Memorial Day Weekend is our annual Sierra Rally ride, that takes place with Porterville CA as our home base as we ride all the twisty in the southern Sierras. We have gone every year since 2000, but this year would be our first with the sidecar, and the first time the kids would join in the adventure! In the past we just hired a babysitter to watch them while we were out riding.
This year is the 21st annual Sierra Rally. The fantastic Lorraine Aldort organizes the hotel, the catering company, and provides maps and such for all of the attendees. As I said this was our first year bringing the sidecar, and it would be the longest all of us would be on the bike, or in the sidecar. Four days of being on the road for many miles. Boot camp continues!
SIERRA RALLY DAY 1: We started out on Friday morning, and because we are bad parents and pulled our kids out of school for the day. We did our usual route of eat, ride, repeat. I had to sit in morning traffic on the 405 as I unfortunately can’t lane split with the sidecar. We had breakfast at the Ranch Side Café in Sylmar. Our route loosely followed Sand Canyon- Soledad- Valley Center -Golden Valley- Plum Canyon-Bouquet- San Francisquito, then across the desert to Willow Springs, over the windmill speckled hills to Tehachapi. We made a quick stop at the world famous Tehachapi train loop, but no luck, there was no train. Next we were dodging cattle on Caliente Bodfish rd before going over the hill to Lake Isabella. Mandatory lunch stop at Nelda’s Diner. They have the most amazing milk shakes. Of course the food is good too.
After lunch I had a real test of the bike going up the 155. I had to stay in 1st or 2nd gear the whole time going up the hill. It was a lot of work getting that rig with all the weight up that hill. The rest of the group left me in the dust. Unfortunately, I caught up to them when one our our riders went wide on a turn and crashed into the dirt hill. The bad news: was the forks were bent and the bike was not ridable. The good news: the land barge had just arrived and I was able to take all of the gear from 2 riders, so they could ride together the rest of the way to Porterville.
SIERRA RALLY DAY 2: The plan was to go to the annual Posey BBQ and raffle, because we love the small town fun and they have a gun raffle. No kidding. Plus it would be less miles than Friday. So a win win situation.
SIERRA RALLY DAY 3: Today was to be our most ambitious day. We decided to go to Kings Canyon and Cedar Grove, then go through Sequoia National Park. No matter how many times I have dropped down into Kings Canyon, it remains one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. Plus the bonus prize when you get to the bottom of the canyon is the rushing water of the Kings River. It’s a great place to have lunch while you sit outside and listen to the force of mother nature rapidly flowing through the river. One of the other highlights of the day came as we were slowly moving through the park, traffic came to a quick stop. I was worried there was an accident because Frank disappeared for a moment, then all of a sudden he was waving and pointing for us to look to the right. There on the side of the road was a juvenile brown bear, tearing apart a log to get to the bugs inside for a snack. Frank got some excellent photos before we moved on.
SIERRA RALLY DAY 4: Time to say our good-byes and head home. We did a reverse of the Friday ride with everyone breaking off once we got closer to LA. Another great weekend with friends and a successful 4 day trip. It seemed like everything was in working order with the bike and sidecar rig. We got to practice using the communicators. It looks like we are ready for our cross country trip. Our epic adventure was coming up soon, an I was excited and still a little bit in denial. Was it really going to happen? Stay tuned…