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Riders rarely mention the Southern Sierra Nevada. Why you ask? It's remote, deserted, endlessly twisty, and just the middle of nowhere. But located on the southern edges of the Sierra Nevada range is the very last mountain pass up and over the range. Eclipsed by its famous neighbors to the north. This 9000 ft. pass is our destination.

The Ride to
MAMMOTH LAKES

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Southern Sierra
Nevada Foothills

Our tour begins from Exeter in Central California & at the edge of the Sierra Nevada Foothills. South of Porterville, we'll enter this treeless grassy ranch land that thrusts & heaves about. The roads here are fantastic! Deserted with the elevation constantly climbing toward the Sierra Nevada range that looms ever closer with each passing mile!

Hwy 190 is a special road. Commonly referred to as the Western Divide Highway, it leaves the Central Valley behind in hurried convoluted sequences of curves that will have you begging for more.

At the top of our spirited introductory ride is Trail of a 100 Giants. Massive Sequoia trees the defy senses and our perception of normality.

 

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Sherman Pass... The Last Road.

Swinging around to the Kern River Valley, we'll drop in on the Kern River Brewery for lunch. The traffic is all headed south. You and I though head north up the Kern River Canyon & begin climbing the mountain side ascending thousands of feet in minutes, nearly 2 miles into the sky. This accent to the top of the range folds in on itself, bending one switchback into the other.

And Kennedy Meadows? There is nothing up here. Which is perfect. Just you, the road, and those mountain peaks harmonizing a symphonic serration that cuts the sky. The way it should be when you're on top of the world. This plateau is so remote, it marks the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada range and is an important resupply point for hikers making their way north on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Sherman Pass & Kennedy Meadows present a relaxed meandering ride across the roof of this 400-mile long range of peaks. This portion of the range is actually flat at the top, a table top in the sky and just one paved road. No side roads, no people, towns, much of anything, just the motorcycle beneath you humming along and leaving your life behind. Immersed in Pashnit Alternate Reality. You can find it up here.

 

No guard rails here, it is straight down to the valley below - keep your eyes on the road as we lose elevation rapidly. Nine Mile Canyon descends into the rain shadow of the mighty Sierra, into the Owens Valley. Enter the Eastern Sierra Nevada...

 

Whitney Portal. Onion Valley. The Hwy 395 Corridor.

Ever heard of Mount Whitney? The highest peak in the Lower 48 states at 14494 ft. is just above our heads. Spider roads that splinter from Hwy 395 like Whitney Portal or Onion Valley make way into the mountainous peaks to the west. These are short roads, but picture the view... I can see for miles. If one side of the Owens Valley isn't good enough to run up, let's see-saw across the valley to check out the oldest living things on the planet.

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...White Mountains

The Eastern Sierra Nevada might not rank high on your choice list for a motorcycle tour. It's in the rain shadow of the range, i.e. high desert. And the roads are long and straight. Doesn't sound fun?

But there's something unique and special about the Eastern Sierra. Wide open spaces, but punctuated by mountains peaks on both left and right.

It's beautiful. Majestic.

And we're going to ride to the top, making our way up to the highest paved road in the Sierra Nevada. Doesn't ring a bell? That's because you'd never know it's even there. But Hwy 168 leads to White Mountain Rd and once you ride past an elevation of 10,000 feet and we're still headed up - you've truly made it to the roof of the Sierra Nevada.

And the top? A Bristlecone Pine Forest - 3000 year old trees - fascinating stuff! These trees have a remarkable ability to survive in extremely harsh and challenging environment. In fact, they are believed to be some of oldest living organisms in the world, with lifespans in nearly 5,000 years.

 
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Sagehen Summit. 8139 ft.

It' doesn't sound all that impressive. Sagehen? Never heard of it. We know it better as the Benton-Crossing loop. It's remote, deserted, and fantastic! A picture-perfect image of the eastern Sierra high desert. With elevations averaging above 6000 ft, a treeless landscape of sagebrush, salt plains and jagged peaks draw the scenery with a paintbrush across the horizon. And the whoops... Bonus! To finish it off - a view of Mono Lake.

Devils Postpile

Found at the end of a dead-end road, you could ride by this for decades and never know it was there. But the rule is if it's labeled as a National Monument - go see it. Someone was smart enough to protect it for future generations- in this case John Muir among others. The original plan was to blast away the cliff face to destroy this monument to make way for a hydro-electric dam & flood the valley.

This geometric rock face is made up of columnar basalt pillars 2-3 feet in diameter. The columns are 3, 4, 6, 7 sided - but not 5- and 6 stories tall. It's another fascinating slice of California geology and if you have the time, you can check the nearby 101 foot Rainbow Falls.

 

Eastern Sierra.

The more we ride in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, the more we long to come back and ride more of the roads.

The roads are so remote and untraveled, you might begin to take it for granted. This region is easily passed over and skipped as a riding destination.

But you can ride here and see what all the hubbub is about.

Won't take you long to figure it out.

Sign up here !

 

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September 2017

29 - 1
 
 
Single Rider
$425
Passenger
$109
 
Motorcycle Rental
Click Here
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MEETING PLACE:

Best Western Exeter Inn & Suites
805 S Kaweah Avenue
Exeter, California 93221,
Meet 7:00, Safety Brief 7:30, Depart 8:00 AM

Arriving Early? Riders may stay at the Charter Inn Thursday. (You must book your own room for Thursday.)

Contact Info:
Tim Mayhew : 530-391-1356

 
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