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Alone in the Eastern Sierras: A Fall Colors Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dave6253, Oct 26, 2014.

  1. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,818
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I leave Green Creek.

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    I debated on whether or not to even ride out to Bodie. A ghost town like this doesn't really interest me.
    In the end, I thought the road may be interesting... And it was.

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    The wind was really ripping out here.

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    I get to the state park 15 minutes before they opened.

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    I took a quick picture and did a U-turn. I have no interest in walking around out there today.

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    KYMike and I camped just off Virginia Lakes RD this summer, but we didn't go all the way in to the lake. It was really cold
    and still windy when I got there to check it out. Most of the color had been stripped from the trees where we had camped.

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    I stopped for breakfast and to warm up at this joint in Lee Vining.

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    Their chicken fried steak was disgusting. I couldn't eat it all.

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    After breakfast I enjoy a morning run up Tioga Pass.

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    Still windy.

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    I go down to Saddlebag Lake to explore a new area to me.

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    There was beautiful scenery and I enjoyed the gravel road.

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    But the lake was disappointing.

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    I was taking a break on Tioga Pass when I somehow lost the rubber piece from my earbuds.
    The music is dead, until I can find that! I spent about 30 minutes tearing into everything trying to find it.

    I eventually gave up and rode back down the hill. I didn't care to enter Yosemite Park today.

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    There was still color in the valley next to Tioga Pass RD.

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    I rode through the June Lake Loop without stopping once for photos. It is one of the prime spots for fall colors,
    but with large crowds, the glaring sun, haze and extreme winds, I was un-inspired.

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    When I get back to the 395, I see a sign that said Bishop was like 53 miles away. Screw it. Let's go get a room and out of this wind.



    Less than an hour later I stopped here for lunch.

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    I watched the lady carve my turkey breast from a giant turkey that had just been pulled from the oven.
    The sandwich was good, but the prices here were steep.

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    I had my first shower in 6 days! I felt human again. Apparently motels are popular with motorcyclists.

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    I put on some casual clothes and walked over to the K-Mart. I found a set of ear-buds on sale and used it for a donor rubber piece for my nicer ear-buds. The music continues!

    Later, I took a stroll to find dinner. I passed a nice looking Chinese restaurant, but like a dummy continued walking to see it anything else looked good.

    I found a place called Jacks where I had the worst burger of the trip.


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    As I walked back to my room the sun was setting.

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    I passed the Chinese restaurant I wished I had eaten at. A Tiger 1200 Explorer rider had the right idea and was pulling in.
    BTW, This photo and the 2 previous ones are cell-phone pics.

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    I needed the half day off to recharge my camera batteries and my spirits.

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    klaviator likes this.
  2. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,818
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Oh, I do love Dream Theater, but the music on that video is from an even more obscure band, Darkwater.



    Ha ha! Probably. The wind was strong enough to scoot fries and ketchup packets around.
  3. notsofasteddie

    notsofasteddie Semi Slow Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    Far North (of Arizona)
    As always - great pictures Dave and great routes that I can look forward to. I love that part of the country.

    For the Bristlecone trivia part - the oldest Bristlecone Pines are in Great Basin National Park (at least according to Wiki). The Inyo Forest ones are bigger.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Bristlecone_Pine_Forest

    Your pictures brought to mind going into the Hotel Nevada in Ely, Nevada about 50 years ago as a kid (grew up there) and looking at the display of the sawed up slice of what was at the time to believed to have been the oldest living thing. There were labels with arrows pointing to tree rings indicating "Christ was Born", "Rome was founded", "Hanging Gardens of Babylon constructed". That memory led me to a Google search that came up with the history of how it got cut down (graduate student and crew, along with with National Forest Service permission and help). Anyway if anyone's interested it's an interesting article about an act that would now get someone prison time.
    http://www.terrain.org/essays/14/cohen.htm

    So, anyway, you're making me really want to follow through on my canceled trip from last year up through the area, including Markleeville.

    Ed
  4. Trane Francks

    Trane Francks Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    645
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Outstanding, Dave. I've had one hell of a crappy day* and I really, really appreciate your posts today. Nice way to cheer up.

    * 5 a.m., bent over to grab the cat's dish only to plant the corner of a book case firmly inside my forehead. That's gonna leave a decent scar (probably needed stitches, but emergency services on a Sunday in Japan - you'd better be dying, and even then it's not a sure thing). 6 p.m., cat outside gets freaked totally out by something (no idea what), so I go to rescue. Four to-the-bone bites.

    Some freakin' days, man. Yipes. :huh
  5. Rutsref

    Rutsref Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    292
    Location:
    California
    Thanks for sharing! The wind can make for a less than enjoyable day...but still "a bad day riding beats a good day at work" ;)
    If you're ever back in the area make sure to eat at "The Mobil Station" in Lee Vining. It's right on Tioga Pass Rd about a hundred yards from 395, one of those places you will want to go back to over and over again!
  6. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    30,101
    Location:
    Über Alles,California
    Yup, you missed out on the chinese food...that place is awesome. :tb
    Foot dragger likes this.
  7. Gregster

    Gregster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
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    999
    Location:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Beautiful country and super great pics. :clap
  8. 2wheeldevildog

    2wheeldevildog Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Ed,
    Thanks for sharing that link. This just ads to an already fantastic RR
    John
  9. gregdee

    gregdee Motocampist

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Oddometer:
    547
    Location:
    Tijeras, NM
    Just a slight vertical sweep of the camera and you have a painting. Nicely executed.:clap
  10. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2007
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    1,058
    Location:
    The City that Care Forgot
    the photos continue to be beautiful.
    What are you using for post p? And how do you get those dreamy golds, inc orange and yellow and dec clarity? or?? if it's not a trade secret:clap

    looking forward to what comes next!

    John
  11. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    28,525
    Location:
    Allen, Tejas. Blissful state...
    Wow!

    Breathtaking pictures - thanks so much for sharing.

    :clap

    I miss the Sierra's...
  12. BluesCruiser

    BluesCruiser Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
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    83
    Location:
    East Bay
    What he says! I know it sounds weird, but that Mobil Station is a regular stop for lunch.:D
  13. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
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    In the morning, I spoiled myself with another shower, then broke my no Denny's rule.
    They did a great job with my little breakfast.

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    I spent my evening in the motel room going over the locations left to explore. I decided to head back north on the 395...

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    ...because in my haste to get to a room, I had skipped the Mammoth Lakes area yesterday.

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    I knew there wouldn't be a ton of fall colors around Mammoth Lakes. I've explored this area with the family before.

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    But I still enjoyed riding around the lakes.

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    I passed the ski resort...

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    and stopped for a wide view of the Minarets.

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    Then I rode down the hill into Devil's Postpile NM. In past trips I hiked to Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls.

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    So today, I just enjoyed the riding...

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    ...and the little bit of color.

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    I rode back through Mammoth Lakes and went down Sherwin Creek RD.

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    It was a short gravel road where I found a river of color running up the hills.

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    I went back into town, where I found a decent bowl of Pad Thai for a late lunch.

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    The wind had started to die down, but it was still a little hazy when I visited Convict Lake.

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    klaviator likes this.
  14. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    I've heard that recommendation here before, but I wanted to avoid them out of spite. I have twice been rudely ejected from that place because they want to close and lock up the entire place at 9 PM! The menu didn't look all that enticing either. I will not even buy fuel there anymore.



    Yes. It is...:wink:
  15. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Phoenix, Arizona
    Hi John. I have no trade secrets. I learned most of what I know from the internet. I use the HSL color panel in Lightroom to correct the hue, saturation, and especially the luminance of the yellow and orange channels. Many of the fall colors are also adjusted with the brush tool. When you see fall colors in person, the leaves just seem to glow, especially when back-lit. The camera tends to under-expose the bright yellows and oranges, so I correct that in post. Many of them are also HDRs that are tone-mapped using the Tone Compressor method in Photomatix Pro.




    Thanks gregdee. I'm glad to hear someone liked that one. It was my first time experimenting with intentional blur, and my wife didn't like it. I almost didn't post it here. I think I used a 1/4 second shutter speed and you are right about the vertical sweep.
    Foot dragger likes this.
  16. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,818
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I headed east from the 395.

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    I wanted to check out the Owens River...

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    ...and Owens River Gorge Road. The road was a short and fun detour...

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    ...but the gorge itself was disappointing.

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    I crossed the 395 again and found this little guy along Rock Creek.

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    He made me wait here for about 30 minutes.

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    Finally free, I head up Rock Creek Road.

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    Rock Creek is one of the premiere fall colors locations and the area was busy.

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    As the road got higher is was evident I was a week or two late for the color in this area.

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    The road ends at more than 10,000 feet.

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    I have no choice, but to turn around to ride it again.

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    I notice a nice stand of aspens down along the creek and stop for a hike.

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    Motorcycle riding gear is awesome for busting through sagebrush and tree branches, climbing down the boulder strewn bluff, and wading in the creek.

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    Rock Creek

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    I cross the 395 again and find this little sandy track off of Owens River Gorge Road.

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    I find a previously used camping area at the end of the track where I can be alone. I am close to the gorge and only about 2.5 miles down the road from the 395.

    I was surprised to see I had 4G cell coverage here, so I shared this cell-phone pic on Facebook minutes after it was taken.

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    It was a great day of riding, and I was loving life again!


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    Foot dragger and klaviator like this.
  17. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    30,101
    Location:
    Über Alles,California
    Rock Creek picture, very well done, love it. :clap
  18. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    4,818
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    The 8th morning started off great.

    There was an awesome sunrise, so I walked around in a circle to shoot this 360 degree HDR panorama.

    Click me:
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    Then I climbed a pile of rocks to get a better view of the Sierras getting their first sunlight of the day.

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    Since no one else was around, I warmed up the bike to make sure she would start before plugging in stuff to charge.

    Then I looked into the soul of my clutch and saw this!:eek1 Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    For those not familiar with KTM twins, we put that clear clutch window on there for more than just bling.
    The stock water pump shaft seal is a known issue on this bike. The milky sludge on the window is the first
    warning the seal has gone bad and radiator fluid is mixing into the oil. The next thing to go bad is a collapsed
    paper oil filter and the resulting loss of oil pressure. But I have the specially hardened water pump shaft from
    CJDesigns in there!

    I finished breaking camp with a sick feeling. I had planned for three more days, but I'll be lucky to make it home today.
  19. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    Uh Oh!! That sucks!!
    jj
  20. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    1,621
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Ouch . . . doesn't look good . . . :huh