09-27-2009, 08:59 PM
Location: San Jose, CA
Join Date: Dec 2001
Mein Auto: 330i ZHP & 04 Honda VFR
G, R, & I
Top of Minarets
Headed down, I took it easy and practiced some while-riding photography:
We took a right on NF-6S01 as labeled on the Garmin GPS, but it was not paved.. so we continued down Mammoth Pool a few miles and took a right on NF-6S71, which is paved, and becomes into 6S01 after a few miles. This forest road has tons of large bumps running across the road - makes it easy to catch air! I came around a corner and noticed G wasn't behind me. I turned around and found him with a flat tire. Bummer!
I pulled out my Leatherman and yanked what can only be described as a huge chunk of wood out of his nearly bald tire. I got out my Stop-N-Go tire plug kit (with CO2 cartridges), but the hole was just about too big for the mushroom plugs. It was leaking air but was full enough that G could ride to the Jones Store (near the corner of 6S01 & Beasore Rd) and use an air compressor to fill to a decent pressure.
Me doing the patching
After airing up at the Jones Store, we successfully made it to Oakhurst only to find Oakhurst "Tire & Cycle" had closed at Noon on Saturday. We stopped by Kragen and picked up a bottle of Slime - with the plug in there, the Slime should sufficiently stop the leak.
We checked into our hotel at the Oakhurst Lodge and G and I rode across the street to Chevron in our shorts & flip-flops to put the Slime in the tire and air it up. While there, a CHP officer pulled in and came up to us - "riding in sandals?" We assured him we were ATGATT (or would that be ATG99.9%OTT?) and just rode from across the street.
Since G's tire had no life left in it and no tire shop open on Sunday, he decided to slab it home while R and I continued my planned route. "and then there were two..."
We continued up Hwy 49 to the Little Dragon!
Somehow I thought that I had at least driven this stretch before.. but once we headed down, it was obvious I hadn't - there's no way I would have forgotten this road! Epic.
From Coulterville we turned right on Main St/Greeley Hill Rd. Greeley Hill was a great cool-down from Hwy 49 - also a great road. In Greeley Hill, we topped up the gas tanks at the Shell station since I knew it'd be awhile before we saw more gas.
I took a left on Buck Meadows Rd, which on the map looks like it's an easy way to get to 120. Of course, after a mile of pavement, it turned to dirt! Oh well, only 5 miles long. No problems.
We took a right on 120 and then left on Cherry Lake Rd. This is similar to Elwood - Great new pavement, 1 1/2 lane wide... this one is faster, though, and takes you through forest, meadows, my kind of road. It then dumps you down a descent to the Tuolumne River.
Of course, what goes down must go back up.. we climbed back up the other side of the canyon (from ~2200' up to over 5000') and 24 miles from 120, you reach Cherry Lake. There were less than half a dozen people there, so quiet and serene.
From Cherry Lake, the road turns into Cottonwood, another one of Tim/Pashnit's Top 5 (and once again, I definitely see why)! The road was definitely best closest to the top - the pavement seemed to degrade slightly as we descended.
From Cottonwood, we made our way down to Wards Ferry Rd. Holy crap! This road reminds me a lot of Salmon River Rd off of Hwy 96 way up in Northern California - I think the aisles at my local Safeway are wider than this road... and guardrail? psh... there isn't even a shoulder! Make a mistake and you will plummet hundreds of feet into the river below.
After only a mile or two but an eternity at 5mph, you once again cross the Toulumne River on the "graffiti bridge."
We continued to 120 and then slabbed it home after gas & lunch in Oakdale. ~1200 miles, a moving average of 48.3mph according to my Zumo (at the speed limit the entire time, officer!), a top speed of...xxx on Thursday on a straight stretch of Hwy 58 on Thurs... the best ride of the year so far by a long shot!