weather and riding conditions were perfect.

    I started in Tres Pinos, just south of Hollister and the Bay Area. Here is the route I took:

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    Up and ready to leave Santa Cruz in the early AM

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    Morning shots on the way to and through the Panoche Valley

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    Heading out towards New Idria

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    Stop at Griswold Hills for a snack break and rest

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    Cute horses at the Equine Rescue Center

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    Stopped and talked with folks at Woods Ranch, seems like a cool place to ride. So few public riding places nowadays, it is interesting to see a private riding area like they set up there.

    I rode a bit further towards the mine and ran into a few riders who came in from the Coalinga side. We all checked out the buildings and talked with one of the locals (I think it was the owner of Woods Ranch) who came up to adjust his water supply valves.

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    The processing facility and mine were interesting to see. I heard from the local guy that the EPA recently worked to help clean up the mine tailings and runoff from this site.

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    Nice views on the way up into Clear Creek. The road up from New Idria is in pretty bad shape (no photos of that part, too busy holding on and working through the ruts, rocks, etc.) but it was easily passable on a dual sport.

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    #1
  2. r3r3r

    r3r3r Wildebeast

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    609
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, Ca
    Conditions were really nice up at Clear Creek summit. I can see why people love coming up here to ride. I hope that the BLM will open more of the park back up to motorcycles in the future (I know, sensitive issue...) None of that got in my head as I enjoyed the views and nice weather while I was having lunch.

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    Rode down Clear Creek road and out along the creek. The group I had met earlier was coming back down and I rode with them for a bit. One of their riders bikes got flooded out in one of the water crossings and had a hard time getting started back up.

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    So long to Clear Creek, but the ride is not over yet.

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    I checked out some of the new BLM facilities and rode out on Coalinga Road to Old Hernandez.

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    Old Hernandez is closed at the water crossing (as many here already know), but you can get across if you find the right spot.

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    I had some extra fuel and time as I headed back up Hwy 25 towards Tres Pinos, so I decided to head up Gloria Road (another dirt stretch) up to the summit above Gonzales in the Salinas Valley.

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    On the way back down, many ground squirrels were trying to sacrifice themselves to the motorcycle gods (as they often attempt to do), but something more surprising happened about halfway back to Hwy 25. I was moving along at a fair clip and out of the bushes on the right side of the road, what I thought was a bobcat popped out and I had to swerve to miss it. I looked back in the mirror and saw the cat running back into the bushes with a HUGE, long tail. I quickly realized that this was a young (or small) mountain lion and I thought for a second about turning around to go and take a closer look or a photo. Then I thought again, small/young mountain lion, possibly a cub with a mother lion nearby...? No thanks, I will stay away from young renegade lions and their protective mothers.

    I rode the rest of the way back up Hwy 25, and the wind picked up (noticeably absent for the earlier portions of the ride). Back to the truck in time to see multiple sky divers parachuting down nearby.

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    143 miles on the odometer. No crashes or incidents. Lots of great views and riding. Good way to spend the day.
    #2
  3. WRC51

    WRC51 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    672
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, Calif.
    Nice report 3r, I used to ride down in that area when I still lived in Morgan Hill. That was before I had a dual-sport and didnt know that some parts of the park are open( well kind of open:D). Wish I had known about some of those trails, looked like a fun ride. A guy from another web site(SBR) I used to visit tried to cross that wash out with his KLR, it ended up staying in there for 3 or 4 days. He did get it out and running again.
    #3
  4. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,675
    Location:
    India Wharf summers - Boulders winters
    What a great ride! Like the previous poster, you bring back memories. 1975 Enduro. Weather so terrible they cancelled the enduro! :huh...So we rode your area in the snow. It was all day fun. :ricky

    We lived in Monterey foothills in the 80's. I was surprised the fauna was so green in your pics. I guess I shouldn't have, but I always imagine the 'golden hills' around those parts.

    Regarding the limited riding, you should try Ari freakin' Zona! I spent a couple weeks last month in Cave Creek north of PHX. Them dirt bike boys and girls ride everywhere out there. Buggies, ATV's and side-by-sides too. They have big staging areas and can be gone for a couple days!

    Them boys kicked my ass on my wr250r, but I'm going back :D
    #4
  5. r3r3r

    r3r3r Wildebeast

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    609
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, Ca
    Thanks. I saw that thread on SBR as well. The photo of the upside down underwater KLR was going through my head as I dropped down into the creek. Since I was riding solo, it would have been tough to pickup the bike and get it out the other side...

    Those do sound like the good ol' days. We have plenty of golden hill days, but since it is the middle of winter I think we are all glad to see a little green (haven't had much rain so far). I'd love to ride in AZ (I've heard about Cave Creek) or anywhere in the desert/mountain west. One of my dreams is doing the CDT, but it will take some planning and preparation to achieve. I'm just not there yet.
    #5