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Kings Canyon and Sequoia


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Skywalker and the Wench go to King's Canyon


A few weeks ago, Lisa (90%Angel) hatched a plan for us to go up to King's Canyon outside of Fresno to meet her parents for a day of lounging by the river. Then we'd spend Saturday up in San Jose visiting her grandparents and come back down to Orange County on Sunday.


I enlisted the trip routing support of my good friend, Master Yoda. He provided several options, we picked our route and started packing. This trip would be a dry run for Gunnison, we'd travel fully loaded with all of our gear, clothes, and electronics.


Sunday, I discovered a big staple in my rear MEZ4. @#%!! Tuesday, Irv Seaver replaced it and I took the LONG way home from work on Wednesday to start scrubbing in the tire.


Thursday, we left home at 5:00am and headed north on I-5, then across CA-14 towards Palmdale. We stopped at the "Palmdale Cut"...where they cut right through the San Andreas fault when making the freeway. It's a really great snapshot of what happens as the plates move around.






We stopped for breakfast in Palmdale, then headed for Tehachapi via Tehachapi Willow Springs Road. Some of you may remember that's the road where I "got lost" on D Tool's K1200RS back in April. I was really looking forward to getting back there. It's great, smooth road with big open turns winding up an down over the pass on the way to Tehachapi. It was a 110mph road on the RS. I eased into the first corner at 80mph and found that speed to be WAY too slow. More power. Before long, I found myself holding the throttle wide open the whole way, and wanting more. The RT just isn't fast enough. frown.gif


Out of Tehachapi and down towards "the loop". We arrived at the Tehachapi Loop..where the railroad tracks circle around and cross over themself on the way up the Tehachapi range. I guess the trains take vacations too, because we were there for almost 30 minutes and...no trains. frown.gif








Down the hill, a brief stint on CA-58, then off and over to Caliente. Across the tracks and up into the mountains on Caliente Bodfish Road. We stopped for a few minutes at the corner where Daryll went down back in April. Caliente Bodfish road is my kind of road. Slow, tight, mostly 2nd gear turns...with some 1st gear switchbacks now and then to keep life interesting. You wind along creeks, over ridges, through valleys, and generally get to see lots and lots of really great vistas. There are three different valleys, each with unique terrain, flora, and fauna.


We stopped for a while at Havilah, the former Kern county seat. The museum at the old courthouse was closed. We hung out, switched to our warm gear, and enjoyed the nice fresh air.








I was really enjoying working the RT over this greatroad, and Lisa seemed to be enjoying the pace as well. At one point, she said that we sounded like a car chase from a James Bond movie...I said, "Yeah...if Double-O-seven drove a sewing machine with a cement truck's transmission. laugh.gif "

Harrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmmmmmm- Pahhhh-CLUNK-REEARRRRRRRRRRrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh-snick--ReeeaaarrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaHarrrrrrrrraaaaammmmmmmmmm-Pahhhh-CLUNK


Eventually, we came around a bend and Lake Isabella came into view. We coasted through town, along the lakeshore, then up towards Kernville.


We stopped for fuel and fluids in Kernville, then headed up the hill into the Seqouia National Forest. There was quite a bit of traffic the first few miles, but it thinned rapidly to almost nothing as we climbed. The few cars that remained were very good about pulling off out of the way.


Up one side of the mountain, then down the other into the central valley. More 2nd gear turns, and we were really working the bike through the turns. When we stopped at California Hot Springs, I was exhausted. My legs were so tired, I could barely hold the bike upright. 15 minutes of rest and I was good to go. At one point, we came barreling around a corner at about 75 (posted speed limit was 35) just as 3 sherrif's cars passed going the other direction. They weren't running radar, and didn't seem interested in us. (thank goodness.) On the long, straight stretch towards Porterville, we hit 112 on the GPS (about 115 on the speedo) between whoop-de-doos. smile.gif


Lunch in Porterville, then up the 99 into Fresno.


That night, we watched a pretty good fireworks show in Clovis, outside of Fresno.




DSCN0031.JPG No, I'm not on the wrong side of the road. This is becoming Lisa's "trademark" shot...leaning WAY off to the inside, zoomed WAY in.











Friday morning was my day to play. I left the hotel solo at 7:30am and headed south on the 99. I stopped for breakfast along the freeway, then turned off at Wurtyville (aka Visalia). I took a quick break at the Visalia airport...I saw a Lear, a Cessna Caravan, and two Cessna 172's depart. I kept my eyes open for chicks that Wurty has had, but couldn't find any. I did see a "Wurty was here" sign on the gate to the sheep area of the petting zoo. tongue.gif


I got behind a VW van for a while just as the road got interesting. Eventually, they moved over and I went sliding past on the inside of a nice left-hander. I stopped at the entrance to Sequoia National Park and showed the unbelievably hot Park Ranger Chick (she totally wanted Wurty) my national park pass, the started into the park. I had been told by my squid friends that Sequoia was right up my alley....REAL tight turns for mile after mile after mile. Oh yeah...and spectacular views. They were right. It was awful...I couldn't bring myself to stop because the roads were so awesome, but I couldn't bear to NOT stop and take in the view. I did manage a few shots.















I crossed through 7500 feet (up from 400 feet at the hotel that morning), then started back down. I passed into Kings Canyon National Park and started DOWN into the canyon...and I mean DOWN. The roads were different than in sequoia, mostly smooth, sticky 3rd gear sweepers. I rode one section of the road 4 times...up and back...up and back. My quads were SCREAMING, but not as loud as I was. What fun!


The plan was to meet Lisa and her parents at Boyden cave. Apparently, I blasted past them (stopped at an overlook) several times going up and down the canyon. smile.gif


We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the river, and going through the canyon checking out the waterfalls and the awesome views.












DSCN0070.JPG This one's for you, Laney.
























That evening, went back into Fresno, had dinner, then hit the road. I rode solo and Lisa was in the Minivan. I turned onto the 152 towards Los Banos and set the flip-a-lever at 90. The V1 alerted me to the presence of a couple of CHP cars. I passed a couple on a Concours, and several Harleys. A fair number of bikes passed going the other direction. The sun went down and drapped the landscape in that awesome glow. This is my very favorite time to ride. (Yes, I realize the dangers of this time of the day.)


Through Los Banos just after the sun disapeared.


I stopped at the base of the dam on the San Louis resevoir and switched to my Killimanjaro and Gerbings liner. Up and over the pass, I start encountering the dreaded "Bay Area Driver". I remember now why I hated living up there. in LA/OC, maybe 1 out of 20 drivers shows some sign of being annoyed at my PIAA 1100's (which are aimed VERY LOW). Here, it's more like 1 out of every 3. Several people slam on their brakes when I get behind them, some pull over like they're letting me past, then swerve back out when I start around. Not fun.


My impression of LA/Orange County drivers is that they're self-absorbed and typically oblivious to anything around them. That's easy to deal with. I just thread my way though...no problem. There appear to be 2 types of drivers in the Bay Area...the kind that is totally oblivious to traffic laws, other cars, daytime, nighttime, rain, stoplights, etc. And the people who have been stuck behind the first kind of driver every day to and from work for the last 7 years. They're MAD at everything, highly erradic, and highly volitile. No thanks.


Eventually, I made it to my destination without anyone killing me (despite their best efforts).


Sunday's ride home was, um, interesting.


Down to Hollister...thread our way though the trailer queens there for the Harley ralley. Left on J1. GREAT road. Relatively slow, some tough to read corners, and very bumpy...a good BMW road. Then we split onto another road, with the intention of cutting over to Los Gatos Canyon road. Things didn't quite turn out that way. The map showed a nice winding paved road through New Idria, then down towards Los Gatos Canyon. About 4 miles before new Idria, it turned into a dirt road. Then it got steep...and rutted.


There were times where Lisa was as far forward as she could get, and I was standing on the pegs as far forward as I could get, and the front weel was still coming up. As we rolled into the abandoned mining town of New Idria, we passed lots of hand-written "protect our gun rights" and Libritarian political signs. (We found out later that New Idria was once occupied by a some fringe group. Yikes.)


The road ahead of us got MUCH worse, so we elected to turn around. We passed a couple of wild horses wandering down the road on our way back...they gave us funny looks...we were out of place.


Our little detour cost us an hour and a half, so we decided to skip Los Gatos Canyon and beat it over to I-5, then down to Coalinga where we could pick up CA-33 for the rest of the trip. The map shows two ways to get to I-5. One is shorter. We pick it. It winds up being 12 miles of dirt, including a couple of big hills that took some real effort to keep the RT slowed down on.


We arrived at I-5 shaken but not stirred...quick break, then back on the road. We passed a guy on a Hayabusa (Probably the ONLY time an RT has ever passed one of those. smile.gif ) and eventually turned off on CA-33 towards Coalinga. Lunch in Coalinga (shared the restaurant with two Harley riders who refused to acknowledge our existance.), then on down the road.


Just south of the state prison, we were cooking along, both tucked in tight, with the GPS showing 120, when the V1 politely suggested (brapbrap----brapbrap----brapbrap--brapbrapbrapbrapbrapbrapbraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa) that we should SLOW DOWN. I nailed both brakes hard and hauled the big beast down from 120 to about 70 before a CHP car came over the hill. Thank you, Mike Valentine!


We hit the little town of Taft and stopped for fuel and fluids. We chatted with a guy on a Super Hawk (in full leathers...he musta been HOT!) and he said that the rest of the road between New Idria and Los Gatos Canyon got MUCH worse and we probably would not have made it on the RT. GS, sure, but RT NO! Good thing we turned around.


Down to Maricopa, Over to I-5, then I-5 all the way home. we did about 25 miles of lane-splitting, then it opened up and we were able to keep it moving pretty well.


Total miles for the weekend: 1485

Front tires worn bald: 1

Rear tires scrubbed in and ready to rock and roll in Gunnison: 1

Top speed: 120mph

Times the V1 saved our butt: at least 7

Brown moments: 0

Light-tan moments: 1 smile.gif

Smiles: 2 - continuously for 4 days

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A fun read.


In reply to:

There appear to be 2 types of drivers in the Bay Area...the kind that is totally oblivious to traffic laws, other cars, daytime, nighttime, rain, stoplights, etc. And the people who have been stuck behind the first kind of driver every day to and from work for the last 7 years. They're MAD at everything, highly erradic, and highly volitile. No thanks.


The comments I see like this never cease to amaze me. After 6 years in Boston, I find drivers in the Bay Area to be amazingly polite, law-abiding drivers. People around here like to talk about how fast everyone drives, how rude everyone is. They have no idea.


I ride in Bay Area traffic everyday. My Motolights never seem to faze anyone, other than the occasional person who thinks I might be a cop.


When I recently rode to the midwest, on the otherhand, people just couldn't handle my lights.


Haven't done any but a little riding around LA other than on what I guess is "the 210." Not there long enough to form an impression.



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Russell, an excellent write bro, I mean EXCELLENT. I read this before work today & kept it with me all day. Toooo cool.


Growing up in lovely Lancaster, I hooned in most all the areas you rode. I had a special fondness for skiing Kings River out of Fresno. Many great memories from there in my singles daze. I didn't post to it, but all the roads ya'll did on the SoCal hoon ride, are where I grew up on bikes. Mostly Yammy RD400s. Used to flog the snot outta those ring-a-ding-dingers all over Dickies 'hood. Spunky Cyn., Bouquet Cyn., San Fransiquito Cyn., Soledad Cyn., Angeles Crest, Lake Eliz Road to Castaic and back, etc., etc. What a way to grow up huh?? Haven't seen any of those roads on the RT, but hoping to in the fall. Wanna ride???


See you in a week......... wink.gif YEEFARKINHAW !!!!

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Gleno...we had a total blast. My ONLY dissapointment as far as the roads go, was Tehachapi Willow Springs.


It wasn't that it was BAD on the RT...just not as good as on the RS.


I know what you mean about those great roads. I grew up in the Texas Hill Country, so when the Pie Town crew posts pics of the bowling alley in Bandera, or the BBQ pits at Coopers in Llano...I'm thinkin' of home. I haven't (YET) done those roads on a bike, but I used to roar through there in my car at superlegal speeds. I have a feeling my RT will handle those roads better than my '86 Cougar did. smile.gif


Bro...you name it and we'll ride it. Anywhere, Anytime.


Hey...are you bringin' your snacky wench, or do I gotta look at your nasty mug the whole time?

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I promise I'll keep the iridium shield closed on my RF900 whenever you're around. wink.gif Nope, Terri ain't goin'. She roasted all her vacation time with her family this year, as well as had a few daze off for some surgery. Not to mention, Tool plays Fri. nite at the Thomas & Mack, & that's her B'day present from me. I was quite torn between Tool & ridin' to Co. that nite, but the ride won out. Hence, I'll see your nasty mug in Paonia on Sat., midday. Have me an icy cool beverage ready. laugh.gif


BTW, last year for Terris B'day, 7/20, there was a huge crowd of RT.commers at the MOA rally in Ore., and we all sang Happy B'day to her over TRoes cel phone from the rally. She cried. Hopin' we can sing to her again next Sat. nite from Paonia. cool.gif

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We ain't doin' Paonia. We're gonna do somethin like this:


Thursday: Leave after work...Bonzai run up I-15 to St. George

Friday: Lollygag into Torrey via Zion, Escalante, etc. Eat at Cafe Diablo...stay at the Chuckwagon.

Saturday: Mosey on over to Moab. stay in moab

Sunday: Blow into Gunnison sometime late afternoon


Tell Terri we said Hi...and if you call her on Saturday...be sure to sing extra loud for me. smile.gif


As for Tool...I don't get it. I mean...I like the guy, and he threw a great BBQ/party/ride back in April...but I wouldn't miss a ride for him. wink.gif

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Hey Russell,


Beißen Sie mich. Mordalo. Mordez-moi. Muérdame. laugh.gif


Man, straying thru Torrey sounds good, but I want to do Paonia. See you rascals when we get there!


D Tool

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In reply to:

Beißen Sie mich. Mordalo. Mordez-moi. Muérdame.


Taco bueno.


Toolman...looking forward to it, bro. Be sure to give Buckley and Luna a good scratch behind the ears for me before you leave...and give Sweet thing a Hug from us.

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In reply to:



As for Tool...I don't get it. I mean...I like the guy, and he threw a great BBQ/party/ride back in April...but I wouldn't miss a ride for him.


I however, would. In a heartbeat, but I just know in my heart that you're sharp enuff to know that I'm talking of the band Tool, with our boy Maynard as the lead throat. They kick long ass & haven't been here in a few years now. Sad I gotta miss it.




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My heartfelt thanks to Master Yoda for taking Russell out on all those training rides. We were doing these roads a good 5mph faster than we used to go, and I was having a good time, yappin and snappin (pictures) away. When we used to go riding, I was much more nervous, and we were scrapin' a LOT more often. I think we had maybe 2 scrapes the entire weekend here.


I was happy to have the visit with my family on Friday, but I missed being on the bike, in favor of the minivan with them. View sucks and no fresh air. You miss the tops of everything when you are in the car! frown.gif


The ride home on Sunday was great! Yeah, we had an unexpected detour, and it was a bit warm the latter half of the day, but it was sooooo beautiful! Blue sky, no clouds, green plants, golden hills, fresh air....beeeeeoootifulll!


I didn't like all the traffic we encountered through the Grapevine on the way home, but at least we could split through it...otherwise, I'm sure we'd still be there.


Hope everyone's Fourth was as fun as ours! smile.gif

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I sat home all weekend spankin my monkey and I could have been showing you around my back yard ??


I feel violated and I kinda like that tongue.gif

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I thought about givin' you a ring, but I wasn't sure what we'd be doing, and when.


Besides...I wanted to ride, not dodge all the chicks chasin' after you! laugh.gif

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Just think Wurty, NEXT weekend, you can be spankin' the sock monkeycolor=blue>, and give your monkey a rest!!! shocked.gif

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