Eastern Sierras Labor Day Weekend Ride- Part 1

Took my self and my bestest green friend for a wee tiki tour of the eastern sierras for the long labor day weekend. Had vague plans to knock off a few “need to do’s”.

Day 0: Left Santa Rosa after work after throwing on the new tire and then finding that my chain was a little dry (even after lube), dropped into see Tegan and Chuck. Chuck helped me check my back brakes which seem to have a bubble(bugger). Couldnt fix it so onward anyways. That night I made it to Sonora.

Stopped in for some mechanical support

Day 1: Got up earlyish- expecting holiday traffic. Not bad at all. Flew through Sonora Pass on the 108 and then started looking for the entrance to Mt Patterson approach.

Start of the dirt road to Mt Patterson

The dirt road to start towards Mt Patterson was easy enough to find (thanks to Garmin), and after a few false starts i found the well worn path pointing upwards towards the summit

The trail started getting a little more sketchy, but doable, even with a fully loaded bike.

Towards the top. Really the first time i could stop. Good trail- you just cant stop. View are incredible up here..

Landscape could just as easily be what Curiosity is looking at right now (Mars).

Summit was crowded. Most people were drinking beer. Seems like a good idea.

KLR to the top of Mt Patterson…. check

Heading down from the summit and looking back- lots of ATVs

From Mt Patterson down through Bridgeport and onto dirt again to Bodie

From Bodie south though cottonwood canyon on dirt to Lake Mono. Scoped out the way around Mono on dirt but the sand just about ate me so i ran away back to Lee Vining.

Long ass 167- straight as far (and more) as you can see. Glad i wasnt going that way. Used this section to scope eastern loop of Mono (nope) then to camp at Lee Vining.

Pretty epic and SUPER fun first day! About 350 miles.

Day 1: Sonora- Mt Patterson- Bridgeport- Bodie- Lake Mono- Lee Vining.



Posted on September 4, 2012, in Photography, Places and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Hey Ryan,
    Wow … my mind is blown … so cool you made that ride with a loaded bike, by yourself … I don’t think I can hang with you on a KLR … great photos … It looks like you went down the back side of Mt. Patterson …

    Did you see the ghost town (not Bodie, but up around 10,000 feet on the east side of Mt. Patterson)? A few old log buildings, still standing … I’m forgetting the name at the moment …

    I’ve read that the sand around the east side of Mono Lake makes that route almost impossible on a heavy bike without a lot of HP … there are a ton of great roads to the south of Mono Lake, however … the pumice sand there has a hard bottom 4″ to 6″ down … Kalle and I had no problem … south of 120 …

    Anyway, you are THE MAN! So proud of you … can’t wait to try Mt. Patterson someday …
    See you soon,
    — John A

    • Yeah I’m equally at awe at your distance riding on those bikes. 3 days of riding and I’m feeling beat up. How long were you riding each day? That’s my problem, I think I rode too long.

      I did go down the back side of Patterson but I wouldn’t do that again. Super hard (harder then front) and dropped the bike once or twice. Also it spits you out across private land and to a locked gate at 395. I wasn’t willing to turn around so found a sneaky way through.

      Missed the ghost town because while someone up top told me about it I couldn’t see the road to it. When I was lower down I saw how to get there. Also missed the stone cabin up there too.

      Mono just about killed me. I remember you saying it was deep sand but dam that was messy. I wouldn’t do that again with anything less then 4 wheels.

      Found some good dirt that shot me through the hills between 395 and 6. Reconnected onto the 120.

      Day two coming soon.

      Let’s roll. I need you to show me Benton hot springs. I rolled through there but didn’t see em.


      • They are not comfortable long-distance bikes, that’s for sure … we did short days on our recent trip, and simply stopped when we got tired …

        Interesting about going down Mt. Patterson … I got the idea somewhere that it may be easier from the east … probably just scared of the descriptions of a few of the switchbacks from the west … most accounts I’ve read did it from west to east though, like you did … wonder if your descent would have been easier via the stone house and ghost town? I know there is a way up from the east side without gates/crossing private land … Belfort is the name of the ghost town and 198 and 191 bring you out at Hwy 338 at the Sweetwater Ranch in Nevada, north of Bridgeport …

        Sounds like you went further east and up into the hills to go around the pumice sand close to Mono to get to 120? “Between 395 and 6” covers a lot of territory, I think … ha! 🙂

        The sign is confusing at Benton Hot Springs because it says “bed and breakfast” with nothing about camping, but that’s the place, right by the old building with the BHS sign …there’s another spring I want to try to find on the way to Lucky Boy Pass …

        Let’s keep September penciled in … I’m thrilled I’ll have a blooded Mt. Patterson guide! Whooo!

        See you around the campfire,
        — John A

      • Yeah, i met a dude out riding on a v-strom and felt a little envious. Although that thing wouldnt have lasted this trip for sure. KLR- The ultimate dirtbike.

        My route down Patterson was a little wacky. There are a number of routes down and i wouldnt go my way again. It sucked but looking at Google maps i know exactly where i made a wrong turn (right instead of left to Belfort, where there are some log huts you might have been to already?)

        A bunch of guys came up on dirt bikes from the north east side (from 338) which i think i could get us to no problem. So we could go up on the west side from 395 and come down the south east side and out to 338 and south to Bridgeport?

        The stone house has no exit and the ghost town/houses up high are on a dead end loop (according to the guys i met up there).

        My route around the 120 was all south of Mono. I didnt realize there was that back road you guys took until i studied the map later. I did get on some dirt and into the national forest and up to Bald Mountain though which is worth it. More fun then blasting down paved 120.

        I saw the BHS building, but it was stinking hot and i was dehydrated so the last thing i could fathom was a dip in a hot pool. Keen to get back there to camp and explore though. That would be ace.

        You ever do Wyman Creek road to bristle cones to silver canyon to bishop?? check my post tomorrow. Epic stuff.

        Sept could be good. Im out weekend of 15th but after that?


      • Hi Ryan,
        I only got as high as Star City (I think) well below Belfort from 338, but yes, there are no gates and you could, I guess, come down from Mt. Patterson and out that way. It’s no problem once you get down from Belfort …

        Kalle and I did Bishop to Silver Canyon to Wyman Canyon to Tonopah in June … there’s a few pics on our blog if you go to the June Calendar (http://caryandjohn.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/wyman-creek-road-beyond/), and up to the gate on White Mountain and the Patriarch Grove … super Epic!

        I’ll go check out your blog … last weekend in September? I would love to see Mt. Patterson and Belfort someday … ha.

      • El Senior Fuego,
        Youll have to show me star city. I didnt get that way so curious as to whats out there.
        Wyman was super fun huh! And how was it going UP silver canyon? Must have been a climb. Coming down for me was super slow. Didnt have any rear breaks- dam air bubble.
        Sept is stoopid busy- i have a wedding on sat of the last weekend of sept, unless i took monday off and we rolled there sat night. Not sure if others could make it if that were the case. When do you think patterson will get snow?
        Some more posts are up- day 2.

  2. Hey Ryan,

    Star City is a “mine meadow” on the way up to Belfort on FR198 from Rt 338 and the Sweetwater Ranch … Guess there used to be a town there … I have some pics here: http://caryandjohn.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/sweetwater-mountains-labor-day-2010/

    We’ll just keep our eye on the weather … It gets really pretty up there in the fall when the aspens start to change to gold … here’s a link to a pic from early October in 2010: http://caryandjohn.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/aspens1.jpg
    Here is the thread:

    Kalle and I went up Silver Canyon twice, once unloaded, where we turned left at the top and went up to White Mountain and then down on the ridge road where Wyman and Silver meet to 168 and back to Bishop, and once loaded, and then took Wyman Canyon down … I need a new disk on my rear brake, well below the 4mm service limit, ha … wonder how that happened … 🙂 Loved the area at the bottom of Wyman that looks like Joshua Tree …

    There’s a place called Red Hill BLM Area just west of Sonora we could try to meet and camp at on Saturday, or just try to do it in early October … otherwise, next season! Whooot!!

    OK, see you around the campfire,
    — John A

  1. Pingback: Eastern Sierras Labor Day Weekend Ride- Part 1 | shootplex

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