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Old 04-09-2019, 01:51 PM   #1
NoneMoreBlack
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Join Date: May 2013
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Primavera! An Italian tune-up from sea to Sierra

To make the most of one last week of freedom before starting a new job, I took my half of California out of the middle.




My original goal had been to traverse the Sierra and land in DV, but the passes are all still closed. So I stayed on the west side of the mountains, exploring Yosemite, Sierra, and Sequioa parks. Capping off was camping in Los Padres, a loop of Big Sur, and then home.

Total stats:


Elevation change: 58,015 feet
Mileage: 1150 miles

Bike averaging around 37MPG, this translates to 31 gallons of fuel
Dogs chasing bike down road: 4
Most interesting animal encountered in the middle of the lane: Peacock
Wear and tear: Muffler retaining bolt misplaced somewhere near Deer Cree
k

This is my first ride report, so if this is not the appropriate forum, mods feel free to move
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Old 04-09-2019, 01:52 PM   #2
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Day 1

I set a goal of around 6-8 real hours of saddle time per day to leave some slack for detours, photos, etc. As you will see later, this often meant a surprisingly low mileage count, as I emphasized finding the finest goat roads the Sierra foothills have to offer. This often meant hours at average speeds of 20-40 MPH over such broken pavement that the dirt roads I got onto (more on that later) were comparatively luxurious.

Aside from a two day camping excursion on the return leg, I stayed in motels, as a hot meal and hotter shower greatly increase my riding stamina for the next day. ADVRider I am not.

DAY 1
Tuesday, 4/2. Conditions overcast with intermittent rain.
Mileage: 250
Elevation change: 17,046 feet



Mainly a blitz across the central valley with a late breakfast in Sonora. Capping off was Yosemite, with lodging in Oakhurst.

First wrinkle came into play when I pulled over somewhere in Oakdale to throw another layer on and futz with my Sena which fubared itself. Of course this is when the main zipper on my Stich decided to soil the bed. Cue some yelling inside the helmet and running calculations on how many of my reservations I can get refunds for if I call the whole operation quits.

While trying to remedy the situation, a kind stranger came out of the house I was parked in front of and offered assistance. Long story short, he is a BARFer/BASMer, and was very generous with his time. Thanks again Josh!

Got back on the road with no more Sena and a fixed zipper, ate in Sonora, and started the climb up what might still be my favorite zip of the trip, Wards Ferry Road.


I picked this road purely by finding the squiggliest line on the map, and it did not disappoint. Single lane goat track with traffic in two directions and sheer drops sometimes on both sides(!). Not sure how two oncoming cages are supposed to navigate this.

First the climb up and the first of many wildflower sightings.


Then a descent to the river and a pretty cool bridge.




Then a series of firsts for my biking career: hail, snow, and ice, coupled with the unwelcome realization that my Stich really needs a new Nikwaxing. Somebody please let Yosemite know that it is, in fact, spring.







Photos slowed down after this since I was mostly concentrating on the numbness of my fingers and not dying on an icy road on the first day of my trip.

Of course even a modest motel in Oakhurst greets you with this:

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Old 04-09-2019, 02:27 PM   #3
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Day 2

So as it turns out, even carefully tucking my Powerlet USB dongle up inside the battery area to protect it from road spray was no match for the mighty Yosemite. It didn't even blow the fuse; just murdered it. So on to a jury rigged cable running to a battery pack inside my duffel.

DAY 2
Wednesday, 4/3. Conditions sunny, praise be.
Mileage: 105. WTF, right? Google estimated this as a 5h45m drive(!), so that gave me some indication of what to expect.
Elevation change: 11,777 feet. Seriously.





First pit stop was the Geographic Center of California. We spared no expense.






Next, the conservative estimate of 18MPH average across this route becomes a bit more clear.


Tasty.





Flowers getting thicker on the ground now.



Let's drive over a waterfall.



Around here is where I caught my muffler trying to make its escape. Always carry zipties folks, and double bag it for safety.







PANORAMA WARNING


What's this, a friend?


Wait, this one doesn't look so cuddly.



I would explain the peacock if I knew what it was doing there.

I hear raw water is all the rage in the tech community these days.

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Old 04-09-2019, 02:49 PM   #4
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Thanks for the ride report - looked fun!
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:10 PM   #5
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Day 3

There was a bit of an issue with my originally scheduled motel, but I found another place down the road and had a grand old time drinking beers with the family that runs it and the two other guests that night. They also have professional therapy companions on staff.



DAY 3
Thursday, 4/4. Conditions cool and overcast, but at least it isn't hailing right now.
Mileage: 220. Again light, but estimated at 6.5 hours of drive time or an average MPH of 34ish.
Elevation change: 23,152 feet. Not making these up, I promise.





You may notice two deadends on this route, I'll revisit that momentarily.

First item of the agenda was yet more climbing, this time to see some kind of tall tree whose name I forget, in the Sequoia National Park.

As the elevation rose, the fog hung thick. Neither of these photos do the worst of it justice, but I think it might not have been advisable to pull over to take a photo when visibility was around 20 yards.





As I arrived at the gate to the park, the fog had evolved into a freezing damp mist, the road pockmarked with washes of snow and lurking black ice giving flashbacks to Yosemite. Just as I was stripping layers to paw for my wallet to pay the nice ranger $30 for the privilege of fearing for my life for the next two hours, I realized: 1) the world does not need more photos of a national park and 2) this was exactly the kind of detour I was planning on taking as needed. I chose life, and turned back to the southbound highway I had conveniently just spotted heading back off the mountain.

So that explains why the next photo in my chronology looks like this.



That's right, stay behind your gate.








As I pulled in to the gravel turnout to snap this picture, remembering my dirt bike training, I gracefully came to a smooth controlled halt, and smoothly fell over into the ditch. Must be time to take a quick break and stretch out, the mind is lagging.




Now we start another passage through the snowline (this will be number 7), up 190 into the Sequoia National Forest, which is distinct from the National Park in ways I do not understand.





First pile of snow. Here we go again.





Remember that second dead end on the map? Well, as it turns out between when I had checked the DOT website and this trip, new snow had caused a rare late-season closure of a previously open pass.

Oh, and there was no signage at the bottom of the road to indicate this.

Yes, I did spend about 15 minutes trying to figure out if I could get around that gate.



One way up, and one way down. Now I just really wanted to get to my hotel before the sun went down, so photos stop here for awhile.

I will say, this section here which does not look like much of anything to kick a horse over:


Was incredible. It went from miles of orange groves in full aroma of blossom to a grassy landscape full of mixed, sweeping curves, blind crests, and the occasional decreasing radius that made me feel like I was in the northwest 200.

Real life truthful action shot of me hustling it to Kernville as dusk sets in:



Yes, my bike does look a bit different mid-whooly. Kind weird huh.

Another day, another achingly beautiful road. Oh, and some vistas or whatever.


In case you are jaded like me and don't believe there is any truth in advertising, here is the actual view from the Riverfront Lodge in Kernville.

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Old 04-09-2019, 04:02 PM   #6
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Day 4

I met some friendly locals in the Kernville saloon Thursday night, and may not have been feeling 100% this morning. So of course right around the time I was fully awake and ready to manhandle the road, I was out of the mountains and into the inevitable slog back across the central valley. Not that it made any difference, but I kept my promise to avoid a single mile of I-5.

DAY 4
Friday 4/5. Light rain in the Kern valley, drying out into Bakersfield, after which memory disappears into a road-hypnosis induced amnesiac coma of straight roads and lettuce fields.
Mileage: 215
Elevation change: 6061 feet, what is this Nebraska?





(map makes it look like I did go on I-5, but I don't care to fix it right now to perfectly reflect the actual route and it's the central valley and death is real and who cares, take my word for it)

So today's agenda is to meet with some family at a campground somewhere in Los Padres. I didn't take any photos in the valley because you know, and just took this one of my campground, but other than that I put my (serviceless) phone away for about 36 hours and enjoyed it.



I did get to put that aforementioned dirt bike training to use on around 10 miles of trail (in the rain), ranging from perfectly graded hard-pack road to rocky single track and creek crossings. No, I am not good, I went very slowly, and somehow managed not to crash.

Here was a little hill climb event getting out of the campground, I am actually pretty proud to have survived this on a street bike.


youtu.be/tYx894nxwz4

Anyway this one was short and sweet, some nice scenery once I was out of the valley but I guess I am getting too jaded to bother taking photos of anything that doesn't involve a spectacular vista of snow capped mountains beyond a foreground resplendent in wildflowers.
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:10 PM   #7
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Old 04-09-2019, 04:23 PM   #8
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Join Date: May 2013
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Days 5/6

After two nights of primitive camping, I was ready to get to a hotel so I just did a quick sprint up 101 and spent the afternoon and evening in Carmel. So day 5 is really just the prelude to day 6.

HOME STRETCH

Monday 4/8. Sunny then foggy then sunny again then foggy but that's just Daly City and it is always foggy then sunny in the Mission per usual.
Mileage: 240
Elevation change: 15,762, this was actually surprising to me but I guess you do go up and down quite a bit through Big Sur.

Foggy part



Sunny part





Can't come home without paying a visit to the Vatican of Moto. Not many parishioners on a weekday.



Home sweet home. The closest I ever have or ever will come to a selfie.



Dirty bird!



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Old 04-09-2019, 05:35 PM   #9
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Great write up and photos, thanks for taking us along. And thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:06 PM   #10
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looks like a great time!
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:07 PM   #11
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Great! Got me wanting to head out and enjoy, like THAT! Nice trip, fun report. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:50 AM   #12
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This is such an awesome ride report on so many levels for me. My neighbor keeps trying to corral me in to a ride over the passes but is waiting for them to open back up; your pics are evidence of his claim.

Besides the fact your pictures are beautiful, the report itself paints vivid images at each stage.

And finally, but most importantly, you did this on the hyper! I’ve got an ‘09 S and have always talked myself out of “longer” trips due to the minuscule tank and thirsty engine (more my right hand and extra “ballast” as I’m pushing the $2 mark on the scale). I dread having to seek out fuel stops but your ride gives me great hope.

Thanks for an awesome report; I may try to replicate in the next few months.

Tips on your fuels stops would be highly appreciated!
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:37 AM   #13
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Thanks for the kind words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by auditude View Post
Tips on your fuels stops would be highly appreciated!

I have an exhaust system that still needs a matching ECU tune, so I believe my MPG is a bit below expectation. Oddly enough, I get higher mileage on twisty mountain roads than the freeway; on the descent into Kernville my tank yielded around 45MPG, whereas the run across the central valley was more like 32.

Your Hyper has 2.8 gallons until the reserve light comes on, and about .5 gallons of reserve. I always use trip odometer for every fillup, and consistently saw the fuel light around 95-105 miles. I wasn't keeping close track, but I think the longest stretch on this route without gas was maybe 40 miles. So as long as you are careful and make sure to fill up early if you think you're about to be in the middle of nowhere, you're fine. I also carried 2 1.5L Primus fuel bottles, which I never needed.

Funny enough, the closest I came to running out wasn't in the wilds somewhere, but some godawful tract home suburb of Bakersfield. I didn't bother gassing up on the way out of Kernville, and then somehow it took me forever to find a station once into Bakersfield; there was even a Shell sign I pulled over for that turned out to be a goddam station under construction, leading to much yelling inside the helmet. When I did get gas, the tank was pretty much empty, it took 3.2 gallons.
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Old 04-10-2019, 07:00 AM   #14
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Great report and great pictures. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 04-11-2019, 08:40 AM   #15
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Great report and great pictures. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks!
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