frontpage350road Weekly Update
Greetings Riders,
Well, Mrs. C. and I are staying off the bikes and are in town for a while awaiting Grandbaby #2. The new Grandson is due any day now, in fact, he is 2 days past due date as I speak. We are anxious and hoping everything goes well on this delivery as it did last time. Will keep you updated on Facebook when it happens.
In the newsletter last week I outlined how Mrs. C. and I pack for a trip. This year we both packed for 9 days in just our own saddle bags on the bikes. We really had to take the term “minimalist” seriously to make this work. Read how little you really have to take with you on a road trip. Click Here to Read. As a follow up, I had a few readers suggest the vacuum storage bags to create even more room. I’ve never used them, but it sounds like a good idea. Click Here for a link to where you could get those.
Over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing our Road Trip 2012, providing you with maps, photo’s and highlights of the trip. As most of you know, there is really no good way to exit or enter Phoenix on a bike in July and August. Your best bet is to leave shortly after sunrise and head to higher ground as soon as you can. By the time we finally got out of town it was 6:30 AM and we headed up Hwy. 93 out of Wickenburg all the way to Las Vegas where we picked up Hwy. 95 to head toward California and our destination of Bridgeport, CA for the night. We took 95 up to Tonopah, continued West to 6, to 120, to 395 near Mono Lake in CA. From Vegas to Tonopah is pretty much a long straight strip of asphalt that is uninteresting short of the old town of Goldfield that is full of historic buildings. It is worth a stop there to ride a few of the side streets to see these old buildings. Hwy. 120 is a great little road that takes you through a series of “whoop ti do’s” that are a lot of fun before a beautiful ride through the Inyo National Forest. If you are in the area, work this one into your trip.
At the intersection of 120/395, which is virtually the East entrance to Yosemite Nat. Park, we were only 30 miles from Bridgeport which would bring our 650 mile ride to an end for the day. One little fun fact about Bridgeport is, not only is it a cool, historic old town, that is the county seat for the area, but it is pretty much the only lodging in the 112 miles between South Lake Tahoe and Lee Vining. So if you are out in this area late in the day, Bridgeport is your only hope for lodging and services. This was our second stop at the Ruby Inn Motel in Bridgeport in the last couple of years and would highly recommend it. We saw an interesting plaque on the side of an old building in Bridgeport that you have to read. It really shows you how old West justice worked. If you were guilty, you weren’t going to walk like you can today. Very interesting. Click Here to Read.
After a good night of rest from our 650 mile 12.5 hour day on Friday, the heat of Phoenix was far behind and were ready to get into the cool and beautiful part of this trip. Starting at an elevation of 6463 feet in Bridgeport, it was sweatshirt weather, a welcomed departure from the 115 degrees in AZ. Our goal for this day was to spend some time in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and then head toward Lake Tahoe possibly spending the night there if we couldn’t go further.
The Sierra Nevada, (Spanish translation meaning snowy mountain range), is a mountain range in East/Central California that also encompass part of Nevada. The Sierra runs 400 miles north-to-south, and is approximately 70 miles across east-to-west. Notable Sierra features include Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America; Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft., the highest point in the contiguous United States; and Yosemite Valley sculpted by glaciers out of 100-million-year-old granite. The Sierra is home to three national parks, 20 wilderness areas, and two national monuments. These areas include Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. All of these attributes make the Sierra Nevada a great destination for motorcycle riding.
There are 4 notable passes across the Sierra Nevada that include Tioga Pass, home of Yosemite National Park (9943 ft.), Sonora Pass (9624 ft.) Ebbetts Pass (8730 ft.) and Carson Pass (8650 ft.) We have traveled all 4 of these passes in the past and they are all excellent motorcycle roads. But our 2 favorite’s are Sonora Pass, Hwy. 108 and Ebbetts Pass, Hwy. 4. While Tioga Pass is very nice, and I would highly recommend doing it at least once, it has a high volume of traffic in the Summer and you can spend as much time looking at tail lights as you do mountains. For that reason, I prefer Sonora and Ebbetts for pure motorcycle riding enjoyment, raw beauty and very little traffic.
This would be our 3rd time on Sonora and Ebbetts Pass over the last 6 years. This time we went from East to West on Sonora and West to East on Ebbetts. Everyone has their favorite ways to do certain roads. If I were to choose, I would do both of these from West to East, only because you would get to go down the steeper side of the mountain. That is just my preference, but I guarantee, you will enjoy these 2 roads immensely in either direction.
It is about an 80 mile ride from Hwy. 395 to the town of Sonora. At the start of the Sonora Pass from the East you will see this sign proclaiming a 26% grade. In all of my travels, I think that is the most incline I have ever seen. The road is in great shape and you will ride through beautiful pines, mountain views and granite outcroppings along the way. A few recommended stops along the way would be the Sonora Pass sign for a photo op. This also has a sign to tell you the history of Sonora Pass. The Vista just before Darnenelle to see the beautiful Donnell Lake. And a good little roadside store in Strawberry called the Strawberry Store is a nice place to sit under the tree and drink an ice tea. The Sonora Pass is just a great road to ride a motorcycle on while getting lost in the beauty of the mountain scenery.
At Sonora we turned North and took a shortcut through Columbia and across the New Melones Lake to Ebbetts Pass, Hwy. 4. This little shortcut turned out to be an excellent find. Follow the map that I give you for this route. About 3 miles after you get on Hwy. 4, you will go through a little town called Murphy’s. It is worthwhile to take a side trip through the Main St. of this town. You could also go out to the Ironstone Winery and Vineyards just outside of town. This is a very beautiful property and worth the side trip. Continuing on East from Murphy’s another 15 miles you will come upon Big Trees State Park. We had gone past this park 2 previous times and not stopped. This time we were glad we did finally stop to see these giant Sequoia trees and enjoy the excellent 8 mile ride into the park and back. It is $5 to enter the park and well worth it. If you have never seen giant sequoia’s up close, it will amaze you how big they are. Mrs. C. puts it into perspective as she stands at the base of one. Click Here to View.
This portion of Ebbetts pass is about 71 miles from where you enter near Murphy’s. You will be riding on a very well maintained road through tall pines and rock outcroppings that are familiar to the Sierra Nevada landscape as you climb in elevation toward the pass. At approximately Lake Alpine the you will see a sign that says “Ebbetts Pass ahead, very steep winding road”. They are not kidding. The road now becomes basically a 1 1/2 lane road with no centerline as it serpentines through the forest, boulders, and up and down the mountain. The road continues this way for the next 30 miles and produces a very exciting and scenic ride. This part of Ebbetts Pass makes the whole trip worth while.
Soon after Lake Alpine and the sign, you will come upon Mosquito Lake that is one of the most picturesque settings that you might ever see while riding. If you are willing to slow down traffic a little bit, it also makes a fantastic photo op that would double as a desktop picture for your computer. Click Here to View. This scene and the next 30 miles is why we keep coming back. About 8 miles from Mosquito you will cross Ebbetts Pass very unceremoniously compared to the Sign at Sonora Pass. This is where you will start your descent back down to Hwy. 89 that will take you North to Lake Tahoe or South back to 395.
When you reach Hwy. 89 you are only 35 miles from South Lake Tahoe which is a good place to spend the night. By the time we reached Tahoe it was 6:30 PM and a good time to stop. Even though we had only done 250 miles in our 9 plus hours of riding, it was a full day with all of the twisties in these 2 passes including the stops that we made. We bedded down for the night at an awesome Best Western in Tahoe called the Timber Cove Lodge on the Southeast side of the lake. This property is right on the beach next to the pier. A great place to spend the night. We ordered a pizza, sat on the beach and watched the sunset over the Sierra Nevada range that we had just spent the day exploring the best way possible, on a motorcycle.
If you are looking to plan a quick trip, I would highly recommend doing all 4 passes in one trip. Plan about a day to do some serious sight seeing in Yosemite on Tioga Pass and then swing around to Sonora Pass and zig-zag your way through Sonora, Ebbetts and Carson Pass on your way to a loop around Tahoe. That would be a fabulous trip that would take you about 6-7 days round trip from Phoenix. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at .
Click Here for the Map of the first 2 days.
Click Here for over 150 beautiful photos. Best Viewing. Click Slideshow in upper right to view in full screen.
Click Here for my report this similar route in 2010
As always, if you would you like to do some research of some of our past rides? Try the Google Search for the Archives: If you remember something from a newsletter that you want to revisit but can’t remember the date of the newsletter, now you can use the new Google Search of the site. Just choose a “keyword” that is unique to the subject and click search. It will come up with all the newsletters that have that word in the letter. Click Here to give it a try. Or go to the Archives button on

Tidbits and Updates:
**Looking for a good long weekend ride idea? The Coronado Trail Loop combined with Silver City is a good one this time of year. See my report on this ride from last year that includes Kartchner Caverns. Click Here to View.
**Would you like to do some research of some of our past rides? Try the Google Search for the Archives: If you remember something from a newsletter that you want to revisit but can’t remember the date of the newsletter, now you can use the new Google Search of the site. Just choose a “keyword” that is unique to the subject and click search. It will come up with all the newsletters that have that word in the letter. Click Here to give it a try. Or go to the Archives button on

Bike Nights
Every Tuesday Night
Mad Dog Saloon Tuesday Bike Night in Mesa. I am really excited about Mad Dog Saloon as it is a perfect stand alone bike night location with a huge patio. For those of you that live in the area you will recognize it as the former Salty Senorita’s. The patio is huge with an outdoor bar, the inside is huge as well with garage doors that open to the outside and TV’s everywhere you look. And plenty of motorcycle parking. There will be food and drink specials including $1.00 tacos on Tuesday’s. Mad Dog Saloon is located at 1860 S. Stapley, just 3/10 of a mile South of U.S. 60 on Stapley. Stop by and check it out. See you there for opening night on Tuesday, May 8th. Click Here for Details, Map and Photos of the Mad Dog Saloon.
This Week
Thursday, July 26th
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson is keeping Thursday Bike Night alive on the West side with a rotating bike night for the next few weeks which tonight, July 26th will be at Hooter’s, 6:30 – 9 PM, located at 16550 N. 83rd Ave. in Peoria, just North of the dealership.
August 2nd – YOU DECIDE! The location .
* VIP Motorcycle Parking
* Arrowhead Harley Girls
* Door Prizes
* Food Specials
See flyer for details. Click Here.
Friday. Jul. 27th - Sunday, Jul. 29th - Morman Lake, AZ.
21st Annual Too Broke for Sturgis. Hosted by ABATE of Arizona as our primary fund-raising event. Too Broke, is an Old School Biker Party. You can rest assured that the money raised goes to a great cause, fighting for your motorcycling freedoms. Everyone who attends is made to feel like family, even first timers. The 2011 event will be an ADULT ONLY party, attendees must be at least 18 years old to enter. Proof of age will be required, with or without an accompanying adult/guardian. You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol on premise. Just like the last seven Too Broke celebrations, we'll be under the stars and beneath the pines in the cool North country of Arizona. What better way to beat the heat of the Valley in July. Too Broke for Sturgis is held at the Mormon Lake Lodge Campground and Arena. The area offers shade, camping with hot showers available, first-class biker entertainment, an assortment of vendors and awesome scenery. The Saturday Poker Run will take you on a tour of that awesome scenery! Live Music featuring Cell Phone Cowboys Friday and Saturday nights. And don't forget about the Miss Too Broke Contest, Tattoo Contest, Poker Walk, Bike Games, Wet Tee-Shirt Contest. Too Broke is just an all-around great old school biker party. $30 for weekend pass, $20 for Saturday pass. Abate members get $5 off for the weekend pass.
Saturday, July 28th
Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson Hogs & Dogs. Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson helps you battle the AZ heat in July with a Cooling Clinic during their monthly Hogs & Dogs! Join them on Saturday, July 28th, from 11AM to 2PM for FREE food, drinks, live music, a bikini bike wash and museum tours hosted by none other than Buddy! The Cooling Clinic will be the second installment in their popular Educational Clinic Series taking place throughout the summer months. Their trained H-D personnel will provide tips and tricks as well as showcase great H-D products that are designed to help you stay cool while riding in that Arizona summer heat. Please RSVP early to reserve your space! Don't miss this summertime escape at Buddy Stubbs Arizona Harley-Davidson! Contact to RSVP for this fresh, new clinic. Buddy Stubbs AZ H-D is located at 13850 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ. You can also check them out on the web at

Mid Week Updates will be made on the Facebook. New Easy to remember Facebook address. Go to Facebook. Over 3900 FANS! Take a look at all the new photos posted on the wall. If you are not on Facebook, you can still view the page, but you will not be able to post. There will be a link there for you to sign up for Facebook if you are inclined. Click the LIKE button!

Here is a compilation of video of “Lucky People”. Pretty amazing close calls. Click Here to View

Here is an old clip from Benny Hill show called “Italian Firing Squad”. Click Here to View.
Video of the Week: Here is a funny Bud Light Lime commercial about getting it in the can. This pushes the envelope about as far as it can go. Click Here to View. Click on the Video of the Week graphic on the page.
If you would like to sign up for the Weekly Update Click Here.

Until Next Week,
Blessings and Safe Riding To All,

Barry Caraway
"The Road Is Yours - Take The Ride"

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