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Old 09-24-2007, 07:51 PM   #31
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

Tinker and her Harley. Btw, her real name is Leslie (just don't tell anyone ), but she got the nickname Tinker (ie Tinkerbell), and no one knows her real name anymore.




Tinker atop Monitor Pass - more Wow!




Sonny on the RC51 he got on eBay

Sonny has just moved to California and this was his first exposure to all the sights and heights that are all now in his backyard.

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Old 09-24-2007, 07:57 PM   #32
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour






Tinker on her Harley leads the way across the crest of 8314 ft Monitor Pass

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Old 09-24-2007, 08:00 PM   #33
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

Why we ride.




Paul




Tinker's Harley & Rick's VFR

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Old 09-24-2007, 08:02 PM   #34
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

And a ride for that Pashnit Guy




Version 2.0



One more for the busa fans.

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Old 09-24-2007, 08:27 PM   #35
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

My cover shot




Monitor Pass as it descends to Hwy 395




Hwy 89 starts here, and rides north all the way across the northeastern portion of California




Later that evening... top case pulling double duty

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Old 09-24-2007, 08:35 PM   #36
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

Next day... we'd done a bit of twisty mountain roads by then.

We noticed this. More Wow! And so Bob headed off a few miles down the road to get a new tire. Yes, he made it fine, although don't try this at home. Trained professional on closed course.




And it seems Steve on the FJR would be in need of a new pair of boots too. I think those are his socks.

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Old 09-24-2007, 08:47 PM   #37
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

Another day meant another pass... The 8574 ft Carson Pass atop Hwy 88 near Kirkwood





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Old 09-24-2007, 08:52 PM   #38
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

And now for the biggest Wow! of all... had something special planned for the tour group.

I took the riders up to Big Hill Lookout at 6132 ft, a fire lookout & fire attack base, along Ice House Rd. Yep, that road is paved to the top, and anyone can come up here. This is the southerly view, in that valley in the near distance is Hwy 50, main throughfare b/n Sacramento & South Lake Tahoe. You would never know this lookout is even here.



The pics are a paltry attempt to show what it's like to be up at the Big Hill Fire Lookout and have everything on all sides below you. On the clearest of days, you can see across the entire state. We could make out Mt Hamilton & Mt Diablo in the Bay Area from here.

Looking eastward, Lake Tahoe is just over the other side of the Crystal Range... That's Union Valley Reservoir (4800 ft) below.
Loon Lake is in the mountains over there too, and the launch point of all the jeepers and their rock crawling the Sierra.




Southeasterly view, the pointy peak in the middle is Pyramid Peak, el 9983 ft, one of the most visible landmarks in this part of the Sierra Nevada.
The lake is Ice House Reservoir, along which Wrights Lake Rd (paved) connects back to Hwy 50 near FR 71 (also paved).



For those that might head up here, Big Hill Rd is located about 3 miles from the crest when Ice House Rd ascends out of the valley from Hwy 50. Robbs Resort is nearby.

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Old 09-24-2007, 09:01 PM   #39
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

Westerly view- the ridgeline at right is Wentworth Springs Rd.

You can see the fireline of the last massive forest fire that burned this entire area- the Cleveland Fire which burned 24,000 acres in 1992. The fire was so big, it burned all the structures on this hilltop including the fire lookout. The patches are from logging.


Not a bad place to do a chin up or two. The fast response firefighters are stationed here.

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Old 09-24-2007, 09:04 PM   #40
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Re: The Wow Factor... A Sierra Nevada Motorcycle Tour

Their mode of transportation. The helo that is.



packs all ready to go at moments notice!



So out walks Phil Ketel (bald dude in red with beard), the pilot of the helo, and we all start chatting. He tells us all about the Bell 214, this one is specially built for firefighting, and privately owned. Only 3 like it in the world he says, looks like a Huey, but not so fast.

The blades are 3 feet wide, and cost $350,000 apiece. (two per copter ) This baby uses 150 gallons of fuel per hour from 5 gas tanks positioned all around aircraft into a Rolls Royce engine. Aloft time is about 2 hours.

Turns out Phil is also a member of the Pashnit Forum. Hi Phil! I get to meet these 20,000 members where ever we go.

Asked Phil how he got to be the top dog up here, he said he started out as a mechanic on Helos at 17, and been climbing up the chain ever since. These guys are private contractors too, not USFS, and they can travel all over the US to fight fires. Asked about his longest flight, said he flew this copter to Florida nonstop (remember, flight time is only 2 hours), took couple days, lotsa refueling.

This Bell 214 B1 helicopter was built by Helimax Aviation, which make specialty heavy lift helos for the construction industry. Phil mentioned this helicopter has done everything from lift HVAC units onto buildings to pour concrete.




While the helo hovers 50 feet over the ground near the fire, the firefighter (this guy) fast rope out of the copter with just boots and gloves, no safety lines, nuttin! They attach the rope like this, throw on the packs, and zippity do da out the aircraft! Guys on the ground in seconds Phil said.

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