California - The Adventure Republic

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by NSFW, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Bang a left onto the 190 and I made quick work of some minivans and Priuses? Prii? up to Father Crowley. Traffic had been fantastically light all day, so I was dismayed when there 2 cars already there. No worries, there's a short dirt road out to my private overlook.
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    From here it was some lonely 2-lane blacktop until Lone Pine. I think they've stopped flying the fancy jets around here for training missions after the F18 crash last year, but I did get a 2-ship C130 formation flyover along the way. A quick stop for gas and then I headed up the 395 to Big Pine, turned right onto the 168 and right again to White Mountain Road. This is a really entertaining stretch of asphalt! Eventually I climbed high enough that there were some views across the valley to what I think is the Palisades range of the Sierras.
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    A little further up the road and I stopped at the Bristlecone Pine Forest to meet my friend and his son. I'd always seen the sign for this along the 395 but this was the first time I headed up this way. Bristlecone Pines are the oldest living organisms on Earth, and the oldest known one is over 4,800 years old.
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    There was exploratory mining done up here in the late 1800's, the remnants of which still remain.
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    There's a mine shaft that's blocked enough to keep honest people out, but not blocked so much that a dishonest and determined mind would be prevented entry. So now you know what kind of person I am...
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    We only had the flashlight on my phone, so it was a creepy place to be. Would make a decent COVID bunker, I suppose.


    From here, we kept heading up the hill. The road turns to dirt and gravel for the last 16 miles or so, so I went ahead first since I can cover ground quicker than his pickup. The views are amazing above the treeline.
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    The road terminates at a locked gate which is the official trailhead to the peak of White Mountain, about 14,500 ft elevation. My friend and his son would climbing it the next day, but for tonight we pitched camp at a mere 11,700 ft.
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    We took our time getting camp put together, made a little dinner, and did some star gazing before calling it a night. The moon hadn't yet risen and no fires were allowed, and there's just not that much to do in the dark and cold but sleep.

    To be continued...
  2. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Like I said, my friend and his son were bagging the peak and woke up around 4am to get an early start. I don't have time for that nonsense, so I managed to sleep in until around 8:00am. I took my sweet time making some breakfast and walked around for some photos before packing up camp.
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    This was still a fun road on the way down.
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    Stopped at a pull off for some photos and to check on the rear tire. It was iffy before I left, and it's downright marginal at this point, so I'll be taking it easy the rest of the way down.
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    Back down the paved section and 168, I made some work of a few pickup trucks and some slower riders before dumping out on the 395 again. On my friend's suggestion, my next stop was Onion Valley. I don't know the full story with the place, but it's amazing to me that there's this ~15 mile paved and maintained road up into the mountains that appears to only service the campground at the top. The place was PACKED, but it might be one of the prettiest parking lots I've seen.
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    No parking anywhere, so I headed back down.
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    Really great views all around.
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    I'd suggest having fun on the way up and taking your time on the way down - your brakes will thank you!


    It was about lunch time and fuel was starting to run a little low, but I was feeling frustrated by the crowds in Independence, Lone Pine, and even Olancha. Lines at the gas pumps, and too many people mulling around just waiting to blast COVID in my face, so I kept rolling until Coso Junction. Not a great food option, but at least the place wasn't overrun with people.

    From here I had considered running up and over Kennedy Meadows and Sherman Pass, or perhaps taking 178 through Walker Pass, Lake Isabella and Kern Canyon, but these were all places I'd been before. The lack of sleep, the non-lack of traffic and the heat were wearing me thin, so this is where this little adventure comes to a close. I punched home into the GPS and suffered through 2 1/2 hours of hot air and traffic, only getting a slight reprieve in the temps once I got closer to the coast.

    All in all, a good little getaway.
  3. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer Supporter

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    Did you climb into that tiny little opening behind the gate up the hill above that cabin at near the other cabin?

    I have been there a few times. Love the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Never did get into the only sort of accessible portal I saw.
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  4. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    I think that's the one - it was mostly blocked by a pile of rocks and some welded together rebar and small I-beams, but there's a big enough hole to squeeze through on the right. Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date :lol3

    Oh, and definitely have a light source. As you walk in, there are 2 dead-end shafts to either side that only go in about 10 feet. Looking straight ahead it appeared to go quite a ways, but a lot of the timbers look to have collapsed. However, before that, there is a shaft in the floor going down that you wouldn't want to fall into. You wouldn't plummet to your death - you can see the bottom, and it appears to loop under the way you walk in, but it'd be no fun nonetheless.
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  5. ntsqd

    ntsqd I get a title?

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    Barcroft Station has an open house once a year (usually) where the gate just beyond your camp spot is open for the day. The station is at 12,470' and they used to do a 'real' open house, now it's just a 'gate open' day. MTB'ers like to ride to the peak of White Mtn, and then bomb it back down. Met one guy last year who left his truck in Bishop and was headed down Silver Cyn Rd. to get back to it. :loco
    The road from the gate to the station has been rougher than anywhere else on that route all 3 times that I've been there. This is the station in 2016:
    [​IMG]

    To the best of my knowledge Barcroft is the highest location in KA that you can drive or ride to.
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  6. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer Supporter

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    Pretty sure that loop underneath is going to run to the caved in drifts down by the other cabins.

    That was a tight spot to squeeze into.

    I have a pic of the gate but keep getting an error when uploading pics.
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  7. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    @ntsqd - This site lists the summit as the highest in California, but I doubt it's ever open to the public to drive on. With that, I think you're right about Barcroft being the highest in the state that a regular Joe could drive.

    Even at the gate, it was pretty wild to be at almost 12k feet and it was just a wide open plateau for the most part. It's not like the drive up was a steep climb the whole way. This was probably the 3rd highest I've been, being barely edged out by Rocky Mountain NP, and handily beat by Mauna Kea at nearly 14k ft.
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  8. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer Supporter

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    As the highest paved road in North America, Mount Evans Road rises to a height of 14,130 feet above sea level.

    In Colorado.

    Finally, been trying to upload this pic since earlier posts.

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  9. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

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    Nice ride!!! I once did the mountain bike ride from Patriarch Grove up to the peak of White Mountain...I’ll just say the air was thin, but the views up there are spectacular!!!!

    Final road to summit:
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    Looking down from the summit:
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    Summit!
    [​IMG]
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  10. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    @Chillis - That's the one - tight fit!

    @isaac004 - I saw on Alltrails that MTBs were allowed - I'm thinking that's how I'll tackle this one if I do it!
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  11. ntsqd

    ntsqd I get a title?

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    Something to consider, having done it now twice, is an "Elevations Extremes" trip all within KA. You can do it mostly on dirt, too.
  12. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    That is a great ride up to the Bristle Cone Trees. A hazard to be aware of are the sharp flat rocks. At just the right speed, your front tire can kick up one of these sharp rocks, turn it on its side and then slice your rear tire beyond repair. I've seen it happen so keeping your speed down is best as this can happen to any two or four wheel vehicle.

    Silver Canyon Road and Wyman Creek Road run east/west and are worth the ride if you like a bit more difficulty. Several water crossings on both and this time of year it will be very hot at the bottom of each road. White Mountain Road is adventure bike friendly but street bikes could have difficulty. I have seen a Prius drive to the end of White Mountain Road.
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  13. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    There was a Prius at the top when I got there. And you are correct about the rocks - you can't just plow ahead with abandon, you have to keep and eye out and pick a decent line. My friend had gotten 2 flats on his Tacoma the last time he did that road, so he takes it a little easier there than other gravel roads.
  14. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer Supporter

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    I don't think a Prius could do Silver Canyon up or down. Drive through from 168, yes.

    Those dips I would imagine would high center a low to the ground vehicle.
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  15. ntsqd

    ntsqd I get a title?

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    As a Prius owning Enginerd coworker put it to me "If you owned a POS like that would you care where you drove it?" That comment of his was prompted by my telling him of seeing one at the Geologist's Cabin in Stripped Butte Valley. I'm no longer surprised by where people drive them.
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  16. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Holy cow, a car at Stripped Butte is pretty impressive. The road coming in from the east is not at all technical, but it's quite long and pretty rough due to the size of the rocks used for "gravel". It's almost like bad washboard. A Prius might get there and back, but I can't imagine it will be the same when it's all said and done!
  17. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

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    not the same? once a POS.. always a POS. Besides, the driver will still have the a-hole mentality we've all come to love on the fwys.

    go ahead.. ask me how I feel about them. :y0!
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  18. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Do you have some of link for this? I'm not finding anything for it...
  19. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer Supporter

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    I saw a Prius doing Titus Canyon once.

    I wouldn't do it, but they were there. Funny because there were a bunch of big trucks going slow as snails. I think the Prius was traveling at the same pace but much further down than the trucks.
  20. ntsqd

    ntsqd I get a title?

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    AllSeason, there is no link that I know of. The likelihood that someone did it before me is high, but to my knowledge we did it first in 2016. Badwater (-281') to Barcroft Station (+12,470') without pavement. Or at least as little pavement as is reasonable. I have not done it on a Moto, only in a 4x4. A small part of a much longer route that I've been working on for years. Sort of a mini TAT or a KA-BCDR kind of thing, but on my own. I want to run it, don't know what I'm going to do with "it" after that.

    It was an M5 with KA Distributor plates on it that we spotted at Leadville in our first traverse of Titus Cyn. DV is good for that, cars taken where they don't belong. I'm sure that it drives the Rangers nuts.
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