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Old 01-22-2011, 06:35 PM   #1
WoodsChick OP
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A Plain Ride Report

]...the Carrizo Plain, that is. It's a national monument tucked in the hills between Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo, and it is a beautiful and peaceful place... http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/baker...s/carrizo.html

Eric and I had ridden the 2-strokes the last 3 weekends in a row and hadn't planned on riding this weekend. Besides, we had to be in Bakersfield Saturday night to see our nephew play minor-league hockey...


While perusing the map, I happened to notice how close Bakersfield was to the Carrizo Plain. We both had Monday off for Martin Luther King Jr's birthday and the temps were supposed to be all warm and sunshiney so we loaded up the big bikes and all our bike-camping gear.
You can laugh all you want about California and it's politics, budget woes and penchant for voting bad actors into office, but you simply can't beat it in the winter...


These rocks have Native American rock art in them...


Mmm...my kinda pavement!


Hey, I bet that's fun down there!


Yep, I was right...










There was all kinds of fun stuff to explore out there...




We dropped out of the hills and headed down the Plain...


A holiday weekend with gorgeous weather and not a soul to be seen...


We cruised through the eastern hills only to be greeted by the horrific fog that was shrouding the entire central valley. I'm glad we weren't down there. Can you see the moon?


More on the way...


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Old 01-22-2011, 06:38 PM   #2
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The Carrizo Plain is one of the last grasslands in California that is still in a somewhat natural state. The nice BLM lady told us that the whole Central Valley used to look just like it before the introduction of cattle and agribusiness. I can't imagine...




It was so incredibly quiet out here. No wind in the trees, no rustling in the bushes, no background hum of daily life...just the birds.

The roads were pretty fun, too...




It was time to cross the plain to get to our campspot. Ooh..."We don't want to go that way." we said. "It's too muddy!" we said. A quick scan with the binoculars confirmed it: two 4x4's and a BLM truck stuck in the mud out there...



No, we were smart and went the other way, along the fenceline...til we came to this...


We decided to go around. It was all fun and games til the wheels stopped turning...


We managed to get it out by dragging it around so it was pointed towards the road. Eric pushed while I manned the clutch and throttle and...voila'!


We'd heard all about the famous Carrizo mud, about how it was sneaky and nasty and would lure you in by not looking all that sinister until you were being hopelessly dragged down into the quicksandy muck with a kung-fu grip. Well, I can tell you good people that what they say is all true. The hardest part for me was keeping my boots on! It was incredibly difficult to pull my foot out of the quagmire and I almost lost my boots every time I tried to move! Speaking of boots, I cracked up every time I looked at them, so for your viewing pleasure...


It didn't take us long to get unstuck, but it did eat into the day and we would have to make a bomb run around the north end of the plain to get to our campspot before dark...


We didn't make it...


We only had about 30 miles to go at this point...


We had planned on hitting up some hot springs near the coast the next day but we both agreed that we needed some more Plain action the next day. It was stunning...not what we expected at all. Kinda like when I wanted to ride forest trails on my first trip to Utah instead of slickrock because I rode asphalt every day on my way to work Funny how ignorant we can be sometimes. Before we got there I actually said "Well, one side of the valley probably looks exactly like the other so we just need to go down the main road to see it." What an idiot...
More to come from our 2nd day on the Carrizo Plain

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Old 01-22-2011, 07:36 PM   #3
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The next day was even nicer than the first. We were pretty excited to get out there so we were up long before the sun.This was the view from our campspot. The sun was on the floor of the plain but hadn't made its way to us yet when we fired up the bikes...


We decided to go back out to the scene of our mud-stuckness, only this time from the other side of the road...


We didn't see anyone still out there, and we saw huge chunks of mud in the middle of the main road so all must have ended well for our stuck bretheren.

The San Andreas Fault runs right beneath the Temblor Range, and it certainly looks like an active area...




These roads sing the siren's song to me...




The huge amount of rain that turned the plain into a carpet of green also turned some roads into fun washes...or is it the other way around?


I dunno...maybe it's just me, but I can't get over how beautiful this area is...






We headed to lunch in Maricopa and saw this on the way...




Ooh...more fog, and we're headed down into it...dang it...


We cruised through the fog and down into Maricopa for lunch. We ate at a really funky little place called Tina's. Hard to believe the health department didn't shut it down 30 years ago when it opened, but I'm really glad they didn't. It was one of the best burgers we've ever had, and the fries were out-frikking-rageous! Really, some of the best we've ever had. Home cooking at its best...from Tina herself. The old oil guys at the counter were fun to talk to, as well. Wish I'd gotten a photo of it but I was cold and groovin' on the eats.

We headed south on the aptly-named Petroleum Highway, turned off on Midoil Rd, went through the townlet of Fellowes and ...nothing but oil wells as far as the eye could see in every direction. It was eerie yet cool at the same time. It smelled funny, though...


It was cold and miserable as we headed back to the Plain from the east. As soon as we started climbing it got sunny and spring-like again.
Descending Hurricane Road down into the Plain...


This was a fun road!


We had to stop and peel off layers...


We knew our ride was coming to a close, as we had to get home. We both plan on coming back as soon as we can, though. Maybe for my birthday in March when the wildflowers are exploding all over.

Is it spring yet??




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Old 01-22-2011, 07:36 PM   #4
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Fun exploration!
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:42 PM   #5
Wolfgang55
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Looks like a fast high milage ride & FUN
thanks for the pix
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:56 PM   #6
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Nice ride report, great pictures, and I am glad you enjoyed your visit.

BTW, the stuck BLM truck was the Monument Law Enforcement Ranger. (He's a city-boy. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodsChick View Post
We cruised through the fog and down into Maricopa for lunch. We ate at a really funky little place called Tina's. Hard to believe the health department didn't shut it down 30 years ago when it opened, but I'm really glad they didn't. It was one of the best burgers we've ever had, and the fries were out-frikking-rageous! Really, some of the best we've ever had. Home cooking at its best...from Tina herself.
I am glad you enjoyed Tina's but I would have to guess that you were really hungry. Next time, you must try Asian Experience Thai Restaurant in Taft. Run by a fellow inmate and his family THE BEST place to eat on the Westside.

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We both plan on coming back as soon as we can, though. Maybe for my birthday in March when the wildflowers are exploding all over.

Is it spring yet??

WoodsChick
You SHOULD return. It an easy day trip from Bako, and it should be fantastic in March.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:47 AM   #7
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WoodsChick






Nice one kids, I need to get down there for a look around. 75 in January is why I put up with this place.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:53 AM   #8
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:20 AM   #9
doublen
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That's some beautiful country.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:18 AM   #10
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Ace report & photos!
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:26 AM   #11
RedDogAlberta
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Absolutely outstanding! Magnificent country. Any camp shots taken?
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:22 AM   #12
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Great ride! Thanks for the pics and report
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:47 AM   #13
zandesiro
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Cool ride....Nice pics and a lot of mud!!!!
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:53 AM   #14
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Great road report.

That's it. I'm going back.

Can you tell us more about the campground and do you think your van would make it there and make a good base camp? I have a week off in April

What kind of jacket are you wearing? Nice padding in the right places.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:20 AM   #15
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Nice!
Thanks for sharing….
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