Plumas BDR

Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - West & PNW' started by Countdown, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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  2. Ltrip

    Ltrip Adventurer

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    Jerry, What sections are best for big adventure bikes?
    Or, stated differently, what sections should a big adventure bike avoid?
    Thanks,
    #2
  3. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Read the book, it is almost all SUV. I assume a good rider could ride it all. Nothing to even think about on a 525 out there by myself.
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  4. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Just realized the Plumas BDR connects to the Lassen BDR.

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  5. joefromsf

    joefromsf Dark Happens Supporter

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    Hey Jerry,

    I'm planning to do the Plumas Backcountry Discovery Trail in a couple of weeks. We will be on 650 and smaller dual sports, but loaded with camping gear. I've got the book and two sections concern me based on the descriptions.

    • The climb out of Poker Flat in the optional start.
    • Section 4, the 30 mile route the eventually drops down to Quincy.
    Any comments/feedback on these sections welcome. Note that a common point of reference between us could be making comparisons to roads in Death Valley.



    Thanks.
    #5
  6. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    If you look at time stamps on my tracks you can see how fast I was going which is best indicator of how hard a section is. Just updated file to add waypoints, forgot to copy them form PCQ.

    Bad news, I didn't start at Poker Flat. I cut in right at the Warming Hut. Please send me your tracks of the start to add to my file. Yes the section into Quincy was probably the only piece where you were not just on auto-pilot but no problem on any 650 by far the most fun and best views of the ride.

    It was all really fun on 525, just a little more work on 650 (easy on DR, harder on KLR). Be prepared for sore shoulders on section north of Hwy 70, twistist slick damn road I have ever been on. I found big shortcut across that big loop. I am heading out Wednesday to GPS it and then keep going north scouting more fun PCQ.
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  7. joefromsf

    joefromsf Dark Happens Supporter

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    Actually, I was thinking of starting at Gibsonville, pretty close to where you started. Reason being is that I've seen some discussion on ADV that make the climb out of Poker Flat towards La Porte sound pretty challenging. Was thinking I'd save it for a ride without camping gear.

    Thanks for your tracks and info. I've created waypoints for all the DPs (Discovery Points) listed in the book. I'll post it up with my tracks when I'm done.

    One question about one of your waypoints. The waypoint icon for Harrison Flat is a water spigot. Is there potable water there? Its not even listed as a campground on the PNF website or map.
    #7
  8. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Learned from an old friend years ago, "all I carry is a credit card"!

    No just a wet meadow, looks like people were camping there.
    #8
  9. FishDiver

    FishDiver Adventurer

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    I realize this thread is a few years old. I am planning to ride my approximation of the route found in the PDF file. I noticed the data in your GPX file states that it took you 30 hours to ride the 156 mile route. Does that seem accurate, averaging 5-6 MPH for the entire route? Or does the GPS device count hours the bike is not moving in the total elapsed trip time?
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  10. Panders

    Panders Been here awhile

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    Way too late to be of help to you but I am replying in case it's useful to future riders.

    In short, avoid the Poker Flat section unless:
    1. You are on a bike capable of serious offroad
    2. You have dirt riding skills that would qualify as "advanced" at least
    Big ADV bikes or those carrying camp gear should not go unless you are Chris Birch or Graham Jarvis competitors and you are up for a challenge, or you bring a bike winch and plan to use it continuously for 2 solid miles. Srsly.

    My story:
    My dad and I headed out on the Plumas BDT a couple weeks ago. I have been riding street daily for 20+ years and got into dual sport/adventure a few years ago. My dad has been riding dual sport his whole life. We are not novices and have previously done the ORBDR, WABDR, and others including all the challenging sections without a single mishap, backtrack, or going down once. I was on a Husky 701 Enduro, he a Kawasaki KLX250, both loaded with camping gear. We headed into Poker Flat from Downieville on a Wednesday. The last 1.5 miles is very steep, dropping ~1500ft of elevation in that distance. Lots of really rocky sections. The last 1/4mile is extremely rough, loose, and steep. We got to the bottom, crossed the river, rested a bit, and scoped the first 100yard climb out towards La Porte.

    There are a bunch of Youtube videos of the climb out of Poker Flat, but they all show only the first section and all of them are at least a couple years old. What we found was worse than expected, incredibly steep and there was no dirt whatsoever like you see in the Youtube videos. It's now a big rock field, all loose and shifting with ledges and very steep. My dad tried first and ended up going down hard. He walked away very sore and with a badly bruised leg, and his bike with bent bars and a snapped brake lever. It was late and he was pretty hurt so we decided to camp the night. There is a very nice river full of trout at Poker Flat and a great campground with tables, fire pits, and a fly potty.

    The next morning we scoped the first 1/4mile of the trail more. What we found was the discouraging. Turns out the first section you find on Youtube isn't all of it or even the worst. We should have headed out the way we came in but I was determined not to as it would have meant a long highway detour to La Porte, plus missing some interesting sites.

    In short, we unloaded our bikes and spent all day manually carrying our gear up sections then wrestling our bikes through the section. It was over 90F all day and mosquitoes were thick. We would get past a section and assume it would level out after that, then we'd round the corner and see there was more. We were idiots and finally figured out late in the day that the unmaintained, steep part of the road goes on for nearly two miles, climbing almost 2000ft over that distance. It is seriously steep and very technical. We only made 1.6 miles of progress all day and ended up camping next to the road.

    The next day we were so sore and exhausted we could barely ride and we still had some extremely challenging terrain to cross. We made the call to hike the ~14 miles out to La Porte for help. On the hike the road was littered with remnants of other poor souls: sheared Jeep hubs, snapped winch cables still around trees, chunks from side-by-side and ATV undercarriages, dirt bike kickstands and chain links, snapped suspension linkages, etc. We saw firepits in places you wouldn't camp unless you were stuck and found desperate messages scrawled on logs and trees, such as "Rich, couldn't find you, going home. Hope you are OK." We had no cell service with Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint, and we heard nobody while scanning or broadcasting on two-way radios. We saw absolutely nobody. It's seriously rugged and remote in there.

    We went about five miles before we ran into a trio of gold miners who helped us get out. One of them was an ex-enduro racer and had the skill and strength to ride both bikes out for us. He said it was a serious struggle in multiple places. They had a heavily built Jeep that carried us and our gear out. Nicest guys in the world.

    While helping us they told us stories of other poor saps who had also gotten in over their heads and had been rescued by them and others, most in stock 4x4s. They told us stories of experienced buddies in built 4x4s getting stuck/stranded on that road for various reasons or rolling ATVs trying to climb out. They said the road gets worse every year after spring runoff and this year had made it practically impassible after the extremely heavy snowfall during the winter.

    I always try to scout our rides beforehand by reading ride reports and looking for youtube videos. Usually I have a good idea of conditions and the challenging sections. Even though I did that here, Poker Flat caught us totally off guard. Once there, we made some bad calls and learned some hard lessons. When we started descending terrain I knew would be a struggle to get up, we should have stopped and gone back. Once we got to Poker Flat, we should have scoped the road to La Porte better/further to know what we were up against, and I should have been more willing to backtrack to Downieville (still a very challenging ascent) to avoid it. Hopefully this post helps someone else avoid the same mistakes.
    #10
  11. Smackit

    Smackit Life Is Good Supporter

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    As far as I know (hoping I'm wrong), the only place to cross Canyon Creek is at Poker Flat. I've never been able to find a way between the North end of New Bullards Bar Reservoir and South of Poker Flat. There are several roads that show up on Garmin Topo and the OSM maps, but I can't see anywhere to get across the river other than Poker Flat.

    The climbs going in and out of Poker Flat are pretty insane. Once you get down to the river, it can be hell climbing out. I've only done it twice, the last time was a week ago in October 2019. Both times I've done it, I've been traveling from the east going west, (Poker to Howland). I was on my 2007 WR450 with a Rekluse clutch, it's one of those times the Rekluse really does make the difference. The trail is very rocky with no good lines, you have to keep momentum above 7-10mph, or it's all over. I would never do it on my KTM1190, but I'm sure someone like Chris Birch would find it fun.
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  12. Panders

    Panders Been here awhile

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    According to the gold miners and the forest service person we spoke with who was stationed at Saddleback Lookout, Poker Flat is definitely the only way to cross Canyon Creek. The only other way is to go back to highway 49 at Downieville, head West to Quincy La Porte Rd, and take it to La Porte. That's 1.5hrs of highway.
    #12
  13. Smackit

    Smackit Life Is Good Supporter

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    Thanks @Panders , I talked to the guy up at Saddleback Lookout the same day I did Poker Flat a couple weeks ago. Nice guy, did he show you the big fancy map he can pull down from the ceiling? Browsing CalTopo and Google Earth leads to wishful thinking, wish there was a better way. Further complicating things is the lack of gas in Downieville, it's the main reason I ended up doing Poker Flat that day.
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  14. Bandy#214

    Bandy#214 n00b

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    Anyone have any info on when this trail is typically ridable? I’m not real knowledgeable about where the snow line sits in that area, but would imagine most, if not all of the trail is under a layer of white stuff.
    #14
  15. bar-low

    bar-low ''son of the wind''

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  16. gladiatorsgi

    gladiatorsgi Adventurer

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    3 of us rode this trail on 500/501s from Downieville headed north to Poker Flats, and made an exploration turn, ending up on Rattlesnake Trail. I can confirm this section is crazy hard and at the same time super rewarding. I would not do it solo. We rode lite with lots of water, it did get up to 90 degrees with some snow still at higher elevations. We made a small video. The rattlesnake trails start around 8 min mark.

    #16
  17. Smackit

    Smackit Life Is Good Supporter

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    Awesome video, thanks for sharing. When was this taken?
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  18. gladiatorsgi

    gladiatorsgi Adventurer

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    2019, July 6th
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  19. Panders

    Panders Been here awhile

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    Found some 4x4 guys posted videos of the first (of several) gnarly climb section out of Poker Flat:




    Relevant because they are after the really bad snowfall/runoff from the 2018/2019 winter before so they show the state of the road. Hard to see how steep it is in the video, though.
    #19
  20. Panders

    Panders Been here awhile

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    Apparently 2019 was the year for 4x4s to do Poker Flats and record it. Here's another; gnarly climb starts at 9:10:

    This is probably the best to show the terrain.
    #20