Saturday, May 16, 2015

Monitor Pass - Riding the Sierras Series.

Arguably for some, but inarguably for me, some of the best riding in the alpine country of the Sierras, and with some spectacular views! This stretch of Hwy 89 or Monitor Pass as it is called, is unlike the other highway passes which bridge the West side to the East (and entirely a different planet) side of the Sierras, in that it is entirely a two lane highway, and in my experience has also been *almost* always entirely deserted throughout the riding season. Which means, a much diminished chance of a smug Californian's snail paced Prius polluting your fun. In comparison Hwy 4 (Ebbetts Pass) while beautiful, is a one lane highway for about half of it's length, the stretches of Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) are immense fun, but you will find it peppered with slow trucks and other four wheeled obstacles. Not to mention Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass) - the views are dramatic, countered by the astoundingly dense drivers and traffic you will encounter, either precipitating from or perhaps vindicating the 'retarded' speed limits on Hwy 120 as it passes through Yosemite National Park. 

This Road Report picks up right out of the town of Markleeville, CA on Hwy 89. Markleeville is a tiny town in Alpine County, which has grown quite popular with the motor sports crowd and is a good option for a brunch or lunch stop while you transit to or from the destination passes (Monitor/Ebbetts). You never know what you will find in Markleeville, CA.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Couple Of Old Classic .. Cars.

Well.. actually, mostly just one. :)

I went for a ride this weekend, the V-Strom needed a new set of chain and sprockets. It's a 2006 V-Strom, and I bought it in Nov of 2013 as a companion bike to the FJR, which had been giving me some trouble in the latter part of 2013.  This V-Strom had mostly been a garage queen when it was living with it's previous owner. It barely had about 5000 miles on it when I bought it. A 7 year old bike with that little mileage obviously meant it mostly just sat in the garage a lot, so when I bought it I replaced all the fluids in the bike, put new tires on, new plugs, new filters, basically did ALL the requisite maintenance and tune-up except for the chain and sprockets. I have put another 8000 miles on it since then, but despite regular cleaning and oiling, the chain was getting in pretty bad shape and had just started spitting O-rings, which is a death knell for a chain, but understandable since this bike previously just sat around for so long. 

Long story short! I rode up to see my motorcycle guru in Fernley for some chain-work and took the slightly longer but much more fun way over Carson and Monitor passes. I am still looking through those pictures at the moment, and when they are ready - so will I be, to do another trilogy (hopefully) of 'Road Reports' in the Sierra mountains. 

Till then, I thought maybe you would like to take a look at some old classic cars that I found along the way in Markleeville, CA. This was on Mother's Day and a couple of them were out for a Mother's Day drive together.

First up was a pristine restored/maintained 1950s (I forget which year exactly) Hudson Hornet. This is the only picture I took of it, before I caught sight of the car that I fell in love with..

1950s Hudson Hornet.