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Old 02-23-2014, 02:22 AM   #31
luftkopf
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I'm thinking that there is so much to do out here, you need to think what you're into. After all, this is YOUR time. I'm in Downtown San Diego (Laurel/State). You don't have much time here. Agreeing with others, the route you were originally planning is a bit too ambitious. You will see so many amazing sights out here, that you'll want to have time to take them in. I have an empty loft bed, hot shower, tools/work area available if you'd like, and travel the desert and Baja quite a bit. I can turn you on to waterfalls, hot springs, mud & wind caves, etc. if you're into that kind of thing. Best way to contact me would be through Facebook, since this site doesn't ping me (Johan Wangbichler). Definitely consider shipping your bike out here or pick up an inexpensive KLR and ship it back to NH when you're done (or have it waiting out here for your Phoenix trip). Motorcycles are ridiculously clean out here and don't go for all that much.
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Old 02-23-2014, 04:08 AM   #32
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Palomar Mtn, Julian, Angeles Crest, Telegraph Canyon Road in south San Diego. Find some twisty roads and go ride them!
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:30 AM   #33
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Bump. Stuff happened, doesn't it always.

Current plan is to do this the week before memorial day weekend. (Week of 5/19)

Day 1 - https://goo.gl/maps/PY7TB - SD to Isabelle Lake. Landing at noon, plan on 'only' 4-5 hours of riding to the base of Sequoia NP. Staged and ready for day 2. 4.5 hours riding 283 miles.

Day 2 - https://goo.gl/maps/xA9eX - Isabelle to Shaver Lake by way of Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon (maybe). 8.5 hours riding 326 miles.

Day 3 - https://goo.gl/maps/YqT4S - Shaver Lake to Mammoth Lakes via Yosemite NP, Mono Lake. 7 hours riding @ 279 miles.

... then I'm lost. Need to get back to SD somehow. Death Valley looks like too much time required. Possible plan (here) includes a straight shot south as far as Victorville. With an early start I could be there for a late breakfast. Then San Bernardino NF and some of the squigly lines outside of Mt San Jacinto SP and still have the bike back to the rental joint by 5 that day.

Comments?
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:29 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
Day 1 - https://goo.gl/maps/PY7TB - SD to Isabelle Lake. Landing at noon, plan on 'only' 4-5 hours of riding to the base of Sequoia NP. Staged and ready for day 2. 4.5 hours riding 283 miles.
That's going to be a painful day. The traffic is going to be unreal going through Los Angeles. You'll get about 20-30 miles of "pretty" in Kern River canyon and then you'll be at your destination. Not a ton to do there either (at least if you're just passing through). Consider going up the 15 instead. You can catch the 395, then 178 to Isabella. Much faster, less stress and you'll get to see some of the desert out there. Also: that's not the base of Sequoia NP. That's Sequoia National FOREST. You still have a ways to go to get to the park (after Three Rivers).
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Day 2 - https://goo.gl/maps/xA9eX - Isabelle to Shaver Lake by way of Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon (maybe). 8.5 hours riding 326 miles.
I'd shoot for Oakhurst on day two. It's actually a town. You'll get lots of food options and it will have you at the gate of Yosemite first thing in the morning. That's important so you'll have the most time in Yosemite valley.
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Day 3 - https://goo.gl/maps/YqT4S - Shaver Lake to Mammoth Lakes via Yosemite NP, Mono Lake. 7 hours riding @ 279 miles.
If you happen to get out of Yosemite in daylight, take the extra time to go through the June Lakes loop. Also: Mammoth Lakes is a little more touristy than Bishop. That means that if you're looking for something fancy to eat, you get more choices of that in Mammoth. The other bonus is that there is still stuff to see in Mammoth area the next morning, before you head south. People think Mammoth Mountain is a volcano. The reality is that it's just a small vent on the side of one of the largest active volcanoes in the world: the Long Valley Caldera. Highway 395 is actually crossing the center of the caldera. There are volcanic domes and features all around the area. When you descend to Bishop, you're actually riding down the side of the volcano.

This is from Lookout Mountain, looking back up 395 at Obsidian Dome. This whole, tree-covered valley is the volcano's caldera. You won't see this vista from the highway (about 10 miles of graded dirt road) but, it gives a sense of the surroundings.


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... then I'm lost. Need to get back to SD somehow. Death Valley looks like too much time required. Possible plan (here) includes a straight shot south as far as Victorville.
Meh. The miles on the south end are do-able but, you'll likely be tired by that point. It's up to you. There's not much in there that is OMG gorgeous. It's all nice, twisty roads and can be enjoyable. If you're trying to make the rental place by 5:00 PM, I'd haul ass down 395, 15 and get to San Diego. It's longer than it looks.

Keep in mind that you will be riding right past the highest peak in the contiguous US (Mount Whitney). In 2-3 hours, you could ride to the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (Badwater Basin), and see some highlights of Death Valley with this route:
http://goo.gl/maps/OgF1g

It's another hundred miles on top of your proposed route but, those miles will go much faster out in that desert, than zig-zagging those mountains at the end of your day. Neither one is a clear winner. It just depends on what you're looking for.

Donkey Hotey screwed with this post 04-21-2014 at 10:36 AM
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:22 AM   #35
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Huge thanks for the feedback!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
That's going to be a painful day. The traffic is going to be unreal going through Los Angeles. You'll get about 20-30 miles of "pretty" in Kern River canyon and then you'll be at your destination. Not a ton to do there either (at least if you're just passing through). Consider going up the 15 instead. You can catch the 395, then 178 to Isabella.
I do not know why my links show the grey paths through LA. Those are not my plan. Alternate routes? Whatever.

I15 -> 395 -> 178 was my plan.

Day 1 is likely going to be hell anyway. Just trying to land, collect my crap, hustle across town, get the bike rented. Yadda yadda. Throw just one delay in and I'm hosed. Honestly wondering if 4-5 hours in the saddle is doable for that day.

Is that stretch of slab easy to make time on? I'm hoping google has me over-estimating to some degree there.

Is there a better place to try to shoot for at the end of day 1 instead? Ridgecrest? Victorville? ??


Forest, park ... whatevah!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey View Post
I'd shoot for Oakhurst on day two. It's actually a town.
Good tip!

Ditto for the rest of your post. Thanks again.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:56 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
I15 -> 395 -> 178 was my plan.

Day 1 is likely going to be hell anyway. Just trying to land, collect my crap, hustle across town, get the bike rented. Yadda yadda. Throw just one delay in and I'm hosed. Honestly wondering if 4-5 hours in the saddle is doable for that day.
Yeah, that should be easily do-able. Heck, if you got out of San Diego by 2:00 PM, you'd still make Isabella by dark (280 miles, mostly interstate, maybe 10 miles of the trip under 50 MPH). I was going to say: if you really wanted to do all the squiggly stuff down in southern California, do that on the first day to fill out some hours. The ride up the 15 through there is not terribly scenic.
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Is there a better place to try to shoot for at the end of day 1 instead? Ridgecrest? Victorville? ??

Forest, park ... whatevah!
No, get the heck out of that desert and as close to your destination as possible. It will pay off in less-rushed miles for the subsequent days.

Forest / park--it does make a difference. Sequoia NP is a slow grind going up the mountain, once the tourist traffic backs up coming out of Three Rivers. The earlier, the better on that grade, or after 12:00 PM. Mid-morning will wear on your patience. The "forest" part of it is scenic. Western Divide Highway (190) is gorgeous. Don't miss Dome Rock along there. I guess the message is to leave early out of Isabella if you want to do the rest of those miles into the NP.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:01 PM   #37
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Good stuff. Thanks again.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:07 PM   #38
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What are you renting?
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:28 PM   #39
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Dunno yet.

Eagle rider has a Tiger 1050. I've always wanted to try one.. and they are convenient.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:31 PM   #40
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Day one: I guess I missed that you were LANDING at noon. That's going to be tight. Get out of there but, don't kill yourself. It's all straight roads until you start up 178, over Walker Pass. It's not terribly steep, or high, or complicated. I've done it so many times, I wouldn't hesitate to do it in the dark. Your biggest worry at twilight will be animals (no different than anyplace else). If the sun beats you to the pass, I'd still go through to Isabella rather than stopping in Ridgecrest or something for the night.

Day two: If you go up Kern River canyon to 190 (as you've mapped), it will be a fairly tight road. There are some dirty turns in the lower Kern canyon so take it easy through there. It's showing 127 miles and 3.7 hours to the gate at Sequoia if you take this route. IMO, that's worth it. The twisties through Yokohl Valley are tight and dirty but, the panoramas are awesome. You'll think it's all just brown nothing. Those golden, rolling hills and oaks are what gave the state it's name--Golden State. The route is also tricky because if you miss the turn from Balch Park, onto M-296, you'll end up lost in a grove of Sequoia trees. That grove is scenic but, a time killer. (BTDT )

If you leave at 7:00 AM, and keep a moderate pace, you'll make the NP gate in about 4 hours. That'll put you at Giant Forest and Morro Rock by noon if you leave at 7:00 AM and take some pictures along the way. Take 1-1.5 hours seeing Morro Rock and walking the Giant Forest loop. Another half-hour at Lodgepole visitor's center for lunch (the only food in the park). You're already at 2:30-3:00 PM. I'd probably forget King's Canyon at that point. The ride through the rest of the park will eat another hour. You'll want to stop and walk to the Sherman Tree (trust me on this). Maybe 4:00 PM when you get to the 180 bail-out point. You can decide to either go through the mountains to Oakhurst, or bail to Fresno and ride to Oakhurst the 'easy way' via 41. It'll all depend on time. The 41 route to Oakhurst is also totally do-able in the dark (if it comes down to that).
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:47 PM   #41
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Just a few more points of things to see or know to stop for, as long as you have a semi-firm route figured out:

Day Two: along Highway 190, you're going to pass a turnoff for Dome Rock. It's got a short, dirt road that goes to the rock. After parking, it's a hundred yards to the top of the dome. You'll actually get glimpses of it from the highway as you approach. The views are awesome. You do need to gauge how comfortable you are on the bike because the dirt road took one casualty on a previous ride. I've done it on a ZX11 but, the small patches of sand can getcha'.






Other scenery along Highway 190 (Western Divide Highway):





When you get to Sequoia National Park, you're going to pass a turnoff for Moro Rock and Giant Forest area. Don't be tempted to skip this area. Ride report of your whole Sequoia portion, pictures of what to not miss, etc, here.

Later on the route, you'll pass another turnoff for the Sherman Tree. You'll think you've seen all the big trees. Don't skip the Sherman Tree. It's THAT much bigger.



Day Three:

Make sure that you do Glacier Point road in Yosemite. You'll pass Washburn Point. Stop there. Take it in. Go to Glacier Point another mile down the road. You'll think you've already seen what you need to see and will be tempted to skip it. Don't. Take the 1/4 mile walk. Bring your camera.



Leave yourself some time for the valley floor, later that same day. You'll have the chance to walk to the base of Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, etc. Also: the visitor's center is setup to take your money with all kinds of cool gifts and t-shirts. The food at the fast-food grill is actually pretty good.

OK, that's probably all I've got to share. There's a lot to see. You're going to have one chance to see it all. I'm trying to make sure you know what to prioritize and not miss. I missed some of this stuff until the second or third time I went to these places.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:05 AM   #42
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Isabelle to Oakhurst makes a lot of sense. That relaxes the next day in Yosemite. Drops it to ~4 hours and 150-ish miles of saddle time. Lots of time to take it slow and stop for a lot of photos and sight seeing. I like it.

I've decided to add another day on the back-end. I was in a rush to get from Bishop/Mammoth Lakes area to SD to return the bike by 5PM that day. Instead I think I'll plan on making my way to Oceanside and crashing at my buddy's place that night. Google shows that a 5 hour, 327 mile straight shot. So I have time to kill on that segment.

I'll return the bike the by noon the next day and maybe check out Palomar or something like that on my way back to SD.

Solid plan. Time to make some reservations and spend some money.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:54 AM   #43
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Booked. I'm doing this.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:58 AM   #44
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You're going to have an absolutely amazing time. Those are just some of the best motorcycling roads in California. How do you plan to navigate? GPS? Don't count on phone reception (spotty to none through most of those areas). Are you an AAA member? If you are, it might be worth a stop in a So Cal office on your way out of town, for some free maps.

They have VERY good individual maps to Sequoia, Yosemite and Death Valley. The county maps that will cover that will be Los Angeles County Regional Series and the Kern County Regional Series. A total of five maps, plus the overall California map. Your local office may be able to get them, though the Auto Club of Southern California is actually responsible for them (may not be available--even by mail to the east coast).

Day two can get a little confusing if you don't know the zig-zag to go from Kern River Canyon to Western Divide highway. Also, the segment from Springville, to Lemon Cove (with that bit of Balch Park, M-296). It's also a maze of roads when you turn north from 180 and take the shortcut to Oakhurst. My gut tells me you'll be out of time when you get there and will just opt to Fresno and back up the mountain on straight roads.

A state-level map could get you through everything but day two. Everything except day two is major routes, covered by thousands of cars. The state map just won't show local features, vista points, points of interest, etc.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:34 AM   #45
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Looks like you settled on a smaller loop mostly in California. You'll enjoy it very much. Not many better places to ride than the Sierra's. I grew up in the Bay Area. I live in Boston now and have for a long time.

To tell you the truth, though, your original route was spectacular. The only thing I would have changed was to take UT hwy 12 from the west gate of Capitol Reef and ride that west towrds Vegas. Maybe cut through Monument Valley and Mexican Hat befor that too. If you had a dual sport machine, I could show you some spectacular dirt roads through southern Utah.

I discovered that area in 2005 when riding from Laguna Seca MotoGP back to Boston. I was smitten by it so much that I recently bought a little place in Scottsdale and shipped a couple bikes there for my exploring of the Southwest. My favorite time to ride the high desert country is mid-Sep through October. I ride southern AZ during winter.

My point is you really should visit your buddy in Phoenix and ride a four corners loop through AZ, NM, CO and UT. I'd say it would take about 5 days. During that loop you would see unbelievable landscapes, antiquities, and remnents of the old west. Big open spaces, unlike anything you have experienced in New England.

Anyway, have fun and post a ride report. I love to read ride reports from Yankees experiencing the west for the first time.
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