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Old 04-06-2010, 03:56 PM   #1
scottmac OP
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A Small Boring ride down to Carrizo Plains National Monument

Well here goes, my first ride report.

This ride was initially concieved and planned by fellow ADV inmate
Meat Popsicle to be something entirely different. Thanks to the
the infinite logic that resides in our Federal Bureau of Land
Management, our initial destination of a weekend camp/ride to
the Panoche/Tumey hills area southeast of Hollister California
needed to be changed at the last minute. Carrizo Plains National
Monument became our new goal.

BLM has declared Panoche/Tumey hills off limits to all OHV's -
including plated motorcycles. Yet 4X4's are allowed access and
apparently a large portion of the Federal lands are currently
being leased out to private sheep ranchers. Meat recieved conflicting
answers to his inquirys with the BLM on access with plated
DS motorcycles, and finally a retraction from Rick Cooper, the
BLM Field Manager of the Hollister Office on his earlier statement
that plated MC's were not a problem.

The guy in charge of the BLM Field Office doesn't even know his
own rules....

Sorry for the mini-rant.

Carrizo quickly became the new destination and four of us from the
Bay Area were committed to going. Meat Popsicle (David), Gester (Steve),
osakibill (Bill) and myself.

Day 1:

I had arranged for Friday, April 2nd as a vacation day at work and my
goal was to leave from the Watsonville area early to mid morning
and do an unhurried cruise down through Central California's back roads.

The other guys were planning to hit the road down after lunch on Friday
and we were all going to meet up at the KLC campground at Carrizo Plains.

My ride for the trip would be my 2008 WR250R



Early Friday morning packed and ready to go at home




I hit the road a bit before 8:30AM and headed southeast to Hollister. I
topped off on gas in Hollister and headed south on HWY 25 about
8 miles to the bustling metropolis of Tres Pinos where I stopped at
the Faultline Cafe for a nice breakfast and a few much appreciated
cups of hot coffee. It was cold out and a large, black storm front
was chasing in behind me from the north. The skies to the south
were clear.

After breakfast it was a nice, lonely ride down HWY 25 to HWY 198 and
east to Coalinga for another fuel stop. I only came up on one car in
my lane going south in the hundred mile stretch.

From Coalinga I backtracked on 198 for about 10 miles to Parkfield Grade
rd. I'd passed it earlier going into Coalinga and had noticed a "Road Closed"
sign. Asking around when I got gas I was told it was no problem
for a motorcycle so I gave it a try.

Parkfield Grade is a one lane part paved, part dirt road cutting across
the hills to Parkfield, CA. earthquake capital of the world!!!

The road and the sceney is great. Huge ranches, hills, trees and good
riding.





















The little Blue Beast at rest



A few more pics from Parkfield Grade



The rock formations on the north slope were eye catching








At the summit the road went from one lane paved to graded dirt. The south
slopes were covered in short, green grass and I had to take a short
offroad detour up an unfenced ridge and down into a little grass filled dell.
There were no signs posted and I treaded with care, just a few bent
bent blades of grass to show for it. I stopped and had something to drink
and chilled out for a while eating a power bar and just soaking in the scenery.







Back down to the road and a couple of miles down I hit the first traffic I'd seen on the trip so far.





Once I reached Parkfield I turned south on Cholome Rd. Parkfield sits right
on top of the San Andreas faultline and has about a dozen minor quakes
or more every day. The US Geological Service maintains a big substation
there.

The Parkfield bridge - notice the way the railings are bending.



The streambed below the bridge is the San andreas faultline. West side is the Pacific Coast Plate, eastside is the North American Plate. The plates
are slipping past each other north to south.

I took Cholome Rd. (paved) south to HWY 41 and Cholame. Cholame
is home to the James Dean Memorial and where he was killed in an auto
accident.

Day 1 to be continued....
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:55 PM   #2
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Finally......some worthwhile reading!

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Old 04-06-2010, 05:00 PM   #3
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Cholame, CA

Great ride report! Don't mean to hijack your report but thought I'd add this as it helps to show where he was killed.

RIP James Dean



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Nice_Rumble screwed with this post 04-07-2010 at 05:01 AM
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:03 PM   #4
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Lookin good so far

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Old 04-06-2010, 08:05 PM   #5
scottmac OP
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Day 1 Continued

Day 1 Cont:

From Cholame Road I headed west on HWY 41 about 15 miles or so
and turned right and south on San Juan Road. HWY 41 was the busiest
stretch I did all trip traffic-wise and I was glad it was a short leg.

San Juan Road is a paved, barely two lane little country road cutting
through a valley filled with big vineyards. About 10 miles down I hung
a right turn onto Shell Creek road and this is where things started to
get a little weird.

Out in the middle of nowhere and I start coming up behind these cages
just puttering along. Mostly older folks driving but more and more. It's
an early Friday afternoon, why are these people out here???

I soon found out.



Flower Children!!!!



This little canyon was so loaded with wildflowers it was a living carpet.









No flowers were harmed in the taking of this picture....



There must have been close to a 100 cars spread out parked along the
edges of the road through here with people out walking the fields. I
figured then and there that I needed to get my butt in gear and get
down to our destination in order to grab a campsite with this many
people out and about.

I headed south pronto on Shell Creek and then sprinted east on HWY 58
towards Soda Lake Road and the entrance to Carrizo Plains. HWY 58 was
pretty empty and I made good time.

I came up on Soda Lake road and took a right. I had made it!!!

Carrizo Plains National Monument





60 plus miles long, north to south with the San Andreas fault running below
the hills on the est side of the plain.





The plain was another living carpet of flowers



The Soda Lake - normally this is just a dry alkaline lake bed















I headeded south on Soda Lake road and about 15 miles in it turned to dirt.

Smooth, fast, haul-ass dirt!!!! I looked down at one point at my GPS
and I was doing 66 MPH on dirt and the bike was as steady as a rock.



About 30 miles in and I came up on the entrance to our meeting spot,
the KLC campground.



Good luck was with me and I grabbed one of the two last spots left open.
I unloaded the bike and set up my tent and chair. My neighbors were all
serious cowboy types. Hats, boots, jeans, 4X4's with horse trailers. The
campground even had a barn/corral setup for horses. I mosied over to
the site across the way where a couple of the good ole boys were playing
horeshoes and drinking Budweiser.

I asked if they could keep an eye on my gear as I still needed to head
over to the towns of Taft or Maricopa another 50 miles away in order
to refuel and pick up some firewood and supplies. They were cool and
said they'd keep an eye out for Meat and the others if they came in
while I was gone.

Back on the bike again and I headed down the remaining 30 miles of
the plain to the south entrance and then left on HWY 33 for about 15
miles into Maricopa. Coalinga to Maricopa was a good 170 mile stretch
between fuel stops.

I gassed up and bought a couple of bundles of wood plus a few much
anticipated cold beers to take back to camp. I looked at my cell phone
and saw that I had good coverage - nothing out in the plains so I gave
Meat a call. Bam!!! he answers right away and says he and the other
guys are not too much farther behind. They're already in Coalinga and its
going on 5:00PM. They're headed to Taft next for the same reasons I'm
there, gas and food and hope to be in camp 7:30 - 8:00 PM.

Cool!!! Everything is falling into place. I decided to cruise up to Taft
from Maricopa, another 5 miles up HWY 33 as it's a bigger town and I
wanted to see what it offered. I rode down the main drag and passed
a Mexican restaurant that smelled so good I hung a U turn and went
back. A plate of excellent carne asada tacos and a cerveza Sol made life
really fine. Back on the bike and I backtracked to camp. It was a little
before 7:00 PM when I got home.









The skies darkened up and 8:00 rolled by







It was just around 9:00 when I heard the rumble of bike motors. They'd
made it! Gas and dinner in Taft and then the three of them had cut
overland across Hurricane Grade road and Panorama Road in the dirt,
at night, in the dark!

It was Gester's first time to get dirt under his GS 650's tires and he
did it at night!!!


Camp was set up quickly by all and then it was time to lounge around
the fire drinking beer and sippin a little tequila.


Day 1 was wrapped up and it was a good one.

Day 2 coming up!!!
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:21 PM   #6
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Nice pics...

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Old 04-06-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
obsidian
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Awesome, nice pics and any ride report with random cow photos gets an A+!!
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:47 PM   #8
Jaw-Knee
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Great report and pics so far. keep em' coming.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:58 PM   #9
meat popsicle
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scottmac's off to a good start - looking forward to the rest of it, and some time so that I can add my two cents.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:07 PM   #10
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Nice narration and pics.
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:22 PM   #11
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There were a half dozen or more FF's there on the same weekend and we didn't run into each other. Wide open spaces FTW! Great RR. Keep it coming!
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:41 PM   #12
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Im hooked, So much detail I love it!
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:14 PM   #13
scottmac OP
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Day 2, April 3rd

Thank's for the comments everybody!



Day 2:

Saturday started early for us in camp. Our cowboy neighbors were up
and moving around their camps by 6:00AM getting ready for the day.
It was around 6:30 when I crawled out of my tent and Meat was already
up getting his stove and coffee going.

The weather was overcast but no rain. I found out later that back in the Bay
Area they got a good 1/2" of rain Friday PM. Pretty quickly we were
all up and getting prepped for the day's ride.







After a good cup of coffee and a little breakfast we were off and riding.
It must have been close to 7:30AM. First stop was a dirt road leading
up to a water tank overlooking the camp and the plain.









KLC Campground



The plan was to ride from here up to the Soda Lake overlook for the view
and then to take a ride on the Calliente Valley road. We saddled up and
headed down the back side of the hill on another dirt access road. Meat
took off north on Soda Lake road to get ahead of the group for pictures.

I waited at the bottom for a bit for Bill and Steve and then started back up
looking for them. As I topped the rise they were coming down and poor
Steve grabbed too much brake going into the steep section and washed
out the front wheel. The stock street tire did not help either. He went down
pretty easy though and we got the bike picked up quickly with the only
damage being a bent shift lever. It was mild steel and we had it
straightened out and as good as new shortly. Not even a scratch on the
fairings or cases!

We headed north on soda Lake road and were up at the overlook shortly.

We took a walk up to the top of the hill for some pics.















From the overlook we headed back south on Soda Lake rd. to the turnoff
leading to Selby campground and Caliente Valley rd. Back in the dirt
again.



Unfortunately we found the entrance to Caliente locked and gated,
apparently due washouts and slides that would block a truck or car
but probably not a bike. Oh well, that's on the list for next time.

Backtracking our way out to Soda Lake road.











From here we decided to cut across the plain on Panorama rd and then
head south down Elkhorn rd.

Some shots from the bike









We came on a closed fence gate and stopped to open it along with
a few more pics














A few flowers in the wash by the gate










We headed south down Elkhorn rd and were looking for a another marked
road on the map that cut back across the valley back near KLC campground.

We found it and it was little more than two tire tracks. This was some fun
riding though!























Another barbed wire gate and a group photo opportunity









From here we headed south on Soda Lake rd and were planning on some
riding on the roads at the southern end of the plain with some lunch and
fuel out at New Cuyama or Taft.

Soda Lake rd.

I had the bike up to 77 MPH on a section per the GPS and it was like riding
on rails.



Meat has a friend (Paul???) who works for the BLM and lives near the south
entrance with is wife. We passed their house and stopped by to see if they
were home for a visit. They were and we spent an hour or so eating a light
lunch on their porch and getting lot's of really good info on where to go
riding and facts about the area in general. That was very cool.

We ended up with a new route for the afternoon which took us south of
Carrizo on HWY 33 down past "The Place" where we fueled up to Quatal
Canyon rd. Quatal Canyon is all dirt and leads east back up into the Los
Padres National forest. There is a big mine up on the road then it gets really
rough. Lot's of singletrack OHV open trails open up onto the main Quatal
Canyon rd.

The road up the canyon had a lot of arroyos and washes cutting across it
where you'd come over a rise, get air then drop into a big dip. We started
having a lot of fun then almost too much fun when Bill flew over a big one
that was deep, tight and washed out. How he bounced his KLR through
there at speed and kept it on two wheels I'll never know. Meat hit it too
on his KTM at speed but not nearly the hit Bill took.

Steve and I were next but got flagged down by the others so we had no problems.

No pictures from me this stretch, I was too busy riding and we didn't stop.

At the top of Quatal Canyon we headed north down the ridge on Cerro
Noreste Rd. Then we took Klipstein Canyon rd back down to HWY33
on the outskirts of Maricopa. We fuel up in Maricopa but needed to
head over to Taft for more firewood and groceries for dinner.

After hitting the store in Taft we backtracked to Maricopa then headed
west up over the hills to Carrizo via Elkhorn Grade rd. Again all
dirt and loads of fun.

We headed north on Elkhorn rd. in the late afternoon. The flowers were
thick on the east side of the plain.













We cut back across the valley floor via the same two-track we'd done earlier
and were back at camp. It was after 5:00 and we'd spent almost the whole
day on the go. Another nice fire with a big feed of sausages, tortillas,
beans, potoatos and salmon were welcome.

Day 3 and the ride home to come....
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:29 PM   #14
Nice_Rumble
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Wow, the California spring bloom is amazing. Great time to be riding.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:47 PM   #15
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Very nice. I'm gone have to go riding there one of these days.

wamba
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