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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Leaving the Sweetwater Goup Ride the other week I decided to catch that night’s full moon rise somewhere in the Sierras. So rather than turn north and head home I headed south on HWY 395 which skirts the eastern sierra escarpment. A quick hot springs soak later and off I went squeaky clean and relaxed.


No problem finding interesting diversions as I worked my way south...






This is land of dramatic thrust faulting which brings together rocks of diverse age, origin and tortured histories..
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I could have easily tossed the anchor out and camped here but I was down in a bit of a hole with mountains blocking the moon’s ascent. This was a hard campsite to beat and I may have to return sometime. However I still seeked the dramatic moonrise.


So into Yosemite National Park and over Tioga Pass I went but things were too smokey from wildfires on the Pacific side. So depressing after the sweet clean clear air in the Sweetwaters.
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Still nice though. This is Tioga Lake inside Yosemite Park

Abandoning the idea to unload and ride through the moonlit park I retreated east out of the park and ended up at a favorite place high above Mono Lake. This aspen lined tunnel on the way up will turn to blazing orange in another month as fall colors develop.
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Should have ridden one more time that day but I needed a break after my fifth day. So I just watched the moonrise then crawled into van for a good night’s sleep. Next day a pair of Marine Osprey tilt rotor aircraft roared past below me while I was having my morning coffee. What a finale to a nice TW themed vacation.
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The highway department has an array of these propane fired blast cannons whose concussion loosens snow buildup for controlled avalanches onto the 395 highway some thousand feet below located between lakeshore and fault escarpment...


They have telemetry stations to video the resulting blast, slide, and perhaps the occassional flaming raccoon shooting out of the tubes..
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Neat place. While I didn’t unload the bike this time I have used this as a TW base camp before for a fall TW ride into Yosemite Valley.
Mono Lake is a big desert lake with no outflow. Falling lake levels have revealed photogenic Tufa formations along the lake shore making the place a popular tourist destination. Unfortunately falling waters have also revealed convenient causeways to the islands making them a popular coyote destinations to munch on endangered nesting birds. This year islands are once again isolated from coyote predators by record run off into the lake. Bird lovers are happy, tufa lovers are less happy.

 

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What a beautiful trip!

I've only driven that stretch of 395 once, and I've always wanted to go back and spend some more time there.

Between your Mono Lake trip and Sandue's Bodie trip, I'm convinced that TWs are a great way to explore the eastern Sierras!
 

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Sweet! thanks for the photos....and story!
 

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When we drove by Mono Lake it looked bleak and uninhabitable. I would rename it Moon Lake because it looks like you're on the moon, just don't look back to the west where the nice Sierra Mountains are.

Without your saying so, I would never have guessed what those avalanche cannons were. Thanks for 'splaining it for us "dumbfounders".


I wish I could stay up long enough to see the moon in the sky. It looks so peaceful.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yellow 1.5 inch gas lines as well as these igniter circuitry were give aways as to the purpose of these “tubes” at top of obvious avalanche chute above highway. mono cannon.jpg igniter.jpg

About a mile away are extensive remains of the old Log Cabin Mining Company mine and mill. DSC_0089.JPG
DSC_0139.JPG

Make sure you park accordingly. parking.jpg
While fascinating the site is full of hazards. Open shafts, mercury, crumbling stairs, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Here Admiral, something to watch when the boss isn’t looking: Bet you didn’t know original gold was discovered by a squirrel. Keep an eye on those chipmonks!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Next day I rode into Yosemite. Off-season means tolerable crowds. I started early in the morning and faced very little traffic.

The park need not be bumper-to-bumper traffic. Just count how many cars I encounter as I divert the several miles to Tamarack Campground.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Even with crowds the TW can usually find a parking spot denied to other vehicles. This is certainly better than last weekend when several big portions of Yellowstone National Park were closed to visitors because there was absolutely no place left to park or to get off the road.

Upon reflection I have about had it with loved-to-death parks and their necessary restrictions so unless folks are hot to ride through Yosemite I am back to advocating another ride in the much less traveled Sweetwaters.:D Certainly I’m willing to ride Yosemite again, just not pushing it strongly. I feel anyone living near West Coast who has not visited Yosemite are really missing seeing some spectacular landforms. Approaching from the east side on a motorcycle seems the best way to minimize traffic ( usually facing a reverse commute) and maximize the view...go early morning with sun at your back, return late evening with sun at your back and most of the tourists heading the other way back to hotels and campgrounds in the lower elevations.
 

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Here Admiral, something to watch when the boss isn’t looking: Bet you didn’t know original gold was discovered by a squirrel. Keep an eye on those chipmonks!
That is very cool! Another one for the bucket list. :) I'm surprised there is so much left. I lucked out in visiting Yo in 2011, the (other) big snow year....coming in over Tioga the day after it opened. Squirrel, chipmunk, donkey, badger, marmot, ....the list goes on.....don't overlook all those holes!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ooops, last four posts should have been in the “Back to Sweetwaters” thread. I was trying to offer samples of a few alternative rides based an hour or so south of the Sweetwater area. My apologies.
Indeed the Log Cabin Mine is an interesting example of arrested decay. Visitors seem to be few and respectful thus the vandalism is minimal. Main road had un-repaired washouts from this winter that stopped my rig but the secondary road while steeper and rockier was navigable.
 

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From Mine to Mint video was really cool. It's so neat to hear about the mines from actual people who were there. Good find.

I also love the lake view in your Mono Lake video. Very scenic.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So Admiral, You and others want to come down in early October? Either camp above Mono @ 10,000 ft. or down @ 7,000 ft @ Twin Lakes Campground still open @$22/night, or nearby aspen lined valley bottoms? Day ride to Log Cabin Mine, along Mono Lake, then up into Lundy Canyon, avoid highway via Goat Farm By-pass and sneak into back way int Bodie Ghost Town, then take SanDue’s backroad to Masonic ghost town? Any group larger than 4 vehicles and we may need the room of a campground. Or just back to Sweetwaters! We’ll find some aspens:p
 

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My rambling incoherent thoughts.

I suppose camping at or above 10,000 ft. will be cold in early October. Not sure if camping lower is helpful temperature wise or not. Prefer dry camping but this ride would only be for a couple days so if a group wanted to be in a campground we'll camp with the group.

I like the idea of riding the Log Cabin Mine, Masonic/Bodie Ghost Towns, Lundy Canyon and who can't turn down Goat by-pass farms.

It's to early to commit just yet. Gotta check Mrs. Admiral's schedule. Hopefully, others will chime in who want to come with their thoughts.

Sweetwaters is not out of the question either.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Think that Goat Ranch By-Pass takes us past Dog Town and close to Monoville, 2cabinswhitehouse.jpg , Bacon Gulch bacongulchcabin.jpg , Conway Ranch conwayranchporch.jpg ranchbarn.jpg where we can catch up on some light reading conwayranchstamps2.jpg before continuing on to Rattlesnake Gulch and Bodie.
 
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