Is the Carrizo Plain still rideable?

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by mrchristian, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. mrchristian

    mrchristian Been here awhile

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    Hey everyone,

    My friend and I are planning our first overnight foray on dual sport bikes (DR350 / XR650). We were planning on riding up the Carrizo Plain via 33 over Thanksgiving weekend (Friday - Saturday, maybe heading north a little farther on Sunday). I have heard however, that the roads there are impassible after rains - since we had a little storm this past week, would this still be true? It was pretty brief where I live (San Fernando Valley) but I'm not sure about up north. There is a 40% chance of rain on Friday when we plan to leave as well.

    As an alternate, we were thinking about Joshua Tree / Salton Sea via Pearblossom Highway. Both are good rides, but Carrizo is our first choice since we've never been there before.

    Thanks,

    -mrchristian
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  2. Off Limits

    Off Limits Banned

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    If it rains pretty good Thursday I would head to your alternate. Carrizo dirt turns to greasy snot when wet and the desert turns into sweet Velcro.
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  3. spafxer

    spafxer Long timer

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    Anywhere on Soda Lake Road you will be fine. Elkhorn Road has water puddles but is completely passable also..

    Where the slick sticky snot mud is anywhere near Soda Lake itself, at the bottom of the Plains between Soda Lake Road and Elkhorn Road, and some in the hills west of Soda Lake Road. The mud in the hills is rideable if you have high fenders. It will lock up your front wheel with a low fender. The mud areas here are pretty small though.

    I'd go this weekend and enjoy. Just keep an eye on the approaching storm and see how strong it gets.

    Have a good time..
    #3
  4. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

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    It's fine right now.. I was out that way Saturday. There is a 30% of rain forecast for Thursday night and Friday in the area. Follow the weather forecast for Taft, Ca.

    As previously noted, it's mostly the center area of the plain that gets kinda nasty after a rain. It's real soft and boggy, and should be avoided during or after a rain. The dirt portion of Soda Lake Road itself is mostly graded gravel and will get a few puddles here and there, but is pretty much always passable on a dual sport. Elkhorn Road is more dirt and CAN get sticky, depending on how much rain actually happened. Even if it does rain, more than .25" is unlikely out there. I think it's going to be more about how much rain do you want to ride through before/after on the pavement! :D
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  5. mrchristian

    mrchristian Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the answers - very helpful. Planning on riding out Friday as soon as the rain stops - we're going to bail on Carrizo this time and head out to the Salton Sea by way of Joshua Tree. My riding partner has never been to Joshua Tree (I went 4 years ago for a climbing class) and I have never been to the Salton Sea/slab city area. Planning on taking 138 to 247 to the 62 - should be a good route for my 350 I think.

    Any tips on cool stuff to check out would be appreciated. Is there a cool route that takes you from the north side of Joshua tree to the south around the 10?

    We're open to wandering. We just need to be back in LA by Sunday evening. We can always jump on freeways and blast back, but that's a last resort.
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  6. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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  7. WallyWhirled

    WallyWhirled Been here awhile

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    From inside Joshua Tree you could take Geology Tour Rd to Berdoo Canyon. Alternatively, Old Dale Rd from Hwy 62 is pretty cool but you'll never find it from the Hwy 62 side. Pinkham Canyon and Thermal Canyon are a bit more challenging than Geology and Berdoo but if you are creative you might be able to find a way to those trails along the powerline beside I-10 and head back into the park then take Box Canyon (paved) or ride over to Chiraco Summit and pick up Red Canyon to the Bradshaw Trail and camp at the Hot Springs KOA (or whatever they call it now). From there it's a snap to Slab City. Further in from there you could take dirt trails to Glamis. Ride over to Anza Borrego, dodge ATVs and head home.
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  8. mrchristian

    mrchristian Been here awhile

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    This is why I love this site - thanks for all the great, informative responses. Looks like Berdoo Canyon is a must. Going to visit Salvation Mountain and maybe spend the night in Slab City.

    Hopefully we can pack everything in - we'll at least swing by Anzo Borrego and I've got Jilberto's Taco Shop plugged into my Garmin.

    Looks like the rain will be clearing up in the desert areas by Friday - good news for sure.
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  9. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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  10. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    If you are in the Salton sea area check out Salvation mountain and slab city
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