3 Day Sierra Pass Ride
June 12-14, 2004
Ride Report by Jimil Borillo
I started planning this ride early in the year and originally it was to be only 2 days. Turns out we make it a 3 day run and try to hit as many mountain passes between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite as we can. We started off with 2 riders, myself and Rich, but on Day 2 we were joined by Les, Dan, and Carlo. Why no one else joined us on this ride is beyond me. We were to hit roads that rivaled any track. Scenery that blows away anything within a 100 mile radius of the SF Bay Area. Suffice it to say that if you knew about this ride and you missed it, then you REALLY missed it.
Route: Cordelia - 80 - 12 - 160 - 5 - 80 - Foresthill Rd - Mosquito Ridge Rd - Hell Hole Rd - Eleven Pines - Wentworth Springs Rd - Ice House Rd - 50 - 49 - Jackson
The meet spot was at the Chevron in Cordelia which is at the intersection of 680 and 80. I was running 20 minutes late cause I had to head back home to retrieve my camera battery and charger. I gas up and check my voicemail and it turns out Dan (infrandom) left me a message saying he won't be able to join us on day 1. Turns out he isn't the only one as Les (heathen) and Carlo (trkdydumper) both couldn't make day 1 as well, but both said they'll make days 2 and 3.
So day one is just Rich and I. Since we weren't in a rush we decided to take 12 to 160 and ride the levee road along the Sacramento River. It's a nice ride with big sweepers and several river crossings over big drawbridges. You also pass through small little towns and farmland. It was much better than the original plan of droning on the super slab up to Auburn. 160 ends just north of Freeport and we jump on I-5 for a short stretch till we get on 80 and head towards Auburn. We stop for gas and breakfast in Rocklin and jump back on 80 for the short ride up to Auburn. Just north of Auburn we exit on Forest Hill road which is a nicely paved wide road leading to the small town of Forest Hill.
ride route was to take Forest Hill all the way to north Lake Tahoe but
I find out last minute that it's a dirt road for most of the way. Damn
I wish I had a dual sport!! The alternate route was to take Mosquito
Ridge Road and man were we glad we did. That road was pristine with
absolutely no gravel or debris. The road surface as better than any
track I've ever been on and there were esses upon esses, turn upon turn,
chicane upon chicanes. That road just ROCKS!!!! We end up at a small
lake called French Meadows and we couldn't stop grinning and laughing,
that road was so much fun!! We checked a map to see where we were and
it turns out that we weren't exactly where we trying to get to which
was Wentworth Springs Road. So we find an alternate route and take Hell
Hole Road which connected us to Eleven Pines Road. Both roads are really
twisty, similar to Mines Road but with more bumps. Eleven Pines dumped
us onto a road labled as 1 which I believe is called Wentworth Springs
Road, so we took it heading east towards Ice House Road. That route
1 road was really fun. Big sweepers and pavement that rivals Skaggs,
just clean asphalt and no tar snakes. At Ice House we head south towards
Hwy 50. Ice House is a great road with lots of fun sections and again
we couldn't stop grinning. When we hit Hwy 50 we started heading west
and then south on 49 towards Jackson where we stayed overnight at the
Best Western Inn. Lucky for us we got the last room with 2 doubles.
After steak dinners at the nearbly Mel's Diner, we just chilled out
at the hotel room and talked about what a great day we had riding. At
about midnight I get a call from my cousin, Carlo, that he might not
make the ride. I told him that off all the rides you do this year, this
is the one that you don't want to miss and he'd be sorry if he bailed.
That seem to convince him and said that he'd meet us in the morning.
That was Day 1 and we still had 2 more days to go
.fun, fun, fun.
Route: Jackson - 88 - 89 - 395 - 89 - 4 - Parrots Ferry Rd - 49 - Sonora
Dan and Les show up promptly and 9am. My cousin Carlo was supposed to be there but ended up getting a bit lost not to mention running really low on gas. He finally gets to the hotel in 1 piece and we head over to Denny's for breakfast. Since we didn't have too much road to cover we took our time and ended up leaving Jackson on Hwy 88 around 11:30am. Hwy 88 takes you up and over Carson Pass and is a very smooth road made up of mostly large sweepers and a few smaller turns. The asphalt is just perfect and the roads were free of traffic. We stop at Kirkwood for a break and then head out. At the junction of 88 and 89 I make a mistake and head north on 89 instead of staying on 88 until it became 89 S. After a few miles I realize my mistake and we turn around. But although we added a few minutes to the ride and went out of our ways a little bit, we did actually go over Luther Pass. After getting back on track 88 becomes 89 and we head south till we reach the intersection of 89 and 4. Heading east on 89 takes you over Monitor Pass and drops you onto the east side of the Sierra Nevada. If you ever had to look up "sweeper" in the dictionary, Monitor Pass would probably show up. Massive sweepers that you can see 2 to 3 turns into. Aside from the tar snakes this road is uber fun and some of the views are just jaw dropping. What was cool about this part of the ride was the fact that we were gonna go back and do it again so we could hook up with Hwy 4 and head back west towards Sonora. At the bottom of Monitor Pass (89) we T into 395 and head north a few miles and into Nevada for some gas and a quick break in the small casino. Then we headed back down 395 to 89 west towards Hwy 4.
If you've never
been on Hwy 4, which takes you over Ebbetts Pass, it has some of THE
tightest switchbacks I've ever been on. If you think the road up to
Mt. Hamilton is tight then Hwy 4 is even tighter. If you've ever been
on Quimby Road east of San Jose, you get a very small taste of what
some sections of Hwy 4 is like. Only difference is that the road is
super smooth and perfectly paved. Aside from the tight sections of 4,
it also offers every single kind of turn you'll ever encounter. Sweepers,
hairpins, cambered, off-camber, whoops, and everything else you can
imagine you'll find on Hwy 4. We take a break at Bear Valley and talk
to some other riders and they suggest a road to hit on our way to Sonora
so we don't have to hit traffic on Hwy 49. The road is called Parrot's
Ferry and man it was just sooo sooo fun
and it dropped us just
4 miles north of Sonora. We all check into the Days Inn along the downtown
strip and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Adolfo's. It was
some of the best Mexican food I've ever had. If you are ever in Sonora,
go check it out. I had the carnitas plate and it was very tasty and
very filling. We end the day over some beers and some general BS. Carlo
says to me that he is glad he came. Again another great day
Route : Sonora - 49 - 10 - 395 - 120 - Bay Area
It's the last day of our ride and the route was to take us up over Hwy 10 and Sonora Pass, south on 395 and then hook up with Hwy 120 which takes you over Tioga Pass and into Yosemite National Park.
Hwy 10 has some very tight sections as well as soon as you get up above 7000 ft. But as with most of the ride, the road conditions were just perfect with pavement smooth and debris free. We couldn't have asked for better. With roads that nice you are torn between railing on the turns or admiring the scenery. Words and pics can't describe it. You really have to go see it for yourselves.
Hwy 10 hits 395 in Bridgeport. Dan suggests that we have lunch in Lee Vining which is very close to the 120 intersection, so we head south on 395. We eat lunch at a BBQ restaurant called Bodie Mikes and we all have the Tri-Tip sandwiches, which were very very good. After lunch we head out to the bikes and suit up and we look up and behind this mountain we see what Rich called a "Boomer" cloud. It looked like a combination of a volcanic eruption and a mushroom cloud. Very strange looking and looked like it was holding a lot of moisture.
We jump on 120 and head west towards the entrance of the park. 120 takes you through the most impressive scenery we've seen yet. Its just so awesome and jaw dropping that I sometimes had trouble focusing on the road. Just after entering the park, we hit a section of the road that the big rain cloud must have dumped on. The temperature literally dropped about 30 degrees and the road was wet but steaming in some places. This went on for about 2 miles and then it was bright sun shine again.
The plan was to drop into the valley but we were actually running a little behind schedule so we just stayed on 120 and out the west gate of the park. Hwy 120 west of Yosemite probably had the best pavement we'd ever encounter on this ride. Super smooth like they just paved it a week ago. Not only was the pavement perfect but there were turns after turns after hairpins after switchbacks. If we were so tired, we probably would have enjoyed it more but it was still a blast and from the looks on everyone's faces when we stopped for gas, they were all in agreement.
Now it was off to Oakdale for our last stop for gas and to say our good byes. In Oakdale we get gas and take an extended break before getting back on 120 for the 2 hour ride back to the bay area. We all agreed that we're gonna try and make this ride a yearly thing, but this also hatched ideas of a norcal 2 day run sometime in the fall.
Overall, this was one of the most fun rides I've been on in a long time. For you track only guys, you really don't know what you are missing.
|Les took some pics on the ride as well. Here they are.|