The Great California U-Turn

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by BRUTSQD, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. BRUTSQD

    BRUTSQD 2 scoops of stupid

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
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    Earlier this year my girlfriend started back to school to advance her degree in nursing to a BSN. As time off these days is getting more difficult to come by with the work and school schedule, we knew we needed to do something of substance to fully capitalize on having a week off for spring break this year. We wound up deciding to do a week long tour of California as follows: Santa Rosa, hwy 1 south, Big Sur, Big Bear, Joshua Tree, Mojave Desert, a few ghost towns, Sequoia nat park, the gold country and back again..

    Day 1-3
    With questionable weather on the horizon we roll out of Sacramento to go visit family in Santa Rosa for a couple days before really starting the trip to the South.
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    The next 3 days consisted of a family medical emergency, a trip to the ER, rain, helping another family member propose to his girlfriend and probably the best ahi tar tar tacos I've ever had..
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    The Proposal..
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    She said yes btw, Congrats to engaged!

    As a celebration we headed over to Russian River Brewing Co and had a few too many Plineys.
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    Day 4
    The morning started off another good sized storm moving in which gave us little options for dry travel. Not wanting to delay the trip we layered up and took our medicine.. South on highway 1 to see how far we can get. I apologize ahead of time as we didn't take very pictures as photography isn't very attractive activity when you're soaked to the core and can barely get your gloves on and off.
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    Coffee warm up in Sausalito
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    The next few hours consisted of dumping rain and moderate winds. Our rain gear somewhat worked so we decided to get a place in Carmel by the Sea for the night. Great town..
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    the Bnb we found.
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    Didn't see Eastwood
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    We walked around town for a bit, found some great beef chow mein and passed out after a long day of being damp and cold.

    UP NEXT: Big Sur to Big Bear.. More rain and better pictures.
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    #1
  2. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,189
    Location:
    seal beach, ca.
    :wave

    Hey T,

    R.N. wife Julie and I sat with you in the Lander, WY bar last summer.

    Glad to see you're posting again, you have some great material!

    :lurk

    Count me in on this one.

    Hope the R.N. world is going well for you and the g.f.!
    #2
  3. Rey & Vann

    Rey & Vann Vagabundo

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
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    Location:
    So Cal Inland Empire for now
    And waiting for more.

    Regards,
    #3
  4. bhb

    bhb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
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    210
    Location:
    SLC, UT / SoCal / Ketchum, ID
    Some familiar sights there. Great shots! Enjoy. :clap
    #4
  5. BRUTSQD

    BRUTSQD 2 scoops of stupid

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Sam!
    Great to hear from you! The nursing thing is going well, just took a promotion. I start the new position on May 25th so I leave this Sunday for 3 weeks in Baja, going with one other rider. Hope all is well w you and Julie!
    -T

    #5
  6. hwunger

    hwunger Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
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    514
    Location:
    Left Coast
    sorry .... it rains in California ???

    this is very sad to hear .... heading down in 2 months time :evil
    #6
  7. Tamalerider

    Tamalerider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Tell me more about where to find these tacos!! Also subscribing. I am looking for some local loops to take the girl camping on this summer leaving from the bay area. (After my prudhoe bay trip this summer that is!).
    #7
  8. BRUTSQD

    BRUTSQD 2 scoops of stupid

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
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    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Those tacos are literally worth the drive to Santa Rosa. The place is Stark's steakhouse, they have those sweet babies a buck .75 each during happy hour. There's also Russian River brewing Co in town as well, not a far drive from the Bay Area.

    #8
  9. BRUTSQD

    BRUTSQD 2 scoops of stupid

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Days 4-5:
    We woke up early in our little bnb to find our gear relatively dry after draping everything over the heater that we left running all night with the windows open.. We were relieved to look outside to see it had just started raining again. If there's one thing I enjoy, it's riding 2up on hwy 1 in the rain with gusty winds, so off we went. I apologize again as we were too wet to mess with very many taking pictures of hwy 1 as we drove down to Cambria. By that I mean we really didn't take any.

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    Our Big Sur experience
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    Makin sweet love
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    By the time we got to Cambria we had enough of getting hosed to we headed to Bakersfield, which was lovely this time of year, and on towards Joshua Tree.

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    gummer
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    We only made it to Lucerne Valley just outside of Big Bear before the light ran out. It was at least dry but the temperature was dropping quick and the desert winds were brutal. We decided to try to hold up in Lucerne Valley so we asked the gas station attendant where a good place to stay was. The scraggly looking lady with tell-tale meth-mouth looked at us and said "I wouldn't stay here." Good enough, over the hill to Big Bear it is. We headed up Noth Shore Dr in the windy pitch black only to get snowed on as we made it over the pass. The first hotel we came to had a bear in a robin hood outfit so that was good enough for us. In the morning we met up with my best friend's dad who just so happens to live in town and we were on our way to a much anticipated visit to Joshua Tree.

    Spider his-self.
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    Before departing Big Bear, Spider told us of forest service trail 2N02 out of Baldwin lake that would take us over the mountain on a dirt trail and drop us on Pioneer Town road. Done.

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    So, Pioneertown was built in the 1940's by the movie industry for the industry, 100 years newer then as it appeared. Spider said to check out the town and grab a beer at Pappy and Harriets.
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    Ran into these two guys on their bikes out of Big Bear, they knew Spider as well. Of course.
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    Had a little too much fun in the deep sand riding 2up and ate it.
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    fixed.
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    The rest of the day was rather anticlimactic. Rode into Joshua Tree around 4pm to find that every camp site was sold out in the entire park. One guy in a full sized van offered to let us camp next to his rape-machine but we declined. Sooo we finally said F it and camped at..
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    Still beats staying at a motel in 29 palms.
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    All in all, a pretty stellar day.

    UP NEXT: Randsburg, Red Rock Canyon, Kern county, rib eye's and a brewery.
    #9
  10. redog1

    redog1 KLR650-2009

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,821
    Location:
    Magalia, CA./ Butte & Siskiyou C.
    Looks and sounds like a fun trip:D
    #10
  11. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    In!
    #11
  12. evanqueen

    evanqueen Learning Contentment

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
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    Location:
    Sumter SC
    What a great TIME!! I'm in
    #12
  13. BRUTSQD

    BRUTSQD 2 scoops of stupid

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Ahem.. Sorry this took so long. I've been riding around in Baja for the last month and kind of put this RR on hold. That will be it's own epic RR with far better pictures but let's not get ahead of ourselves.. As we were..

    Woke up the next morning in our gorgeous RV campground after a long night of gusty winds and various loud noises coming from the helicopters and other aircraft coming into the military base on the other side of the mountain.

    French pressed the hell out of some coffee
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    Pet the dog..
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    And hit the road towards the north to look for ghost towns.
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    Both of us were hungry and suckers for good diners so we hit up a likely spot. As luck would shine, we stumbled into a fantastic little diner that happened to be in Guy Douche's Diners and dives book he published a few years ago.
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    Nicole's family owns Hank's Creekside in Santa Rosa which is also in the same book so she hit it off with the waitress/Co-owner of the joint right away. Funny people, great place and legit food. Next time I'm in the area I'll definition go out of my way to lay face down in another chicken fried steak.

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    Fully loaded we got back on the bike and headed towards 395 to try to find Randsburg. The bug guts got a little ridiculous on the way.
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    Randsburg is kind of a trip. It was a town that got it's start in the 1890's after gold was discovered. According to the locals, the town really only stayed open while the rather treacherous mine was open. When it closed the town emptied as the it's not exactly the most hospitable of environments with it's high temps and total lack of water. A small yet dwindling number of businesses still exist in town to cater the tourism, offroad and dirtbike crowd that frequents the town.
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    Stopped off at the art gallery and talked with Hoot the owner about where we should head to next for scenic purposes. Great guy and cool little shop. He suggested taking the back way out of Randsburg and to go through Red Rock canyon, then 178 over to Kernville. Done.
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    The campsites at Red Rock Canyon bump right up against the washed out walls, great place to camp and there were plenty of sites open. Next time.

    Hoot nailed it, Hwy 178 is gorgeous. Fun road as well.
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    Finally arrived in Kernville and immediately spotted a brewery. Figured we'd grab a couple cocktails then grab some groceries to cook at the campsite.
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    The grocery store not only had decent meat selection, but a beer cave as well. Fantastic town!
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    Her reaction to the microbrew selection :D
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    Not a bad day to wrap up the day..
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    Next: Closed roads, the goldcountry in full bloom and back home.
    #13
  14. redog1

    redog1 KLR650-2009

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    Location:
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    :clap:clap:clap
    #14
  15. BRUTSQD

    BRUTSQD 2 scoops of stupid

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    337
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Woke up in Kernville with a beer, a pair of tights and a bad case of perpetuated stereotype. Headed over to grab some breakfast and see about making our way through Sequoia Nat park.
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    After a quick warning from the breakfast place we ate at, we made a run for Sequoia Nat Park on M-99 but predictably ran into a closed road. Apparently Sequoia national park keeps their roads closed through the cold weather months whether there's snow on the ground or not. It's more a situation where they want to look out for safety without reopening and reclosing the roads due to fickle weather. We checked out some maps and concluded the decision was to either past the closed road signs and hope that we don't run into any law enforcement, or we turned around and found another way. As it turns out we pussed out and turned around. A few miles into our turn around we saw a sheriff driving the opposite direction so we flagged him down and pulled a sheriff over for a refreshing change. Outrageously nice guy! He told us he didn't care if we went around the closed road sign but said if we run into park rangers they may not be so lenient. As he was a motorcycle guy himself, we shot the shit and he suggested taking the alternate route of hwy 155 around Sequoia and head north to take hwy 49 home. Fantastic advice!
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    We didn't make a ton of progress this day as we took quite a while to leave Kernville in the first place, plus driving into Sequoia only to have to back track really chewed up quite a bit of time. As we finished 155 and made our way to 49 we wound up getting hit in the face with yet another storm. As usual, once the rain starts, the picture taking stops. Soaked, grumpy and nervous about road we decided to get a hotel room and hunker down for the night..
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    The next morning we woke up to perfect weather conditions and dry gear after draping our stuff on the room heater vents :) This day will be a short but sweet one but should be good as hwy 49 is always spectacular in the spring.
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    There's pills for that..
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    Since we were already reasonably close by, we headed over to Groveland to grab a beer at the Iron Door, the oldest saloon in California.
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    We finished our beers and hit the road for what should be a relatively short ride home. Rode for an hour and a half and wound up getting dangerously tired on the handlebars. Time for a roadside nap. Literally.
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    And finally, home again..
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    Now that this RR is over, I should be posting Baja soon :evil
    Thanks for reading!
    #15