fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

motorcycles, fly fishing, fun, and good eats


It’s on in 7 days and 4 hours.

That’s when we set out on the inaugural Konoske Boys Two-Wheel/Fly Fishing RoadTrip 2010.

After years of talking about it, miles of practice rides, a few hours of tinkering with gear, and a sudden opportunity to stay at the family cabin, it’s nearly go time. The route is planned. Soon the bikes will be sorted.

One day up to Twain Harte and one day back. From sea level to 9943 feet/3031 meters over 530 miles/853 kilometers. Squeezed into that total is a one-day, 250-mile/403-kilometer loop up and over and back over the Sierra Nevadas.

Kinks just past Sonora Pass.

The first leg of our one-day tour will take us over Sonora Pass (elevation 9624 ft./2933 m.). This is the only stretch that gives me pause: 15 miles with 9 blind or partially blind hairpin turns, often with steep uphill or downhill grades. The greater cause for concern is oncoming drivers cutting corners short. We’ll take it slow, to be sure. We’ll put our training to good use, following the adage “Look ahead, then look where you want to go.” We’ll be looking as far ahead as we can.

First stop: East Walker River. Reports put this tailwater fishery a bit high right now, but with any luck a dry/dropper combo will get us into some brown trout.

A quick ride south, past Bodie and Mono Lake, will put us in Lee Vining. A left turn and we’re gaining elevation again, up Hwy 120 toward Tioga Pass (elevation 9943 ft./3031 m.) and Yosemite National Park. Hopefully we’ll wet our lines again in a section of Lee Vining Creek. That’s if we don’t have to hike through too much snow to reach what we trust will be hungry brook trout.

After the Tioga Pass entrance station we’ll wheel past likely still-snowy Tuolumne Meadows, with a stop here and there, perhaps at Tenaya Lake (no fish there), and Olmsted Point, before winding up the engines, flicking into fifth gear and making tracks for Old Priest Grade.

A portion of Old Priest Grade.

A portion of Old Priest Grade.

Old Priest Grade is one heck of a road. Two miles long with an approximately 1,500 feet elevation gain and an average gradient of 14 percent. To compare, New Priest Grade (SR120) is three times as long with twice as many curves, and an average gradient of less than 10 percent. However, Old Priest Grade is a great shortcut with relatively new asphalt. It just commands a bit of respect. So we’ll take the shortcut. At least that’s the plan for now.

After Old Priest Grade, it’s an easy and fast road toward the cabin, with the promise of a dinner of our favorite burgers fueling anticipation.

As for this weekend, I’ll be selflessly gathering fodder for future fishing posts by dragging myself up to the Eagle Lake area for a few days of playing with big rainbows in the lake and making a few casts on nearby streams and rivers. Rotten business, I know, but I do it for you.


3 thoughts on “motorcycles, fly fishing, fun, and good eats

  1. Que the Carly Simon, I sense “Anticipation”. Sounds like a great adventure. With the elevation gain described, that would be quite a ride on a bicycle- be glad you’ve got a motor between your legs.
    Have a safe journey and of course many a tight line!

  2. Sounds like a great trip! Careful over the pass – I know first hand how windy it is.

  3. Yes, Luci, we’ll be careful…

    Kirk, Sonora Pass was one of the more used routes by emigrants, part of the Carson River Trail that passed Carson City, Nev., curved below Lake Tahoe, then followed the Walker River system (though I doubt they stopped to fly fish the East Walker River), then up over the pass before descended into the Central Valley. I can’t imagine hauling those wagon trains over the sheer walls of the pass, piece by piece!

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