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Discussion Starter #1
Am I crazy or is it too soon to consider a return trip to the Sweetwater Range? Fall is approaching and while the days get shorter and the nights a lot colder those aspen groves can look very nice when the colors change.
Before I was aware of the riding opportunities up high I had fall camped and successfully rode a big swath of the numerous aspen filled valleys and alpine lakes between Tioga Pass and Sonora Pass. Even camped high above Mono Lake then rode through Yosemite. There is a lot that can be enjoyed that is not re-creating what we have already done...Bodie, Masonic, Aurora and Silverado ghost towns, several hot springs to warm up in and melt away stress, etc.
And there are still single and twin tracks we never fully explored in the high country. Miles beyond where we turned around after Donzo spilled his bike the first day is this zone of unusual terrain....Bomb craters? Biologics like ant mounds? Vegetation? Prospect pits? Don’t you want to go get bit by ants finding out?:rolleyes: ant hills.jpg
 

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We couldn't get out of this smoke filled Northern California valley soon enough! It was very disappointing returning from riding in those beautiful mountains to half mile visibility. Yuk. SWEETWATERS-------- the name alone, gotta love it! The luxury of having a professional guide would be awesome. Of course Fred would take all the fun out of getting lost. To be honest, getting lost every time we ride is not as much fun as one would think. Haha. Dirts a Flyen SanDue. :rolleyes::D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Next full moon is unfortunately mid-week on Sept 6th. in case any of you like a little moonlight for after dark stumbling around.
Weekend before 2nd,3rd & 4th will be waxing gibbous with ~90% illumination with moonrise mid-afternoon and moon high in sky at sunset.
Just an idea. Around Bridgeport the best Aspen colors are typically a month later depending on elevation. Touring some the lakes and canyons spilling out of the eastern sierras then is an amazing TW ride. Lake-Sabrina-basin-dennison-700x500.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The more I think about it the better a fall color themed ride sounds.
While there were lots of aspens in the Sweetwaters in the sheltered canyons as well as north and west facing slopes that hold the snow we could always try something more spectacular. An hour south around Mono Lake there are several tourist themed lakes with paved access and resorts but have nearby forest service roads with primitive camping. Go beyond the resorts and things get interesting.
Lundy Canyon is my favorite. A ride up there in riotous fall colors is a sight to behold: lundy11.jpg If done after the first snow decorates the high country then it gets even better. 6287942413_98c63a5cb1_b.jpg
If we un-ass the machines and go for a hike there are waterfalls up some of the canyons. This is in South Fork. Waterfall-South-Fork-Bishop-Creek-Alan-Schoenherr-700x500.jpg
Nearby Lake Sabina
Lake-Sabrina-basin-dennison-700x500.jpg
North Lake North-Lake-Color-Fall-09-700x500.jpg
These destinations could be combined with a camp spot and Yosemite ride as seen in:Moonrise Over Mono
 

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All I can say is wow!



Way to early to say but if the ride was possibly in "color time" I might be able to return. However, way way to early to say or know. And forgiveness sakes, don't base any dates to ride waiting for me. I'm just saying there is a remote chance.

But them colors are awfully tempting.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How about October then? Hunter’s Moon is Octobr 5th. Want to do this before the Full Beaver Moon when days are too dang short and cold. full-beaver-moon-cover.jpg
Best endless off road riding remains in the Sweetwaters but even just a drive into Lundy Canyon on the last day instead of a final ride would be memorable.
I’ll do more research on possible back road touring around those other places of interest since they are a few thousand feet lower and thus warmer than up by Lubdell Lake in the Sweetwaters.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So I guess I am pondering three possible rides:

1) Sweetwaters again w/ possible Bodie & Masonic ghost towns. Intermediate difficulty, 20% pavement if visit new ghost towns.

2) Lundy Lake, Virginia Lake,etc aspen tour with “lowland” camping @ 7,000 ft. Easy riding, ~50% pavement.

3) Mono Lake/ Yosemite with high camping, 90% pavement $25 motorcycle admission into Park if you do not already have pass
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here is a dark night option if the full moon tends to bring out the werewolves in any of us:

Every 76 years that pesky Halley’s comet comes by and sheds fresh debris along it’s path through the solar system. halleys.jpg This October the earth once again sweeps through this debris field cleaning up a small swath turning comet cast-offs into fiery meteors we call the Orionid Meteor Shower since they seem to eminate from the constellation Orion. Peaking around 20 meters per hour on October 20th they will be locally almost due east and about 29.1 degrees above the horizon. New moon is the 19th so star viewing should be pretty good that weekend of 20th, 21st & 22nd. The sliver of waxing crescent moon sets soon after sunset leaving nothing of brighter magnitude than maybe a planet or two. Viewed from 9,000 ft or so with no city lights for many a zip code one can imagine the intensity of the Milky Way will be impressive. Certainly any meteors should stand out nicely.
 

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Some great pics Fred! I'd be in for another ride in that area. October sounds fine to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Excellent! Of course there may he more ice than wildflowers come October. This is just a shameless opportunity to post another pretty photo from three weeks ago from somewhere near Tioga Pass, October can be nice without ice.

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Great! Does this mean I don’t need to tape up my air box holes quite yet?


There seems to be two major options for the ride theme.
1) camp and ride in the same general location in and around the Sweetwaters as before since it was a success. Some repeated routes, some new.
2) camp and ride an hour south around Mono Lake, Twin Lakes, Lundy Lake for the fall colors and/or more ghost towns. Less intense riding, mostly lower elevations, more touristy.

As far as timing goes how about early October if that is soonest that les admirals can make it down from Idaho? Who else has conflicts or preferences? Am assuming another get together from Friday night through Sunday.

Time to round up the usual suspects...plus who else?
 

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I'm down for either!
 

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Personally I like option 2 - new area with new stuff to check out. The 2nd week in Oct would be better for me. It would be great if we could have a camp fire - the later we go (in Oct.) the better the chance that will be allowed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Option #2: If we keep the group size reasonably small there is a greater chance of getting a primitive campsite for the group. For example high above Mono Lake near the Log Cabin Mine we could accommodate up to 5 or 6 rigs overlooking Mono Lake. Otherwise I have located one National Forest Campground at Twin Lakes which will still be open and accessible to RVs: TWIN LAKES CAMPGROUND, CA | Facility Details - Reserve America This ride would feature pretty scenery, but would also be pretty civilized compared to last trip. Think rules, resorts,easy riding, pavement, speed limits & signs rather than creek crossings, trails, rocks, and the remote feeling of the Sweetwaters.. Attractions would be the fall aspen colors and/or graded county roads linking old mining camps consisting of a few decayed buildings culminating in visit to Bodie State Park if folks like. Would likely entail mostly public roads, more fifth gear than first gear.
We could add a Sunday ride partway up Tioga Pass short of park entrance and divert to Sardine Lakes, or make Yosemite Park the main ride on Saturday.
Either way the riding difficulty would be EASY.
I will call Twin Lakes and ask about probability of getting a group, or any other site, on their first come first served basis, plus fee confirmation, permissible campfires, and fall color status which typically peaks in mid-October.

Option #1: I would suggest a Saturday ride following Desert Creek from Lubdell lake ~ 10 miles north (if passible) and either loop back via Walker and Bircham Flat Road to the west, or preferably follow Dessert Creek and/or faster, smoother graded dirt roads NE to highway or then up to Masonic Ghost town, then to Silverado, Star City, Belmont, and over the top @ ~11,600 ft back to the Maringue Stone Cabin and on to camp. Riding difficulty would likely be ADVANCED.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I’m game for any option. With recent triple digit temperatures Admiral’s wet video of all the sweet water sure does look inviting!
However come October we won’t want to get wet.
 
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