2 Dirtbags do the Sierra Foothills and more (paved)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Eastbay Dirtbag, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Unlike our other trips, we rode big bikes on almost all pavement; a 2200 mile loop from Boise ID in Nov 2016. Most of this report covers the fun parts (Days 3 thru 8) which was 1000 miles from Cedar City UT, past Lake Mead, through Death Valley and the length of the Sierra foothills as far north as Lake Tahoe.

    Our goal was to follow the tiniest gray lines on the AAA maps but get home before the snow flew. We used to live in NorCal so we know those backroads well. Most of the rest we hadn’t seen before and we found fabulous narrow and twisty roads. Hard to believe that some of these are paved at all.

    If you want to get off the beaten path, but stay on pavement, this is for you. We didn’t take a lot of photos but hopefully enough to make this report worthwhile.

    TRACKS LINK HERE:
    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/sierra-foothills-and-more-paved.1204475/#post-31526588

    Teasers:
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    The big picture:
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    The fun part:
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    #1
    larryboy and gatorjack like this.
  2. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    We needed a “warm weather fix” before winter set in. We saw a “window” of good weather so I pulled out the maps and connected as many tiny lines as I could yet get us back home before the window slammed shut. We risked getting stranded on icy roads in the Sierras or central Oregon, but we kept one eye on the weather report and hit the road.

    It worked out and most of the temperatures were mild. With the exception of Death Valley, the hotels were discounted, none were fully booked, most tourists were gone and restaurants weren’t busy. We made it back one day before Old Man Winter arrived. :thumb

    SUMMARY OF DAYS
    Day 1 Boise ID to Brigham City UT ~ 370 miles total; only 300 shown on tracks
    Day 2 Brigham City UT to Cedar City UT ~325 miles
    Day 3 Cedar City UT to Boulder City NV, 215 mi
    Day 4 Boulder City NV to Furnace Creek, Death Valley CA, 190 mi
    Day 5 Furnace Creek Death Valley CA to Isabella Lake CA, 245 miles
    Day 6 Isabella Lake CA to Oakhurst CA, 250 miles
    Day 7 Oakhurst CA to Angels Camp CA ,130 miles
    Day 8 Angels Camp CA to South Lake Tahoe CA, 180 miles
    Day 9 South Lake Tahoe CA to Winnemucca NV 210 mi
    Day 10 Winnemucca NV to Boise ID 255 miles + 60 to home

    NOTE - MOST PHOTOS START ON DAY 3

    Day 1 Boise ID to Brigham City UT ~ 370 miles total; only 300 shown on tracks
    The first 2 days were about covering miles. The temps were below freezing when we rolled out. My GPS “went numb” and quit working, so no tracks for the 70 miles to Boise. We started with 30 miles of icy dirt road to try out our new TKCs. They worked great. After an hour of breaking through frozen puddles my feet were numb even in my waterproof boots. :vardy

    In Boise we picked up I-84 east. This part is always heavy with fast truck traffic and we couldn’t avoid getting boxed in and buffeted. These are high plains and typically have strong crosswinds. We peeled off onto Old Hwy 30 near Hammett and followed the Snake River, still parallel to the interstate. This is a pleasant and much more relaxing alternative.

    I missed a turn and we ended back on I-84 briefly before returning to US30 near Bliss. We had lunch at the friendly River Boat Restaurant in Hagerman, one of only a few choices in town. The soup was good. There are a couple small motels here too but don’t expect much. This part of Idaho has few services.

    This next stretch is scenic and worth a visit because of the Thousand Springs, which are many large springs cascading straight out of the bluffs into the Snake. I think these are the result of an underground river flowing across the desert under the lava beds all the way from the mountains near Sun Valley, but I didn’t locate any info to verify that and I’m no geologist. This area is also known for many trout farms in the Snake itself.
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    We followed US30 through Twin Falls, which in retrospect was not a good idea due to lots of stop lights. Twin Falls is known for Shoshone Falls on the Snake. (We didn’t visit the falls this time but they are not far off route. They are best viewed in the springtime.) I don’t know a good bypass for this town but next time I will try to find one. :hmmmmm
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    Near Murtaugh, US30 swings north to Burley so we headed due east on farm roads instead. It was pretty and surprisingly green for late in the year. The roads here are a big grid but the one I chose had stop signs every mile. :dirtdog We eventually connected with SR77 north of Albion and the road opened up with nice views as we climbed into the mountains near the Utah border.

    I had developed backroad routes for most of the day but we were concerned about reaching Brigham City before dark. We detoured to I-84 and cranked out the miles with a gas stop in Snowville.

    In Brigham City we stayed at the fairly new Hampton Inn downtown, well off the interstate and next door to the police station. We had an ok Mexican meal at Ricardo’s a couple block away, the only restaurant we found open but which closes early, about 7:30 pm or so. There were plenty of hair salons open, so there were more options for getting a haircut at 7pm than getting dinner. :toney
    #2
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  3. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 2 Brigham City UT to Cedar City UT ~325 miles
    The Hampton provides a nice continental breakfast and we took our time to allow the Salt Lake City rush hour traffic to clear.

    Traffic moved fairly well most of the way despite LOTS of road construction. As we entered Salt Lake on I-15 my GPS quit working and I could not restart it with my bulky gloves. I had worked out state roads to Cedar City and didn’t want to take I-15 all the way to get there.

    In the midst heavy traffic I did my best frantic pantomime to My Better Half of “my GPS quit working and I have no clue where to go so you take the lead”. I guess I was never good at Charades because it didn’t work well. :confused

    Long story short, much monkeying around ensued in Salt Lake with an unhappy spouse before we were back on my route. I deleted these shenanigans from the posted track.

    We headed west on I-80 and picked up SR36 south into the desert to US6. Between Tooele and Delta there are almost no services and not a lot to see, but IMHO anything beats droning down the interstate all day.

    In Delta we had lunch at the Delta Freeze which is a typical burgers/fries/cokes kind of place and then got gas. Years ago in Delta our vehicle got hit by a senile old man in a gas station. His license had been pulled by the police so he wasn’t supposed to drive. I took the keys out of his ignition to prevent him from going anywhere until the police arrived. He was completely unaware of what was going on and couldn’t comprehend that he had hit us even though his car was still rammed into ours. I’m a nervous nelly in Delta.
    :hide

    We spent the night at the Cedar City Best Western Town & Country Inn (not to be confused with BW Plus across the street). We enjoyed dinner next door at the Sizzler, which was a hopping place, full of seniors and a busload of teenagers.

    We tried getting drinks around the corner at Mike’s Tavern. There were less than 10 people in the place counting us and two waitresses, but we gave up after 10 minutes of hearing “I’ll be right with you.” :bluduh
    #3
  4. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 3 Cedar City UT to Boulder City NV, 215 mi
    We headed west on SR 56 past new solar farms, which are springing up in many locations in the West. We turned south onto unpaved W Pinto Rd and Grass Valley Rd through small isolated ranch communities. Definitely off the beaten path here.
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    This stretch of dirt was about 20 miles and could be done on a big bike. Some sections were a little off-camber and rocky but nothing rough. It wove along the hillsides before taking us through high mountains. :smile6

    One part was confusing because it seems the road has been re-routed around and above a canyon. The new road was not in my GPS but we followed it anyway. The old road would be doable on a dual sport but I would not take a big bike on it.
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    This led to the gorgeous setting of Pine Valley, situated on a hillside at the base of steep mountains. The dirt ended here and we connected to SR 18.
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    We passed through a couple more small towns, Central and Veyo. Since it was early in the day, I didn’t pay attention to whether or not they had any services. This whole area looks like a great place to explore on a dual sport. We’ll come back someday.

    In Veyo, we picked up Cr-3184, the Gunlock-Veyo Rd, which twisted up and down through Gunlock State Park and past the Reservoir.
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    The road makes a steep 180 degree connection to Old US-91. I don’t see how a ordinary vehicle could make this turn without going into the oncoming lane in a blind corner — a dangerous design.

    US-91 descends southward for miles across high desert toward I-15, with big views toward mountains in the distance. We joined I-15 for a quick jaunt west to Mesquite NV where we got gas and had a fantastic lunch at Los Lupes Mexican Restaurant on BL-15. Try the carnitas burrito. Yummy.
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    Happy camper
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    We took I-15 west again then south on SR 169, which starts off through a couple dull towns dotted with mobile homes. It connects to SR 167 which climbs through the Lake Mead National Rec Area. It appears that there is normally an entrance fee but no one was manning the toll booths at the entrance or exit this day.

    We had never been here before and were amazed at how scenic it was. The mountains are extremely rocky, rugged and colorful; sort of a southern version of Death Valley but the road closely hugs the mountainsides. Highly recommended — but don’t go in summer. It felt hot so we didn’t stop for photos.

    Part of feeling hot is due to the high windscreens on the Twins (don’t have those on a Dr Zed) which do a good job of blocking the wind and are appreciated when it is chilly; but not so much when its warm. That combined with black leather and sunshine made for a toasty ride.

    We didn’t want to stay in or near Vegas, which has a lot of high-rise hotels, sprawl and busy streets. We prefer a small town and motel where we can park the bikes outside our door and walk to dinner. We chose the nice, clean and renovated mid-century Sands Motel near downtown Boulder City, which is a much quieter, compact town.
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    Our room used to have a kitchenette but now it has the basics. I think the shelf racks made from pipe are clever.
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    ...and ride ride ride...
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    From the motel, its a short walk to several restaurants and the neat old downtown, which has art deco architecture, quirky public art, cafes and bars. The weather was perfect for sitting outdoors and enjoying a beverage. You can even go furniture or antique appliance shopping right from your table on the sidewalk.
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    This might be the finishing touch needed for your man cave. :lol3
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    Boulder City was where the Hoover Dam workers lived during construction. It still has the original art deco theatre. I had read somewhere that because it was air conditioned, some of the dam workers would “go to the movies” but really went there to get some sleep in a cool place. I hope they offered double features in those days. :snore

    We had an ok dinner at the nearby Southwest Diner and returned for breakfast. It was more reasonably priced than places closer to downtown.
    #4
  5. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 4 Boulder City NV to Furnace Creek, Death Valley CA, 190 mi
    From Boulder City it was a short stint on Hwy 93 to I-515, I-215, I-15 and Hwy 160 to skirt the south side of Vegas. Hwy 160 goes over Mtn Springs Pass at 5500 ft and is scenic at the higher elevations but then descends and straightens out into typical Mojave desert land.

    Most drivers probably take either SR 178 or 190 into Death Valley. We opted for The Old Spanish Trail through Tecopa. There was no traffic. Tecopa is a natty looking place that is only on the map because of the hot springs near town. It seemed a little strange to see people strolling out into the barren desert in a swimsuit carrying a bath towel.

    The next town of Shoshone, has a gas station with a store, a museum and at least one cafe. There was live music and some kind of event going on. We got gas, had lunch and checked out the “display” in front of the museum.
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    We’ve been to Death Valley before but haven’t seen all the sights. We detoured onto Artist’s Palette Drive and moseyed up and down through the colorful hillsides. This one-way, one-lane road is a hoot. Narrow with steep spots and tight corners in gullies, it was not designed with motorhomes in mind.

    If there is one constant in Death Valley it is heat and the day was no exception. We kept moving to the Furnace Creek Inn. At $170/night it is no bargain but nice enough. I enjoyed the big spring-fed pool for a couple hours. It was the perfect temperature. Not warm or cold.

    Each room has a balcony with rocking chairs.
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    There are three restaurants at the Inn. They range from too pricey to very pricey to just pricey. We opted for the least expensive option of pizza in the just pricey bar/restaurant, which was fine. They provided free popcorn so that counted as our appetizer and dessert. We saved leftover pizza for breakfast.

    The music was loud so good thing I had my ear plugs. Like many Baby Boomers, as teenagers we abused our poor ears drums with rock music and concerts. Add skeet shooting and years of motorcycling to that equation and it equals this: “Huh? What? Can you repeat that? Turn up the TV volume”….

    Outside we enjoyed a lovely sunset and a propane-fueled firepit. No worries about global warming in the hottest spot in the USA.
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    #5
  6. DualDawg

    DualDawg Been here a while Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    385
    Location:
    Grass Valley, CA
    Cool report! Thanks. Some great riding and pics! "Garmin Montana"..... I have one as well and really like it, but I also had a temporary issue with it. The first MAJOR TORRENTIAL storm in the Sierra's this season I was doing a Don Ivan ride at Downieville, CA and the screen went blank on me. (I'm thinking from to much moisture, it eventually came back, but doesn't make sense). I was using the GPS as a back up to roll charts, but eventually using the GPS to find our way out on fire roads because by the time we got the the "Creek Crossing", it was a "RIVER CROSSING"! As you obviously know, always use maps as a back up, if not primary source of directions, but it sure is nice using the GPS when it works! I never sent it in for inspection/repair. If you do send yours in, please post up repairs/results. One of these days, I'll figure out the posting pictures thing and contribute to the RR's! Thanks.
    #6
  7. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 5 Furnace Creek Death Valley CA to Isabella Lake CA, 245 miles
    We got up early to view the sunrise and get on the road.
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    TKCs after 1000 miles
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    SR 190 heads north and west through the valley. We hadn’t been west of Panamint Valley before and were amazed at the fabulous views from the road as it climbed and dropped through the mountains. Wow. Its more impressive than these photos. :nod
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    Exiting the park, the temperature dropped and we added layers.
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    No traffic here.
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    There was snow on the Sierras. Could we still make it this week?
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    We intersected Hwy 395 at Olancha and got gas. We couldn’t get any reliable intel on the two cafes in the area. The ladies at the Mobil station were kind enough to call one cafe but didn’t get an answer. We buzzed a few miles down the road to the other only to find it closed. We backtracked to the Mobil station/C-store, which also had a sub sandwich shop, and had a quick lunch.

    After some more miles south on 395 we turned west onto Nine Mile Rd toward Sherman Pass. There are only a handful of roads that cross the Sierras because much of the range is national parks, national monuments and rugged. Sherman Pass is the southernmost pass and is completely paved but closed in winter. I had checked the CalTrans website to be sure it was still open. It climbs from 2600 to 9000 ft then drops back down to 2600.

    Sherman Pass Rd is a great road that switchbacks up into the mountains, crosses through a burned area then weaves along with great views at times and then switchbacks a long, long way down to the Kern River. :smile6

    Because of the drought, the area was bone dry.
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    Gas up before taking this route. Kennedy Meadows is the only community along the way and consists of a saloon and general store. I don’t recall if the store had gas or not. We stopped for a hot drink at Grumpy Bears Saloon. I hoped the hot water would kill any leftover germs in the mug.

    The folks there were real friendly but the place is a dump and a dive. It looked abandoned and was falling apart. I would not eat here. :nah The toilets were someplace out back but I avoided that too. There are toilets at the pass and those were probably the safer bet.

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    The road is potholed in places and sandy on the descent.
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    At the Kern River you could head west to Giant Sequoia, but instead we followed the Kern River south through Kernville, which had a handful of lodges and restaurants. It might be an interesting place to stay.

    We took the long route east around Isabella Lake, which was pleasant, and picked up SR 178 west to Paradise Cove Lodge on the south shore. We had stayed here years ago and it was nice and quiet with a good restaurant on site. It was the same this time, although the motel room could use a little more cleaning.

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    #7
  8. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 6 Isabella Lake CA to Oakhurst CA, 250 miles
    The motel restaurant is not open for breakfast so we backtracked along the south shore to the Red Rooster Cafe, next door to the Shell station where we gassed up.

    On the west end of the lake we picked up SR 155 north. This is an amazing tight and twisty road that seems more like a forest road than a state route. It climbs to 6000 ft in the foothills south of Giant Sequoia National Monument. Allow extra time on this road, you won’t get anywhere quickly. I don’t recall seeing another vehicle. :ricky

    After dropping out of the twisties.
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    Near Glennville, we picked up White River Rd then detoured onto Jack Ranch and back to White River which became Old Stage. We dropped through orchards and skirted Porterville to SR 190 (which is not connected to the SR190 in Death Vly).

    I hadn’t planned on writing a ride report for this trip so I didn’t keep track of the order of things like I normally do, so I might jumble a few things.

    We took too may backroads to list them all and I can’t recall which were which (see our tracks) so I’ll just say that the majority of them were great narrow and twisty roads with little or no traffic. We used some state routes to connect the pieces but otherwise took the tiny lines on the AAA maps.

    Dry Creek Rd was memorable because we stopped and were joined by a couple of guys from China in an SUV driving across the US. We were surprised they were taking back roads. Only one of them spoke english.
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    At the intersection of Dry Creek Rd and SR 245 in the middle of nowhere we found the Mountain House Cafe and had lunch. We were the only ones there the entire time.
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    We managed to stay on backroads most of the day. I had passed one of the few gas stations and starting regretting it near Pine Flat Reservoir as we got low on gas. This area really had an “out there” feeling as it wound through the oak-covered hills. We could pull up a list of stations on the GPS but at that point in the menu options the Garmin only gives distance as the crow flies and compass direction. It was so mountainous and the roads so twisty that there was no way to tell the true distance except select each one separately and let the Garmin calculate a route, get the actual mileage and try to pick the closest one that avoided backtracking. I was worried about running out of gas if I selected a bad option.

    My Better Half (MBH) came to the rescue and routed us not far away to a station in Prather. From there I could breathe easier. It turns out the Twin’s fuel gauge is not very accurate and we had more gas than we thought.

    After navigating all day I was ready for some relief so MBH took the lead and set a brisk pace to Oakhurst. I was finally feeling comfortable enough on the new Twin to let the ponies run a little which for me does not mean fast, just quicker than slow. :pynd

    At one point, we went along a ridge top and could see the granite peaks in Yosemite. Wow. This was an incredible day. I would do it all again.

    In Oakhurst, we stayed at the Best Western Yosemite Gateway. The motel consists of several buildings built on a steep hillside. It was somewhat challenging to find a spot level enough to park the bikes. They have a nice bar with fireplace and restaurant on-site but after one round ($11 for one well drink!) we walked up the street to Denny’s and had a perfectly adequate meal for a fraction of what the BW restaurant would have cost.
    #8
  9. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 7 Oakhurst CA to Angels Camp CA ,130 miles
    We had been doing long miles each day, so I included a shorter day to give us time to stop and taste the coffee. :*sip* Now we’re in the Gold Country. We hopped on SR 49 before peeling off on backroads before Mariposa. This area is classic oak-studded California.

    This herd came in all different colors and patterns.
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    One of the features I love in a road is what we call “3-dimensional”. It goes up and down as well as twisting and turning. That is definitely the case when you travel the foothills.
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    State Historical Markers (SHM) are scattered throughout the Gold Country, often on the tiny backroads. These were sometimes stage coach roads or the sites of communities that are long gone. Years ago we had a SHM map and each weekend we would seek out the remote markers. Not easy in the days before GPS’s.

    We ended up on a short section of dirt on Pendola Garden Rd. It looked steep at the start but was very doable with a shallow creek crossing.

    We got back on 49, which is great through this area, high above the Merced River and goes through the small old mining town of Coulterville.
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    There is a historic hotel here still in operation and a few cafes. We stopped for coffee, which was the size of a soup bowl.
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    I read somewhere that John Muir came through Coulterville on his first trip to Yosemite. While there, he bought a horse and a gun because of bears. No bears today, just a Duke and a Dirtbag.
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    #9
  10. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 7 continued
    We climbed through Greeley Hill and took the back way, Ferretti Rd, into Groveland. It too is a historic town with a handful of cafes. The highway to Yosemite goes right through it, so even though the speed limit is only 20 mph or so, it always feels busy. This town is slowly growing and we encountered more traffic than in years past. But we didn’t mind because the piece de resistance (say it with a french accent) was coming up and we would have that road to ourselves.

    The highlight today was Wards Ferry Road. Hard to find from either end, this was the original stage route. It is a one-laner hugging the canyonsides and crossing the Tuolumne River. Take your time and savor this one. :super
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    There are a couple options toward the end to go to either Sonora or Jamestown. Sonora has a neat old downtown but we had not been in Jamestown before. It has a historic hotel and cafes in the old downtown, which fortunately is off the main highway. There is also a railroad museum.
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    We frequently get questioned on the street by riders who are curious about the Twins and want first-hand beta. Today was no exception. What was a different though was one motorcyclist even tracked us down into Pete’s Greek Cafe where we were having lunch. We’re not hard to spot and we were happy to oblige. The 2 Dirtbags give four very enthusiastic thumbs up.

    One neat thing is the Twins have two different seat height settings using the stock seat. Very clever. I’m 5'-7” and use the lower setting whereas MBH is 6'-1" and uses the higher setting. There is also a lower seat available.

    Onward to Columbia. There is a large state park here where a few blocks of the historic town are preserved. But unlike ghost towns full of empty buildings like Bodie or Bannack, Columbia is still alive and filled with stores, cafes and an old hotel plus you can see the old ditches and hydraulic mining area. It is definitely worth spending half a day here.

    There are many roads in this area to explore, but I resisted the urge to pile on miles because I wanted to mosey around in Angels Camp. We crossed the Stanislaus River to tiny Vallecito. It was a little tricky but we finally found the roads I wanted and what a treat: neat one-laners rolling past old ranches and gullies (or do you say gulches?) :-)

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    Some of these roads more closely resemble someone's driveway than a street. Some of them may not be very long, but to me they are like finding gold nuggets. Slow down. Stop. Get off the bike and mosey around. Enjoy weather without snow. :lol3 Take photos. Hug your sweetheart. :rogue

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    In Angels Camp we stayed at the Best Western Plus Cedar Inn at the north end of town. It was nice but a mile away from the historic part of town. It was Election Day and we ended up watching results on TV so we never went to the old town.

    We walked a few blocks to Mike’s Pizza and had a good veggie pizza. Mike’s is the kind of place that sponsors the local little league team. Kudos to them. They asked if we wanted the tomatoes baked or not. Hmm, hot but slightly mushy tomatoes or cold with some texture?

    So what was our stance on this fateful election night? We’ve never leaned strongly either way. I guess we never felt it was that important. This time felt different though. It spoke to us. Maybe we’re getting older and saw the need for change even though it can sometimes be a little unsettling. We chose tomatoes not baked and don’t regret it.
    #10
  11. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 8 Angels Camp CA to South Lake Tahoe CA, 180 miles
    We’re in the heart of Gold Country and found lots of nuggets today which made up for me missing the first turn…:doh

    I thought I could quickly intersect my route based on the map instead of the slightly longer route on the GPS. Oh that Garmin can be so clever! It turned out my “quick and easy” intersection was a highway flyover so surprise, surprise when it was over our heads and not at grade level. Oops. Oh well, we’ll check out Six Mile Rd next time…

    We took Murphys Grade Rd past old water flumes to the cute town of Murphys, which is worth a visit. This is another historic town with an old hotel (be warned that some of the hotel rooms are above the bar) and cafes. The hotel also has an outdoor patio.
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    This area has become a wine growing region and now wineries and wine-tasting rooms are popping up.

    I missed the next turn too onto Sheep Ranch Rd because the street was narrow and snuck up on me. Or I was distracted by shiny objects or squirrels. I can’t recall. :scratch After a couple turns we were back on track.

    You’ll need to be on your toes while navigating through here and it will be worth it. This section had the most narrow, 3-dimensional one-laners yet. We started up San Domingo Rd on what looked like the driveway to a winery. The oaks were draped in vines and the vineyard was cloaked in golden leaves. (That's as poetic as I get.)
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    The road continued through to the smallest lane of the trip, lined with poison oak. Look but don’t touch. Even smelling the smoke from burning leaves will make you sick. (Years ago I got poison oak while clearing drainage ditches near our property, even though I was wearing long sleeves. I had to cover my arms with ointment, wrap them in plastic wrap and go to work like that for a week, wearing long sleeves of course. My co-workers probably wondered why I sounded like crinkly plastic every time I moved.)

    The evil weed...
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    I dug up an old photo from this area which explains the different bike.
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    We wound up and down and around loving every minute, even passing below an old flume or RR trestle. :wings

    There had been a fire and a crew was working where the road washed out. Luckily we turned off Worden Rd onto Jesus Maria Rd just as a road construction truck came by. I don’t where we could have pulled over on that narrow steep road to let them by.

    Jesus Maria winds around hillsides and descends to the historic town of Mokelumne Hill. We have not spent time in “Moke Hill” so we’ll keep that one on the to-do list. :deal

    If you have time, check out one of my favorite one-lane roads, Gwin Mine, which is not far away. The mine was for sale 10 years ago. Unfortunately it is underground and full of water. The road parallels then crosses the Moke River. It is popular with river rafters so if you go earlier in the year, watch for rafting vehicles coming around the blind corners.

    Some old photos from Gwin Mine Rd:
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    #11
  12. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 8 continued
    We popped out onto Hwy 49 and passed through Jackson, which is one of the largest towns in the Gold Country. There are tours offered of the Kennedy Mine, but they do not go underground.

    Our next target was the historic town of Sutter Creek, which thankfully is no longer on the highway after a bypass was built. We have passed through many times but never stopped. I can’t tell you much more about it other than some of the restaurants looked pricey.

    It is easy to overeat on trips when most restaurants make big portions and we feel the need to get our money’s worth. Hmmm, something etched on our brains about “clean your plate, people are starving on this planet”… Instead we went to the Ice Cream Emporium / toy store where they also serve sandwiches.

    Next, we wound for miles upstream along the tree-lined Sutter Creek to the crossroads that is the tiny town of Volcano. It is known for its old store and the St. George Hotel. So that is one of the reasons we got a kick out of seeing this “make your own volcano” kit in the toy store. The other one being My Better Half’s infamous grade school project where he built his own volcano using large amounts of gunpowder resulting in the school being evacuated due to smoke and flying sparks…:augie

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    Volcano has a neat old cemetery as do many of the gold rush towns. Old photo.
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    From Volcano, we had always taken Rams Horn Grade to Shake Ridge to Fiddletown. But I had been curious about other options — Charleston and Hale Rds. Today was the day to find out. These turned out to be more gold nuggets. Steep and narrow. This area might not be off the grid but it would be a good place to live if you want to avoid people.

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    These backroads connected to Fiddletown Rd and its namesake community. I haven’t fully explored this town. Its claim to fame is the annual fiddling festival. This area is also know for growing daffodils and is popular in the springtime when they are in bloom.

    Old photo
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    We worked our way northeast to Sly Park Rd which is a fun, but sometimes busy two-lane. We got gas in Pollock Pines and considered taking the fast route, Hwy 50 to Lake Tahoe. But we came to ride, darn it, and even though it was getting late we decided to stick to the back way.

    We backtracked on Sly Park Rd and turned onto Mormon Emigrant Rd on the south side of the Sly Park/Jenkinson Reservoir. This is a fast, but lightly used road that climbs from 3500 to 7000 ft. We turned off on paved NF-7, which is called Silver Fork Rd because it descends and crosses the rocky Silver Fork of the American River.
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    We picked up NF-71, which is another great paved forest road with occasional patches of broken pavement. It climbed to 7200 ft and there was snow and ice on the road. Ruh-roh! But it wasn’t deep or extensive and we got through albeit slow and carefully.
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    NF-71 connected to Hwy 50 near the small community of Strawberry. There was a road construction delay and we sat on the highway and then slowly followed a pilot car feeling the temperature dropping. We reached Tahoe in time to get settled in the cozy Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge and watch the sunset.
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    We walked several blocks to Macduffs Pub for dinner. It looks like a ski lodge. We had some tasty shepherds pie and drank a toast to our great Foothills ride. :beer
    #12
    Ks-Rydr likes this.
  13. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    NOTE: THE NEXT 2 DAYS ARE HIGHWAY and INTERSTATE MILES

    Day 9 South Lake Tahoe CA to Winnemucca NV 210 mi

    TKCs after 1700 miles of pavement. They survived 2200 miles. We could get more miles out of them but probably not enough for another trip.
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    US 50 around the lake was frosty in the morning, so we stayed in vehicle tracks and away from the shoulder.

    Gassed up in Fernley NV and had lunch at the Black Rock Grill in Lovelock NV. This is a big casino but surprisingly was not too smokey in the restaurant. We stayed in the Best Western Gold Country Inn in Winnemuuca, which like almost all BWs has a good continental breakfast.

    We had dinner at a decent bar/restaurant a few blocks east, I think on Garrison Street but I can’t recall the name. The funny thing about it was the men’s room urinals were visible from my bar stool (no door in front, just a hallway that wasn’t long enough). :lurk My Better Half wondered why I was giggling. This was a show I did not want to watch. I made him trade seats with me.

    Day 10 Winnemucca NV to Boise ID 255 miles
    We picked up US 95 north, which goes all the way to Boise. We hadn’t been this way in a while. There is a new gas station and C-store in Fort McDermitt on the Indian Reservation a couple miles south of the OR state line.

    We got gas and lunch in Jordan Valley OR. There might also be gas in blink-and-you’ll miss-it Rome OR. The best thing about Jordan Valley is the Flat Iron Steakhouse just past where 95 makes a sharp turn in the center of town. I had one of the best steaks of my life here. This is an old Basque area and I had a great chorizo sandwich this time. I try to stop here whenever we pass through. :dukegirl

    Well that’s it folks. Hope you enjoyed riding along. :wave
    EBDB

    #13
    stewjames39 likes this.
  14. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    895
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Thanks. I hope you subscribed because I was just getting to the good stuff when you replied. My Better Half & I both have Montanas, but different models. Both will occasionally go blank or lose a signal. We just restart them and that usually does the trick. If not, we take out the battery and put it back in. I don't plan to send my unit in. Its pretty reliable considering the many thousands of miles of off-road pounding it takes each year. I also use it on my mountain bike.
    #14
    Samur likes this.
  15. rodsdmba

    rodsdmba n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    1
    Just got done racking up 1100 miles in three days. From San Diego up to the sierras and back. Hwy 245 that has the Mountain House cafe along the way was awesome fun! My pick for best segment of the trip.

    I had planned to pick up Sherman Pass on the east side of the Sierras but it's been closed for the Schaefer Fire. Instead left SD at 3am and poughed up I-5/99 to Bakersfield where I needed to get the oil changed in my new Versys 650. Got there at 7am and the dealer opened at 9. At least I skipped the LA rush hour traffic. By 10:30 I was on my way toward Lake Isabella. Yet another fire in progress on my way. Stopped in Kernville with the mercury busting the works. Yikes!
    Downed goo-gads of liquids and headed north towards Sherman Pass and beyond. Great riding and had I more time I would have checked the national monument I blew by mid Summer rainstorm. The cooler temps brought by the rain were welcome! B eyond Camp Nelson the rain stiffened and the descent toward Springville was a 5 out of 5 on the butt clench scale. Wowza!

    On making Springville I realized my map had me turning north before I reached there. After more cold liquids I backtracked and made a wrong turn. or right turn depending on your attitude. Some tight (as the descent from Camp Nelson) turns on broken asphalt. Too much fun to turn around . . . After far too much enjoyment I enter the Mountain Home State Demonstration Forest. A gem! Huge Sequoia and campgrounds up in the cool mountains.

    In the AM a fun descent back to Springville and a hearty breakfast to hold me for the day ahead. After a head scratch as to where I'd gone wrong the day before, I headed west to more prominent hwys (aka boring) and north to Woodlake where nirvana happened (Hwy 245).

    245 ends at the main drag in to King's Canyon National Park. I turned left (west and downhill) and rejoined my intended route on a backroad toward Pine Flat reservoir, Tollhouse, and Auberry, then North Fork. Fun roads but if you stop all you will here is banjo music so best not stop . . .

    A stop at NAPA in North Fork for chain lube (my other can went awol on the broken asphalt ascent to Mountain Home), a lighter for my stove (would have been nice to have to previous eve) and more hydration. Then off onto the Sierra Scenic Byway.

    Holy crap, what a must do! Super fun road but keep your eyes on it and don't look over the edge to the right. Way, way down below is the San Joaquin River. DSC00445a.jpg
    At some point, peripheral vision cannot be ignored. Mammoth Pool reservoir and it's wild spillway is screaming for your attention. OMG! Wow, just wow. I spent the night at a private campground (all the national forest campgrounds were closed) with a nice stream rolling thru
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    and 2 -3 mile dirt rides out to the launch ramp

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    or the dam/spillway.
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    The Shinko DS tires seemed ok. After 47 years of dirtbikes and motocross I know the Versys is no dirtbike but I may like to find the limit anyway. The limit is suspension (he says). After packing camp another 20 miles of fun asphalt awaited followed by Beashore road that was asphalt at one time. More bottoming out . . . Finally ended up at Bass Lake for breakfast.

    https://www.facebook.com/rod.simmon...14147318701.1073741840.100003203857599&type=3
    #15