Alone in the Eastern Sierras: A Fall Colors Tour

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

  1. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,879
    Location:
    City of the Angels
    A beautiful reminder of how fortunate it is to live in... or just to visit... This beautiful state of California. Your compilation enforces that one should never pass up these opportunities regularly... Life is too short.
    And a big smile from Ansel overlooking somewhere from above... No doubt!
  2. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    28,510
    Location:
    Allen, Tejas. Blissful state...
    Wow, just wow!

    :clap
  3. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    29,449
    Location:
    Über Alles,California
    What an awesome report, I've always wondered what was up all those dead end roads, I hate dead end roads and rarely go for a look.

    :clap
  4. ki_ote

    ki_ote Cindi Jo Admirer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    840
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    "A friendly GS Rider sees a fast KTM and does the right thing - waves me past.:lol3 "

    Ha...he'll be picking y'all up down the road when there's orange guts and livers laying everywhere. lol.

    Seriously though, really enjoying this RR and the stunning pics.

    Looking forward to more...
  5. tomatocity

    tomatocity Retired and lovin' it

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    881
    Location:
    Sacramento CA
    Rode some of those roads while on a recent Manzanar trip but I could not take photos like that. Thanks Dave.

    Years ago, while working for California State Parks, I was school'd on the use of Sierra http://www.thehighsierra.org/sierra_or_sierras.htm . I have been haunted by it since.
  6. USAIR

    USAIR picking and riding

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,922
    Location:
    Northern Kentucky
    Wow these two are without a doubt my favorite beautiful...:clap

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks

    Fred
  7. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,813
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I kill some time in an Arby's in Ridgecrest and head back out in the heat.

    [​IMG]




    Not far from town, I cross the tracks...

    [​IMG]




    ...and the edge of Searles Dry Lake.

    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]





    This was my first time at the Trona Pinnacles. Apparently Star Wars scenes were shot here.

    [​IMG]





    I rode around a bit checking out the fun tracks and scouting locations for photos.
    Then I found some shade. I had about 3 hours until dark. I could camp here for free,
    but I'm really only here for some night photos. So I lay on my riding suit trying to
    nap and considering my options.

    [​IMG]




    The lights from Trona were visible to the north.

    [​IMG]



    I wandered around in the dark. At one point a fox was following me around, getting within 30 feet, until I lit him up.
    I found a few locations for some star shots.

    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]





    I get back to the bike and gear back up. Although I have two days of vacation left, I'm becoming homesick.
    I'm missing my wife, kids, and dog. I decide to go home a day early. But why wait until the heat of the day tomorrow?
    I think I will prefer the lonely desert two-lanes in the cool nights when no one else is around.

    [​IMG]






    I've already ridden 177 miles today. I'm not certain how far it is to get home, but I'm guessing it's about 350.

    Day 9 Stats

    [​IMG]





    So instead of setting up camp, I gear up and head out in the dark to get an early start on day 10.

    [​IMG]





    Just because I'm riding at night, doesn't mean I can't take pictures.
    I was really enjoying some of my favorite lonely two-lanes, when I started thinking about how to capture a photo of myself riding at night.

    [​IMG]


    Earlier I promised to explain that last photo.
    I was riding on Highway 62 in the Mojave Desert east from Twentynine Palms. This is my favorite route to avoid Interstate 10.
    It's about 100 miles between Twentynine Palms, CA and Parker, AZ with nothing in between, but beautiful desert.
    Traffic is never heavy, but at night is almost non-existent. I had gone about 35 miles east from Twentynine Palms and had only
    seen 1 other vehicle. I had been riding for hours in the dark, and was getting a little sleepy, so I decided to try out this idea for a photo.
    I stopped in the road, because the shoulder was deep sand. I set the camera up on the tripod in the center of the road.
    I used my UWA lens set at 14mm. I set the exposure at f 4.0, iso 3200, and 25 seconds to capture the stars. I guessed I would
    only need to turn on the motorcycle lights for about 2 seconds. I also set the 12 second timer to give me time to get on the bike.
    Of course all of this takes time, which feels like forever when standing in the middle of a highway. I kept my helmet on, which was
    making me nervous I wouldn't see or hear approaching cars. Everything looks clear though, so I start the timer and walk over to the bike.
    Just before I mount the bike and turn my back to traffic I see headlamps round a curve and drop into a dip behind me. Crap! Abort! Abort!
    I turn the lights on, then run back to get the camera that is already taking the photo. I get back to the bike and fumble with getting the
    lens cap on and the camera in the tankbag. Meanwhile, I watching the headlights get closer and closer. I realize I'm running out of time,
    so I toss the tripod onto the shoulder and ride the bike off into the sand. A few seconds later the car whizzes past at 80 mph.
    The shot was ruined, of course. I went back to retrieve the tripod and started to put it away. This is a crazy idea. Screw it!

    I stop and watch traffic a couple minutes and no one else was coming, So I decided to try again. You can see my tracks in the sand
    where I pulled back onto the road in the photo. I set it all up again. I wasn't really happy with the result, as I realized the brake light
    should be off and the headlamps left on for a shorter time. Of course, I was sitting still with my left foot on the ground. I did a lousy job
    of cloning out my left leg to give the illusion my feet are on the pegs. I should have just kept the side-stand down.
    It would have made the cloning job much easier.




    Near Bouse, Arizona. I was getting really sleepy again, so I stopped to get another shot.

    [​IMG]




    I fought off sleep by dancing around on the pegs and yelling into my helmet. I probably should have pulled over for a nap, but I made it home around 5:15 AM.

    [​IMG]




    That was a little further than estimated.

    Day 10 Stats

    [​IMG]





    GPS Tracks in Google Earth - Entire Route

    [​IMG]



    That's All Folks! Thanks for following along.
    klaviator likes this.
  8. bluestar

    bluestar sheep shagger

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Oddometer:
    26,950
    Location:
    sheep pen
    Great RR. :clap :clap
  9. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,813
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I don't recall seeing that sign, but it sure sounds interesting. I've already ridden Sherman Pass and Walker Pass plenty of times. I was done searching for color by time I finished the Lone Pine area. I'm sure there are other spots. I remember passing a couple other creek roads, but I was done. I do regret skipping some of the routes around Green Creek and Bodie.

    Yes. I was done by then.


    I've always tried to plan loop routes that cover lots of ground. In and outs are time-consuming, but since the objective on this route was to explore the fall colors I had little choice. I enjoyed doubling back on some of the routes, like Sonora Pass. I could ride that road over and over for the entire week. Hmmmm... I wonder how many times I could ride it in one day?:wink:
  10. jlambo

    jlambo Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,216
    Location:
    Lyman, Me
    The pleasure is all ours! If this report doesn't make you want to ride in the south west, (and up your photo game), nothing will. Thanks again Dave for bringing us along.
  11. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,014
    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    Awesome report and pics! Looking forward to your next one while reading the backlog of your previous ride reports. All 30 some should keep me entertained for a while!:rofl:rofl:rofl
    Best Regards....just jeff
  12. VietHorse

    VietHorse Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,976
    Location:
    Recalculating... recalculating.... HCMC-Vietnam :)
    Really awesome RR as always, Dave.
    Your RR with amazing pics inspire me a lot. I don't know about others, but whenever I pull up your thread, I just want to grab my gears and hop on my bike right away.
    I really want to learn from you the photograph skill as post processing. Before talking with you I was knowing nothing about LR, but now I switched to use LR for processing as your advice, just the watermark done by PS.
    Btw, I am wondering how you can have your riding shots - did you use a remote?
  13. scottmac

    scottmac Long timer

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,016
    Location:
    La Selva Beach, CA.
    Absolutely amazing.

    A good friend of mine was doing the same kind of Milky Way photos a few
    weeks ago when we were down in Big Sur. He was hiking alone at night
    along the bottom of the cliffs looking for rock formations till early hours.

    No fog, clear conditions.

    I think it is some kind of disease. :clap:lol3
  14. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,621
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Great, Dave. Thanks. :clap
  15. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    4,813
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
  16. JoeMongo

    JoeMongo ¿Por dónde? Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,086
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, not exactly dirt moto heaven
    Dave, you really are a crazy man. I'm sure glad you are here in our asylum. Thanks for the story and the amazing photographs!
  17. MaddBrit

    MaddBrit Now officially a Yank.

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    Oddometer:
    28,510
    Location:
    Allen, Tejas. Blissful state...
  18. Redkrouge

    Redkrouge Independent

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    393
    Location:
    Carouge, CH
    Beautiful pictures and a great RR, again :clap
  19. JayElDee

    JayElDee not saying what I mean Supporter

    Joined:
    May 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,058
    Location:
    The City that Care Forgot
    Very cool, Dave. Much enjoyed!! and thanks for the techy info and for pointing out your left leg cloned out :rofl; I was wondering about that, ie how you got a "moving" shot.

    Just curious though, and I know this is noobie and realizing it's the photog, not the camera (mostly) ???, but what is your photo equipment? And your Milky Way shots, iso? exp? We don't have dark skies like that in the swamps, so mine are likely far different.

    Thanks again, and looking forward to the next one!

    John
  20. elywoody

    elywoody 2 wheel addict.

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    High Desert, California.
    I must have just missed you! Around the same time, I rode my GS to Big Pine, camped on Death Valley Road, then onto Bishop to switch bikes and climb Silver Canyon Road to White Mountain Peak. Awesome RR and pics! :clap
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]