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Old 05-19-2008, 06:29 PM   #1
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Colorado to Norcal via SMB West! Grand Canyon??

We are heading to Fresno for the addition of solar panels and are just starting to plan our route. WE LEAVE FRIDAY!!

So far we plan on stopping Friday night in Fruita, CO for a quick ride Sat morning. We then push on to the St George/SW Utah area where we will check out Zion and Gooseberry Mesa for a day or two. Our appointment is for Tuesday at SMB West so we'll have to fit a fair amount of driving in there on Sun/Mon and we're looking for suggestions from that point on.

Yosemite area? Holiday tourist hell?

Beach? Too far?

Grand Canyon? North Rim could be nice and cool.

Mohave Desert? Too hot!

We will be traveling with 2 dogs so we are trying to take the expected heat into account.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Adam
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:02 AM   #2
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Hi Adam,
I have covered a lot of that country. You need to stay at higher elevation to stay resonable cool.

You might consider turning south on Hwy 24 just west of Green River and going into Zions the back way. Lots of good places on that route including Capitol Reef National Park. Zion is the best managed national park we have ever been to . . .

Out of Fresno to the SF Bay is about 4 hours. You can bike across the Golden Gate. Yosemite is good to see, lots of tourists but you can go out the back side to Mono Lake and then up to Nevada Hwy 50 (the world's loneliest highway). Somewhere along 50 is Major's, a bar with a lot of elk heads. If you go in don't order some down stream beer. Bud, Coors, nothing on tap and one mean bad-ass bar maid.

Have fun! You're going through some great country!

Regards,

Keith
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Old 05-20-2008, 11:34 AM   #3
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if you make towards the Gooseberry area, in my opinion the finest riding lies just south over on Little Creek Mesa. The riding has much more 'flow' if you get my drift than Gooseberry. That and you'll see a lot less riders on the trails. We camped right at the trailhead when I was down there last month...
The other ride right in the area not to miss is the Hurricane Rim-Goulds-Jem loop. 3-4 hours of desert singletrack at it finest - think 18 Rd but in better shape....Located right in Hurricane. Over The Edge in Hurricane is a great source of info.
Google 'Little Creek Mesa Directions' and there is a pretty good map w/ directions to the trailhead etc....

Have a safe trip!

-d
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Old 05-20-2008, 03:09 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for the replies! We have taken some of your advice and will be heading out to CA via 50 through Nevada and the Sierras and returning up through Vegas and SW Utah. I was planning on hitting Hurricane so I will definitely check out the riding you suggested!
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:05 PM   #5
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Your timing is good....Tioga Pass, the back way into Yosemite from Highway 395, is scheduled to open tomorrow, May 21 per:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm

There won't be camping available in the Valley since it is all reserved in advance. However, this is a great time to visit Yosemite since the waterfalls are in their glory. However, you "should" be able to get a campsite just outside the park along the Merced River area. There are a couple of BLM campgrounds just west of El Portal...I was there a week ago last night and there were plenty of spots. However, these are "walk-in" sites and you end up camping in the parking spots along the narrow access road. There are also a couple of BLM campgrounds further west along the river. If you want more information, let me know but I would assume that you'd want to head SW from Yosemite directly toward Fresno. There are some campgrounds along that route but I don't know if they fill up this time of year or not...
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:06 PM   #6
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Your timing is good....Tioga Pass, the back way into Yosemite from Highway 395, is scheduled to open tomorrow, May 21 per:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm

There won't be camping available in the Valley since it is all reserved in advance. However, this is a great time to visit Yosemite since the waterfalls are in their glory. However, you "should" be able to get a campsite just outside the park along the Merced River area. There are a couple of BLM campgrounds just west of El Portal...I was there a week ago last night and there were plenty of spots. However, these are "walk-in" sites and you end up camping in the parking spots along the narrow access road. There are also a couple of BLM campgrounds further west along the river. If you want more information, let me know but I would assume that you'd want to head SW from Yosemite directly toward Fresno. There are some campgrounds along that route but I don't know if they fill up this time of year or not...
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Old 05-20-2008, 05:29 PM   #7
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Thanks Jack! Excellent info!
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:17 PM   #8
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lactic, I am so jealous.
The high Sierra is my most beloved stomping grounds. Taking the Tioga Pass Rd. is imperative even if you never get out of your van.
But if you did, you could stealth camp just before the Eastern entry to Yosemite where Saddlebag Lake Rd. goes off to the right from Tioga Pass Rd as you finish that long ascent up the canyon from Lee Vining. When I flew over the area last week I could see there is relatively little snow in the high altitudes, maybe Toulumne Meadows is hikeable, you could go north along the Pacific Crest Trail to Glen Aulin and check out Waterwheel Falls, or more strenuously, just a little down the road is the trail up to Cathedral Lakes and Cathedral Peak off to the south. Each of those are one day round trip hikes, you could be back to the SMB before dark.
I think that while the valley will definitely be booked, stealth camping at the trail heads would be possible. The bears might even still be asleep.
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Old 05-21-2008, 12:20 PM   #9
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Lactic Sonara Pass is also a good route. I don't know how much time you have but areas out of Fresno are also quite nice. I will send you a PM with some extra info.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:48 PM   #10
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Thanks Joanna and DaveB!!

We're getting very excited now that we've decided to take a more northern route on the way there! We're keeping all of the suggestions in mind and will be "winging it" to some degree. Got to love the freedom of choice the SMB provides!!
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