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Mark Mayo

7 Passes 2012

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Mark Mayo

Two clubs SCMA (Southern California Motorcycle Association) and SCBMWRC (South Coast BMW Riders Club) co-sponsored a ride through 7 of the passes in the Yosemite area recently. We copied the ride from Bill Allen who devised it and escorted a group last year. The four day ride this year was led by Dan Burtt and Blake Anderson and had at least 9 riders that I saw/met, but may have had more. The objective was to ride through 7 passes that included Walker, Tioga, Sonora, Monitor, Ebbetts, Carson and Luther Passes. If you need some serious sweeps and twisties in your life try this endeavor.


Here are the members of my group at Zingo's near Bakersfield (L-R Mark, Dan, Ted, Blake and Bill)




Four of riders had 1200RTs while I rode my 1150RT. This made for a nice ride with evenly matched bikes once we got into synch. The start was through Granite Road out of Oildale and truly wonderful sweeps started the day. If you visit Bakersfield you MUST ride Granite and 155! We then used highway 155 to add twisties - lots of tight twisties! I might add that Blake, Bill and Dan are very quick and capable in any riding conditions so I knew it was going to be good riding. The passage on 155 was great except those nagging patches of sand and rocks at almost all right-turning curves made by cars and trucks as they cheated the turns - they gave all of us something to think about as we narrowed your chicken strips to nothing. At the end of 155 we noticed that we were one rider short. Not an odd thing as we all stopped to adjust something or take a photo at will so we waited 5 minutes before sending a rider back to see what was up. One bike had a flat and the call came to the rest of us to help.


Here we are fixing a flat in a wonderful spot, but very hot sunny conditions.






Note to self and others: practice with kit BEFORE you need it. We had three almost mint kits and no real experience. Now we know!


Hot was the word for this weekend, but we fixed the flat and got enough air to make it to a station. Their air delivery was poor, but the rider got enough to head home.




This moved out timetable back over and hour, but we headed out for Walker and Tioga passes.




I am not sure how many good things come with age though the lifetime National Park pass for $10 would qualify. Blake waved his and we all cruised through. If you were there in a car or big truck, you got passed politely by this group, but passed. It was odd to view half dome in 1/2 second intervals staying alert for drivers and turns. We managed to see three dead deer on the roadside that made us sorry for them, but happy they were not moving toward our bikes. Technical is a term some use for the riding we had on SR-49, SR-108 and old CA-108 ending in Sonora. Some cold adult beverages, showers and clean clothes made us new men ready for a Mexican restaurant and perhaps additional beverages and a fine meal. Morning was toasty warm as we headed over Sonora pass on SR-108.




Blake rides an impressive number of miles on his RT and his Goldwing every year and he needed gas or to mail something so we stopped at this Post Office as proof.




Markleeville is one of the many, many cool towns along this route.






Everyone enjoyed a break, stretch and a chance to get re-hydrated.




Since these photos are from my camera, phone and Dan's camera some of them might be a bit out of order. I think we made this stop to get some pictures (a rare event indeed).






The view was stunning in all directions!






Roads like Sr-89 Ebbetts Pass and SR-4 flew by.




Angel's Camp, SR-88 and over Carson Pass.


We headed back through Markleeville for a trip over Monitor pass for the second time going in the reverse direction; amazing how the same road can be even better! Take note that when you see areas of pavement or asphalt that crack during winter and they put tar in there to seal the cracks, it gets mighty slippery on a hot day and can be challenging when you are in a tight turn, mighty slippery!


The trip down 395 through Bridgeport (the place of the happiest cows on earth), past Virginia Lakes, Mono Lake and The June Lake area was smooth and relaxing as we headed for a night in Bishop.






Bishop was also a bit warm, but Whiskey Creek restaurant helped us relax and gave us time to reflect on a good ride. Dan and I made the trip home on Sunday with a 6:30 depart after a free motel breakfast down 395 to the 15 and our split. My total was just under 1400 miles for the four day trip. Bill and Blake did the trip in three days while Dan and I made a poor decision to spend a night in Oildale before the ride started. Nice guys, great riders and a very challenging and fun trip.


Blake's license plate sums up life the a BMW motorcycle.




Final note to self: ride as often as possible with seasoned, superior riders to improve your riding skills.

Edited by Mark Mayo

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Looks nice.

I saw all the publicity or announcements about Bill Allen's ride last year, so I went and did my own, and got more than 7 passes, and more than 4 days, around all of the highway 49 and gold country areas. My northern point was Downieville.

I love that place.


Edited by David13

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

Nice Mark! What is and where is the little lake view in the canyon in the one shot?

Sacto929 and I did one 2 years ago that went from Tioga north for 9 including the two on 395 that really kind of don't count. Definitely a sore arse day.

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Can't speak for the OP, but looks like Donnell's reservoir, just above Beardsley on 108.


I know a bitchin' 18 mile jeep/dsport road in, it hangs on the south side of the canyon, well up from the Stanislaus.. Good fishing on the reservoir, but the last 1/16 mi you have to walk past a Homeland security gate...pedestrian access only now. :thumbsup:





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Mark Mayo

I believe you have it and I liked the view a lot. It almost made stopping the fun OK. The entire ride was focused on two days of a roller coaster ride for 10-12 hours/day

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Thanks for the report!

Looks like a great ride......


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Paul Mihalka

Mark, thank you for this ride report and great pictures. Took some notes and a lot of yellow marker on my map, as I hope to do some Sierra pass chasing this September before Torrey.

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