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Old 04-28-2011, 07:17 PM   #1
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So long, Carrizo Plain...See Ya Next Year!

Eric and I made our fourth -and probably final- trip of 2011 down to the Carrizo Plain last weekend. We wanted to catch the tail end of the wildflower bloom before the heat set in and turned all the wonderful colors into varying shades of brown. We'd heard that the wildflowers were done but figured if we poked around long enough we'd find something interesting to look at. The Plain did not disappoint.

I love sleeping in as much as the next guy, but greeting the sun has its own rewards down on the Plain...


We had the place to ourselves...as usual...



The air was fragrant beyond belief, probably something to do with the dew-covered flowers...


They were everywhere, just not on the floor of the plain...


These little guys were digging the warmth of the new sun...


Seems like this road only gets used by critters without wheels...


Whoa! Check it out! Powerlines! Where there's powerlines there's roads...right?


We had fun trying to follow them...


The road just ended and turned into a wash for awhile...a common theme on this weekend...




This looked like a roundabout way to follow the powerlines, but OK...

(note Eric's brand new tire and my old balding tire)

Alright! Now we're actually following the lines again!


A little steeper than I'd prefer, as my rear tire was just scritching down the hill giving me no grip at all...


Looking back at that little section...


But wait! There's more!

(See that road down there on the right? Yeah, I thought it was a road, too.)

Ahh...a flat section...


Ok, we get to the bottom and, just as we suspected, there was no way to get past the farms and out to the road. We followed the fence line for a few miles in each direction but it was a big No Go...





I don't mind coming down loose stuff on crappy street tires. I mean, gravity is on my side, right? I can always slide, tumble and fail my way to the bottom if need be. There's no faking it going up, though. I decided we should take that "road" I'd seen from up on high. Eric was against it, but it was easier for him to go along with me than to argue. I would soon find out why he was against it...
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:53 PM   #2
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This is our "road"...




It ended up being nothing but a beautiful sandy wash after a mile or so of seemingly normal-looking road complete with shotgun shells and fire rings. What Eric neglected to tell me is that he'd gotten a much better view of the "road" from up high than I did. This is what he saw through his camera lens...



The little singletrack trails are cow trails. Sure looks like a road, doesn't it?
Not up close...



It was hot down there, soon to get hotter, so I was peeling off layers...



Did I mention it was a lot of fun?



It was...



The sand got deeper, the temps got higher, and I got smarter...



We figured we'd ride it til it came out the other side, but we ended up taking the first bail-out we saw...



I'll let y'all take a guess as to how many "I told ya so's" I heard while in the wash...



We ended up on the same road we came in on after a somewhat rugged climb, but we'd bypassed the steep stuff I was trying to avoid...score!


If you wanna give your girl some flowers, take her to the Carrizo Plain in the spring...













We goofed around down on the plain, checking out some stuff we'd seen earlier from up on the ridge...






We decided to leave the plain and head towards New Cuyama for lunch...


...where my camera promptly quit working. I ended up using Eric's camera for the rest of the trip. At least his didn't have those annoying dust spots on the lens.


More to come...
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Old 04-29-2011, 06:38 AM   #3
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Cool! Looks like some of the best flowers of the season where you were. I got down as far as bitterwater road and parkfield last weekend, in a car of all things- had to take my sweetie to see some flowers. Some nice lupine and waterleaf out right now.

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Old 04-29-2011, 08:21 AM   #4
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I continue to live vicariously though you and your write ups Woodschick.

Thank you thank you thankyou
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:13 AM   #5
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Hi WoodsChick; Nice ride & photos ... thanks for posting! Looking forward to exploring to the west of the plain ... never been there ...

see you out there,
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Old 04-29-2011, 04:04 PM   #6
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:09 PM   #7
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very nice
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:00 PM   #8
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:39 AM   #9
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Cool! Looks like some of the best flowers of the season where you were. I got down as far as bitterwater road and parkfield last weekend, in a car of all things- had to take my sweetie to see some flowers. Some nice lupine and waterleaf out right now.

Zak
OK...wait...

You won't eat bacon on a pizza AND you drove your car down Parkfield and Bitterwater??

I just...I don't know if we can be friends anymore, Zak










And yeah, the flowers were amazing once we got off the floor of the plain. There were a few fields of yellow flowers down near Selby on both sides of the Soda Lake Road. There were about 6 cars parked down there, SUV's and trucks, right in the middle of the road. I saw them from far away and thought there'd been a big accident or something. Seriously, we had to thread our way past them. Nice...

Didn't go all the way to Selby but KCL was jam-packed late Friday night. We camped remotely instead and were quite pleased with our experience.



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Old 04-30-2011, 08:42 AM   #10
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Nice.
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very nice
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Awesome

Thanks, guys! I'll try to finish this up later today. We were at the Olmec exhibit last night at the DeYoung. It was fantastic! It's free from 5pm to 8:45pm next Friday night, too. Highly recommended... http://deyoung.famsf.org/deyoung/exh...ancient-mexico

There was live music and my mother-in-law's Aztec dance group performed out in front, too. Late night, but mindblowing stuff and lots of fun.




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Old 04-30-2011, 08:46 AM   #11
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Hi WoodsChick; Nice ride & photos ... thanks for posting! Looking forward to exploring to the west of the plain ... never been there ...

see you out there,
-- SFMCjohn
Hey, John!

There's lots of cool stuff to the west. It all pretty much ends at the private property...at least as far as we've found so far...but it's worth it to poke around out there. There's tons of stuff! We rode Quattal (and all the offshoot trails) and Sierra Madre Rd's later in the afternoon for a 200-mile day and rode some trails out at Pozo the next day. I'll try to get this report wrapped up later today




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Old 04-30-2011, 06:11 PM   #12
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We we headed out off of the plain...


And turned northward towards Sierra Madre Road. We stopped at Burger Barn in New Cuyama and had totally kickass onion rings and burgers. Too bad my camera was freaking out and focusing in and out on its own while making all kinds of new and interesting sounds...





We hopped up onto Sierra Madre Road and it was spec-frikkin-tacular. You won't know that, though, as the last crappy photo I could coax out of my crazed camera was this one of the Cuyama Valley as we were heading up the ridge...


We wanted to check out some of the OHV trails and campgrounds out there
(there's a campground on a motorcycle-only black diamond trail that has been intrigueing me to no end since I saw it on a map) but the road was closed. Closure was due to take your pick...rain, fire danger, erosion, etc. Bastages...


We blasted down through the Cuyama Valley and decided to take another look at Quattal Canyon. Last time we were through there a few months prior
the wash along the road looked like the mighty Mississippi. Not this time...



This was some fun stuff!



There are trails (roads, really) that branch off all along the road...



Most of them are dead ends...



And some of them just end up disappearing altogether...





But most of them ended up in washes of some sort...




This wash was spectacular! There was some dampness to the sand and it was just so beautiful...reminded us both of places we'd ridden in Utah. You can see our tracks down below...




It was starting to sprinkle a little bit, and a wash is no place to be during rain, so we decided to get on out while the gettin' was good. We had one other trail to check out on the way, and I'm glad we didn't pass it up, as we found this at the end of it...


It was a water-catching structure, but what for? How would one get the water out? It was full of water, by the way, but why the weird little opening?


We wouldn't figure it out until the next day when we ran into a familiar ranger on a trail out at Pozo.

We jammed back to the plain in time to enjoy a fine glass of wine in honor of our gratifying 200-mile day while watching the sun dance across the Temblor Range...


The above photo is proof that my rear tire had air in it when I parked it for the night.


We eschewed dinner in deference to the humongous burgers we'd had earlier, and talked long into the night about riding Pozo the next day...





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Old 04-30-2011, 07:25 PM   #13
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It was a water-catching structure, but what for? How would one get the water out? It was full of water, by the way, but why the weird little opening?


We wouldn't figure it out until the next day when we ran into a familiar ranger on a trail out at Pozo.






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What was it ?
I found this one In anothor dessert.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:44 PM   #14
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Sunday morning dawned cold and damp. The fog from the central valley was trying its hardest to spill over onto the plain...


After Eric replaced the tube in my flat rear tire we bundled up and headed on over to ride some trails at Pozo...


There had been a big fund-raising poker-run the day before for Nathan Woods' family, but we only saw 3 riders on this day...


No other riders, but lots and lots of whoops...


I chunked off another part of my front fender in this stuff. Maybe I should get a TE fender instead? Or maybe just quit riding my SM on trails, get a TE and be done with it? Naaah...






When we popped out onto the road we saw a ranger pull up in his truck. I moved over to let him by but he told us to wait and started to get out of his truck. I thought "Ok, here we go..." but it turns out it was Lloyd, the same guy we'd seen at the ranger station a few months ago. He'd given us a map and some suggestions for areas to ride. He recognized us and said "Hey! I see you guys everywhere!" We talked for quite awhile, and he told us about the ranger we'd met up on Sierra Madre Road the day before. Said he was a volunteer ranger that was mainly interested in making sure the wildlife has enough water to survive the summer months. Turns out he was the guy that built the structure we'd seen the day before. The little opening was for letting the birds and tiny wildlife (kangaroo rats, rabbits, etc.) get to the water throughout the summer. Pretty cool, eh?

We found a paved road that looked kinda fun...


And it took us to an FAA facility up on Black Mountain...


The views were probably stellar when it was clear out, but the fog and light rain obscured our view of the countryside. No problem, the road was entertainment enough!


We dropped down onto the main road through the Pozo area and ended up on one of the trails...


It's always hard to tell from a photo just how steep a trail is, but Eric wasn't going to make it any further here. He was doing OK til he ended up in the rut...


We turned around, and dropped back down the trail and then back up what we'd just come down...




My favorite kind of pavement!


We wanted to hit the Pozo Saloon for lunch but it was closed for Easter. We headed out towards the Hi Mountain Lookout Road instead...




More to come...
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:12 PM   #15
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OK...wait...

You won't eat bacon on a pizza AND you drove your car down Parkfield and Bitterwater??

I just...I don't know if we can be friends anymore, Zak


WoodsChick
Moto, bicycle, car, walking, whatever it takes to get out there.

Tara hurt her knee bicycling all day and all night, and she didn't want to be crunched up on the back of a KTM all day, and I wanted to take her down to see some flowers.

Plus, driving those roads in a WRX ain't half bad. . . . .

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