Flyin' Low in the Sierra Nevada

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Alleycatdad, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,440
    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    This is gonna be pic heavy and word-light, since it's been a week and I'm getting pestered...

    ===

    Anyway, back in the dark ages, while we were in college in SLO, a good friend talked a group of us into camping at Calaveras Big Trees and spending a few days bagging passes in the Sierra. What a hoot!

    ...this isn't that trip.

    Given the short riding season we've had this year, I decided to try to go get me some of them passes before the snow flies; however, kids soccer and this thing called work are conspiring to make the next oportunity sometime in mid-November, and that ain't gonna work.

    Got lucky last weekend with three days off work and an early soccer game; the trip is ON.

    ===

    Right up until the soccer game got rescheduled to noon. Bummer. Had a talk with the girl

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    and got a pass for the day. Trip's back on!

    ===

    Threw the big topcase on Wretched and loaded 'er up; don't need much, this isn't gonna be a camping trip; no time to deal with all the setting up/taking down...plus, some weather's predicted for Sunday.

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    Charging into the rising sun, it's hard to use restraint, but restraint is required. The deer are out and about, and it's THEIR time of the day!

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    It's still dark in between the hills...

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    But soon the sun's up for real and I'm enjoying some quality company.

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    Steve
    #1
  2. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    I detour offa Hwy 89 into Burney, get some gas and caffeine, and check to make sure everything's tight. Turned back south on this:

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    Which rapidly turned into this:

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    ABS off, we're headed for the only dirt of the trip!

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    Smooth road:

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    rapidly improved! :clap:clap

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    But, too soon, dumped us back out onto the highway. Theres' some great riding around here, but we've got no time to dawdle. Our sights are set farther South today!

    It's my least favorite type of riding, but at least it's a pretty morning.

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    I haven't been through Lassen park in many years, but it's on the menu today!

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    I get to the entry gate and it's deserted. Dare I just blow on through the park?

    Not today. I park and walk over to the kiosk, grab a pay envelope and begin to fill it out. A ranger pulls in beside me and mumbles something about a fee; I got earplugs in, I'm on a mission, and I'M ALREADY PAYING! WTF DO YOU WANT?


    ...what?


    Oh, you want to tell me it's a fee-free day?

    Like it says on the sign I moved out of the way to get a pay envelope?


    Why, yes, ma'am, I do have a learning disability.....

    I. am. a. dumbass.

    So, fee-free, I saddle up.

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    and head into the park.

    Now, like many National Parks, there's upsides and downsides to Lassen. It's a really pretty place, but with a park-wide speed limit of 35/45 or so, it's no place for a man on a mission. Fortunately, I planned for this, and it is a beautiful morning!

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    Lassen (highway) Summit--the first of many...

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    Steve
    #2
  3. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Where were we?

    Ah yes, Lassen....

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    There's still a lot of water up high; it looks like spring!

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    Rolling out of Lassen we blow by Lake Almanor

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    A quick stop in Quincy for lunch; It's Street Vibrations in Reno and every bar on the way there is packed with bikers, judging from the parking lots. This leads to an interesting lunch converstaion with a Harley guy who doesn't think much of the 'stich...more on that later :evil

    I've got an appointment with a fella in Reno to look at sumpthin, so it looks like I'm gonna be following the big bikes. Hwy 70-

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    We jump on to 395 and they sky's looking...um....promising?

    Somebody's gonna get wet.

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    It DUMPS from Stateline through Stead; big dime sized drops bouncing on the road, standing water, just STORMING. Traffic slows, but not as much as the guy who made fun of the aerostich suit; he's doing 10 mph on the shoulder in his T-shirt, flashers going, and not liking that very much judging from his posture. I, of course, beep and wave! No pix in the rain, the camera's not waterproof...

    Once in Reno, theres a HUGE dust devil, a full 6 lanes wide, in the distance. I try to grab an image as I'm busy missing my turn...

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    The pic does not do this justice.

    Anyway, the guy I'm meeting is running an hour late and I'm running about an hour and a half early. The skies are blowing up fast; strong gusts and sticky heat are not what I want to wait around in. I text him that we'll have to hook up another time and head for the mountains under threatening skies.

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    Steve
    #3
  4. Davethestick

    Davethestick Registered Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Malibu California
    Looks like an Awesome trip neighbor! I was actually thinking about riding up there this weekend.
    #4
  5. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
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    1,440
    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    Leaving Reno, it's looking kinda grim for the trip to the lake.

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    At least it's warm. And windy. So windy that it's becoming hard for the cars to keep it in their lanes.

    Mt. Rose was busy; lots of traffic, with a significant amount of the oncomers in my lane. :eek1 Really hate that.

    Cresting over into the Tahoe basic there were about three drops of rain; once at the lake, it cleared off quite a bit.

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    Since it was still early in the day, we moseyed our way towards South Lake Tahoe and our room for the night.

    Had an early dinner (fatburger), and sat at a slot machine. 8 spins later, I was up $100-time to go!

    Wandered around and squandered a few of my winnings on a high-end chocolate bar and a soda for later; can't remember the brand, but if you find a dark-chocolate bar with "carmelized honey", get it. Oh yeah...

    Walked back to the hotel in the gathering thunderstorm; drops were beginning to fall as I got to my room. Got a cheapo - and I mean CHEAPO- room and it turns out that there's no cooling in it. It's about 90 degrees, so I get some ice, prop up a chair on the balcony outside the door and enjoy a novel and that good chocolate as I spectate over the street. It's an interesting setting; raining off and on, kids, dogs, tourists, drunks in the street, everyone seems to be having a good time. Finally it gets dark and cools enough to try to sleep.

    "Try" being the operative word. The guy upstairs from me started killing spiders or roaches or something on his floor about 10:30 and continued all night---with a hammer from the sounds of it. Either that or he was an insominiac pirate. The plumbing was loud and the showers started about 3:00; not sure what THAT was all about...

    Anyway, it made it pretty easy to get up early, pack and blast off at dawn.

    Steve
    #5
  6. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    Drop me a line if you get up this way; not sure of our plans for the weekend....

    Steve
    #6
  7. PinkPillion

    PinkPillion Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    523
    Location:
    Northeastern California
    Sweet photos! We almost rode over to Lassen for the free day---but instead took the Husqvarnas for a dirty ride up to Sardine lookout in the Tahoe Forest. Saw the stormy skies looming above Reno, glad you made it through safely. Thanks for sharing. I love where we live. :D
    #7
  8. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
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    Ain't that the truth? Whatever you want to do, you can do it here!

    Steve
    #8
  9. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    So, up early, quick breakfast, and on the road!

    This kinda sums up the plan for the day:

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    I was surprised how much new pavement we saw on the trip. The roads were pretty much either brand new pavement--so new in places to be a little slick--or crumbling. Glad the stimulus is working for somebody!

    The skies still held some clouds from the night before and some of the roads were still damp in the morning. I just love the clouds in this shot!

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    The rough plan for the day:

    South Lake Tahoe
    Pioneer Trail to Hwy 50
    Hwy 50-Hwy89
    Hwy 89-Luther Pass (7737 ft)-Hwy88/89 Woodfords
    Hwy88/89-Hwy89-Markleeville-Monitor Pass (8303 ft)-Hwy 395
    Hwy395-Hwy108-Sonora Pass (9612 ft)-Sonora
    Sonora-Columbia-Parrotts Ferry-Hwy 4-Calaveras Big Trees
    Hwy4-Pacific Grade Summit (8078 ft)-Ebbett's Pass (8760 ft)-Hwy 89 North
    Hwy 89 N - Markleeville (again) - Hwy 88 West- Carson Pass (7960 ft)
    Carson Pass-88W-Hwy 104 South-West Point-Hwy 26 S-Railroad Flat Road-Mountain Ranch-Hwy 49 (San Andreas)- 49N- Jackson

    Gotta Roll!

    This is the kind of road that makes me just love the big KTM. Look through the corner, roll it on! Ignore the potholes, cracks, tar snakes, cocker spaniels, whatever, just....look through the corner, roll it on.

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    Back in a bit...

    S
    #9
  10. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I was thinkin'....I can do this all day!

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    ...so I did! :clap

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    Hell-llooo!

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    I guess they had to go! :rofl

    Monitor was damp to wet from rain last night, but beautiful and fun as always!

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    395 was...challenging. Packs of Harleys doing 20 mph in the slightest corner, then 80-90 on every straight. Passing lanes? Forget it. They'd spread out into both lanes and nail it. So, bunches of Harleys followed by groups of pissed off and frustrated cages; not a friendly environment for Wretched.

    It'd be easy enough to blow em all off with a few risky moves, but then what? Do I really want to run fast enough to stay in front of this batch at significant legal risk only to catch the next group? No. Avg speed, hwy 395 to hwy 108: 42mph. I had pics of this mess but they made me grind my teeth every time I saw 'em so they are deleted now.

    Hwy 108 Westbound was little better. It's later in the morning now and the hunters are out, driving slowly and not paying a ton of attention, and I'm still dealing with groups of Harleys who can somehow corner without leaning the bike! WTF?:huh They know how to twist it on every straight though...

    The only sane solution to this is to run hard and enjoy it until we catch a group, then stop and enjoy the day, get a drink, pee, whatever, until we hear the next group catching up. Then throw on the helmet and do it again!

    Good thing this is a gorgeous road!

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    Sonora was the usual crazy weekend tourist mess.

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    Steve
    #10
  11. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,484
    Location:
    Jennings, Louisiana
    :clap:clap Thanks for sharing Northern California with us. Luv it up there. When someone tells me they hate California ( or any state as far as that goes ) I have to ask, Where Have You Been In That State ! Coming out of Susanville through Lassen up to the Shasta area is something else, Thanks for the memories of years past.
    #11
  12. rj72

    rj72 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    50
    :lurk
    #12
  13. jbcaddy

    jbcaddy Long timer

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    Location:
    Oroville & Placerville, California U.S.of A.
    last time through Lassen I had to stop for a while in that meadow with the stream running through it. we have home movies of my brother and I floating down that creek, where you can only see our heads above the meadow grass as we wind our way along. good memories:D. thanks for sharing your photos. aint nor cal grand:clap
    #13
  14. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
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    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    Where was I? Oh yeah, day 2, Sonora.

    Parrotts Ferry Road is nice, but it's the only place I really came close to dying on the trip. 20 mph corner, asshat in a black suburban clear over the fog line on my side....:eek1

    Man, that pisses me off!



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    Finally, Highway 4! There still plenty of traffic coming West, and some of em are in my lane, so care is called for, but there is no significant traffic going my way. Sweet!

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    Hell's Kitchen overlook; I rescued an owl here once....the single lane stretch is comin'...

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    Steve
    #14
  15. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    For those who don't know, there's an extended stretch of Hwy 4 that's one lane wide; no center line. This year it's all new pavement and there was a time when I would just blast this. Not today. I have a clear recollection of a friend's face after he split a group of Harleys who were all over the road right at Ebbett's pass; it took a full day for his color to come back!

    There's still plenty of traffic moving West; tourists, hunters, and Harleys are heading home since it's Sunday...

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    I'm taking it easy, but some of THEM are cookin'!

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    For the first time since I turned back East, when I hit the junction with highway 89 I'm behind traffic. They all head towards Markleeville, but earlier in the day I spotted a sign saying that Carson pass would have 2-hour construction delays until 4:30 today. If I run Monitor again, that's gonna put me back at Carson, oh, right about 4:45 or 5:00.

    Perfect!

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    The Monitor summit passing zone; twice I've found CHP officers in that grove of trees...

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    but not today!

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    I take a short break for a drink, granola bar, and rest stop at Hwy 395. The skies are starting their hot afternoon blow up and it's getting pretty. The winds are gustin' up...

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    as I head back over Monitor for the third time today.

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    Back through Markleeville, I have only a short wait at the Carson Pass summit...

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    ...but it puts me behind some traffic again. Getting pretty cloudy, but it's still a beautiful ride in a beautiful place!

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    It's a pretty day.

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    S
    #15
  16. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    Geeze, day two goes on forever!

    Anyway, offa hwy 88 heading south...

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    I love these smaller roads through the foothills but you've gotta watch the driveways!

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    Shadowrider's gettin longer....

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    Starting to ride into the sun, we go from shadows...

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    To blinding low-sun conditions

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    When you're not riding straight into it, the sun's pretty on the oaken hills.

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    Now it's a race to get to the hotel before it gets completely dark; too lazy to stop and change to a clear shield.

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    ...didn't make it.

    Rode into Jackson in the dark, barely made it through dinner, and crashed with the TV on. Something on the order of 425 miles today.

    Steve
    #16
  17. Davethestick

    Davethestick Registered Rider

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Malibu California
    Great ride report! Looking forward to the next installment.
    #17
  18. redog1

    redog1 KLR650-2009

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    Sep 4, 2009
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    Location:
    Magalia, CA./ Butte & Siskiyou C.
    :clap:clap:clap
    #18
  19. ian408

    ian408 Oh? Administrator

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    14,694
    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    Awesome report!
    #19
  20. Alleycatdad

    Alleycatdad Unbunch yer panties!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,440
    Location:
    True Norcal, not that Bay Area/Sacto Crap...
    Day 3, The Plan:

    Hwy 49 N to 89 North of Sierraville
    HWy 89 to Hwy 70 West (feather river canyon) to Chico
    Chico to Hwy 32 back up to Lake Almanor and out to 44 North
    Hwy 44 to Hwy 89 to Home (Mt. Shasta City)

    The day begins in Monday morning traffic, running northeast.

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    There's some fog in the gulllies and it's a beautiful morning.

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    I should've left earlier, the roads are very busy, but I was worried about deer.

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    The traffic-induced pace lets me enjoy the scenery

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    ...except when the road turns directly into the morning sun!

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    This is a very typical road surface for this trip (except for the new parts); I'm really, really glad I brought Wretched rather than the Red Menace.

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    Steve
    #20