Once again, our good friend Will Drummond takes off on his trusty XR600 for another Adventure ride. This time it is the 2018 VCMC Bishop Dual Sport Ride. This ride traverses through the lower Sierra Nevada mountain range on the eastern portion of California. Will takes us through the first day of this great ride!
- Location , Bishop California
- Temp 63 degrees
- Partly cloudy sky’s
Ride along with Will as he takes us through the lower Sierra Nevadas!
Arising from my tent I breathe in the crisp mountain air with the towering Sierra Nevada mountains glowing purple in the sunrise. This may be the purple mountain majesty, America the Beautiful is referring to.
I fire up the Big Red Pig my 2005 Honda XR650L. With Taylor Tech tuned suspension, Aceribs 6 gallon tank, Big Gun exhaust. I’m running a Kenda Equilibrium rear tire and a Pirelli MT21 up front. She fires up on the first press on the magic start button. I head over to the registration check in for the Ventura County Motorcycle Club, Bishop Dual Sport Ride. This is my second year doing the ride check out the write up from last year Day 1 2017 Bishop Dual Sport Ride Day 2 2017 Bishop Dual Sport Ride . I pre-registered for the ride this makes registration a breeze.
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The staff gives me my rider number and registration package. The registration package has three tickets one ticket for tech inspection one for your made to order event T-shirt and one for a Friday night taco dinner. The staff gives me a rundown of the tickets and how the event is run. This event is a little different it’s a choice your own Dual Sports Adventure. The Ventura County Motorcycle Club provides you with almost 10 different GPS tracks combined over 600 miles of trails you can run individually or combine to make custom tracks.
You check out with the checkpoint leaving the fairgrounds to give them your rider number and what track you are going to do. The event staff asked you to check in by calling a phone number on your wristband if you are going to be later than 5pm getting back to the fairgrounds to check in. If you don’t check in and are late they will try and find you.
I head over to tech inspection. The tech inspection consists of a sound check, your bike can only be 96db Max. They check your turn signals and brake light as well. After passing tech you receive your wristband and sticker for your bike. I head back to our camp to get suited up for the day’s ride.
Today’s ride I will be riding with KTM Craig from last years Bishop Dual Sports Ride. Since he is the only Craig I’m riding with this year we will just call him Craig. The track Craig and I choose is a modified Bishop to Mammoth Loop. Checking out at the checkpoint and leaving the fairgrounds.
We head North on hwy 6 and connecting to a wide graded dirt road slowing down when passing a couple ranches, as to be polite and not dust out the residents. The track has us turn off the wide graded dirt road and on to a single lane sandy trail, the trail has soft whoops and the sporadic rock garden flowing around and over the desert foothills slowly gaining elevation.
As we gain elevation the landscape changes from desert scrub brush to pine tree forests. When the trail breaks through the tree line the track guides us up a short uphill then on to a barely visible single track trail. Trying to pick the best line dodging downed trees, rocks and ruts as the valley walls close in on you. The trail opens up to another graded dirt road. We follow the road to the next trail this is a wide single track with a loose rocky slightly technical hill climb weaving through the pine trees.
We make it to the top of the climb the trail opens up making it’s way down hill. The trail has you bobbing and weaving around the trees, jumping roots and cross ruts, dropping us off on to the graded dirt road then to a paved road Benton crossing.
GPS track has Craig and I follow the pavement to a power line road. The power line road is wide with great traction this makes trail go by fast. The power line road ends again at a paved road Benton Crossing. A short run on the pavement then we catch a Jeep trail into the Inyo Forest. The Jeep trail drops us into a beautiful Valley, the valley has a huge golden meadow in the bottom with pine trees lining the hills.
We head down and up the other side of the valley into the pines. The route has us take a turn down a 2 track trail, the trail looks virgin there are no tracks. Again we are weaving through the pine Forest making first dust on the trail.
After we crest the hill and start making our way down we dive down a couple switchbacks. Jump down some water bars railing the banked corners of the trail.
We end up at highway 395. GPS has us take a power line road paralleling the 395. The power line road is a blast rolling whoops that the big red pig loves, it’s a short run on the power line road to a tunnel that goes under the 395. Running through the tunnel we catch a Jeep trail winding us through the hills into Mammoth.
Time for lunch heading toward downtown we go to the Latin Market this little Mexican Market that serves food in the back. We get to the market and each order carne asada tortas. I highly recommend the tortas. I don’t know if it’s the altitude or the water may be both but all the bread and baked goods taste better in the Sierra’s. After we finish up lunch we head over to get fuel.
Riding back through downtown just before we hit old Mammoth the route sends us down a single lane paved road that turns to dirt. The road comes to a small lake we ride around the water’s edge, the dirt road parallels the 395 next to the airport till it meets back up with the 395.
Jumping on the 395 for a half mile we turn down Benton Crossing. Cruising down Benton Crossing we head toward Crowley Lake. Turning off the pavement we take a single lane soft dirt trail, that wanders through rolling hills and scrub brush. The trail breaks out onto a white sand beach of Crowley Lake. The view is incredible the deep blue lake and the majestic Sierra’s rising in the background.
Quick break to take in the view, then we are back on the trail the route has us drop into a wide fast graded dirt road making are way into the forest.
Coming out of the forest we hit a High Voltage power line road that was paved at some point in time, but the majority of the pavement has eroded away with time. The static coming off the power lines is strong you can feel it in your helmet. Riding down the rough road the miles fly by, the road takes us to the edge of Pleasant Valley dropping Craig and I down the edge into pleasant valley.
Pleasant Valley is amazing the Owens river flows through the grassy meadow the river gives the illusion the river is level with the grass and should be overflowing. We follow the road paralleling the river, taking us to highway 6 and back into Bishop and the fairgrounds. We check in at the checkpoint and head to camp. Getting to camp we crack some adult beverages then head over to the taco dinner put on by the Venture County Motorcycle Club. Dinner is great me and Craig discuss our favorite parts of the ride then head back to camp ending the day.
Stay tuned for day 2 of the VCMC Bishop Dual Sport ride!