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US 395 from Gardnerville NV to Independence CA?

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US 395 from Gardnerville NV to Independence CA?

Old 04-23-22, 09:56 AM
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US 395 from Gardnerville NV to Independence CA?

Hello all

Iím researching some route possibilities for a century or double that will hopefully be more visually pleasing than what Iíve done so far. In conversation with a couple of Reno area riders, they suggested I look at the stretch of US395 from Gardnerville NV going through Mammoth Lakes and beyond.
I think itís indisputable that the scenery would be epic and there are numerous small towns along the way for supplies but wondering about safety issues? Of course itís a highway so certain things are a given but might any of you have personal experience to offer concerning this section of road?
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Old 04-26-22, 09:09 PM
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This might help, although it's only partially on 395. https://ridewithgps.com/trips/28041727
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Old 04-26-22, 11:43 PM
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My experience of 395 is farther north, between Reno and Southern Oregon, and about 10 years out of date, but generally, I found that outside of an hour's drive from Reno the traffic was light, the road was generally in good condition with adequate shoulder, and the scenery was utterly outstanding.
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Old 04-27-22, 04:18 PM
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I drive 395 all the time, usually from 108 (Sonora Pass hwy) south, but I have been on the stretch from Reno. I can't remember enough about that stretch to comment, but from 108 all the way to Lone Pine is mostly safe, save for a few areas. Right along the west shore of Mono Lake, there is basically no shoulder (K-rail on one side, guard rail on the other), that part would definitely give me pause, with all of the oversized vehicles and RV's going through. South of Lee Vining, the road has a very wide shoulder on good pavement, it's just alongside a high speed road. May not be the most peaceful, although not totally unsafe. I see riders all the time on the side of the road from Mammoth to Lee Vining.

Street view photo of the "bad" stretch, the guard rail side actually looks like there's a small but rideable shoulder, the other side is very tight and has gravel right up to the shoulder stripe. It also can get pretty windy in that area, which would be even more dodgy, last thing you'd want is some high center-of-gravity RV drifting all over the road...

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Old 04-27-22, 04:39 PM
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If you're sadistic enough for the punishment, I think a seriously epic trip would be to ride all of the pass and trailhead roads starting with Tioga Road up to Tioga Pass. I want to ride all of those East side monsters, but have only done Tioga and Minaret Summit in Mammoth. There's a ton of these side roads that will give you serious elevation in a short distance, Onion Valley is a legendary climb. You can also do the June Lake loop which is easier and adds distance while not being just an out-and-back. I definitely need to get back there again with my bike, I'm usually out there for hiking.
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Old 04-27-22, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by cthenn View Post
I drive 395 all the time, usually from 108 (Sonora Pass hwy) south, but I have been on the stretch from Reno. I can't remember enough about that stretch to comment, but from 108 all the way to Lone Pine is mostly safe, save for a few areas. Right along the west shore of Mono Lake, there is basically no shoulder (K-rail on one side, guard rail on the other), that part would definitely give me pause, with all of the oversized vehicles and RV's going through. South of Lee Vining, the road has a very wide shoulder on good pavement, it's just alongside a high speed road. May not be the most peaceful, although not totally unsafe. I see riders all the time on the side of the road from Mammoth to Lee Vining.

Street view photo of the "bad" stretch, the guard rail side actually looks like there's a small but rideable shoulder, the other side is very tight and has gravel right up to the shoulder stripe. It also can get pretty windy in that area, which would be even more dodgy, last thing you'd want is some high center-of-gravity RV drifting all over the road...
DangÖÖ that photo may have well made my decision😳 I might have the wife pick me up and drive me past all of that and then start again.

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Old 05-09-22, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians View Post
Dang…… that photo may have well made my decision😳 I might have the wife pick me up and drive me past all of that and then start again.
I wouldn't keep that section from you doing the route.

Make sure to ride the June Lake Loop (south of Tioga Pass, north of Mammoth) ... don't make it "loop" per se, as there isn't anything on US-395 you'd miss by skipping it.

And I'd finish in Lone Pine with a ride up to Whitney Portal. During the season there is a grill open at the top that serves breakfast and lunch. It's one thing to ride along the Eastern Sierra, and another to ride up into them. Whitney Portal is nice because you'll first ride through the Alabama Hills on the way to the top. Onion Valley Rd out of Independence is also worth the climb for the spectacular views of the switchbacks at the top, though no services.

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Old 05-09-22, 08:58 PM
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And in the Alabama Hills you will realize that scenery is so familiar. Youíve seen it in so many cowboy/western movies. You know the ones with the gunfight amongst the rocks. Or the car commercial with rocks. Enjoy.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:42 AM
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If you're looking for something close to a double, you could try the route of the Eastern Sierra Double Century. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/36209072 Not quite a true double, more like 190 miles with 10,300 feet of climbing. If you need a true double century, you can always find a way to put on an extra 10 miles. And you don't have to start in Bishop, depending on where in the ride you want your elevation gain/loss, you could start in Mammoth, June Lake, Lee Vining, or anywhere else on the route. It looks like a brief stretch of unpaved road between Bishop and Mammoth is unpaved, but you could just take 395 instead. With a little research, you could find some variations on the route that have the Eastern Sierra Double Century has done over the years.

I've never done it, I have never been in shape to do this in my life, but I have a couple of friends who did this around 15 years ago and they loved it. Well, one of them loved it and the other loved it except for the torture of that many miles and that much elevation gain. And you could probably get some ideas from this for shorter routes.

If you're ready I suppose you could even sign up for the ride, which is coming up on June 4, regular fee available until May 21. https://planetultra.com/eastern-sierra/
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Old 05-13-22, 03:58 PM
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Itís all scrub brush and two-lane blacktop and rocks. I guess you I donít know why you would do this when you could ride around Lake Tahoe and go north from there. The scenery is over the pass

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Old 05-16-22, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Itís all scrub brush and two-lane blacktop and rocks. I guess you I donít know why you would do this when you could ride around Lake Tahoe and go north from there. The scenery is over the pass
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Old 05-16-22, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
I wouldn't keep that section from you doing the route.
I mean yeah, people ride 395 all the time, including that section. It's just nice to be aware of a potentially dangerous section is all. I was just vacationing in Mendocino Co. and rode sections of Hwy 1. The close calls I had with log trucks along stretches of that highway with zero shoulder was the worst, scariest encounters I've had in a long time. One time I was essentially pushed onto the soft shoulder (thankfully it was at grade with the road and not a ditch or hillside), scared the buhjeezus out of me. Zero shoulder with little room for large vehicles to give you space is a bad combination, and that stretch of road is pretty bad. But again, if you're comfortable with that, then more power to you!

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Old 05-16-22, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
It’s all scrub brush and two-lane blacktop and rocks. I guess you I don’t know why you would do this when you could ride around Lake Tahoe and go north from there. The scenery is over the pass
Darth, do you B2D2B? If you don't get the reference, no worries.

As for 395, it's kinda like not being able to see the forest for the trees. Except in the case of Tahoe, the trees hide everything scenic. The scrub brush never blocks the view of the Range of Light.

Markleeville / Ebbetts Pass / Blue Lakes Rd, then Sonora Pass on its own, are all marvelous.
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Old 05-16-22, 07:45 PM
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If you are looking to get off 395 for a spell and make it to Mammoth Lakes, consider going further south on 395 and make a right onto Lake Crowley Road and take that south to Tom's Place then right up into the mountains on Rock Creek Rd. You will have a full bike lane on good pavement and a meandering creek all the way up to 10K+ feet and the Mosquito Flats Little Lakes Valley Trailhead.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39378031
https://pjammcycling.com/climb/155.R...Creek%2520Road
There is also a resort-restaurant at the top to refuel.

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Old 05-16-22, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
Darth, do you B2D2B? If you don't get the reference, no worries.

As for 395, it's kinda like not being able to see the forest for the trees. Except in the case of Tahoe, the trees hide everything scenic. The scrub brush never blocks the view of the Range of Light.

Markleeville / Ebbetts Pass / Blue Lakes Rd, then Sonora Pass on its own, are all marvelous.
I don't know that one. But are you a turtle?

I grew up in north Phoenix when it was far less settled, I had a job for five years in Ridgecrest (which astute occupants note is at the bottom of a valley). I am familiar with the stark beauty of the wasteland. I would not argue sonora pass, it's great. But 395 is a crowded artery full of *******s in fast cars and motorcycles waiting (or not) to pass RV's and agricultural pickups and industrial trucks. My imagination makes a bike ride on it seem miserable. Tahoe best views are from a MTB... I was thinking of trying some of the Tru-Lassen route some time soon to try bikepacking, but then the Dixie fire.
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Old 05-16-22, 11:55 PM
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...
...I used to drive 395 down the along the east side of the Sierra on my way to and from Mexico, when I could get longer breaks from work for the fire department.
I always used to stop at Manzanar on the way down, and wander around, listening to the wind blow. This was in the 80's, before they opened it as a historical monument.

I'm not a big fan of cycling on two lane blacktop in the desert, and while the scenery is beautiful, both on the Sierra side, and the views of the desert in the other direction, it's pretty windy, and very dry out there.


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Old 05-17-22, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I don't know that one. But are you a turtle?
There is a Dark Helmut from Folsom (pic is the Spaceballs helmet in profile) on Strava who may be the creator of a silly Beals to Discovery Park to Beals (titled "B2D2B") segment that I've been riding for ~8 years. It's an excuse for riding the entirety of the trail twice without unclipping.

Not a turtle, more a Bubble.
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Old 05-17-22, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...
...I used to drive 395 down the along the east side of the Sierra on my way to and from Mexico, when I could get longer breaks from work for the fire department.
I always used to stop at Manzanar on the way down, and wander around, listening to the wind blow. This was in the 80's, before they opened it as a historical monument.

I'm not a big fan of cycling on two lane blacktop in the desert, and while the scenery is beautiful, both on the Sierra side, and the views of the desert in the other direction, it's pretty windy, and very dry out there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Aqoc8HVaFo
I'll watch that video in its entirety, but I'm shocked that he said Death Valley wasn't inspiring so he is back in Trona! WTF?! Trona? That is the last place I'd be riding through in that region if I had a choice.
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Old 05-17-22, 04:37 PM
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lol Ridgecrest is windy because Trona sucks and Inyokern blows
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Old 05-18-22, 09:58 AM
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395...you either get it or you don't. Pretty simple really.
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Old 05-18-22, 10:22 AM
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In 1995, as part of a Shasta to Yosemite tour, I rode 395 from the Hwy 89 Jct (after coming down off of Monitor Pass) to Lee Vining before heading up 120 and over Tioga Pass on the way to Yosemite Valley. My 27 year old recollection is that (1) there was ample shoulder the pretty much the whole way, (2) the traffic was fast, regular, and a bit annoying, but not dangerous because of the shoulder, (3) the climbs on that stretch of 395 are noticeable but not a big deal, (3) the descent to Mono Lake is a blast, and (5) the scenery ranged from nice to spectacular. The spectacular part, for me, was the view of the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. The view from the turnout at the top of the hill looking out over Mono Lake (just before starting the descent) is pretty great, too.

BTW, the Tioga Pass climb is long. And slow. And not easy; doable, but not easy. Did I mention that it is long? Of course, the fact that I am large, a slow climber at the best of times, and was on a fully-loaded tourer riding up a road that tops out at 9,945 feet may have had something to do with my incredibly slow "how can you stay upright at that speed?" pace.
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Old 05-19-22, 10:32 AM
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Tioga from Lee Vining is one of the cilmbs I have done. I love it, apart from the large volume of traffic it sees, since it's the eastern gateway to Yosemite. It's a great climb, total Alpine feels, and the descent is jaw dropping!

The shoulder is very wide almost the entire way, it's just unfortunate they installed that barrier along Mono Lake. It looks like a falling rock barrier, but they just took the cheap/easy way out. Instead of the typical practice of pinning woven cable nets to the slope, they just threw up some temporary K-rail and put fence posts with netting. But that totally disregards the safety of cyclists, which is very unfortunate. It's not a terribly long stretch, but it's now a narrow alley with the guard rail on the opposite side, and half the traffic in that area is oversized vehicles (huge RV's, trucks, etc.)

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