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meat popsicle 03-22-2010 03:27 PM

Panoche/Tumey Hills - before April 15th

I am serious about getting ino Panoche and Tumey Hills this year before the fire season cuttoff (usually April 15th). I am thinkin' there might be enough to warrant a stay at Mercey Hot Springs (tents, RVs, or cabins), because the entrance to Panoche is right across the road.

I am working on maps, but here is a new one available from the BLM:

Note, nothing on Ciervo Hills, so maybe no roads like the Griswold unit.

I have been in them a bit last year, and it was interesting. Nothing too technical like Clear Creek :cry but it is exploring nonetheless.

Anyone interested? :deal

tr1200 03-22-2010 03:48 PM

That area interests me. I was there awhile back on business and saw the entrance to the BLM area. I'm in when you go. It'll give me a chance to check in on Merl Whiton. He's an OLD cattle rancher with 12,000 acres just south of there. It's a long story how I spent an afternoon/evening stuck at his house visiting (waiting for a tractor to be delivered to get my work truck out of a mud-pit).

If it's not too technical, should I bring a DR650, or would the agile/lightning-fast Husaberg be the bike :evil .


meat popsicle 03-22-2010 05:46 PM


Originally Posted by tr1200

If it's not too technical, should I bring a DR650, or would the agile/lightning-fast Husaberg be the bike :evil .


Hey Tom,

I don't think its technical enough for a dirt bike, and you can only take plated bikes in these BLM areas anyways. I'd think tank range over agility more than agility; less trips to I-5 for fuel.


WoodsChick 03-22-2010 09:22 PM

I wouldn't mind checking that area out. I bet it's beautiful this time of year! The wildflowers are going crazy down there right now:thumb

I've been to Mercey Hot Springs before, it's a cool yet funky place.


wrk2surf 03-22-2010 10:26 PM

mee three...

meat popsicle 03-23-2010 06:59 AM

Alrightee then,

There are only three weekends: next (Mar 27/28), following (Apr 3/4), and last (Apr 10/11) before the usual Apr 15 fire season closing date. The last may be difficult for me unfortunately (mrs popsicle may have plans so I'd be on duty), next weekend is just... er soon (but not impossible), which makes the following weekend looking pretty good (Apr 3/4).

A Saturday ride seems to work well, so folks can stay at Mercey Friday night or show up early on Saturday for the ride, and then sleep at Mercey Saturday night if they want, leaving Sunday for more riding and/or the slog home. That would be Saturday April 3rd, if that date works for most.

For navigation purposes the area is around the Panoche Valley, with the Panoche Inn at it's lonely (pastoral) center, great shade tree for sippin sodas, near the mark here:

<iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src=";safe=off&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;q=panoche,+california&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;hq=&am p;hnear=Panoche&amp;gl=us&amp;ei=CMWoS4uwO4GOtAP92 _XlAQ&amp;ved=0CAoQ8gEwAA&amp;ll=36.59844,-120.929947&amp;spn=0.408457,0.891953&amp;z=11&amp; output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href=";safe=off&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;q=panoche,+california&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;hq=&am p;hnear=Panoche&amp;gl=us&amp;ei=CMWoS4uwO4GOtAP92 _XlAQ&amp;ved=0CAoQ8gEwAA&amp;ll=36.59844,-120.929947&amp;spn=0.408457,0.891953&amp;z=11&amp; source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>

To enter the valley, Panoche Road (Co Hwy J1) leaves Hwy 25 at "Paicines" just South of Hollister, which continues (eventually) to I-5. It splits in the valley to make "Little Panoche Road (C0 Hwy J1), which goes by Mercey Hot Springs (noted on I-5 exits) and the Panoche Hills Access Road, and "Panoche Road", which goes to the entrances to Tumey Hills before hitting I-5 at the Apricot Tree Restaurant exit south of Little Panoche Rd. This one is dirt, with an improved water crossing near the top:

The only other exit out of Panoche Valley is the currently closed Clear Creek Management Area via New Idria.

Oly 03-23-2010 07:59 AM


T O Double D 03-23-2010 08:11 AM

If I had the time I'd do this in a heartbeat, but I have other rides already planned for the next three weekends. Have fun down there and post a RR.


scottmac 03-23-2010 08:41 AM

This sounds like a fun one. I'm grounded this coming weekend and the 10th/11th due to family commitments but it looks like the 3rd/4th
may be doable.

I'll know for sure tonight.....:smile6

Odin69 03-23-2010 08:59 AM

I might be able to come out one day (April 3-4)? Is there a parking place to leave a car and trailer? I'd like to take my DRZ400S but don't want to wear the nobbies out on I-5 getting there. Plus, I just have a stock tank on it. How many miles do you think we would travel before fuel?


Oly 03-23-2010 01:56 PM

Check this out:

Those hills are riddled with dirt roads between J-1 and Little Panoche Rd.

Bob 03-23-2010 05:55 PM

Hey David, got your message. I might be in for the first week in April for a day trip. Got lots of family stuff going on...

scottmac 03-23-2010 07:45 PM

I got my hall pass. I'm good till late afternoon on Sunday the 4th.:rofl

meat popsicle 03-24-2010 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by Oly
Check this out:

Those hills are riddled with dirt roads between J-1 and Little Panoche Rd.

Nice link Oly, in case you didn't see the maps provided by the BLM in the PDF I linked in the first post here they are as JPEG captures:

Panoche has a black n white line (improved gravel) but the rest in both areas that I believe the BLM considers open are green lines. Now when I was in there last there are dirt roads and well-established two-track going every-which-way, and there is little signage if any. My personal rule is no "overland" riding, and I respect signage and anywhere I am pretty sure I am not wanted (obvious private property, etc.), but I do explore dirt roads and I consider two-track if it looks well-used.

OK, other stuff: it looks like the ride will be Saturday April 3rd. I'm not sure there's enough riding for Sunday too, but we can work on things farther afield if there is interest for a half-day on Sunday.

I am going to try to stay at Mercey HS Friday and Saturday nights, but folks can roll in on Saturday morning for the ride, and split Satuirday after the ride if that suits their needs. Check with Mercey HS about leaving a rig in their parking lot for the day; they are pretty nice folks.

posole vato 03-24-2010 11:13 AM

do you know that "panoche" is slang for vagina in spanish?

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