California "Five Passes" Ride??

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by kwthom, May 23, 2019.

  1. kwthom

    kwthom Retiree apprentice - willing to learn

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    Appreciate all the info so far. I really have nothing planned at this point - just doing the research & reviving a long-decayed brain cell that had something about this. Oh, and, yeah, definitely would be on the list of rides that are good on weekdays. :super


    So, it would seem to me that if there'd been an 'organized' passes ride, it was (a) short-lived and (b) nothing in recent times. Fair enough.

    My thought was simply considering my next ride to NorCal, probably on the way back south, doing one (or, several...) passes as just another way to get home.
    #21
  2. BiggieFalls

    BiggieFalls b00b

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    Maybe this?

    #22
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  3. kwthom

    kwthom Retiree apprentice - willing to learn

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    Back in '11, my wife and I headed back on two wheels from a work trip (for her...) from Palo Alto. We spent the night in Sonora, before hitting both passing thru Yosemite and Sequoia on the way home...spent the next night near Delano (gawd...what a shit-hole!) simply because I was now avoiding the heat of the day. So, Walker Pass has been crossed off the list - though we didn't know it at the time. :lol3
    #23
  4. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I live on the western slope of Sonora Pass (108), so I've ridden them all. The only one I have a direction preference on is Tioga (120). I like to do it west to east for the views of the big valley just after the crest.

    Sonora Pass has a longer ride on the west side, which gives a long pleasant ride up the pass. It has a twisty steep section on the east, which gives a very short challenging climb (or descent).

    The other passes are great either way.

    So in summary, I'd go east on 120, west on 108, east on 4, 89/88 west. East on 50 would be another pass. There is also Hwy 80, but I don't recommend that, since you'd just be rubbing elbows with 18-wheelers and tourists.

    The connections along Hwy 49 and 395 are also pretty great, so skipping to the next pass would not be a disappointment. In particular, the section of Hwy 49 between Sonora and Mariposa (aka "Baby Dragon"). Also, Hwy 49 crosses a lot of rivers, so the switchbacks up and down those canyons are pretty challenging if you catch them with light traffic. 395 is more open like high desert, with long sweepers.
    #24
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  5. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Hwy 4 is a perfect supermoto run.
    Hwy 108 is very mixed. Everything from tight corners to sweepers.
    Hwy 120 is good for larger bikes.
    #25
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  6. kwthom

    kwthom Retiree apprentice - willing to learn

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    Yeah, been just perusing the thread, then going over to Google & looking at the maps.

    That *does* seem to be the issue with non-residents - just an overload of fun to be had along (many) of those roads. :lol3 :thumb
    #26
  7. shiryas

    shiryas Dragon with matches

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    I am planning a 16 day California trip in September, Colorado passes here can be awesome or a cluster with tourists, so thank you OP for this thread.

    image.jpg

    image.jpg
    #27
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  8. kwthom

    kwthom Retiree apprentice - willing to learn

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    Paper maps? :lol3

    Nice...and for this type of research, probably a better tool to use. :nod

    :ricky
    #28
  9. BiggieFalls

    BiggieFalls b00b

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    Staying in Pinecrest this weekend. Will probably ride Monitor, Ebbets, Sonora and Tioga on Sunday. Not ambitious enough to ride 5.
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  10. Bike Guy

    Bike Guy Been here awhile

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    YIKES, I hope you have a great ride. As I live in the area, this 4th of July holiday weekend really sucks riding any of the Passes. When I was younger and dumber my route for multiple 6 Pass riding, and starting in Sonora was:

    Tioga, Sonora, Ebbetts, Monitor, Luther, Carson
    #30
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  11. BiggieFalls

    BiggieFalls b00b

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    Thanks for the warning. I figured traffic was going to suck. Hoping it’s still worth it since I will be up there anyway visiting family and I don’t get many opportunities to ride in that area. Which day do you suspect would be a better day to attempt it, Saturday or Sunday?
    #31
  12. Bike Guy

    Bike Guy Been here awhile

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    Saturday
    #32
  13. BiggieFalls

    BiggieFalls b00b

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    Thanks. I’ll attempt it on Saturday then.
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  14. JimX

    JimX .. .

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    PSA:
    There will be closures on 7/13 for the Markleeville Death Ride (bicycles)
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  15. ericm

    ericm Long timer

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    They close Monitor (both sides) and Ebbets (the east side and the west side to Hermit Valley) for the Death Ride. The roads are closed from Markeeville and at the bottom of Monitor. The roads close at 4 or 5am and usually open around noon. There will still be riders on Ebbets and the road from Ebbets north to Markleeville then. Carson (the east side only) is also on the Death Ride. It's not closed to traffic but 88 from Woodfords to Carson pass will be crowded with bikes and cars trying to safely pass bikes during the afternoon. It starts getting crowded around 1 or 2pm and thins out in the late afternoon. There's generally a lot more traffic in the Markleeville area on that Friday and Saturday due to people driving too/from Markleeville.
    #35
  16. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish

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    It is way further South but Sherman Pass is a great ride. Best East to West from the 395 on Nine Mile Road four miles North of Personville. The section from Black Rock Information Center down to the Kern River is a steep long great twisty section. The whole pass roads are narrower then most of the others. Great camping around Kennedy Meadows.:-)
    #36
  17. MattLikeyBikey

    MattLikeyBikey Been here awhile

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    I'm interested if anybody wants to put a ride together. Where's a good place to stage if you want to truck up? Mammoth or lee vining maybe?
    #37
  18. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Ive done the Markleyville Death Ride twice,bases out of Markleyville and does all the passes in the local neighborhood. Up Monitor and down the backside then back up again,same on Carson the last year I rode it. Luther,Ebbets,Carson,Monitor.............brutality on a bicycle and also really fun and scenic. 17,400' of climbing last time I tried it,135 miles.
    #38
  19. ericm

    ericm Long timer

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    I did the Death Ride 12 times. I'm a slow learner sometimes.

    Those passes are beautiful and fun on bike or moto. Monitor is super awesome scenery and except during the Death Ride there's no one on the road. A few more cars on Ebbets but it's just as beautiful and more challenging to ride.
    #39
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  20. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    I remember coming down Luther pass on bicycle,with a black thunderhead descended on us blasting out hail and rain,sheets of water and sand flowing down the road,like an instant cold snap when that cloud nailed us. Riders were tank slapping down the hill they were so cold,lightning bashing around.
    Its a fun ride either way you look at it. Afternoon thunder storms are pretty common up there in summer.
    #40