Alaska Adventure Part 1: Jackass Meadows

Alaska Adventure Part 1: Jackass Meadows

“I have one week and need to ride somewhere epic.”

“I think we can make Alaska.”

And that is how it began. A quick phone call from Nate and the adventure was set in motion. I knew we weren’t going to do a full Alaska tour, I could get lost in that country for months, but averaging 500+ miles a day would be an epic adventure in itself. Crossing into Alaska was icing on the cake.

We didn’t do much planning, I think that takes a lot of the fun out of an adventure. We did just enough to be safe: the bikes were all tuned up and the gear was all organized. Shortly thereafter, a third member, Edmund (aka Fez), joined our trip. While I did not know Fez well at the time, anyone who would knowingly endure a ride like this was cool by me. The Adventure was on: 4,000 miles on modern Triumphs – Just a couple of fellas jamming down the road with a little bit of bread.

I flew down to LA on Labor Day Weekend to meet the guys and ride out to Jackass Meadows to start our trip. Jackass Meadows surrounds the Florence Lake reservoir in between Kings Canyon and Yosemite parks. Because of its location and isolation, not too many people travel there – just the way I like it. We have been going there for several years now, and the story of our first trip deserves a post of its own, but suffice to say this area is my favorite spot in the Sierras.

After a night of catching up and drinking Absinthe the right way, we set out from Long Beach on Saturday morning. Nothing cures a severe hangover better than an open road and fresh mountain wind in your face.

Absinthe and good peoples.
Absinthe and good peoples.

The route to Jackass Meadows is fairly boring until you get to the 168, just outside of Fresno. After a few miles of rolling hills, the road takes a sharp left and begins to climb. In just a few miles you are at 5,000 feet. The road is a wide 4 lanes with smooth pavement, rolling corners, and beautiful views – perfect for opening up the throttle. The 168 takes you past Shaver Lake andย  Huntington Lake, two other reservoirs that serve as vacation spots for recreational boating. We continue on until we reach Kaiser Pass Road, an old access road used to build the dam at Florence Lake. It is not maintained, which means the single lane road has crumbling pavement and no barriers as it skirts along cliffsides. It is difficult not to stare at the incredible views as you top out at 9,000+ feet. The road is just gnarley, and the 20 mile stretch takes 45-60 minutes for us to navigate on bikes. The views, and the destination, are worth it.

A typical view on Kaiser Pass Road
A typical view on Kaiser Pass Road

Like I said, we did not do too much planning. We arrived at Jackass Meadows to find all the sites booked up! The camp host was a nice gentleman, and remembered us from the year before. He ended up issuing us a permit and pointing us towards an awesome spot down one of the fire roads. We all had to cross a small river to get to our campsite. Day 1 and our bikes were already getting tested!!!!

Water Crossing!
Water Crossing!

There was a good sized group of us at Jackass Meadows, and it was great to catch up with my road brothers. The night turned cold, and we woke to find a layer of frost on our bikes. After some amazing chorizo breakfast burritos, we packed up our bikes and Nate, Fez, and myself left the group for the long ride north.

 

Continue Reading The Alaska Adventure

Part 2: The Border Looms

 

 

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