The adventure continues with Day 2 of Will’s 2019 VCMC Bishop Dual Sport ride. After all the action from the first day, let’s see what adventures Will encountered on his XR600 second day on the trails …
- Bishop, CA
- Weather 32 degrees clear sky.
Day 2 of the 2019 Ventura County Motorcycle Club Bishop Dual Sport Ride. If you missed the first day check it out here VCMC Bishop Dual Sport Ride Day 1 2019 My buddy Craig and I decide to make the trek down to the Reward Mine near Manzanar. The Ventura Motorcycle Club designated this ride as a big bike route. We head out to the Ventura County Motorcycle Club check in/out and let them know our route for today.
We top off with fuel on our way out of town. Riding on a back road heading south out of town. The GPS sends us down a power line road heading South. The road is a wide and loose dirt road, with rolling elevation changes. There are dirt roads that crisscross the designated route, this makes you pay attention to your GPS so you don’t miss a turn. After crossing across a paved road the track takes us to an awesome road made of what looks like golf course sod, that follows a crystal clear river.
The road is fast but you want to slow down to take in the sights. Winding along the river the GPS drops us out just West of Big Pine. We jump on the pavement wind through town then catch a 2 lane paved road heading into the Granite Cliffs of the Sierras for about 9 miles. Climbing in elevation at the foot of the cliffs the GPS tracks send us down a forest dirt road this road is groomed with marbles in the corners, rolling along the foothills following the small creeks.
About 5 miles coming through a canyon that opens up to cow pasture, the road narrows and gets rock with steeper climbs hugging the side of the hill. Then dropping down into a valley at a T intersection we see road closed sign stating there was a controlled burn in the area, luckily our route sent us on the open section of trail. Now heading back East toward the 395. The road is rough now only wide enough for a side by side. As we are making our way down the trail we catch a side by side that looks like it is scouting hunting spots. I ride behind the side by side waiting to pass. The side by side found a turn out and let us by. We come to a gate on our route the gate is locked.
There is a way around the gate so we press on following the GPS it takes us to a rock quarry road. We can see a giant dust cloud rising into the air next to the road as we get closer. It’s an excavator clearing out the creek next to the road. The excavator is taking up the entire road we wait to see if the operator will let us by. The operator keeps working not making any indication he sees us or that he will stop for us to get by. So we head back up the trail to find a way around we find a trail heading South on the other side of the gate, go across a creek crossing and come to a trail closed sign due to the prescribed fire.
We head back to the gate and notice a rarely used trail heading North we take the trail. The trail is rough and rocky it drops us in to a rock quarry. We follow the quarry road up over a hill and into the pit of what they are mining. It looks like we are on the moon, reflective white sand everywhere.
Making our way out of the quarry the road comes to a small campground, with a creek running through it. We stop chug some water quick and follow a powerline road South on our route. Grabbing a handful of throttle. We make quick work of the powerline road that ends at another campground. Turning toward the 395 the GPS tells us to cross the 395 and head East. The track sending us across the valley to the mountains on the East side of the Valley. Approaching the towering granite mountains the course sends us along a dirt road tracing the baseline of the Eastern Sierra’s. Riding fast up and over some rolling hills dropping in and out of dry clay river beds. Coming out of the last river bed there is a plaque showing a site of a long gone railroad town. Continuing on we ride what appears to be abandoned railroad tracks from the forgotten town. We end up at a paved two lane road. We spotted an old mining relic on a hillside nearby. Spotting a truck near by we go to check it out. I believe it’s an old consolidator used to fill railroad cars with mined materials.
Meeting the fellow explorer in the truck, he gave us a couple tips of other mines and sites to check out. Getting back on track we head on the GPS track sending us down the paved road to the 395. Taking the 395 South towards Manzanar a few quick miles on the highway we reach Manzanar Reward mine road. Turning off on the road we head East again, the road turns into an abandoned runway for the Manzanar airport. After crossing the airport runway the road turns to dirt after we cross a bridge crossing a creek. Passing a couple jeeps pulled over in the dust we make our way up to some abandoned mine ruins. Following the road up a canyon. We come to a hill climb that heads deeper into the canyon. The hill climb is made of what appears to be mine tailings, about 5” inch rock piled on the side of the hill. Craig goes for the hill climb, Craig making it look easy, getting to the top he stops to wait for me. I put the spurs to the XR making my way up and the big red pig decides to make a quick left and fall over. Feeling ashamed I wrestle the 450 plus pound beast into a position I can lift it up. I talk to Craig on the radio he says there isn’t anywhere else to go from where he was and we both wouldn’t fit where he was waiting any ways. So we drop down the gravel pile.
Stop to take a look at the GPS and watch the jeeps we passed earlier head farther down the dirt road. We follow the jeeps up the dirt road the trail gets rocky heading to the reward mine entrance, Picking our line up the trail we come to a plateau that is the entrance of the Reward Mine. Looking around checking out some of the other vehicles hanging out at the entrance. We ask around how far does it go and where do you turn around. Some jeep guys tell us it’s a little less than a mile into the turn around point. I decide to make a run in on the XR650L. Entering the mine I turn on my hi beams which my lights are 4 KC HIlites Flex lights, this lights up the mine like daylight. Allowing me to go through the mine at a rapid pace. Never being in the mine before I make sure just to stay straight not deviating at the forks in the tunnel. Just as I pass a filled in tunnel I see tail lights ahead. Gaining on the red tail lights I catch up to the source a Toyota 4 runner, just as the mine opens up to a giant room with brick structure built into the side of the mine.
The 4 runner pulls into an offshoot of the room and I go around then spot his friend in another 4 runner coming out of another room. I stop and ask if the mine goes further they said this was the turn around point. I turned the bike around and headed back out the mine. Riding through the darkness making sure to retrace my tracks so I don’t get lost. Spotting the light at the end of the tunnel I slow down to make sure I don’t hit anything as I get blinded by the sun light emerging from the mine tunnel.
I meet back up with Craig We decide to take the highway to lunch in Big Pine. Jumping on the bikes getting back down to the 395 and heading North back towards Big Pine. We arrive into Big Pine and pull into Copper Top BBQ. The place is hopping we park the bikes, take off some riding gear and get in line to order. If your passing through it is definitely worth it to stop. We grab a seat and bench race about our days ride. Seating is communal so we have a group sitting next to us that tell us about their backpacking adventures in the Sierra’s.
We finished up our meal gear back up and head to the dirt trail we took at the beginning of the ride. Catching the dirt road heading North toward Bishop. The track sends us down the road that looks like a golf course with the crystal clear river next to it. Just a mile down the road we spot a bike with a rider next to it.
We stop to make sure he is OK. It’s actually the guy that did the sound check on my bike. His bike was broke down, he said he had a truck coming to pick him up. Continuing on we take in the amazing scenery of the Sierra’s. Turning back on to a big wide power line road. Ticking off the miles splashing through a few puddles the dirt ends and we take a two lane paved road back into downtown Bishop. Going through town we make our way back to the fairgrounds, check in and head to camp. We get cleaned up and head to the banquette.
The Ventura County Motorcycle Club puts on a great banquette along with the Bishop city council and chamber of commerce feeding us. The chief of police thanks us because the money raised goes to their shop with a cop charity. The shop with a cop charity is where the police in the town take under privileged kids shopping for school supplies then the do it again during Christmas. This is great to hear the money is going to a great cause. The club raffles off a ton of awesome prizes. The night concludes with the last prize being a large cash prize. We head back to camp to prepare for the long drive home the next day.
Thanks to the people of Bishop for letting us into their community and the Ventura County Motorcycle Club for organizing such a great ride.