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Has anyone travelled the entirety of Highway 395 (situated in California)?

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Has anyone travelled the entirety of Highway 395 (situated in California)?

Old 10-03-19, 04:48 PM
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PadawanHealy
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Has anyone travelled the entirety of Highway 395 (situated in California)?

Has anyone done so? If so, what are your experiences?
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Old 10-03-19, 05:18 PM
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I used to live in Ridgecrest so I've driven it a lot. Seems like it would be pretty interesting in the north past Lone Pine.

South of Inyokern, it's all bro trucks with toy haulers in crosswinds, and cars whose drivers are Daffy-Duck-frustrated they can't pass the trucks. Kramer Junction backs up for miles around holidays. It's the desert, there are probably parallel dirt roads nearby.

The sprawl around Victorville and Hesperia amazes me. I had an uncle whose retirement dream home was in Hesperia, 30 years ago we'd go out to visit him and there was n o t h i n g there
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Old 10-03-19, 07:19 PM
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Like Darth Lefty, I've driven it quite a few times over the past few decades. South of Inyokern its just boring desert landscape. Only interesting thing is the town of Randsburg and its famous Opera house. Kramer Junction has had a stoplight for a decade (or more) so the traffic only backs up on holiday weekends.

The area from Olancha to Bishop is nice - arid landscape with the Sierra Nevada Mtns on the west side, White & Inyo monutains on the east. Bishop to Mammoth is a transition zone, going from arid to somewhat green as the elevation increases. North of Mammoth is the 'volcano zone' (my term for it). Lots more trees, the Mono craters south of Mono Lake, an Mono LAke itself. Also access to Yosemite by Hwy 120.

North of Mono Lake it gets really green, but trees are sparse as the elevation is high and this area gets LOTS of snow. The historic Bodie Ghost Town isn't far off the highway. Its a nice pretty drive in summer/fall all the way to Carson City (Nevada).

Forgot to add: I've ridden 395 from Lone Pine to Bishop and back, not too bad, but it can get windy. Lone Pine is about 4000 ft, Bishop about 5000 ft, so its uphill for about 60 miles.

Also ridden around the Mono Craters and Mammoth areas, but never on 395 in that area except for short stretches.

Last edited by skidder; 10-04-19 at 10:51 AM. Reason: Added bicycling-related stuff
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Old 10-03-19, 09:26 PM
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I lived in Reno for a few years and I've driven most of 395. I've only ridden the 30 or so miles between Reno and Carson City. Almost all of 395 has traffic traveling at 55mph+, so I don't find it appealing for casual riding. If I were to ride a portion of it, I'd ride from Mammoth to Highway 89. That part is very scenic and there's less traffic because it's remote. South of Mammoth, 395 is mostly four lanes with more traffic and higher speeds. North of Highway 89, I think it would be more interesting to ride up 89 through the mountains to Lake Tahoe. North of Reno, 395 travels through the high desert and it's a bit bleak in my book.


If I were going to go on a bike tour up the eastern half of the state, my route would be pretty similar to the adventure cycling Sierra Cascades route. That route bypasses most of 395 except the part I mentioned above.
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Old 10-04-19, 02:40 AM
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have only cycled a small segment in the lee vining area. have driven nearly the entire california segment from hesperia/victorville/adelanto
on the southern end to ca hwy 89 (monitor pass) so shorted myself doing the entire ca part of 395 (continues into nevada) by about 10+12 miles.

most scenic riding part is north of mammoth lakes /deadman pass area to ca hwy 89. i think that whole june lake/mono lake/eastern yosemite interface may
be my favorite part of california and there's serious competition. the lone pine (heading north to lake crowley section south of mammoth lakes area
is scenic too but mostly to your left (the west). headwinds (while you're heading north) can be Łber-gnarly south of mammoth.

if you are a desert rat, you will likely dig the desert stretch north of red mountain/randsburg all the way to lake crowley. lean and extreme. enough support
to count on for what you need but you'll need to plan for it. north of mammoth, the altitude really kicks in. support a little less consistently available
but if you're into the mountains, you'll be happy.

the potential side trips access from the 395 north of red mountain are ridiculous. you can access: trona pinnacles, death valley national park. sequoia natl forest,
sequioa/kings canyon natl park, inyo natl forest, ansel adams natl forest, bristlecone pine forest, minarets wilderness, yosemite national park, bodie state historic park...
the crazy hard climbs mostly west of the 395 (horseshoe meadows. mt. whitney, onion valley, big pine, south lake, mosquito creek...) are a destination in their own right.

north of lone pine, the traffic's not too bad. that 395 stretch from red mountain south to adelanto is a real suckfest tho. i'd rather ride ca hwy 14 into canyon country.
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Old 10-04-19, 09:08 AM
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I've ridden a motorcycle between I-80 and into Oregon. My recollection is that there isn't much shoulder and you've got high speed traffic including a fair number of semis. As you get up near the border, it's pretty lonesome. Personally, I'd look for different roads for bike touring.



Not sure if this is Oregon or California, but near the border on 395.
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Old 10-04-19, 11:06 AM
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I've bicycled it from Lee Vining to US 20 (in Oregon) and CA 14 (near Inyokern) to Bishop on a second trip. I enjoyed it. There were enough towns to stock up in along the way that I didn't have to carry food. You could eat in restaurants and sleep in motels, if that's your thing. I camped & cooked, because I was poor. It was the '80s. I broke a spoke, but was carrying spares; wore out a tire in Oregon. I had to be prepared to fix it myself. Removing the freewheel was daunting. There are a few campgrounds with showers if you want a cheap shower without paying for a motel.

I agree with @radii and @ooga-booga that CA 89 is a more-fun route, really steep, multiple passes, part of the Markleeville Death Ride. There's a hot springs in Markleeville.

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Old 10-04-19, 11:32 AM
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I lived on the Oregon side for a year, and one of my regular rides was down to the border and back. And I frequently drove down to Reno/up to Bend. Itís some spectacular scenery up that way, and not too challenging terrain (though the altitude may affect you; when I returned to sea-level my average speed for a 1-hour ride increased by about 2-3mph).

There are hills off to either side at all points. I always wanted to ride Cedar Pass from Alturas over to Cedarville and back but hadnít the time. And, as has been said, the drivers in the area are, at best, unused to seeing cyclists on the roads.

If bikepacking, bring lots of spares. I donít believe thereís a single bike shop North of Reno until Bend, or east of Klamath Falls. The hardware store in Lakeview had a few bits and pieces (patch kits, Allen keys, tubes for 26Ē wheels) but youíd be screwed if you needed to do any sort of serious repair.
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Old 10-04-19, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by PadawanHealy View Post
Has anyone done so? If so, what are your experiences?
I've ridden the sections between Highway 89 (Monitor Pass) and Bishop a few times.

It's a decent road surface with a shoulder, not the most exciting of rides. It can be hot or windy, or both.

My favorite sections are around Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes, pretty views. The roads off of 395 are much more interesting, and challenging.

Edit: Much of the road looks like this.



Highway 395 southbound near Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) junction
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Old 10-04-19, 02:54 PM
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Did it on a Yamaha 500 Thumper a long time ago.
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Old 10-04-19, 04:59 PM
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Truly fascinating!
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Old 10-04-19, 05:11 PM
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I congratulate you for such a thorough response. I currently live in Las Vegas, NV ( I've lived here for approximately 1.5 years) and I'm pretty acclimated to the desert climate and environment. I personally enjoy a balance between the desolate but serene desert, something about it cleanses the soul, that in contrast with the wonderful sights of the forestry present in higher elevations.
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Old 10-04-19, 05:12 PM
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I would assume that's California, Oregon does host such a baron environment, at least from my experiences in Oregon.
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Old 10-04-19, 05:17 PM
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Thank you for the reply. I personally would prefer to expend as little money as possible, but reasonably of course, I'm not a cheapskate, but I'd rather live from the land on the occasion that I partake in such an affair. Visiting the local destinations, acclimating oneself to whatever environment you may be present in is truly enthralling.
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Old 10-05-19, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by PadawanHealy View Post
I would assume that's California, Oregon does host such a baron environment, at least from my experiences in Oregon.
Most of eastern Oregon is dry, a lot of it desert. The famous part, west of the mountains, is completely different.
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Old 10-06-19, 02:42 PM
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I intended to say " Oregon does not host..." in my original post. I wasn't familiar with the deserts of Oregon.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:24 PM
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I used to live in Ridgecrest, and only rode on 395 around to Inyokern and back. I remember thinking that the section between Adelanto and Kramer Junction would SUCK bad, due to "flatlander" traffic (LA people headed to the mountains!). Kramer Junction had a stoplight the first time drove up from San Diego in 97. Moved there in 89, but left for Utah in 2006.

I loved the desert. Would live there again, maybe someday. But as my kids settle and start families here in Utah, not likely to return anytime soon.
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Old 10-07-19, 05:33 PM
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May you be so kind to divulge why you picked Utah in particular? (If this is confidential the ignore this message)
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Old 10-07-19, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by PadawanHealy View Post
May you be so kind to divulge why you picked Utah in particular? (If this is confidential the ignore this message)
Simple really, I had taken a job in Nevada for a short time, and the company offered me a position in Utah. After a quick visit, we moved. Other factors, our son was graduating high school, and was headed for college. And once we looked at schools in Utah, we got him into a football program. Our daughter still had 2 years of high school, and I hated taking her from her friends. But the cost of living, property values and more made it an easy choice. I still work in the desert, just a different desert...

We lived in Ridgecrest for 8 years, it was a tough city to leave. But Utah has a lot to offer and no regrets moving. I'm retired Navy, been in Utah now for 13 years... Any moves now will probably be life changing events...
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Old 10-07-19, 09:05 PM
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Iíve never ridden 395 itself but have driven it from I-15 to Carson City countless times on my way to Truckee, CA. I love the drive from Lone Pine on North.

someone posted the rides off of 395 are best. 168 from Bishop up to Aspendell, Lake Sabrina and South Lake is one of my all time favorite rides.
Heading back down to Bishop on 168


At 8k feet on the way up. Caught a bunch of crap from my friends for wearing a small camelbak on a road ride but it was summer and I didnít want to run out of water.
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Old 10-08-19, 04:00 PM
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I lived in Ridgecrest 5.5 years and it was easy to leave. Many of my coworker friends did the same as soon as we were vested. Sacramento was a much easier place to be single
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Old 10-08-19, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I lived in Ridgecrest 5.5 years and it was easy to leave. Many of my coworker friends did the same as soon as we were vested. Sacramento was a much easier place to be single
Ridgecrest wasn't single friendly, no doubt. I retired from the Navy there and stayed after...
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Old 10-09-19, 03:07 PM
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Ah, my father was in the Navy during Operation Desert Storm as a fire control technician aboard the USS Wisconsin. Are the housing prices there Utah relative to Nevada?
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Old 10-09-19, 03:19 PM
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Bishop to Gardnerville has spectacular scenery, especially along the Walker River, however there’re a lot of big rigs and narrow sections. Bishop south is boring and windy. There are three big climbs, Sherwin Summit is looooong
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Old 02-08-21, 12:11 AM
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11 years ago, my buddy and I rode from the San Fernando Valley to Mammoth Lakes.... was one of the greatest rides ive ever done in my life... the entire 395 section was IMMENSELY rideable and awesome.... at Bishop we did divert from the main highway to Rock Creek Rd to get a respite...... then a few years after that, my friend did hte ride again but went all the way to Reno....
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