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CABDR South: The Final Days

CABDR South: Thursday April 25th and Friday April 26th

Sections 7 and 8

Thursday April 25th

Section 7

Alabama Hills
Sunrise, Alabama Hills

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.


Alabama Hills, in all of their glory
Camp Cooking
As the days get easier, food gets better!

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.


Beautiful setting, tremendously sad story

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!

Reward Mine
Reward Mine!


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.

Reward Mine
10 degrees cooler than 10 feet to my left….

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.

Pretty little campground on section 7, if anyone is looking


We also had a close encounter of the bovine kind in this section!

Cows ahead

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.”

Kris, talking to a cowgirl. Rider from another mother.

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.

Can you feel the air conditioning?
Laundry Day

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

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.

Fish Slough Petroglyphs
Fish Slough Petroglyphs

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 Start of Chidago Canyon Road

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.

Celebrate Success! The CABDR South is complete!
Benton Hot Springs
Inn at Benton
Benton Hot Springs
Soaking, camping, relaxing

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

The return

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.

One last soak…
Enjoying this view

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!

Ron West
We love Ron!!

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!

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