Eastern Sierra Motorcyle and Backpacking Adventure

In August, 2010 I went on a trip with my old buddy from college – Scott Bischoff.  Bisch is a Captain in the Navy and a helicopter pilot. (Yes, he’s a bad ass!).  When we were in college we both had motorcycles and took a summer trip before our senior year – from Boulder, Colorado to Key West, Florida.  We had an awesome time and vowed there would be many more motorcycle trips in our future.  We’ve ridden a couple of times since then, but regrettably this was the first real trip since college.

Bisch doesn’t have kids. As such, the lucky bastard has had motorcycles continuously since college (usually two or three).  I, on the other hand, was not allowed to have a motorcycle from the time my son was born til I sold Jigsaw.  [Note: I told my wife that I wouldn’t sell Jigsaw unless she agreed to let me buy a motorcycle – true story.]

A few years ago Bisch bought a BMW R1200GS.  He sent me a pic saying “I got mine, where’s yours?”.  No man with honor can ignore such a challenge and right after the Jigsaw sale I bought a BMW R1200GSA (Adventure).  Yes, I one-upped him slightly.  However, he basically needed to teach me how to ride all over again!

Bisch is stationed in Reno, Nevada and we agreed to meet on the east side of the Sierra’s at a little town call Lee Vining, near Mono Lake.  I took off the night before and planned to camp near Dodge Ridge on the way to Sonora Pass (Highway 108).  I camped out that night in some secluded spot up a dirt road and woke up early the next morning.  I’m glad my bike has heated hand grips as the temp was a bit under 40 degrees when I got on my bike that morning.  I had never been over Sonora Pass and was stunned at its beauty.

I met Bisch later that morning in Lee Vining (the eastern gateway to Yosemite) on Highway 395.  We both had our backpacking gear and decided to do a two day trip over Kearsarge Pass in King’s Range National Park.  We drove south down to Independence and then drove straight up the mountains to 9K feet where we parked our bikes.  The road up was an awesome bike ride with views galore up and down the Eastern Sierras.  We put our packs on and got on the trail around mid afternoon.  It was hot and we sweated our butts off climbing Kearsarge Pass.  We meet a bunch of thru hikers who were doing the JMT (John Muir Trail) along the way.  At the top of Kearsarge Pass (11,760 feet) we met a guy from Florida who spends two weeks every summer backpacking around the Sierras.  He was a trip.  For food he filled a bear canister to the brim with nuts and dried fruit.  That’s all he ate for two weeks straight.  What a nut!

He needed water but we didn’t have any extra to spare (I was starting to get dehydrated myself).  When we got to our campsite at Kearsarge Lakes I was really hurting.  I thought I had altitude sickness, but I’m pretty sure it was mostly dehydration.  I felt fine after drinking a bunch of cups of tea.  Never again will I hike in the Sierras without a water bladder (I had an old pack that didn’t have a bladder pocket).

The lakes were beautiful and we were treated to a nice sunset and alpenglow that evening.  The next day we did a hike to the top of Glen Pass (11,960 feet), for more great views.  We camped again at Kearsarge Lakes that night.  We hiked out the next day and make our way back home.  On the way home I took Ebbets Pass (Highway 4), which was beautiful, but not as beautiful as Sonora Pass in my opinion.

Here is a pic of Bisch and I on the top of Kearsarge Pass:

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