1. eNewsletter Sign Up

For West is where we all plan to go some day

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Jedi5150, May 20, 2019.

  1. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    The Sierra: 2019 (part 3)



    We continued south through Sequoia NP, until finally finishing the Generals Highway, and dumping back out into the Central Valley, near Porterville. From there, we went east, back up into the Sierra on Hwy 190. This was the start of the Sherman Pass, which was particularly fun for me since it is the only (motorable) pass that crosses the Sierra Nevada mountain range that I had never been on. We stopped along the first ridge-line we came to for dinner at the Ponderosa Lodge, which is on the M90 road. The lodge is a big log-cabin type affair, and the food was good. I had a massive chili-dog. From there, we descended down the back side of the ridge, deeper into the mountains. We made camp for the first night along the Kern River, at the Fairview Campground.


    From our campsite, looking north.


    [​IMG]


    The Kern River, right behind our site.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    We got an early start the next morning.


    [​IMG]


    Sherman Pass continued...
    Kerri Lee Smith and BigDogRaven like this.
  2. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    The Sierra: 2019 (part 4)


    When we left Fairview campground the next morning, we backtracked north along the Kern River for a few miles until we hit the Sherman Pass Rd., and headed west. Sherman Pass RD. starts off arid and steep, as you climb up the southern side of the range. As we got close to the summit, we passed through more and more stands of pines, before cresting the pass and having a magnificent view of the Kern Plateau.


    [​IMG]


    As with previous rides, Brent brought his drone, and got some outstanding shots, which he was kind enough to let me borrow for this ride report. I'll give him credit for his photos (which are excellent), by putting his name after them. This next shot from the drone is looking south, in the direction we'd just come from. The Kern River runs through the valley on the far right of the picture, just above center.


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    And looking west...


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    This next photo of us is looking north, across the Kern Plateau.


    [​IMG]


    Brent, flying his drone.


    [​IMG]


    I took this next photo using my tripod and timed exposure, but if you look close, you'll notice Brent's drone right next to me.


    [​IMG]


    Continued...
  3. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    The Sierra: 2019 (Part 5)


    Sherman Pass was a road well worth taking. I'm glad I finally added it to my list of roads I'd crossed the mountain range on. Great twisty roads, well paved (but with a bit of gravel on the road in spots), through scenic mountain country. As we descended down the eastern side of the Sierra, the road became more arid again, as we passed through Kennedy Meadows (Not to be confused with the Kennedy Meadows on the Sonora Pass).


    Our next top was the town of Lone Pine, on the 395. We spent some time cooling off and cleaning up at that Eastern Sierra Visitor Center, after which we rode up Whitney Portal Rd. We took the road up the huge switchbacks, leaving the valley floor at roughly 4,000' and in no time, climbing up to 8,000' at the base of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental 48 states. We relaxed for a bit, and snapped some photos. Brent took this next shot of some waterfalls using a tripod and neutral density filter, which was necessary for the bright, sunny day.


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    He also took this shot of me, trying to capture the same scene, without good results...


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    The photographer, at his trade.


    [​IMG]


    And Brent trying not to cross some precarious rocks without offering thousands of dollars of gear to the river gods.


    [​IMG]


    The top of Whitney Portal Rd. sits in a bowl of sheer granite cliffs on all sides. It's difficult to describe how impressive it is to look up in every direction (except directly east) and be surrounded by granite walls. Photos don't really do it justice.


    [​IMG]


    I rode ahead of the group coming down Whitney Portal Rd., so I could get a shot of them passing in formation. In this next shot, Mt. Whitney, in all 14,505' of its' glory, is sitting just left of center. It's the peak with the two skinny jagged peaks just to the left of it.


    [​IMG]


    And while I waited for them to arrive, I got a shot of my bike, Freyja, with the Owens Valley in the distance.


    [​IMG]


    The guys riding east, heading for the Alabama Hills, with the town of Lone Pine, and the Owens Valley in the background.


    [​IMG]


    Continued...
  4. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    The Sierra: 2019 (part 6)



    Coming down Whitney Portal Rd., we decided to add a detour to our trip, by riding the 10 miles (each way) to Horseshoe Meadows. The switchbacks on Horseshoe Meadows Rd. are even more impressive than those on Whitney Portal Rd. If you have a fear of heights, skip this road. It has almost no guard rails, and the series of switchbacks take you from near Lone Pine, up to the meadows, which are at roughly 10,000'. It is a surreal feeling looking out more than a vertical mile above Owens Valley, as you're riding up the narrow road.


    Freyja, with Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills, below. The Alabama Hills, interesting in and of themselves, have been the site of countless movie and TV shows over the years. The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, and How the West Was Won were al filmed there. It even stood in for India in the classic, "Gunga Din".


    [​IMG]


    An almost candid shot of Tall Dan, in Horseshoe Meadows.


    [​IMG]


    Being the end of August, the Horseshoe Meadows were quite dry, as you can see in this next shot of Adventure Gibbon, with Brent in the background.


    [​IMG]


    It was comical, the meadows (which two of us had been to before) seemed quite unimpressive, given their dry state. I didn't even feel like taking photos. It wasn't until long after we left that Brent showed us some shots he'd gotten, and I literally laughed out loud. I couldn't believe that all four of us had gone to the exact same place, and three of us saw some dry, "ho-hum" scenery, and Brent saw a lush, beautiful meadow. It was a good lesson that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    The Dans, leaving Horseshoe Meadows, headed back to start down the switchbacks.


    [​IMG]


    Brent snapped this shot of me, taking a shot of them...


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    (Edited to add: I forgot to add an incredible photo Brent took of me on the way back from Horseshoe Meadows. It is now my computer wallpaper. Hahaha):


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    A turnout at the top of the switchbacks.


    [​IMG]


    Looking east, out over the Owens Valley. In the distance would be Panamint Valley, followed by Death Valley.


    [​IMG]
  5. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    The Sierra: 2019 (Part7)



    That night we made camp at Baker Creek Campground, just north of the town of Big Pine, along 395. Our site had a babbling brook running behind it, and a great view across the Owens Valley, towards the White Mountains.


    [​IMG]


    My home away from home, a Hilleberg Nammatj 2 tent.


    [​IMG]


    Evening light over the Owens Valley, with the White Mountains in the distance.


    [​IMG]


    The next morning, we made our way east on Hwy 168, and then north on White Mountain Rd. Our goal was the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. I was excited... I'd ridden and driven past the White Mountains many times, but never gone there. Unless I'm mistaken, the highest motor-able road in the state of California, is White Mountain Rd. As we climbed in to the Whites, we had an amazing view out across the Owens Valley, to the Sierra Nevada.


    [​IMG]


    Brent hamming it up for a photo...


    [​IMG]


    And he took a similar one of me.


    [​IMG]


    White Mountains continued...
  6. BigDogRaven

    BigDogRaven Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    NorCal
    Nice! I have done some of those roads, but passed by others. Sherman Pass I have done, Mt Whitney both roads there look like my kinda roads. 190 is fantastic. I heard it called the 'Mighty One Ninety". Another good one W of Kernville is 155. Great shots by Brent!
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  7. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    The Sierra: 2019 (Part 8)



    White Mountain Road did not disappoint. In this next shot, you'll see that halfway up this valley, the road turned to dirt. Right where the pavement ends, you can pull right into a small valley where the visitors center/ museum is for the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. This photo was taken at roughly 10,000' elevation.


    [​IMG]


    Brent and Dan decided to do a bit of hiking in the bristlecone pines, while Tall Dan and I continued for a few miles up the dirt portion of White Mountain Rd. We did a bit of exploring on the dirt, and I decided a fire road looked interesting. Halfway up the "road", I realized it was far steeper than it had looked from the bottom, had long sections of deep sand and gravel, and was simply WAY beyond my skill level. Especially considering I have poor dirt riding skills, was on a big pig of a bike (sorry Freyja, I mean, "big boned" :lol3), and had street tires. The question then becomes, "what to do?" The road was far too steep to stop and turn around on, so there was really only one choice... open the throttle and hold on. I was genuinely shocked when I made it to the top without dumping the bike or sailing over the handlebars. It was the first honest to goodness adrenaline rush I've had in a long time. Tall Dan, who watched from below, and then follow on his KTM, said I had a rooster tail behind my bike most of the way up. He was likewise surprised that I'd made it up. We both made our way back down to the "good" dirt road (down was hairy as well, although we took a different route), and congratulated ourselves on not dropping our bikes. We took a celebratory photo looking out over the Owens Valley. It probably sounds silly to all of the experienced dirt riders on this forum, but we were genuinely impressed with ourselves. And it was a lot of fun, as well as confidence boosting.


    [​IMG]


    Exploring dirt roads, high up in the White Mountains.


    [​IMG]


    Back at the museum, we couldn't find Dan and Brent, so we decided to go on a short hike of our own. This is looking down on the roof of the visitor's center.


    [​IMG]


    And the namesake of the park, and ancient bristlecone pine. A bit of trivia, bristlecone pines are the oldest living organisms on the planet. Some of these trees have been dated to over 5,000 years old.


    [​IMG]


    Brent took too many outstanding shots to choose from, so I'll just include a couple...


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    [​IMG]
    (Brent)


    After leaving the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, we made out way back out to the 395, and headed north.


    Continued...
  8. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    Thanks BDR! It's true, the 190 was awesome. I'll have to check out the 155, thanks for the head's up. And I'll pass along your compliments to Brent. :clap
    Kerri Lee Smith likes this.
  9. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    West Central Indiana
    Great thread!
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  10. runem

    runem n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    I really enjoyed your stories and photos. So many great places.
    You all seem like a great team. Keep the stories coming!
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  11. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    Thanks Gents! I'm glad you are enjoying it. For sure it will keep coming. I'm only halfway through this recent ride report, and I have one other to add as well. :)
  12. Kerri Lee Smith

    Kerri Lee Smith n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2019
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Looking forward to seeing more pictures from this trip!
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  13. TFC

    TFC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Laguna Niguel, CA
    Enjoyed this thread very much. Great job!
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  14. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,229
    Location:
    Seattle
    Hey crazy Jedi! Thanks so much for this thread, spent too much time at work yesterday reading and reminiscing about my rides to many of the places you're exploring. As a former Californian and current Seattleite, I must say the West is indeed the best. I'm researching routes for a late spring 2020 ride and came across your travels here. Hoping you'll keep this thread alive, and if you're ever in Seattle again I'm happy to show you the good rides and roads you might have missed.
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  15. Trip Hammer

    Trip Hammer It's not the years, it's the mileage Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,229
    Location:
    Seattle

    Almost forgot, Jedi. If you find yourself in Seattle towards the end of April, Starbuck herself participates in an annual charity ride (yes, she rides :clap) that benefits PNW Humane Society. She's a sweetheart, I tell ya.

    https://www.tulipride.org/


    [​IMG]
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  16. ysrebob

    ysrebob yessiree, Bob.

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    170
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia USA
    Wow Jedi, thank you for taking the time to put this thread together! Incredible places; really enjoyed travelling vicariously through your photos.
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  17. steveaikens

    steveaikens Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Clovis, NM
    This was not me...

    Good ride report. Surprised I hadn't seen it before now.
    Jedi5150 likes this.
  18. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    829
    Location:
    Central California
    Thanks Steve and Bob! Glad you enjoyed it!