The Pacific Crest Quest

Discussion in 'Americas' started by R-dubb, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco
    The PCQ is coming along nicely. I can't say it's ready for prime time, but we're making some good progress. From the original concept maps that I posted on page one, the task has become a considerable mapping challenge, not to mention scouting difficulties and a short season available for much of the route. So getting this baby off the ground in early summer will be tough. But it will happen.

    I've gone through all of the twenty odd USFS maps that string together to comprise nearly the entire route from start to finish. I've stayed true to the concept. Which is to say, the route follows public roads and trails closest to the Pacific Crest Trail except where closures or extremely rough terrain will preclude travel with a fully loaded GS. I've mapped each road on the USFS maps and then transferred the route to Garmin Metroguide files. There are eight regional sections that allow the file to be broken into small enough pieces to fit detailed maps within an 18meg storage limit. Each regional section is then broken into sequentially numbered route legs that make loading the GPS easy and generally get from one highway crossing to the next. Gas has not yet been fully worked out but does not appear to be a major problem anywhere along the way.

    The total length stands at just over 3000 miles which is a bit shorter than my original 3200 mile estimate. I also think there is more like 2/3 dirt and 1/3 pavement with very few highway miles. Being cautiously pessimistic regarding speed and progress the timing looks like this: 3000 miles / 35mph average speed / 6 hrs per day moving = 14.3 days. I think this is a reasonable estimate that leaves some time for problems within a 16 day trip. Of course we also need time to get to and from the start/finish, which is an additional 1600 miles from anywhere along the Pacific Coast. I'm hoping the 35mph turns out to be a low estimate. Moving that up to 40mph would cut two days. I don't think the six hours moving per day can stretch much given the need for rest and trouble stops on a frequent basis.

    My next steps are to go back through the forest maps to identify "Hot Spots"; places that may present problems. (Rocky ridges, steep descents, weak trail information, gates indicated, possible trail closures, etc.) I will post a list of Hot Spots and try to collect info from anyone who might know the conditions, and I'll also call forest rangers to ask if they know anything. The scouting efforts to date have been a great help, but I realize many areas are likely to be still uncharted come July.

    I'm thinking that the initial quest will need to be limited to somewhere between 3-6 highly experienced riders. I want to be able to operate as a single group and stay on track. I also want to increase the odds of finishing by keeping the skill level high and the riding style conservative. Mechanical and crash problems are bound to occur and we'll just deal with matters as they arise. Not to mention, I'm not at all sure how many nutcases out there will even want to embark on a maiden venture with the time and endurance commitment that will be required. There should be plenty of opportunity for folks to join in for a few days close to home, wherever that may be. Local support and knowledge will be fantastic along the way.

    Here's a quick update on what's going on with each route section:

    PCQ 1- So. Cal (585 miles) is being scouted by Mully and Traveltoad. They have divided it in half and have covered perhaps half of that. There are many roads in this area that are rough and poorly documented. The good news is that there seem to be enough alternatives that finding a way fairly close to the PCT is doable everywhere except through a couple of wilderness areas. This section can be found on Cleveland, San Bernardino and Angeles forest maps. The northern 75 miles or so up to Lake Isabella does not show-up on forest maps. There is also a short gap south of San Bernardino. Time to scout this area is not an issue due to the long season. We should be in good shape.

    PCQ 2 - Southern Sierra (355 miles) has been scouted by Jean Luc and Turkish. They did not finish the area just south of Yosemite. There are easy alternatives to the "Swamp Trail" which turned out to be too rough for J-L (I'm glad he didn't make it cause he would want it included on the route.) Don't know yet but there may not be much need for more scouting in this area. The route is covered on the Sequoia and Sierra forest maps, no gaps.

    PCQ 3 - Yosemite / Tahoe (350 miles) has been partially scouted by Boejangles and Vincent (Vrago). Unfortunately, they only covered the first 50 miles or so. BJ crashed his bike and had to be hauled out. Their mission was still a success because the road they were on no longer crosses the Merced river and must be bypassed. Now we know. There is an available alternative and it will need confirmation to avoid a long repeat of their ill fated adventure. The route is fully covered on the Stanislaus & Eldorado National Forest maps.

    PCQ 4 - Lassen (320 miles) has not been scouted. Most of the area from I-80 up to Lassen N.P. past Lake Almanor is very well traveled and documentation is good. The region is fully covered on the Tahoe, Plumas and Lassen forest maps. Desert Rat has offered to head up there in a week or so. If anyone wants to hook-up with him drop him a line. There is one trouble area from I-80 up to Henness Pass. The most well know trail, Fordyce Lake Rd., crosses deep water and is way too rough. An alternative to the west has been mapped and hopefully will work. The other well known area is up past Sierra Buttes. I don't expect to have problems gathering info in this area specially if Rat makes it through! I've routed a dirt track west of Lassen Park, don't know if it works, but the alternative is SR89 through the park which is closer to the PCT and scenic. We'll see.

    PCQ 5 - Trinity Alps (360 miles) has not been specifically scouted, but the route follows many of the trails covered by Cpt. Ron on his summer outing. There are lots of questions to be ansawered. The area is fully covered on the Trinity/Shasta and Klamath forest maps. This is perhaps the toughest region to scout as the weather will be getting bad soon and won't clear until May or June. To make matters worse there are not very many ways through, and some may involve closures or tight passes. Poor gas availability as well. I will be posting details in this area to see if anyone has answers. As a last resort, SR96 scoots up the west side of the Marble Mountain Wilderness from the Salmon River and avoids the problem.

    PCQ 6 - Crater Lake (345 miles) has been fully scouted by Bentspoke. He seems to know this area like the back of his hand and has given me great confidence. He reviewed my maps and marked known trails through for the entire length. It is fully covered by the Rogue River and Deschutes forest maps. Southern OR is some of the most beautiful and dual sport friendly terrain we will be traveling. The route will take highway through Crater lake N.P. just so we don't miss this spectacular site. I traveled much of this area two years ago and can't wait to go back.

    PCQ 7 - Mt Hood / Mt. Rainier (510 miles) has not been scouted. It is fully covered on Gifford Pinchot, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forest maps. The distance will be more than half paved and most of the route appears fairly obvious. Red Menace listed a route which I have mostly followed. He has offered to review the maps which I will send up to him soon. I have questions about getting across Stampede Pass as my forest maps show that area to be mostly protected watershed with closed gates. I'll post a number of insets to confirm details. This area will not be available for scouting prior to June so I doubt if there will be time for any specific missions.

    PCQ 8 - Northern Cascade (175 miles) has not been scouted but is very clear on the maps. It is fully covered on the Okanogan National Forest map. HighwayChile has provided good input and is familiar with some of the roads in the area. The last leg up to Harts Pass (Slate Mtn.) should be a treat. Most of the route looks like easy forest roads. We'll see.

    So that's it for now. In addition to gathering more info from scouting missions I'll be posting details on "Hot Spots" I can find by comparing the forest maps with topo information. I also need to plan gas stops and make some calls about that. There will be plenty of work to keep me busy for another six months. Many thanks to all who have provided valuable information thus far. Keep up the good work, cause we're going to need all the help we can get.

    :dj
    R-dubb
  2. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,785
    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    I dunno R-Dubb... It seems to me that you are working harder than the rest of us!! Thanks for all your mapping effort!
  3. RedMenace

    RedMenace Adventure Sidecar

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,538
    Location:
    GoodLiver,Oregon,USA
    I think you may be able to do better than 50% dirt on this section if you really want to. However, from South of Bend to Mt Raineer, many of the paved roads are one lane FS roads-nearly abandoned they are like twisty go cart tracks that stretch thru miles of woods. Easy to forget, but the tourists may pop up in odd spots on weekends, log trucks are not uncommon, deer are common and the splatter of dappled light and shade combined witht he rythmic pull of an excellent one lane road can be hypnotic- a buddy of mine got sucked off a corner riding his Ducati North of Detroit. Busted collarbone from a camoflaged corner riding fast.
    I have not done Stampede Pass, but it has been on my list for a couple of years. I may be able to hook you up with some folks that know that route. I think they get on the Naches Jeep trail off Cayuse Pass and work North along the Eastern edges of the watershed. I am told not all the gates shown on the FS map are there. I don't have first hand knowledge of this, but it is consistent with experience in nearby areas.
  4. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,785
    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    As an FYI:

    I just spoke to a Ranger at Angles NF. According to him, many of the locked gates can be opened. You have to call the local Ranger office and give them the specific gate. They will then let you know if they are willing to give out the combination. Telling the Ranger what is being planned may help too.

    As the seasons change, different gates may be open-able or not.
  5. Renazco

    Renazco Formerly AKA Boejangles

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,761
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, Ca.
    Good point Toad. All the Rangers Vrago and I spoke to were more than willing to share other possibilties. In fact they were pointing out alternative roads we could use that we thought were off limits. I get to get out soon and finish what I started before the weather changes on me.
  6. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Thanks for checking this with the Yahoo dual-sport boys. From the e-mail you sent, this is what I get. The deep crossing they mention is just outside Easton at Cabin Creek. If that is impassible then we just shoot down I-90 a few miles from Stampede and avoid the problem. The excursion up and around Waypoint #3 may be to far out of the way anyhow. The part that I'm worried about is the leg that goes up towards Pyramid Peak at Waypoint #2. That's where the forest maps show gates. It skirts the east edge of the watershed as you suggest. The Forest maps seems to indicate the the loop needs to be more south east to stay out of the watershed. It goes all the way up Pyramid Peak and follows the ridge to connect with the trail heading north again at the next stream bed.

    If this leg can be confirmed it will be an important connection, cause it's mucho pavement otherwise to come around from the south.

    This will be great if it works!

    :dj
    R-dubb

    Attached Files:

  7. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Here is another inset from Garmin showing the trail along the ridge at Pyramid Peak. I believe this version matches what is indicated on the USFS map. Perhaps your friend at yahoo can look here to verify what's going on.

    BTW, the PCT is on that ridge line! (the faint yellow line on the map above)

    :dj
    R-dubb

    Attached Files:

  8. RedMenace

    RedMenace Adventure Sidecar

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,538
    Location:
    GoodLiver,Oregon,USA
  9. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco
    That certainly won't stop us, unless it happens to be about two feet deeper....:rofl

    :dj
    R-dubb
  10. HighwayChile

    HighwayChile greetings from Wa state

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,001
    Location:
    Bow, WA USA
    Sorry not to be able to check any route before the monsoons, its flooding on the westside, snow just melted, more coming
    I am slammed with work but come spring looks like a great route to scout.
    central cascades are incredible for dual sporting, so much is closed but there hould be some routes through.
    thanks for your efforts all.
  11. DesertRat

    DesertRat Dehydrated Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    473
    Location:
    Reno NV
    It looks to be a great weekend, so I will load up my camping gear and go scouting. Was just planning on a day ride, but the lure of a whole weekend in the wilderness was too hard to pass up.
  12. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,933
    Location:
    Carson City/Ridgecrest
    R-dubb & group

    I am very interested in what you are doing. Several of us have been working for 20 years to get such long trails designated by the state. We got legislation to allow it but we got very few land managers to pick up the baton and run with it. It was to be called the Statewide Motorized Trail System (SMTS).

    To date there are only two or three sections that are signed. One is across the Saugus Ranger District of Angeles forest, another up the north coast and a third going to the oregon boarder in Eastern Ca.

    In an attempt to make it more warm, the state tried to change the name to Discovery Trail but we the users still go with the old one.

    The plan was for a grid of N/S and E/W routes through out CA with a numbering plan like the federal Highway system. Odd 1-9 are N/S and even 2-8 are E/W. Route 1 is up the coast range, 3 is up the west side of the Sierras with 5 on the east side. All from Mexico to Oregon. Routes 7 & 9 start at Mexico and connect to Nevada.

    Oregon hired a contractor to lay out a Ca to WA trail. It got done but a court action prevented marking. Find history on OOHVA.com then "Discovery trail". At one time they sold maps but GPS has made maps unnecessary.

    After giving up on government a friend reserved a url for SMTS.info but we never got any thing on it.

    With the advent of GPS, we the people can now create this system without any help from (or in spite of) the government. I did this last summer for a local motorcycle club in Bishop CA. See SneakersMC.com/trailmaps. It has high quality printable topo maps, printable roll charts, and best of all down loadable Garmin tracks.

    I plan to do the same thing with the SMTS starting next year. Your project is obviously routes 1 & 3 in California. I have also scouted it from Mexico to Tioga pass but this was before GPS and I only have roll charts. I will start GPSing it next year. I have GPS tracks from Mexico to Topaz NV just south of Carson City.

    If you are just interested in riding form Mexico to Canada, check out my commercial ride on Mex2Can.com. Jimmy Lewis rode it two years ago for Cycle World and there is a reprint of his article on my web site. Also last year one of my customers made a report on the AdvRider Thumper thread at http://www.bmwgs.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=22422 or search mex2can.

    If any of you reading this would like to help me with this project to put the SMTS for California or your state on our web site, please let me know.
  13. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Your web site is very nice. It looks like your rides are a lot of fun for sure. You shoud post an overview map, since its a little hard to visualize where the routes go. One difference is that since I'm trying to follow the PCT, I don't take the route up the eastern side of the Sierra because that would cross 395 and get into desert terrain. My goal is to stay fairly high and follow ridge lines where possible.

    If our plan works out this Summer we should talk about what kind of documentation is best for the SMTS. I will keep track logs in the GPS for sure!

    Thanks for touching base with us!

    :dj
    R-dubb
  14. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,933
    Location:
    Carson City/Ridgecrest
    Summer ended last Friday in the Sierras! I had 50 riders last weekend from Ridgecrest to Lone Pine and back. Very cold with snow at Cerro Gordo. One brave sole on a GS650 did not have much fun in some deep sand.

    It is possible to stay in the trees more on the west side but there is a lot of pavement. You must take pavement through all three National Parks and cross most rivers on Highways. It is not possible to get close to the pacific crest because of Wilderness however almost all of the crest of the Inyo and White Mountains are rideable.

    The route from Pioneer Town to Topaz has only few miles of pavement.

    Is it possible to attach a mapsource file to a message? If so I will share what I have recorded.
  15. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco
    You have a PM.

    Unfortunately, you can only attach pictures here. That's why I post my Mapsource files on Yahoo. I sent you my e-mail adress. I'll be very interested in your eastern route. Your route is more dirt, I'm sure . Just not the Sierra.

    :dj
    R-dubb
  16. richard cabesa

    richard cabesa The Mayor Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    9,624
    Location:
    Santa Cabesa
    Rdubb, I rode a bit of the Pacific Crest yesterday. I haven't seen it posted yet that this piece has been scouted. Also looking at your map of this section looks right but the route discription doesn't jive. The section in pink is what was dirt near the trail.
    [​IMG]
    Road 7N08 off of Lake Hughes Rd. 3/10 mile south of Elizibeth Lake Rd.
    [​IMG]
    After nine miles it connects to 7N23
    [​IMG]
    Struck gold three times along the way
    [​IMG]
    Bear camp and Sawmill camp would handle a group but I did not see any water.
    [​IMG]
    There would not be any problem with the entire 25 miles on a loaded GS. Very fun road actually.
    [​IMG]
    There is no way that I will be able to do the whole trip next year. But if I can scout little pieces of it for you it would be my pleasure


    David
  17. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yup, That's it. I checked my current route in that area and it matches yours exactly. Looks like a great road! I'm happy to see that. Your map helps a ton. It's sometimes hard for me to follow narratives just based on route designations alone.

    The route files I posted on Smugmug back in September have all been superceded a couple of times by now. I'm planning to post a downloadable PDF file with all the potentially difficult So Cal dirt sections depicted on printible, legal size topo pages within the next week. The page below is a low res sample of what will be in the PDF file. I realize this is way hard to read, but here is the section you rode.

    If you want to head back out, you might want to get with traveltoad. He wants to do some more work in your area also.

    Thanks a bunch. Let me know where you want to go next!

    :dj
    R-dubb

    Attached Files:

  18. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,785
    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    RC are you available any weekend this month? We could check some stuff out.
  19. inte

    inte neophyte serendipity

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    2,744
    Location:
    USA
    count me in!
  20. richard cabesa

    richard cabesa The Mayor Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    9,624
    Location:
    Santa Cabesa
    I'd love to see and print the high res PDF files for all of the Los Angeles, Kern, and Tulare county stuff. I'm a paper map guy (no GPS yet). All of those areas are within a day ride or over nighter lenght for me. AAA County maps are my favorites, easy to read, haven't steered me to wrong and are free sort of.

    Thanks, David