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Old 05-12-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
SlideSF
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Little Ride to Sequoia

Took a trip from San Francisco to Sequoia National Park yesterday. Rode fro San Francisco to Visalia, where I am at now, and then today made a loop trip through Sequoia and a little into King's Canyon.

Yesterday, left around 9:30. Took 280 down to SJ, then 101 to Gilroy, where I got on 25. 25 was nice, and a relief from all the traffic on 280/101. Took a brief stop at Pinnacles for lunch, then down to 198. That was a nice ride with a lot of fast uphill sweepers. At least until I came back down the other side. Coalinga was a hot, windy, dusty wasteland, punctuated only by the fresh gravel that they were still pouring on the road. It was somewhat a vision of hell, with 40 mph wind blowing hot dirt all over you. Pretty much the whole Valley crossing sucked. Or blew. Take your pick.

Arrived in Visalia around 4:00, checked into a motel and showered up. Strolled around the downtown. Lots of cool little bars and restaurants.

Headed out this morning at 9:30. Took 198 straight East into Sequoia Nat'l Park. The road here is in good condition, but the speed limit in the park is 25, with a lot of hairpins marked at 10mph. It was actually quite nice, as there was little traffic and it was not that bad just cruising at 30, trying not to brake for the hairpin turns. At the top of the climb, there was a scenic overlook where I was hoping to get a picture of the road I just came up, but I noticed a ranger there "talking" to some other bikers. It appeared he had a notepad out and the riders were reaching for their wallets. Since I was a bit cavalier about both the speed limit, and the DY (only when passing ), I decided to forego the photo op. Hey, if they want to "talk" to me, they can chase me down. I'm not going to walk into that kind of setup...

Continued on through the giant redwood forest, took a stop at the General Sherman tree (1 mile hike RT), and continued through the park. Once you pass the General Sherman, with its hoards of German, French, Japanese, and British-English speakers, the road opens up a bit with 35 and 45 mph limits (read 45 and 55 ). The road surface is pretty good, and the turns open up a bit. It is a little misleading at first, because there are two types of surface: a newer, darker one that is somewhat worn away, revealing a lighter one underneath. The lighter surface appears a lot like sand, but a stop to examine it proved there was nothing loose there. And yes, there was snow at that altitude (around 7,000').

Entering King's canyon, I was feeling a little leary of the 64 mile there-and-back I had planned. It was getting on towards 2:00, I still had another 100 miles to go back to Visalia, and the tourist hoards were escalating. I opted for a 5 mile ride on a one-lane road to an overlook of the park. The view was gorgeous, and made me realize it was just a little more than I was up for.

So I turned around, headed back on 180 towards Fresno, and then south on 245. 245 is a lightly trafficked, tightly sweepalicious 35 mile stretch dropping from 7,000' to the Valley floor. It starts out tight and wooded and then gradually opens up as the mountains give way to foothills and farmlands, ending up in long straight stretches through the orange groves. The road surface is pretty good, with only a few patches of skittles in the higher regions. One of the biggest problems I had was that it was so picturesque for its whole length that I had to keep stopping for photos.

So now here I am in Visalia again. Just had an "appetizer" at Terasco's Mexican Restaurant that could have filled two people up for dinner. Heading back to SF tomorrow. At this point I will probably just slab it out so as to get home as early as possible. I have to work again on Thursday. But who knows? I just might find some new undreamt of way across the mysteries of the Central Valley...
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:00 PM   #2
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Some more pictures...
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:03 PM   #3
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Nice!
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:03 AM   #4
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I wonder if I could do that in a day.
That looks killer.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:37 AM   #5
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I was sooo close to going there on Monday/Tuesday but where here instead http://bayarearidersforum.com/forums...d.php?t=294096

Thanks for the great pictures, beautiful!

Mike, I think that is doable in 1 day, depending on what you want to see
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:37 AM   #6
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Mike, I think that is doable in 1 day, depending on what you want to see
I want to zip into the park, perhaps stop here and there in the park for ~ 1 hr, and boogie home.

I'll map it.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:15 AM   #7
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My total trip was 681 miles. That's "possible" in a day - on the freeway. Most of the parks are marked at 25, and there is a LOT of switching back. And tourists. I think you'd be hard-pressed to make it in a day from the Bay Area, even SE Bay Area. An overnighter, no problem. I did it in three just to be a bit more relaxed. Took me four hours. You could do it in three each way, but that wouldn't allow for much time in the parks.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:17 PM   #8
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Cool stuff. Sequoia is one of my favorite places ever, I'm going to have to make a trip like this soon.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:47 AM   #9
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Nice pics! I have never been there, and would like to.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:04 PM   #10
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Good stuff... thanks for sharing the

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Old 05-27-2009, 06:25 PM   #11
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Agreed, nice ride and great pics!
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