Day 6: We continued North on 395 through Owens Valley. The scenery was beautiful, but hours of straight, flat riding got pretty tiring.

We stopped at Alabama Hills were 50 or more movies have been shot. The Sierras and the rock formations are really amazing. We detoured to some movie sights such as “Tremors” and “Gunga Din.”

Next was a very quick ride through the remains of a WWII Japanese internment camp. Not much to see, just some stones where the foundations were and a museum we didn’t go in.

I noticed the Olancha dunes OHV area on the map so we stopped by for a look. It was terribly lame! Maybe 2 acres of nothin’.

North of Bishop, 395 finally climbs out of the valley and into the mountains. We detoured up the Old Sherwin grade road which was more twisty and scenic than 395 (thanks Jason!).

We left the sun in the valley behind and rode into the clouds as we climbed. There were a few sprinkles, but no real rain. We stopped at Tom’s cabin, a small town / café stop which is supposed to be a good place to eat, but we weren’t hungry and moved on.

A few more miles down 395 and we arrived at Mammoth Lakes, a “year-round resort,” which means a ski area that caters to mountain bikers and hikers in the summer. This was the site of yet another night at Motel 6. Imre wasn’t much interested in the area, so we decided to split up for the evening. He went to a movie and I went to the Angel restaurant and bar where I met a friendly bartender who was a biker also. He told me about his favorite MC roads in the area and labeled my bar tab as “Evel Knevel.” I also had a short chat with a guy who was on a trip with his wife. He rides a Ducati and his wife rides an Aprillia – very exotic.

Day 7: We got up early and hit the June lake loop which was super scenic! There was a nice little town by June lake and then two more lakes on the same road.

The next stop was Mono lake which is hyped a lot for its weird rock formations. Unfortunately we didn’t see much of that. Maybe you have to go somewhere else on the lake or take a long hike, I dunno. Overall it was a nice area though.

After a few more speedy miles up 395, we reached Bridgeport and had breakfast at Hays Café; the one and only restaurant in town. It was also the best place we ate on the whole trip. Good food and nice outdoor seating. The scenery in the area is amazing. It’s wide open sky and huge mountains.

An hour later we were heading up Monitor pass where we swapped bikes and I rode Imre’s SV650 wayyy too fast in the twisties. Wear marks on the rear tire showed I was using the full width (leaning it all the way over). Fun!

Back on the trusty KZ, we continued East on Highway 88 past Caples lake, Silver lake and other beautiful areas where I have been dirt riding. We turned off on the Mormon Emigrant trail and rode to 16 where we decided to take the long way back to Sacramento by following 16 all the way instead of taking the 50 freeway. We arrived in Sac at about 4 pm.

In retrospect, I’d say that this was a somewhat ambitious trip for us because:
1. Neither of us had ever done a multi-day motorcycle trip.
2. Imre had just bought his bike and hadn’t ridden it more than a mile before the trip.
3. I was crazy enough to ride a 26 year old bike on a long trip.

Total distance was a little over 1500 miles.

Next time: I’ll try to be a little less rushed so we can spend more time in various places on the way. This means planning a shorter trip, or making more time for it. I’ll also have a better idea of what to pack and I won’t have so much luggage to haul.

Overall it was quite an adventure and I'm glad we did it. We both want to do more of these trips in the future.

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