The Snake - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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The Snake

Did 250 miles on Tuesday. Fresno to Groveland and back. The main focus of the ride was the delightful stretch of highway 49 affectionately known as the snake. You drop down into the Merced River drainage/McClure reservoir then it is GAS ON! If you enjoy lots of turns on excellent pavement you will be in hog heaven for the next 10 miles. Photo documentation included.

Snagged a few shots on the way out there. The crossroads shot is where I first got airborne in a hang glider back in the early 70's. It's the small hill in the background where we ground skimmed til we were blue in the face.

The shot of what looks like a strait stretch of dirt road is actually an air strip built by the Army Corp of Engineers to facilitate the building of the earth dam which formed Hensley Reservoir. I included it because I used to use it for a simulated engine failure to landing with my students when I was a flight instructor. It always got their attention when we actually landed on it.

The cemetery shot I grabbed for an old flying buddy with the same name, Dudley. Could not resist, I attached it to a text then sent it to him saying "Gosh Duddley I had not heard."

This was my longest ride since back surgery 4 months ago. It was all good but I was pretty tuckered out when I got home.
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Cookin Wid Gas

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 09:51 AM
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I rode the north half to Coulterville on my way home from Yosemite yesterday. Someone really sweet had gone through ahead of me, driving with a couple tires (or a trailer) in the marbles around every turn.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 10:03 AM
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How'd your buddy respond to learning he'd passed? That's pretty funny.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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How'd your buddy respond to learning he'd passed? That's pretty funny.
O'l Dud said "Yes I go there when I want to relax and get away from everyone."
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 10:18 AM
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O'l Dud said "Yes I go there when I want to relax and get away from everyone."

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 10:27 AM
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Love, love, love this stretch of Hwy 49, which is also known as the "little Dragon". I also first encountered this stretch south of Mariposa coming home from Yosemite years ago. At that time I had a Vulcan 1600 Classic cruiser which did little justice to this road; dragging metal, fighting the weight through the sweepers, not being able to find a suitable gear to drive out of the turns, etc. By the time I got to Coulterville, I was exhausted and dripping with sweat.

The curves are smooth, banked perfectly, and not too sharp, which lures you to drive fast!

This road inspired me to buy my Versys, which was made for roads like these!

Here's a pretty good video.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Very nice Video there Bob. Your pace looks about like mine on that stretch. Smooth, moderately fast, and in control.

They kinda jacked it up a few years ago when they did the Tar Snakes. The first couple of times I rode it there were not any Tar Snakes so it was full on Moto GP. I had my Yamaha FZ09 fire breather back then, plus was younger and a bit braver.

Another favorite stretch of mine in up where the 49 runs into the 120. Hang a right and it's about 5 miles of tighter twisties on perfect pavement up to Priest Station. You can really put some wear on a set of tires on that one, and your cheeks will get tired from all the grins.

Thanks for sharing.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 08:28 PM
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Very nice Video there Bob. Your pace looks about like mine on that stretch. Smooth, moderately fast, and in control.

They kinda jacked it up a few years ago when they did the Tar Snakes. The first couple of times I rode it there were not any Tar Snakes so it was full on Moto GP. I had my Yamaha FZ09 fire breather back then, plus was younger and a bit braver.

Another favorite stretch of mine in up where the 49 runs into the 120. Hang a right and it's about 5 miles of tighter twisties on perfect pavement up to Priest Station. You can really put some wear on a set of tires on that one, and your cheeks will get tired from all the grins.

Thanks for sharing.
Have you tried the Old Priest Grade Road from Moccasin to Priest station? The old road is much steeper and super tight, slow turns, and no side rails. If you want to eliminate your chicken strips and seat in your brake pads, have at it! Too hairy for me anymore.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 08:30 PM
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Have you tried the Old Priest Grade Road from Moccasin to Priest station? The old road is much steeper and super tight, slow turns, and no side rails. If you want to eliminate your chicken strips and seat in your brake pads, have at it! Too hairy for me anymore.
Isn't that the one that goes next to 120 but on the other side of the canyon?

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 08:42 PM
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Isn't that the one that goes next to 120 but on the other side of the canyon?
Yes, indeed. I came down that way last year, (Slowly) just gearing down to slow as much as possible without using my brakes so much. I could still smell my brakes at the bottom of the grade. they have a big warning sign at the bottom of the hill, and of course no trailers allowed. They should add any kind of truck and old people to the sign!

Actually not a fun road at all, very bumpy, and off camber. Stick to 120, On the other side of the canyon, which is awesome!

Last edited by Buffalo_Bob; 09-20-2019 at 08:51 PM.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-20-2019, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Have you tried the Old Priest Grade Road from Moccasin to Priest station? The old road is much steeper and super tight, slow turns, and no side rails. If you want to eliminate your chicken strips and seat in your brake pads, have at it! Too hairy for me anymore.
I went up it for the first time on my ride. Had lunch in Groveland and came down the 120 then rode up the old road then back down the 120 again. A real two-fer. 2 times down the 120.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 09:08 AM
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Thats the way I feel about the Snake / Little Dragon. It's so much fun, you want to do it over immediately
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 07:23 AM
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Cool story and great pics! I love the view you captured looking down on the curves!!
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