2stroke4fun, Reluctant2stroke, & Placelast do Kennedy Meadows


Apr 11, 2001
Before I get into my usual, senseless ramblings, let me here and now express my gratitude to those in the past and even present who left the comforts of living in this Great Country to keep evil at bay, so generations like mine and beyond can enjoy such times, places, and adventures as that to follow: you are not forgotten, and I owe this honor to you veterans.

Having the afternoon off afforded a reasonable 2pm departure from town to start this busy get-away weekend. 150 miles later we pulled into the small farming community of Arvin to refuel, then it was up and over the southern tip of the Sierras with the wind to our backs. That same wind became a hound/harasser in the high desert, all the way north by Jawbone Canyon and even up to 9-Mile Canyon, where it then became a headwind.

On the 6,000 ft. climb, the outside temperature dropped dramatically until our 7pm arrival at Troy Meadows campground. (Fish Creek Campground was fairly full, although Troy is preferred.) The wind was still with us, and had done a fair job of releasing pinecones from the tall trees, littering the campsites well.

We discovered my favorite furthest-from-entrance locations to be taken, so we then wandered back towards the front and found a reasonable site. 4fun showed shortly thereafter; deciding to move over one site, we setup tents before darkness. He started a much needed and welcomed campfire while dinner was in the fixin’; uh, reheated leftover cuisine, nonetheless satisfying, I’d say. Climbing into the cold sleeping bags near midnight, after hours of fine fireside chat, topped off this day.

The wind was gone with the rising of the sun; another campfire was started and breakfast was a-cooking on the stove. 4fun didn’t seem to mind my greasy-spoon special – recipe for heartburn - and by the way he rode later on it did not seem to have any after-burner effects, or at least he was being polite and kept it to himself.

Efficiency was our goal, so we packed up and headed out to park and unload one mile in a connector-service road, near where Albanita Trail traverses nearby pavement. The intent was to maximize time on far-from-camp trail loops and minimize the well-used campsite connector trails.

Once connecting to Albanita, we swung west, eventually crossing a small stream and onto Little Horse - one of my favorites, as it meanders through aspens and ends at Oso Meadow; alpine riding at its best. The water levels seemed lower than one would expect this time of year although it’s understandable as California is experiencing another year of drought.

I encouraged 4fun to forge ahead at his own pace while I kept a careful eye on r2s. Mentally, he’s recovering from a miserable experience at Clear Creek months ago. My shouting of “stand up!” seemed to garnish some improvement, distancing him from his habitual play-ride (sit-down) technique.

There were several stands of snow remaining, some you had to go through, deposited in the middle of the trail, but were not yet solidified. You could either ride down the middle “vee” and rub your cases/pegs or go over the mount slightly to one side or the other of the “vee”.

Once at pretty Oso Meadow we hung a left and back south on Little Horse Trail. One rock outcropping presented a short delay for me, and the more for r2s, although we both quickly moved on with some careful clutching. Speeds picked up in the clearing where a fire of old had downed quite a few acres, and r2s liked it, reminding him of desert condition with short sandy whoops and turns where trees once provided borders.

After 15 fun-filled trail miles we return to the pickups. I topped off the tanks for an even longer loop, and placed the near-empty gas jug underneath the pickup, out of the warming sun (stay tuned). R2s decides to sit this loop out, his thighs and back sore from using a much-improved and proper riding stance. We grabbed some snacks and headed towards Monache Meadows via Albanita in the opposite direction of the previous loop. 4fun set a fairly mean pace and I had to decide to chance dim visibility (dust) or hang back; the latter is my story and I’m sticking to it (my spanking, that is).

He handed me the lead at Granite Trail. On one look-back 4fun was on my rear tire, then another he was gone, having overshot one turn. It’s my pleasure to report, GoSpeedRacer, the rock section has been cleared for your easy passing-pleasure, although you did fine a few years ago on your 125.

Since r2s stayed behind we skipped going to scenic Monache Meadows, where many moons ago Mr. Lucky forded the South Fork of the Kern (to us onlooker’s initial shock and eventual viewing pleasure, when he took dominion over the raging current and depths of that mighty river and emerged as victor on the other shore, only to repeat the fine performance).

Connecting to and heading south on Jackass Trail provided travel with less effort when compared to last year’s July 4th dusk/night ride with Herman the German and Trailjunkie (you still around, friend?) The big difference in sunlight is there's no Bigfoot to worry about! We came upon our first riders of the day, looking over a map. Although I did low side on one sweeping berm – a loss of confidence set in, resulting in a rearward position from then on out.

Jackass turned into quite a demanding section, with plenty imbedded rock, some switchbacks mixed in and many a trail-hugging trees to thread through. At the east end of the intersection with Albanita we came upon another group of riders – many with huge XR650Rs - but we trucked on back towards the pickups, not before thoroughly enjoying this last trail leg.

Back at the staging area we loaded up to head southwest to our Bonita Meadows. By this time I had developed a bit of perspiration in pursuing 4fun and subsequently loading up in the full sun, then decided to don flow-though gear; although in order to experience a leveling of body temperature stayed in minimum undies for the trip, to the discomfort and viewing displeasure of my trail buddies. Yes, PL gets near naykid and unintentionally frightens the most reserved squirrels – fear not: it will not become a tradition nor suffer repeat.

As we roll out, 4fun honks, and looking back I seem to have driven over my gas can; good thing it was round (and practically empty), and as such rolled under the length of the vehicle’s underside when pulling away; no harm done other than them yet again avoid looking at my scantly-clad bum.

A half-hour later we pulled into Bontia Meadow, and it’s quite the sight for sore eyes, all green - abundant flowers expected to pop up in a month. It’s a bit cooler there, being slightly higher in elevation. Regardless, I don my new canary-yellow Sahara gear while r2s has last year's hand-me-down, black-and-white version of the same.

Whilst preparing for this second loop, those who had camped here – certainly bad, loud neighbors – were busy breaking up a pair of dogs fighting; it went on longer than most. Ugh.

4fun lead us onto the last section of Beach Trail, near and quickly past the noisy campers. This was the first time I had done this trail loop clockwise, and will do so in the future as to avoid an uphill rock climb section. At the connecting of Trout Creek Trail he shows us a now closed trailhead, which borders Dome Land Wilderness (place of the big fire of years ago, which burnt a huge swath of our fine trails here on the Kern Plateau – bum irresponsible hikers likely to blame). Trout Creek Trail is probably one of the finer ones on this loop, and it lived up to its name; when following closely behind 4fun I actually witnessed a hand span’s-sized golden trout when his rear tire cleared a fording - the stream was so small you would not think it could support fish.

(This area is on the border of the Golden Trout Wilderness. The species can be found in relatively lower elevation streams but do lose their vivid, brilliant colors found at 12,000 ft. +. We were at ~9,000 ft. at that time.)

Trout Creek Trail stops at scenic Corral Meadow. We hung a left onto Schaefer Trail then again another left, connecting to North Meadow Pass Trail; the latter split at a creek crossing, then climbed toward Sherman Peak, the highest peak around, our destination and turn-around point. North Meadow appeared virgin, as if we were the first on for this season; there were downed saplings from the wint and perhaps winter – some providing traction, others obstacles to be crossed over. R2s had some struggles but no crashes – he is learning something about the usefulness of slipping the clutch, and is doing so much better when standing.

The lack of trail markings around Sherman Peak were troublesome, being totally absent; we never discerned nor scaled the peak, to our disappointment, and headed back to Schaeffer, but just as well as I was getting tired. I tried to give 4fun a good chase but settled into waiting for r2s at the multiple intersections to be sure he followed well – that’s my other story and it is just as good as the first.

Ending up at Bonita we certainly received our money’s worth of the fine trails in this area, said farewells, and headed home at 4pm.

And thank again to those who gave so we could enjoy one more time.

the Eel

Sep 23, 2000
Good report ... a nice teaser for July ! See you then ...


Apr 6, 2002
I had a good time, always good to get to the "Kern platau". I was thinking as I was driving by myself the 200+ miles to get to a riding spot, "darn good these internet buddies are more reliable than most I have known for years." :)

I was able to leave the office early in my allready loaded truck, that got me to Troy just after placelast and r2s arrived. The campgrounds were fairly full for this early opening, but I guess to be expected on a holliday weekend. When I arrived the temps were allready in the chilly 40's with a breeze. The arrival time was good leaving just enough light to pitch the tent. My wife, being the sweetie that she is (as well as Target junkie) bought me a new camp pad, upon removing it from the box, it suggests a 24 hr inflation time before using, hmm, I am looking at going to bed before that for sure.

As usual PL insists on feeding me some of his grub :cool: (I guess I do look that skinny) I didnt think I was hungry after my 3:00 pm Pollo Loco burrito, but the food went down easy and was welcomed.

Campfire conversation conversation ranging from bringing up kids to the complexity of 2-stroke combustion kept us up late. Or maybe I wouldnt shut up and some persistant hardwood firewood was the cause. Either way I climbed into my double up sleeping bags on my underinflated selfinflating pad and tried to get some sleep. The sunlight came early, (I wish that pad had more padding) and I could hear the stirring of PL and r2s so I get up and start a fire to help ward off the bite of the cold morning air. Breakfast is being cooked by PL and son, and I am advised that the cereal and milk I brought isnt coming out today. Again, thanks for feeding the light packer.

Everyone is ready to go hit the trails, but I delay the plan as I beg around the campground looking for a tire pump as my front tire is somewhat uner inflated,(I dont want a repeat of last years pinch flat) most of the CG's that had bikes were still sleeping, but I was able to raise a pump from some kids with bicycles . We hit the designated spot and get on Albinita heading west long before any traffic had the opp to get that far. The loop around Oso and little horse are one of my favorites, lots of scenery and nothing too demanding making it a great "flowing" kind of ride.

The afternoon ride had us leaving from Bonita meadow with a little jaunt up North Meadow trail, a very unused piece of trail that I have never visited. The plan to summit Sherman didnt happen, and me by not having my gps and TOPO map prints, I didnt live up to my sub-nick of "map geek"to help us get there. But the one nick of "king of H.O." I was happy to not live up to seeing as I spent the majority of the time riding point. We return to the trucks feeling satisfied with a ~50 mile casulty free day, pack up, wash the trail dust down with a cool Sierra Nevada PA, make the trek home in time to put the kids to bed.....a good day.

Cant wait for the July trip, but with the dry winter, it will be a dusty one. Small groups may be the ticket unless some early T storms help out.

PS, as this was the first outing for my new Rekluse auto clutch, I will do a product write up on how that went in the product review section.


Jul 16, 2002
Great reports. We made it to Sherman Peak on Sunday - despite the snow covering the trail in 3-4 spots. What a great view from there. The trails out of Bonita Meadow are awesome.

PS - Any information on the person who got a helo ride on Saturday out of Rattlesnake Creek Trail. Possible Tib/Fib fracture????
Top Bottom