SoCal / NoCal Loop
United States CA South Lake Tahoe
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I’ve wanted to do this ride to for almost a year and after 2 failed attempts it finally happened for me and 7 dedicated other riders.
The carefully planned route had us in Olancha, CA on Thursday, South Lake Tahoe, NV on Friday, and south to Oakhurst ,CA on Saturday while riding some of the most amazing roads in the country.
Having gone on a few decent trips I’ve found that leaving on a Thursday night works best. I like to get as far as possible away from home, to wake up and really start the first leg of my ride on a Friday morning. Since I invite anyone and everyone on these rides the Thursday night destination is usually designed around getting familiar with everyone that came along on the ride. I plan on making it to our 1st destination by 12pm which still allows a few beers at a local bar before bed all while getting to know each other.
Our first leg wasn’t difficult. We left Original Mikes in Santa Ana, and hit freeways east to the 395, and then a chilly two hour ride north to the Rustic Oasis Motel in Olancha. Up to our motel the 395 is dull with nothing really to see, paired with the history of the Manson family it made for an ideal location for 2nd start of our trip.
We woke early to meet a couple of guys from sport-touring.net in Big Pine when we faced the first tragedy of the trip. 30 seconds on the road my roommate’s Nighthawk blew up. Something in the motor came loose and broke through the case leaving a baseball sized hole on exit to daylight. The trip was over for him… He pushed his bike (as we watched) to a gas station about a quarter mile down the road then set back to the hotel to wait for a trailer (thanks Keith from Two Bros).
With much lost time we were running a little behind schedule so I opted to speed ahead to still make the meet time in Big Pine. GPS said I needed to make up 15 minutes in 65 miles. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that I had to speed. All set up with a new radar detector I figured I was in the clear. I hauled ass at about 140mph for at least 10minutes until CHP caught me… I saw him and he saw me but, it was too late. I did have the radar detector on but I wasn’t paying much attention to it. I was too focused on dicing traffic and watching the minutes work off my arrival time on GPS. The detector was working. The thing was going insane while the cop was writing me a ticket. A couple of failed bribes and a denied hug (long story) the officer let me go with a small ticket and a big lecture.
We finally made it Big Pine about an hour late to find Steve and Brandon waiting. Once we gave them the rundown of events they were cool with everything and Brandon insisted that we take the 168 for a few miles so he could snap a few pictures of us around a bend in the road. It was during this episode the 3rd disaster happened. As Brandon slowed to a stop he lost his front in the gravel sending him and his ZX14 to the dirt and breaking his hand. Naturally, he picked the bike up and waited patiently on the side of the road for the photo opp. We turned around after a few miles of not seeing him to discover what had happened. He was bummed but refused to quit riding and to continue with a broken hand.
We continued to head North to the 6 and then to the 120 to Mono Lake then to the “Who Nellie Deli” at Tioga Pass in Lee Vining. If you ever have a chance to hit the 120 east of the 395 I suggest you do it. That road is amazing and better than any rollercoaster I have ever been on.
After lunch we hit the 182 back into Nevada then again back to the395 and then finally the 207 to South Lake Tahoe before sundown. We stayed the night at Harvey’s Casino for some gambling, clubbing and rest.
Clearing the bathroom of tigers and chasing out the hookers we showered and got ready for what proved to be the best day of riding. We headed west down the 89 to the 88 which might be one of the most scenic roads in America. We followed to 88 to the 49. The 49 is another road that will forever have my heart. Traffic and pothole free while sprinkled with 2nd gear corners for miles and miles. I pledged that I would one day meet this road again. It is now a love affair. We followed the 49 into Oakhurst and made our stop at the Days Inn on the main drive.
Settled in at our hotel walked down the street and had fat steaks at the local Karaoke joint. After a couple of beers and a few songs our waitress recommended that we check out another bar. A short walk and we arrived at the 2nd of the 3 bars in town The Oak Room. The Oak Room was a rowdy place full of locals under 35. The drinks were cheap which meant we found our home for the night.
We woke with red eyes and grey skies and a chance of rain. We hurried out to our bikes, said our farewells to Oakhurst by way of the 41S. It didn’t take long to hit the 99 which dumped us out on the 5. The moment I saw the sign for the 5 freeway I knew this trip was officially over. It wouldn’t be long before I was back in my shitty little cube chasing a paycheck from Hell with florescent lighting.
-Get to Olancha Ca, Thursday night PASS
-Eat lunch at "Whoa Nelly Deli" in Lee Vining, CA PASS
-Take a group picture at Reno landmark on Friday. FAIL
-Spend Friday night in South Lake Tahoe, CA. at Harveys Casino Resort PASS
-Get to Oakhurst, CA and party at the Dirty Donkey on Saturday FAIL
-Back to OC on Sunday before dark PASS
-No breakdowns FAIL
-No crashing FAIL
-No tickets FAIL
-No jail PASS
-No bar fights PASS
-Drink beer PASS