This time only 1 NF & no NP - Sierra National Forest

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by surferbum, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Second long ride for 2011 - where to go??

    Read threads on AdvRider looking for ideas (which danced in my head) like the CDR or partial TAT. Reality reared its ugly head and I faced a one week trip length time limit. My previous trips had been to numerous National Parks and National Forests so I looked in my backyard around the Sierra Nevada mountains. I discovered the Sierra National Forest which is 1.3 million acres with typical riding elevations above 5000 feet and is adjacent to the south of Yosemite NP.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/sgUu0atG-4OSW5c7pu75VZ3tiR5MfFbElv6kjxHlQ4g?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hos17fOOO-0/TmPcUqMl7cI/AAAAAAAACjk/yEfUCHCZ7Ec/s800/sierra%252520naitonal%252520forest.jpg" height="567" width="800" /></a>

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    There is information scattered around AdvRider, other motorcycle forums, hiking forums which showed that this is the place to go. Some inmates gave me some ideas on sights and rides.

    This was the first multi-day trip I would go on with CalGSer so this was exciting.

    The overall trip was five days/four nights and would start on the Monday prior to Labor Day weekend. Traffic was light for the entire trip which was welcome because many of the forest service roads are twisty and narrow. You still have to be very alert for logging trucks traveling these roads. They don't want to kill you but time is money for them so they don't travel slowly. Easy access to campsites too.

    My strategy was to take off-beat small roads to/fro to Sierra NF; spend two nights in two areas and with the days devoted to exploring the nearby trails. We need to traverse the Central Valley portion of CA (hot 100* F) but this is the price you pay in order to ride in the cool temps of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The weather in the NF is perfect: no rain with temps ranging from 40*s to 70*s.

    Our gear
    I was riding my 2010 BMW R1200GS with TKC-80s front/rear and CalGSer was riding his newly acquired (and farkled) 2007 BMW 650 X-Challenge. Both of us were using Giant Loop bags for the first time plus Wolfman Expedition Dry Duffel Bags.

    The overall route is:

    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=207432057594404550576.0004ac24485f8536df9eb&ie=UTF8&vpsrc=6&ll=37.116526,-120.640869&spn=1.752092,4.400024&z=8&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" width="800"></iframe>
    <small>View BT2011.2 in a larger map


    More to come.

    </small>
    #1
  2. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Ready to start.

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    This is the first trip with my Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag. I opted to use this instead of my Jesse Odyssey II. This worked out because on the day rides, I used the Giant Loop to carry only my tools, water and day-food. It worked fantastic. I also installed a Black Dog Cycle Works bash-plate and removed the light-duty BMW one. A pain to install but it likely saved some grief the many times I heard a loud clank of a rock during the trail rides.

    We chose to take the less traveled road out of the bay area by going by Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton via CA 130. The elevation gets up to over 4000 feet with a great panoramic view of the bay area. Past the observatory is fun twistys then you hit the central valley at 100*. Make certain your Camelbak is loaded with water. This was my first long riding with the TKC 80s so I opted to keep the speed down to 60 MPH. The routes were CA130 to CA59 to CA49 to CA41 to Nelder Grove.

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    This is a no-reservations small (7) tent campsite. We went on short hike to see some of the Giant Sequoias. Our campsite was next to small running brook. It doesn't get much better then this! You can stay up to 2 weeks at these campsites and you'll meet some unusual characters like Alan the Coleman lantern guy (forgot to take a pic). He had a collection of 40ish lanterns which he scavenged and was attempting to get 100 lighted simultaneously at Nelder Grove. BTW he is a member of the Coleman Collectors Club. Here's a link about this year's event. There's a club for everything.

    Started a fire; Looked at the stars through the canopy of trees; Get some sleep for this riding tomorrow especially up to Shuteye Peak.

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Slept lightly looking forward to riding up to Shuteye Peak. Inmates had told me my 1200GS won't make it but had to try. Here's the route we took:

    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=207432057594404550576.0004ac3ebc3ea1977fe66&ie=UTF8&vpsrc=0&ll=37.387617,-119.511337&spn=0.136393,0.275002&z=12&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="500" scrolling="no" width="800"></iframe>
    <small>View Nelders Grove to Shuteye Peak in a larger map</small>


    We got to within 2.6 miles from the peak before my 1200GS (and me) said No Mas! Here's what it looked like to continue.

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    The ride was a fun challenge and I was often too distracted to take photos but here's what it looked like.

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    Even though there were loose rocks and steep declines, I had a good time descending. Guess it there was less apprehension due to the knowledge of what was ahead. Next stop the Jones Store for the famed burgers and pie.

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    <small>

    </small>The first pic is of the store front and the owners Vern and Lois Black. They had some good stories plus the food hit the spot. While we were eating lunch at Jones Store, a couple of local riders suggested we ride Potato Patch Rd and suggested taking a short cut nearby to get to it. They sketched on my NF vehicle map the various shortcuts?? Off we go like lemmings to the cliff. Fortunately some of the trails/roads showed up on my Garmin. Here's the breadcrumbs:

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    Well here's a video of us looking for the shortcut and it includes a 0.1 MPH drop.

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/YfbhTyAxt0A?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="345" width="560"></iframe>

    Finally on Potato Patch Rd - the gentle section. Some of the sections are uphill into the sun plus the poor GoPro has issues in bright-shaded transitions. My apologies. [​IMG]

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/5TTRXW6GxYY?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="345" width="560"></iframe>


    Headed back into Oakhurst for gas and minor repair to Bob's X-Challenge then back to a night's rest and more riding.
    #3
  4. wamba

    wamba Adventurer

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    Nice report. I like your avatar too. I have an old old T-shirt with the surfing eyeball on the back.

    wamba
    #4
  5. cooter69

    cooter69 Smells Bad

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    Ahhh home sweet home!!!! Looks like you had a good time!!!
    #5
  6. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Thanks. Here's Wednesday's installment.

    We broke camp with full tanks of gas. We had four things to do today:

    1. Ride over meadow two-track roads to Clover Meadow ranger station
    2. Head to the geographical center of California and meet Mike
    3. Ride tracks which Mike knows from experience
    4. Setup camp with Mike at Mono Hot Springs and enjoy his hospitality.
    The route is shown below:

    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=207432057594404550576.0004ac63bfa43c7b2a0b8&ie=UTF8&vpsrc=0&ll=37.31666,-119.300537&spn=0.546086,0.823975&z=10&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="500" scrolling="no" width="600"></iframe>
    <small>View Nelder Grove to Mono Hot Springs, CA in a larger map

    </small>We are going to meet Mike (AKA SierraADV) at the geographical center of CA at noon. I really had only a vague idea of how long it would take to break camp; Go to Clover Meadow Ranger Station and then make it to our meet. If something would delay us to Mike, our backup plan was to meet him at his Mono Springs Hot Springs' campsite.

    We broke camp and started heading East, North-East. Soon it felt like a CDR ride with water crossings and gate-opening&closing. In case you didn't recognize it, that is McDougato's Cow Camp to the right.

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    Quick stop at Clover Meadow Ranger Station. (can't hold too many rangers).

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    Making our way do to meet Mike at the geographical center of California. Who knew this was a good meeting spot?

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    Met up with Mike and posing next to San Joaquin River on Italian Bar Road.

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    Here is one of the panoramic views we were treated to during our ride with Mike.

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    A good look at Mammoth Pool Reservoir.

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    Some of our tracks routes Mike took us on. The top one is a couple of north & south aborted routes. Mike had pity on us. BTW: Mike is a motocross racer who we found out later does big air jumps for fun.

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    Mike took us to a great Huntington Lake vista via the (above) bottom track.

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    We arrived at Mike's campsite at Mono Hot Springs where he provided cold Keystone beer, tri-tip hors d'oeuvre, chips and hot dogs. (Did I say the beer was nice and cold?) Pitched my tent; enjoyed a 100*F hot springs soak and took a shower.

    Here's Mike and his friend in front of their campsite extravaganza.

    [​IMG]

    Put the stuff in bear boxes and get some sleep.

    More riding tomorrow. :clap
    <small>

    </small>
    #6
  7. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    While I am in the video editing mode, thought I'd include the one and only time my 1200GS passes the XChallenge on the trail while we were going up a steep grade on Potato Patch Road.

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qOB2k75BaW8?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" width="640"></iframe>

    You get an indication on the steepness by the poor GoPro aiming into the Sun (it was only about 3PM).

    Here's another of us leaving Mono Hot Springs on Kaiser Pass Road. Kinda of narrow especially when large, unyielding vehicles are coming the other way. I knew the 1200GS's horn was weak but it is pathetic when trying to get attention coming around a blind corner. Time for an Siebel Air Horn!

    <iframe width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QYvi1GyZFvs?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #7
  8. pcvance

    pcvance Walk Verplank

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    surferbum, shuteye would be tough on a GS, we were there 1 week before you. a few pics from the top for you.
    [​IMG]
    here's what you missed...
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    great views in every direction from the FS lookout.
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    the road is kinda gnarly near the top, even on small bikes:eek1
    [​IMG]

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    nice ride report, looks like you had a great trip.
    Perry
    #8
  9. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    Sweet! Nice ride report, Suerferbum :clap

    Looks like you had a great time up there!

    I just spent a week up there and will probably be putting together a ride report of my own pretty soon.




    WoodsChick
    #9
  10. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Thanks Perry.

    Here's Thursday's report.

    We awoke and broke camp at Mike's Mono Hot Springs campsite. I had a panic moment as I was ready to leave but couldn't find my wallet. Unpack my gear - nothing. Panic. Where did I have it last? Pay for the shower..... Check my backpack. VoilĂ . Found it and off we go.

    Here's our route which has us on Stump Springs Road.

    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=207432057594404550576.0004ac7984f76bacd333e&doflg=ptm&ie=UTF8&t=m&vpsrc=0&ll=37.20791,-119.10347&spn=0.328126,0.550003&z=11&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="600" scrolling="no" width="800"></iframe>
    <small>View Mono Hot Springs 2 Dinkey Creek in a larger map</small>

    We saw an odd shaped rock. You decide:

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    The route including Stump Springs Road was a combo of dual track, gravel, paved, gravel, paved. Sometimes the paved road was in fantastic shaped in the middle of nowhere.

    Here's a little video:

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-f58eswJjYk?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" width="640"></iframe>

    We stopped for gas at Shaver Lake and headed to Dinkey Creek. Pulled in to have lunch at the dinky Dinkey Creek store and Bob could not find HIS wallet. He searched to no avail and figured he left it at the Shaver Lake gas station. No cell coverage here or any of our other campsites so he headed back. He never found it. Bob had a suspicion that a guy hanging the station had it but when asked he volunteered that Bob's pack was open when he drove off. I think a strip search was in order and I believe the wallet would have appeared. :eek1 I set my tent up and Bob did his business in Shaver Lake cancelling credit card, bank cards ... All you have is sympathy. :waysad

    I had much of the afternoon to ride around the area myself so off I went starting off on McKinley Grove Rd and freestyled. I would come across people camping out in their trailers deep in the forest. No idea how they pulled them there. Here's my tracks:

    [​IMG]


    My return was over the historic bridge shown below. There are closely-spaced boulders to prevent vehicles to cross the truss bridge but it didn't stop the 1200GS (found out later that I had broken the law).

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    The Bud Light can had a cameo for the photo when we walked to the bridge later in the evening. Last night camping. The next day would be another fun one going over the mountains on a locals' favorite Blackrock Road.
    #10
  11. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper Supporter

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    Nice pics and route.
    #11
  12. surferbum

    surferbum Been here awhile

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    Thanks.

    Last day of the trip

    You could tell Labor Day was approaching with families showing up and more vehicles on the road. We broke camp and headed to on a road where we would NOT see any vacationers. Got some coffee at Dinkey Creek shop where we chatted with a couple of riders but who were in a car going fishing. I noticed one guy's lean physique and he talked about his job as a smoke jumper who repels 70' out of helicopters at the source of a baby forest fire. Sounded exciting but very hazardous. Before reaching Wishon Reservoir a small bear cub ran in front on me on the road, thought about stopping for a quick photo but didn't want to get swatted off my bike by the bear's mother so no photo.

    If you have a chance to go on Blackrock Road then do it - you won't be disappointed. There are gnarly rock strewn roads with up and over twisty mountains two-track. We came across a power crew supported by a helicopter restringing power lines and was stopped by one of the crew who studied our bikes and confided that he was saving his money to purchase a bike like ours. Nice guy driving a huge truck.

    Here's our route (not including our sprint back home from Fresno on slab):

    <iframe marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=207432057594404550576.0004ac868f0f9821b8e11&doflg=ptm&ie=UTF8&t=m&vpsrc=0&ll=36.967449,-119.266205&spn=0.38403,0.686646&z=10&output=embed" frameborder="0" height="350" scrolling="no" width="500"></iframe>
    <small>View Dinkey Creek 2 Clovis via Blackrock Rd in a larger map</small>

    Here I am at Wishon Dam:

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    The good, hard stuff on Blackrock Rd happened but didn't get the photographic attention it deserved, but here's a few:

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    A little water crossing with the fun part being the bank exit at the end:

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    Here's one of the better action shots with Bob exiting the crossing:

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    And me coming around the bend:

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    Self-portrait on Blackrock Rd with great country behind me:

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    Pano view of the area:

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    A couple of water shots of North Fork of the King River and Pine Flat Lake:

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    You come across some odd things like Balch Camp in the middle of nowhere. It is a company-built community for the power company. Their pool looked very inviting but we motored on.

    I guess we went 30 miles:

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    As I understand it, the water passing down/through this pipe is used to spin electric turbine generators. Make certain you duck when you see it:

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    The ride was very pleasant on Trimmer Springs Road leading up to Pine Flat Lake. Poor Trimmer Marina is a ghost-area of what it once was 50 years ago. I guess back in the day it was the only game in town but now other water sport area who are more convenient/better climate have make it part of history. Got a little confused on the correct roads to exit and started taking one which was marked "Not Public road". Well that is like a red flag to a bull so off I led Bob. Well the road just ended and Bob mentioned later he was worried about getting shot. Well here's our confused tracks:

    The red arrow below shows where our bushwhacking ended and we left quickly. We came to a creek without any trail across and my on-foot scouting showed the trail just ended!

    [​IMG]


    Hope you enjoyed the ride. :freaky
    #12
  13. 2old2fat2short

    2old2fat2short n00b

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    Hey Matt: Nice ride! Not that it means anything at this point,(I left there in 1966) but I grew up in Fresno and recognise many of the places you visited. Glad someone is representing the Griffin LLC on the off-road scene. Keith G
    #13
  14. WoodsChick

    WoodsChick Long timer

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    Thanks for the report and photos, surferbum! I know the kind of time and energy it takes and I appreciate your efforts!

    I rode Black Rock Rd. when I was down there on vacation last month...it was a blast! Cool terrain with excellent views...the falls were flowing really heavily.I was on my SM610 and the road around the reservoir was like a high-speed racetrack with nobody on it:D We crossed the river and continued south into Giant Sequoia NM and the national parks for a few days of camping. I love that area down there! So much so that when my trip last week to the deserts of northwest NV and southeast OR fell apart, I immediately headed towards the Sierra NF again :clap

    I'd be really careful riding roads that are clearly marked as not open to the public. Besides the bad PR for all motorcyclists should you be discovered, there are folks out in the mountains doing things that they don't want to be seen doing. When we rode down through that same canyon on vacation we saw a pot bust going on with helicopters, news vans, G-men and everything. I wouldn't have wanted to stumble onto that guy's territory :eek1


    WoodsChick
    #14
  15. Whitey Jr

    Whitey Jr Been here awhile

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    A nice second part to the 2011 trip! Nice to see you getting that 1200 dirty!

    -Whitey Jr
    #15
  16. byways

    byways byways

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    Well done, Surferbum! :clap
    #16
  17. CalGSer

    CalGSer Traveling dude

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    Hey Matt,
    I'm late to the party to contribute to your story but your narrative/photos/video are very well done.

    Thought that I would include some photos of our way out along the Kings River which is a great road and tremendous scenery. This ride is an incredible set of tight turns, sweepers, and generally unpopulated roads.

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. CalGSer

    CalGSer Traveling dude

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    More of Kings River road...

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. CalGSer

    CalGSer Traveling dude

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    And a last comment on our trip. I used this journey as a break in for the new-to-me 2007 BMW X Challenge instead of taking my 1150GS beast. After wrestling this animal in the usual Moab trails on a couple of epic trips, I wanted to subscribe to Giant Loop's philosophy of ride light - ride fast and used the X Challenge and GL kit for that purpose. Although the slab ride home was work, the light bike in the dirt was an inspiration, and validation that this was the vehicle for the CDR ride and TAT ride next year. Here is my set up, good for a week on the trail:

    Attached Files:

    #19
  20. CalGSer

    CalGSer Traveling dude

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    As much as I love my GS, it is a handful in heavy conditions. Here is a pic of my trip to Moab this May on the White Rim Trail, along the sand by the Green River which was backing up due to snow melt requiring a rising creek cross. Life is a trade off, but I think that for solo or challenging rides...light may be right. But you pay for it crossing the central valley in 100+ heat with no fairing!!

    Attached Files:

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    #20