CABDR South: Thursday April 25th and Friday April 26th
Sections 7 and 8
Thursday April 25th
I was up early, photographing the sunrise. As the sun rises over the Alabama Hills, it paints the Sierra Nevada’s pink. Everytime I’d see a beautiful view, I’d snap a picture, only to turn around and find another beautiful view. Breakfast was bacon, egg, and avocado, then we got back on the road.
Just outside of the Alabama Hills, there is the only water crossing we found on the CABDR!
We rode back through the Alabama Hills and through Manzanar. I was again struck by how big the site was, how beautiful it was, and how much heartache existed for the families in this place. Once they disbanded the internment camps, families had to find their way with none of what they’d had before, with members spread all over the states, and with a world that viewed them as outsiders and possibly dangerous traitors.
Then, it was off to the Reward Mine. Between 1860 and 1959, the Reward Mine was an active gold mine. Now it sits empty, allowing 4*4’s, humans, and motorcycles to travel ¼ mile toward the center of the earth. The trail up there stated as a moderate grade trail with moderate rocks, but as you get closer, there are larger loose and embedded rocks. The high line is the motorcycle line, which I noticed too late, leading to a couple bike drops. But all was well, we ends up at the mine, and journeyed down the tunnel. I led the way until the tunnel narrowed and there were big boulders. There was a large turn around spot right before that; look for the hanging overalls if you don’t want to have to reverse out of a tunnel!
It was amazing to leave the heat of the desert for the cool of the mine. As we descended it was warmer again. We turned our lights off when we stopped, and it was black. I highly recommend this adventure. Then it was time to turn around and climb out of the mine. We hung out at the entrance for quite a bit, just enjoying the cool air.
Section 7 has an easier route and an expert only route. As much as we wanted to do the expert only, there were still reports of snow, so we took the easier trail. It was really beautiful and had a bunch of fun rocky sections.
We also had a close encounter of the bovine kind in this section!
We were riding along, and we see a heard of cattle. We pull off to the side of the road to wait for them to pass. Luckily, Josh takes stock of the situation and says “I don’t feel comfortable here, let’s pull off.” So we pull off into the middle of the field. The cattle driver comes by, and says “if you see cattle, get off the road. We can’t control when they get into a scuffle.”
Moments later, in the VERY spot we’d stopped to wait:
After a stop for lunch in Big Pine, there’s a fast loose sandy section that takes you all the way to Bishop. We’d meant to stop at a campground, but had to much fun riding, so we splurged on a hotel room in Bishop and spent the evening hot tubbing and drinking margaritas. This also gave us a chance to do a bit of laundry.
Things to note:
The road to reward mine is a bit challenging to find, a bit challenging to ride, but totally worth it.
Bike drops: 2 (in the same spot)
Friday April 26
Section 8 of the CABDR is short and easy. It has a couple of delights before you reach the end. The Fish Slough Petroglyphs are carved on pikes of rocks by the side of the road – hundreds of Petroglyphs gathered together. These are currently hypothesized to be part of historical shamanic rituals.
This easy desert road holds one more treat. There’s a red rock slot canyon called Chicago. Enjoy these red rock twisties, because they are the sign that the CABDR South adventure is coming to a close.
The CABDR South ends in a little town called Benton. Benton is know for it’s hot springs, which pump 800 gallons of water per minute. If you want to enjoy these springs, make sure to reserve a tent site or room at The Inn at Benton Hot Springs. This Inn has been run by the same family for four generations. It is an oasis in the desert not to be missed. We enjoyed soaking through the evening, and saw shooting stars in the night sky. This was a lovely way to end the CABDR adventure.
Things to note:
You usually need reservations to stay at Benton Hot Springs. It’s a small inn and campground.
Bike Drops: 0
Saturday April 27 and Sunday April 28th
Saturday morning was a bit nippy, giving us a great excuse for one more dip in the hot tub. Then we were off; riding back to our truck we’d left in Apple Valley, to then turn around and drive north.
But our story wasn’t over yet. While we were riding the CABDR, we had an invitation to meet up with Ron West. So, on our way back home, we journeyed up to Mammoth Lakes and exchanged stories of the route we all loved so much!
If you enjoyed this series, stay tuned; Kris will be doing another adventure ride this summer throughout Oregon.
Meanwhile, check out these ladies!
If you love video, our last CABDR video is HERE!