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Sierra Middle Passes Loop - Hwy 108 & Hwy 4

June 21, 2016

One of my most favorite local rides. The two middle passes, Sonora Pass Hwy 108 & Ebbetts Pass Hwy 4, in the Central Sierras. You even get Monitor Pass Hwy 89 thrown in.

Started up the hill in the cool of the morning. Even so it was 88 degrees by the time I got to Sonora. Traffic was a touch heavier than I expected on a Tuesday late morning. The ride to about Pinecrest was a leisure parade of vehicles, thing slightly as we went along.

A couple of quick passes of the few reamining cars and I was on my own by Strawberry. Today was a nice brisk ride, but I wasn't pushing any of my limits. I wanted to stop in a few places to take a few pictures so I decided to keep this ride a little relaxed.

It's such beautiful country in the high Sierras. Still snow on the ground in places, the flowers are blooming, the trees are green (those still alive after the drought anyway) and tight now the streams, creeks and rivers are a flowin'.

The roads are in great shape. Clean and smooth. Only one corner on the eastern down slode had a sand wash across it. Everything else was perfect riding surface.

Crusing past the high altitude Army Base, and juctioning with 395 I headed North to Walker CA and the home of Walker Burger, my favorite 395 food joint. Pretty much hit it everytime I ride the 108 (except occasionally I opt for the Whoa Nellie deli in the Mobil station at 395 and 120). Burger was tasty as ever (although the patty seemed thiner than in the past, my imagination?)

Monitor Pass (89) was as beautiful, chilly, windy and deserted as usual. For being at suh a high altitude, it's surprising how it feels like a giant meadow with a twisty road thorugh the middle.

Ebbetts Pass is always fun. A few more & tighter switchbacks than the nearby passes with abrupt elevation cahnges in the middle of them add a touch of excitement. And the "single lane" for a large portion of the eastern half adds a different feel while cahnge the tecniques a touch. Like it.

The three high altitude lakes that line the route; Alpine, Mosquito and Kinney are always gorgeous and scenic. Good places to stop, take photos, relax and have a picnic. I did none of these things this trip.

Once past Lake Alpine, Hwy 4 becomes sweepers. As you curve down the western slope of the Sierras, you'll pass Calaveras Big Trees State Park. If you've never stopped there, do. Again, tis trip, I didn't.

I finished up my trip avoiding 5:30pm traffic on Hwy 49 by taking some favored side and backroads (see map). I was home in time for a light dinner.

Love these roads.


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