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Exploring California - Journey of a Noob

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by KennyBooBear, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. CrashTestGenius

    CrashTestGenius Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2019
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Enjoying this thread. I really need to explore the Sierras more.

    Leesville Rd. Is something else isn’t it? That valley is beautiful to look down upon. Very distinct topography that’s instantly recognizable in Google Maps.

    Keep the reports coming.
    #61
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  2. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Grass Valley
    Leesville Rd really is an amazing hidden gem. We both had a blast on that ribbon of pavement - and the views especially with the visibility that day, were just incredible considering the relatively low altitude.

    I'll have a little blurb later on today about some fun I had this weekend exploring the Yuba Gold Fields.

    I ended up not getting much of a ride in as the offer became official and ultimately, we'll be moving to San Diego in a few weeks. Needless to say, the next few weeks will probably not have much riding going on.

    Bright side is, I spoke to the better half and as she's going to take over my daily driver, I'm going to be upgrading to another bike soon. I'll also be keeping the Himalayan of course.

    Also this Sunday a buddy had an issue with a water heater in his home and quickly had to clean a closet out of it's things, including a brand new Shoei Neotec II Helmet. He said he had tried it on once as it was a gift and it didn't fit him quite right. Was a perfect fit for me and a 6 back of beer later, I was driving home with it. Took out the bike for lunch yesterday and hot damn.... huge improvement over my beloved HJC CL-17.
    #62
  3. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Grass Valley
    Gonna do a little ride report tonight on what will probably be my last NorCal ride in the immediate future since we move to Carlsbad in 8 days but... Before I do that, I'd like to announce that I have a new co-star that's going to be in more and more of these rides.

    IMG_20200219_183834.jpg

    But don't worry, I didn't sell the Himalayan
    #63
  4. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,090
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    Saaaaweeeet lookin!!
    #64
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  5. CapnKrusty

    CapnKrusty Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2019
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    A-town, CA
    I went from the HJC to the Neotec II last summer, it was a night and day difference. Good score! Enjoy Carlsbad, it's nice down there.
    #65
    KennyBooBear likes this.
  6. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    It really is. More than happy to have it - my friend definitely hooked me up. It's superior in every way to the CL-17 although I reckon it better be given the price tag haha
    #66
  7. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Grass Valley
    Two weekends ago, having just received a job offer that would have me move some 500 miles away, I decided to head out to the Yuba Goldfields and see what they were all about.

    Historically, the Yuba Goldfields are little more than the remains of a huge dredging operation in the Yuba River just outside of Yuba City, CA. Nowadays, it's been turned into a BLM OHV Recreation area. People flock to it with dirt bikes, quads and UTVs to play in the deep sands, loose gravel, and climb the numerous steep, rocky mounds dotting the landscape.

    From the sky, the area looks like a perfect playground for anything made to go off pavement. I normally stay clear of places like this as I'd rather explore somewhere sans people, but I figured given the lack of time remaining for me in Northern California, I might as well give it a go.

    Capture.JPG

    The roads in the area can only be described as a poorly paved mess of whoops, huge holes, mud, and patches of older pavement. You find yourself riding at 40 or 50mph only to quickly run up on a series of whoops and 21" wheel swallowing holes, forcing you to get hard on the brakes and prepare yourself for some degree of liftoff. I don't think I've ever had the Himalayan in the air as often as I did in this short afternoon trip. I stopped early on to get a photo.

    DSC_0121-2.jpg

    I quickly made my way to the opposite end of the Goldfields to the remnants of "Hammonton," though it was previously known as Dredgertown for obvious reasons. It largely ceased to exist by the 1950s and few buildings remain today. Still, it served as a cool place to stop for a snack and a photo.

    DSC_0123-2.jpg

    DSC_0125-2.jpg

    I flipped the bike around and proceeded to try my luck at some of the hill climbs. While the Himalayan has the torque needed to get to the top, I lack the skill and confidence to go up and down consistently. I hammered my way to the top of the first mound I came across and after quickly rising 70 or 80 foot on what felt like a 45 degree (or more) slope, reached the top and paused to collect myself before descending.

    This as it turns out, was a mistake. At the top, I got slightly cold feet after looking down the other end and after a few moments of trying, realized I had no chance of turning the bike around (this effort also quickly tired me and left me drenched in sweat). This was by far the steepest continual grade I had climbed to date and going down was just as bad, if not worse. That didn't concern me as much as the very loose, quicksand-like gravel/sand mixture I was on top of that was continually trying to eat my motorcycle. I feared having the front end sink in on the way down causing me to wash out and go down said steep grade on my back or worse.

    After a good bit of thought, I finally worked up the courage (It's entirely possible I said something along the lines of "C'mon Ken, don't be a *redacted*" to myself) and committed to the line, trying to focus less on my concern of the bad and more on the skills I had learned over the last few months. To my elation, said skills brought me all the way to the bottom without issue - prompting me to immediately want to climb and descend more of these mounds. After a few more I legged it toward the Yuba River, popped out my chair and enjoyed the weather for about 30 minutes before heading home.

    DSC_0127-2.jpg

    Admittedly, in the melee of it all (and possibly due to me sweating my ass off and simply not thinking about it) I forgot to get any photos on or near said mounds, but to give some idea of what the area is like - here is a video on YouTube I found of the area and the sort of mounds in question. Watching this after the fact makes me question my sanity at the time, but oh well haha



    As I relaxed by the Yuba, a large Egret came to fish beside me. Was entertaining watching him pick off minnows and such. Shortly thereafter, I packed up and headed home having thoroughly beaten the Himalayan into submission. Amazingly, the bike's frame has yet to be cleft in twain.

    DSC_0151-2.jpg

    There may be one last report coming from NorCal - but moving forward the future reports will be coming at you from the San Diego area.

    Me thinks I need to rename this thread.
    #67
  8. 03rubicon

    03rubicon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    244
    You just added to my bucket list....
    #68
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  9. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    That there is the sole purpose of sharing my rides. Glad you enjoyed!
    #69
  10. ADK

    ADK eponymous

    Joined:
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    cleft in twain :confused
    #70
  11. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Subtle jab at those who insist the Himalayan's frame is weak etc. I beat the piss out of it and it's remained perfectly intact - but I also regularly go over my bike/clean it/maintain it. Shocker!
    #71
  12. keithg

    keithg Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
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    329
    Location:
    PRESCOTT VALLEY AZ
    EXCELLENT REPORT!
    Keep it up!
    #72
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  13. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Jun 15, 2019
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    Grass Valley
    Thanks! We're settled down in San Diego now so gonna try to ride over Palomar this weekend. Should have a report up soon!
    #73
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  14. GutsyGibbon

    GutsyGibbon Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    San Diego
    Tomorrow (Saturday) I am planning to ride up to Palomar as well. I will be starting from Rancho Bernardo. I will be on a silver NC700x. Hopefully it will not rain.
    #74
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  15. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Well, it's week 2 here in SoCal for us and apart from when we moved in, it's been raining darn near non stop. We need it so I can't complain, but I'm really itching to go explore some places on the bike.

    Even if it's only a light rain, I may force myself out and about this weekend but we'll see. One more week of this in the forecast and finally by the end of the month the weather is supposed to turn rather Spring like. Fingers crossed!
    #75
  16. GutsyGibbon

    GutsyGibbon Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    San Diego
    After the first couple rains, I usually head out to Borrego springs to see the spring bloom. You may already know about this, but if you head out early in the morning, you can beat the crowd and feel great amidst the bloom.
    #76
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  17. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH (RETIRED!)

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
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    Location:
    CARLSBAD, CA, USA
    Oh boy, have we got some roads for you! Some of them unpaved even...

    Next time you ride Pally (Palomar Mtn,) ride Nate Harrison Grade...
    #77
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  18. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Jun 15, 2019
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    Location:
    Grass Valley
    Finally ready to make my first report from Southern California! But before I do....

    Here's a little teaser.

    IMG_20200321_102050.jpg

    More to come tomorrow
    #78
  19. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    607
    Location:
    Langley,B C
    You might want to get the San Diego back country map, by Tom Harrison. Anza Borrego state park.
    #79
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  20. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

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    Jun 15, 2019
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    Location:
    Grass Valley
    All right, so after a small hiatus due to moving and the world drinking too much Corona, I'm back with a story in tow!

    Since our relocation to Southern California, I've been eyeing a number of nearby places to explore; trails and places that are both on and off road. For this particular one, I simply wanted to get out and see the sights over Palomar Mountain and down toward Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The latter also happens to be the largest state park in CA, with a huge network of desert tracks and trails awaiting exploration. But that'll be for the next trip.

    I decided to head out on the SMT as I was intent on riding the twisties, and after a bit of morning prep, a delicious breakfast cooked up by my bride, and after ensuring the fuel tank on the KTM was topped up I rode into the Pala Indian Reservation. As I continued on toward Pauma Valley, I couldn't resist the urge to stop and take in the sights.

    IMG_20200321_102050.jpg

    Not long after, I took the turn off onto South Grade Rd. The speed limit is 30 and the tarmac is crap, but with the whole pandemic thing, the roads were fairly clear and I admittedly had more spirited fun than I probably deserved. From 4000ft and above, I was in the clouds and there was a surprising amount of snow covering the ground once I reached the top; I quickly realized there'd be no views to take in from up here.

    IMG_20200321_104935.jpg

    While at the summit, I saw a couple of guys on bikes that looked strangely familiar, but more on that later.

    After a Clif bar and taking a few swigs of water, I got back up on the steed and began carving down East Grade Rd. toward Anza-Borrego. This proved far more entertaining than South Grade as the road was far less tightly wound and the tarmac was superior. A few miles down and I had reached those same familiar looking bikes.

    We rode in tandem a few more miles, before collectively turning off at the Lake Henshaw Vista Point. I snapped a few photos and we got to talking. As it turned out, I had seen these gentlemen earlier in the morning at the fuel station where I filled up.

    IMG_20200321_112552.jpg

    We chatted a bit and then headed off on our own respective paths, but not before exchanging info.

    I rode a down to the bottom and back onto 76. A few miles down the road you turn off past Lake Henshaw and onto 79 for a few short miles before turning off onto San Felipe Road and shortly thereafter onto Montezuma Valley Road.

    I stopped one last time before carving down into the Valley and met a couple of middle aged gents on larger adventure bikes. After talking and admiring each other's machines, we all headed out toward Anza-Borrego.

    IMG_20200321_122005.jpg

    On the way down I didn't stop, as I was stuck behind a large amount of traffic the whole way. I figured I'd get to the bottom, chill out a bit and then head back up, strategically planning my departure around a lapse in traffic. This proved smart as on the way back I didn't have anyone in front of me until I had nearly reached 79 some 23 miles later.

    Still, before that I took a few photos out on the desert floor.

    IMG_20200321_125232.jpg

    I got back on the road and made short work of the twisty, tight road back to the top and damn was it blissful. I stopped again toward the top for a final view going back.

    IMG_20200321_130458.jpg

    IMG_20200321_130622.jpg

    The wildflowers are really starting to pop after all the rain we just received.

    IMG_20200321_130601.jpg

    After texting the wife, lunch was soon to be made so I mad dashed my way home. I stopped two more times on the way back - once in front of Lake Henshaw and again in the huge Orange Orchards over in Pauma Valley.

    IMG_20200321_133452.jpg

    IMG_20200321_135854.jpg

    Thanks for turning in. I normally put my photos through Lightroom but this time around I just wanted to get a post in - and it looks like the new camera phone is doing a pretty splendid job. Might be able to start leaving the SLR at home for my rides

    Cheers all and happy trails.
    #80