Crossing Carrizo Plain Natl Monument - Elkhorn Road

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by mb300, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. mb300

    mb300 Adventurer

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    Hello Everyone,

    GF is going to drop me off in Frazier Park and meet me in Paso Robles.

    I'll be on my 525exc in supermoto trim (michelin pilot street tires).

    If I take Elkhorn Grade up the hill and Elkhorn Rd across how much loose sand will I run into on steep hills?

    I can do steep hills with loose rock no problem.
    I can do deep sand on the flats no problem.
    I probably can't do steep hills and deep sand together without knobs.

    Also, any idea how long it would take to cross Carrizo?

    It's 40 miles or so. Google says 2.25hrs by car.

    I'll probably be covering ground much faster - is a 25mph ave speed reasonable for Elkhorn Rd or is it much slower than that across the plain?

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. spafxer

    spafxer Long timer

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    Sounds like you're a capable rider so you'll have no problem with the bit of sand that is on Elkhorn.. Sometimes S turns seem to come out of nowhere so not having knobbies would cut down your braking action if you hit them too hot.


    An hour and a half to 2 hours max to get up through the Plains to highway 58 sounds about right. Gas up in Maricopa, no gas until 101 depending on if you're going Pozo Road (dirt) or the other paved routes. Watch the temperatures and no water at the KCL or Selby campgrounds right now. Bring more water than you think. Not many people out there due to the heat and dryness right now.
    #2
  3. mb300

    mb300 Adventurer

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    Thank you sir!

    I normally won't ride solo in the heat but in this case I think I'll be OK-- I can tell the GF "if I'm not at this specific point by this specific time backtrack on this specific road and come get my busted arse."
    #3
  4. Central Cali Rider

    Central Cali Rider Love the journey and destination...

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    Area best left for winter and spring. 100 plus temps and dry as Hell. Unless you do it early in the morning and at least have some nice color from the sunrise, I can't see doing it mid day. Good luck.
    #4
  5. doxbike

    doxbike Been here awhile

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    Other option is Soda Lake Road all the way. 47 miles of dirt road that even I was bookin' it at 55-75 mph until the turn off to Pozo. We had a couple of riders that broke the hundred mark on that road
    #5
  6. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

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    You won't have any problems, save for the heat. Are you coming down to Hwy 33 from Frazier Park? If so, there is gas available in Ventucopa, about 5 miles south of the intersection of 33 and Hwy 166. It will be on your left at the Pistacio farm. After you pass "The Place" cafe on your left, start looking for it.

    There won't be much in the way of hills on Elkhorn Rd except for the very first part where you turn off Soda Lake Road. SLR is still paved at that point.. look for the sign. If you get to the turn off for Pipeline road, you went too far North. There is hill to cross to get over to Elkhorn, but it's not bad at all.

    Also.. Soda Lake Road isn't all dirt. There are actually only about 20 miles of dirt on that side. The first 9 miles or so are paved all the way up to Hanline Ranch, then it goes to dirt. There's a 1 mile paved section at Traver Ranch, then back to dirt until you get just north of Panorama Road.

    Check my map in the link below. If you do, in fact, take the Elkhorn side, be sure to stop at Wallace Creek and take the short hike up to the fault line and check out the creek there. Interesting geological feature, and decent spot for a butt break as there is a small parking area off the road.

    Ditto on previous posts about water. You should have enough gas to get you to Santa Margarita (where Hwy 58 and 101 meet). It's not Death Valley heat, but you'll be warm and lose plenty of water while riding. Err on the side of abundance with the water.

    Elkhorn is actually a pretty fast road. Somewhere, there are signs that indicate the maximum speed within the monument as 35 mph. You probably will do better than that, and should be able to make the whole run in an hour and a half.
    #6
  7. mb300

    mb300 Adventurer

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    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> Thanks guys!

    Plan: Depart the Flying J station at the 5 and Frazier Mountain Park Rd around 730am, arriving at Maricopa around 830am for fuel, then hit the plain.

    Going to miss the sunrise, but should be off of the plain by 10-10:30am before it gets warm.

    Safety:
    - I’ll be carrying 100oz of water and a few power bars.
    - The bike is reliable and crash-worthy.
    - I’m tubeless so fixing flats is easy, provided I don’t slice a tire too badly.
    - Crashing and severely injuring myself is my only real concern.
    - Thinking about getting a Spot, it might be worth it since I/We will be in the middle of nowhere for much of the following week.

    Definitely going to stop and see Wallace Creek.
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    #7
  8. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Oddometer:
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    Santa Maria, Ca
    Post up when you get back and let us know how it went!

    #8
  9. mb300

    mb300 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    AZ and CA
    Went last Sunday, no issues whatsoever. Thank you everyone for your help planning the ride.

    Cerro Noroeste Rd west of Frazier Park:

    [​IMG]

    De Plain! De Plain!
    [​IMG]


    Busy day at Wallace Creek:

    [​IMG]

    Obligatory photo:
    [​IMG]


    There were only 2 other souls out there that I saw- 1 in a white sedan about 1/3 of the way across, another on this bike as I was walking back to my bike:

    [​IMG]


    Met the GF at Firestone, loaded up the bike, had some lunch, then headed north:

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,449
    Location:
    Santa Maria, Ca

    Looks like you had a good ride. Thanks for the pix! You obviously survived the heat :D
    #10
  11. Central Cali Rider

    Central Cali Rider Love the journey and destination...

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    528
    Location:
    Central Cali Coast
    Love Firestone Grill. After basketball games on Sundays, the team piles over there and we watch football and the parents drink beer.. Oh yeah, ride looked good too
    #11
  12. Gerg

    Gerg Gergy Bear

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,012
    Location:
    Left Coast
    The sampler, good choice :thumb
    #12